Invite a Colleague


From Volcanoes to Vineyards: Living with Dynamic Landscapes

Vicki McConnell
Vicki McConnell
Local Committee Chair

Dear GSA and Associated Society members, students, and educators,

I invite you to Portland, Oregon, USA, to attend the 2009 GSA Annual Meeting & Exposition on 18-21 October. As chair of the meeting’s local planning committee, I can assure you that the local geoscience community has thought hard about what to feature of our rich, dynamic landscape and city.

First, we have developed dozens of field trips covering nearly all the Northwest, from coastal jaunts to fossil beds, live volcanoes to fishing holes, and geology via mass transit to river floats. Let’s not forget the practical side of geology and soils — our field trips cover both the Walla Walla and the Willamette Valley wine appellations.

Portland straddles the banks of the Willamette River just below the confluence with the mighty Columbia. Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens volcanoes define the skyline.

I invite you to relax with friends and colleagues downtown as you easily travel via light rail and streetcar from your hotel to your choice of local brew pubs or nationally recognized restaurants. Take in Powell’s Books, an independent bookstore so spacious you need a map to get around!

Portland has a rich and vibrant arts and music scene. You will have an array of plays, dance, and live music venues to choose from for entertainment, as well as museums and art galleries. Go exploring with the family at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry or take in a geology-related movie at their OMNI MAX theatre.

Finally, enjoy the people who live and work in Portland. We are a friendly and tolerable bunch. Come sit with us in Pioneer Square, Portland’s living room, and enjoy the pleasant fall weather.

See you in October!

Vicki S. McConnell
Chair - Local Planning Committee
Oregon State Geologist


Dick Berg
Dick Berg
Technical Program Chair

GSA remains committed to a vision of “Fostering the human quest for understanding Earth, planets, and life; catalyzing new scientific ways of thinking about natural systems; and supporting the application of geoscience knowledge and insight to human needs, aspirations, and Earth stewardship,” at the same time promoting geoscience through education, public awareness, and public policy. This translates to the identification and aggressive acquisition of top-quality science at GSA annual and sectional meetings, and the 2009 Annual Meeting in Portland is no exception. Particularly, there is a resurfaced and revitalized interest in pure and applied science — one that provides innovative mechanisms for geoscientists to address pressing energy, environmental, and water and mineral resource concerns, as well as the means and resources to properly educate students and the public so that they can make informed decisions based on fact, not fiction. This year is also the last in a three-year–long celebration tying the GSA Annual Meeting program to the themes and goals of the International Year of Planet Earth — to develop and advance earth-science initiatives so that future generations are provided with a safer and more prosperous world.

Geoscientists are a unique brand of physical scientist trained with an interpretive eye to “visualize,” often in three and four dimensions, that which often cannot be totally observed and who have the ability to predict the unseen based on well-positioned key data and modeling. It is somewhere between uncertainty, prediction, and observed phenomena that pure geoscience discovery and research flourishes. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of pure geological research is that its utilitarian value often comes years after its completion, and research applications, either spurring additional research or addressing societal issues, often are far afield of original intent. Therefore, presentation, discussion, and publication of pure geoscience research will remain GSA’s strong and compelling focus for the 2009 Annual Meeting. At the same time, to ensure the viability of our science and its understandability to the public, policy makers, and those who provide funding opportunities, the 2009 meeting will also strongly address how the science can be applied directly to the needs of the public, governmental agencies, and industry.

GSA’s Joint Technical Program Committee (JTPC) and Annual Program Committee strongly encourage your participation at the 2009 GSA Annual Meeting in Portland. Please submit an abstract for one or two of our 162 Topical Sessions. These sessions cover a wide range of subdisciplines that address both pure and applied geologic research and educational issues at national and international scales. Alternatively, you can submit to a general discipline session if you don’t see a topical area that satisfies your interests. You also won’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in some of our locally and regionally oriented sessions as part of the Portland theme, From Volcanoes to Vineyards: Living with Dynamic Landscapes.

To help facilitate the strongest possible scientific program and ensure that the meetings’ 162 sessions have the requisite numbers of abstracts, I encourage you to contact the JTPC members listed on page 16 with their corresponding disciplines, and/or the officers and representatives of GSA’s 17 Divisions and 47 Associated Societies, with your specific questions regarding abstract submittal.

Dick Berg
Technical Program Chair
Illinois State Geological Survey


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