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Find Your Science at GSA
7 October 2009
GSA Release No. 09-50
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
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Scientists Discuss Climate Change, Planets, Earliest Life, Natural Disasters, Wine, and more in Portland this month

Boulder, CO, USA – More than 6,000 geoscientists from around the world will gather at The Geological Society of America's Annual Meeting at the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) in Portland on 18-21 October 2009. Journalists are cordially invited to attend. Eligible media representatives will receive complimentary registration (see below) and are invited to use GSA's Newsroom facilities while at the meeting.

I. Scientific Program Highlights
II. Field Trips
III. Newsroom
IV. Media Registration

I. Scientific Program Highlights

The scientific program encompasses a wide variety of geoscience and integrative science topics of regional, national, and international interest. A few highlights are noted below. View and search the complete technical program at

View complete meeting information, including guest lectures and special events at

Hazards and Health: Preventing Disaster and Building Resilience on the Ring of Fire
Monday, 19 Oct., 8 a.m.-noon, OCC, Portland Ballroom 254
This symposium will highlight new interdisciplinary directions for managing risk at the crossroads of hazards, health, and emergency management and emphasize how uniting the efforts of natural and social scientists is vital to the well-being of disaster-prone communities. International experts will address how professionals from diverse fields of research and practice can effectively collaborate to prevent disaster from following earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides; share leading-edge examples for identifying at-risk populations and building community resilience; and discuss emerging priorities and opportunities for interdisciplinary research, disaster management, and risk communication around the Pacific Rim.

Earth et al. - Our planets from the Hadean to Today
Tuesday, 20 Oct, 8 a.m.-noon, OCC, Portland Ballroom 254
This symposium is designed to introduce the scientific disciplines of geobiology and geomicrobiology to the broad audience of geo- and bioscientists. In 12 presentations given by top scientists in the field, the latest research highlights and explores the evolution of life and Earth's environments. Topics include the origin of life, the rise and diversification of organisms from the first unstructured organic "slime" to skeleton-forming macroorganisms, and the search for life on other planets - one of the greatest challenges we face.

First Global View of the Geology of Mercury: Dynamic Landscapes on the Innermost Planet
Tuesday, 20 Oct, 1:30-5:30 p.m., OCC, Portland Ballroom 254

MESSENGER's two flybys of Mercury in 2008 provided the first detailed views of the planet in three decades and revealed a rich geological history marked by widespread volcanism, prolonged contractional tectonics, and pervasive impact cratering. This symposium will include a member of the original Mariner 10 science team, who is a founder of modern planetary geology and an expert in surface morphology, particularly the effects of impact cratering. This session will also include new results from MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury on 28 September 2009.

Crisis in the Cryosphere: Impacts of Planetary Meltdown
Wednesday, 21 Oct, 1:30-5:30 p.m., OCC, Portland Ballroom 254

All components of the cryosphere - our planetary thermometer - are in decline: ice sheets and outlet glaciers, ice caps and mountain glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice, and permanently frozen ground (permafrost). This worldwide meltdown forewarns humanity of dramatic changes in all Earth systems, including potentially catastrophic impacts on water supplies, sea level, and coastlines. Because of the vital importance of cryosphere monitoring, this symposium convenes leading researchers to document current behavior and provide impact projections for geoscientists, educators, and policy makers.

Google Earth to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in the Geosciences
Sunday, 18 Oct., 1:30-5 p.m., OCC, Portland Ballrooms 251/258

Digital technologies such as Web 2.0 services, virtual globes, and new applications of digital photography can enhance understanding of geology at all levels and across disciplines. Presenters in this symposium will showcase practical applications of new digital tools: the OneGeology project, geoblogging, Google Earth for education, and site surveys with panoramic high-resolution photography. A focal presentation will involve creation of a virtual field trip using the tools discussed here. The session will also feature interactive small group demonstrations designed to give attendees the opportunity to discuss projects with keynote speakers and other presenters. Topical session T160 will address similar themes.


Geodynamics from the Cascadia Margin to the High Lava Plains
Wednesday, 21 Oct., 8 a.m.-noon, OCC, Portland Ballroom 254

Session 224 is dedicated to understanding the geodynamic evolution of the Cascadia margin and High Lava Plains, from the Miocene (18 million years ago) to the present. The session will synthesize geological, geophysical, and geochemical research that addresses modification of the lithosphere through tectonism and magmatism.

Terroir - The Relationship of Geology, Soils, Hydrology, and Climate to Wine: A Special Tribute to George Moore
Wednesday, 21 Oct., 1:30–5:30 p.m., OCC, Room B113

Session 270 will present papers that communicate the differences in wines relative to geology, soils, hydrology, and climates. The northern Willamette Valley is a great place to study terroir. Papers will cover local and regional terroir topics.

II. Field Trips

Journalists are invited to participate in the extensive slate of pre-meeting, concurrent, and post-meeting field trips. From accreted terranes to viticulture terroir, this year's forty trips emphasize the "Volcanoes to Vineyards" theme of the meeting and cover a range of Pacific Northwest geoscience topics. Learn how tectonism, volcanism, stupendous flood basalts, cataclysmic flooding, and landslides have shaped the Northwest and now influence hazards, resources, and human habitation. Remarkable scenery, whitewater boating, and brew pubs and wineries are requisite elements of the Northwest experience and will be integral to several trips.

Journalists must register for field trips and pay associated fees. For a complete description of this year's trips see .

III. Newsroom

GSA will operate a full-service newsroom on-site in OCC Room D133. Computers with internet and printer access, outgoing telephone lines, and space for interviews will be available. Continental breakfast and lunch are complimentary for journalists attending the meeting. Beginning Saturday, 17 October, the newsroom telephone number for incoming calls will be +1-503-963-5708.

Newsroom hours of operation (Pacific Daylight Time)
* Saturday, 17 October, 2-6 p.m.
* Sunday through Tuesday, 18-20 October, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
* Wednesday, 21 October, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Press releases pertaining to the Annual Meeting will be posted in the online newsroom at

Geoscience blogs about the meeting and Twitter conversations (hashtag #GeoPort) can be accessed at

IV. Media Registration

Find eligibility and information for media registration at

Contact Christa Stratton, GSA Director of Communications and Marketing, for additional information and assistance at the address above.