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News Release

22 October 2007
GSA Release No. 07-53

Contact: Christa Stratton

Denver Then and Now: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Next Week

Boulder, CO, USA - The Geological Society of America, headquartered in Boulder, will hold its 119th annual meeting and exposition 28-31 October at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Approximately 6300 geoscientists are expected to attend. Meeting highlights of regional interest are provided below. They include presentations by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Heidi VanGenderen of the Office of the Governor.

Regional media are invited to attend and registration is complimentary. Contact Ann Cairns, GSA Director of Communications, for additional information and assistance. Before Saturday, 27 October, Ann can be reached at 303-357-1056. Beginning Saturday, 27 October, she can be reached at the GSA Newsroom, Colorado Convention Center, Room 604, at 303-228-8486. Newsroom hours of operation during the meeting will be as follows:

* Saturday, 27 October, 3-5 p.m.
* Sunday through Tuesday, 28-24 October, 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
* Wednesday, 25 October, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.


"Denver Then and Now: From Paleontology to Public Policy on the Front Range Urban Corridor"
Sunday, 28 October 2007, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Colorado Convention Center Room 506

Denver Then.
  • The West Bijou Creek area east of Denver has achieved world-class status as a place to study the aftermath of the cataclysmic asteroid impact that struck Mexico's Yucatán peninsula 65 million years ago. Rocks and sediments at West Bijou Creek reveal a wealth of information about changes in climate, the transition from a marine to a terrestrial environment, diversity of life, mass extinction, and biotic recovery during this critical juncture in geologic time. Samuel Bowring of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will describe how the Denver Basin is expected to become a test bed for new research techniques that will increase our understanding of past and present environmental and biological change.
    "Geochronology of the Maastrichtian-Paleocene Rocks of the Denver Basin: An Opportunity for High-Precision Calibration of Climate Change and Extinction," 9:15 a.m.
    Note: Kirk Johnson, Chief Curator of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Samuel Bowing will lead a field trip to West Bijou Creek on Saturday, 27 October. Media are invited to participate and may contact Kirk Johnson at for additional information. Fee for the field trip is $70. Contact Ann Cairns, , for registration assistance.
  • Henry Fricke of Colorado College will present new research on an ancient rainforest that existed in Castle Rock approximately 64 million years ago. Recent carbon isotope analysis suggests the rainforest had a closed-canopy structure with trees shorter or narrower than those of modern rainforests.
    "Carbon Isotope Characterization of the Closed Canopy (?) Castle Rock Rainforest," 10:15 a.m.
  • Research initiated in 2006 in northeastern Colorado's Julesburg Basin has so far revealed 25 new species of small mammals that lived in the Pawnee National Grasslands area during the Late Cretaceous approximately 68 million years ago. Greg Wilson of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science will describe recent finds.
    "A new Late Cretaceous Mammal Faunule from Northeastern Colorado and Comparisons with others from the Western Interior of North America," 10:30 a.m.
  • "Ancient Colorado," a series of ten paintings by artist Jan Vriesen and Kirk Johnson, Chief Curator of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, is on display in the main east-west hallway of the Colorado Convention Center. The 8×10' paintings depict paleontologically accurate reconstruction of famous Colorado sites from the past 300 million years. Locations include modern-day Garden of the Gods City Park, Red Rocks Park, Telluride, Dinosaur National Monument, Lake Pueblo State Park, Marshall Mesa, West Bijou Valley, North and South Table Mountain, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and Wray, CO. Visit for additional information.
    Note: For information on obtaining high-resolution images of "Ancient Colorado" and appropriate credit language, contact Ann Cairns, 303-357-1056, .
Denver Now.
  • * Heidi VanGenderen of the Office of the Governor, State of Colorado, will outline Governor Ritter's commitment to statewide address of global warming, explore the tools available to do so, and pose questions to scientists about forging a "New Energy Economy" for the state.
    "How can Sound Science Information Good Global Warming Policy?" 11:00 a.m.
  • * Geologist and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will give an overview of Denver's intimate association with geology. Topics include: the area's spectacular geologic setting; natural resources and their use; regional leadership in oil, gas, and mineral exploration; water management; participation in the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Accord; and development of Greenprint Denver, an assessment of the city's carbon footprint, policies for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and movement toward sustainability.
    "The Geologic Past and Sustainable Future of the City of Denver," 11:30 a.m.


"Groundwater Mining and Population Growth"
Sunday, 28 October 2007, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Colorado Convention Center Room 702

This session brings into sharp focus the consequences of continued drawn-down of Denver Basin aquifers.

  • Recent research by Robert Raynolds of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science includes projections of groundwater supply in wells south of Denver. At present rates of draw-down, many Douglas County wells have only decades of useful life remaining versus the hundred years or so previously assumed.
    "Groundwater Resources in Douglas County, CO, a Depleting Asset," 9:45 a.m.
  • Daniel Niemela of Bishop-Brogden Associates in Englewood will describe cumulative impacts of well-to-well interference in the Arapahoe Aquifer during peak watering/irrigation months of May through September. Late in the season public water supply systems that rely on the aquifer must try to meet peak municipal demands while well yields are down. Niemela will discuss strategies that municipalities may need to pursue to meet the challenge.
    "Irrigation Season Water Level Changes in Municipal Arapahoe Aquifer Wells, Douglas County, Colorado," 10:30 a.m.
  • Land subsidence is an undesirable side effect of withdrawal of groundwater from aquifers. Paul Morgan of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science discusses changing conditions associated with the Arapahoe Aquifer in Douglas County that could lead to significant problems. Similar conditions in southern Arizona have resulted in disruptions in agricultural irrigation, damage to pipelines and roads, and other structural problems.
    "Potential for Subsidence Associated with Groundwater Withdrawal in the Denver Basin," 10:45 a.m.

In addition, William Cunningham of the US Geological Survey, Reston, VA, will place groundwater mining in context with a new map of groundwater-level declines across the United States. ("Groundwater Level Declines Across the United States," 9:00 a.m.)

Mike Wireman of US EPA Region 8, Denver, discusses the difficulties of effective groundwater management across different levels of government. ("Aquifer-Based Groundwater Management," 10:00 a.m.)

For more information on the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting visit


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