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Find Your Science at GSA
8 April 2010
GSA Release No. 10-14
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
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A View of Earth Science from Middle America

Geological Society of America's Joint Regional Meeting in Branson, Missouri, USA, 11–13 April 2010

Boulder, CO, USA – More than forty technical scientific sessions will generate discussions around new earth-science research as Missouri State University and Emporia State University host the 44th annual meetings of the North-Central and South-Central sections of The Geological Society of America. The meeting is expected to draw 700 geoscientists to Branson, Missouri, next week to examine the unique karst geology of the Ozarks, early fossil evidence of area inhabitants, issues related to the long history of mining in the mid-continent region, case studies in carbon sequestration, geological impacts on the Civil War, and a variety of other topics. The scientific exchange will be enhanced with ten pre- and post-meeting field trip options that highlight spectacular geology in the heart of the Ozarks, including numerous caves, springs, lakes, and glades.

The technical program begins at 1 p.m. Sunday and ends at noon on Tuesday. Members of the media are invited to attend.

Read session descriptions:
Search the program by session number or by title, author, or key words.
View the session schedule & individual abstracts:

  1. Current conodont research
  2. Controversial Tri-State lead and zinc mining district and one of the country's largest Superfund clean-up efforts
  3. CO2 sequestration
  4. Geological aspects of the Civil War
  5. Cave and karst science

1. Current Conodont Research I and II (Sessions 9 and 22)

Monday, 12 April, Branson Convention Center: Short Creek 3 & 4

These sessions will feature some of the latest work on those enigmatic but geologically important fossils, the conodonts. The session honors three world-famous conodont experts in the Midwest, all "officially" retired, but still actively continuing their research. These experts will be leading field trips and/or presenting papers at the meeting, and together they represent more than 125 years of professional research and teaching. Another session highlight is a presentation of some spectacularly preserved bedding plane assemblages of conodont apparatuses, preserved nearly in their biological orientation, from subsurface shale in Iowa.

2. Tri-State Mining District (Session 24 & a public policy forum)

Monday, 12 April, Branson Convention Center

A strong focus at the meeting will be on the controversial Tri-State Mining District, which covers approximately 2,500 square miles in NE Oklahoma, SE Kansas, and SW Missouri, and in the late 19th to early 20th centuries was one of the richest lead and zinc ore-producing deposits in the world. It was listed on the National Priorities List in the 1980s due to a multitude of mining-related problems observed following the cessation of lead-zinc mining in the late 1960s (with all mines closing by 1970). Mining operations degraded the surface, leaving piles of sand and up to gravel-sized mill tailings, piles of overburden bedrock, and impoundments and ponds containing silt and clay tailings. The district includes many open mines and subsidence collapse features. Mining activities have changed the area's hydrology, and local stream systems contain mining wastes and impacted sediments. Acid mine drainage and metal-laden surface water is contaminating area streams; the Roubidoux Aquifer is impacted by metals as well. Residential areas are adjacent to mine waste accumulations and suffer from lead-contaminated soils. The character of mining and mine hazards varies from community to community, but the struggles faced in each community in the Tri-State Mining District are unsettling.

Tri-State Mining District, a Decades-Long Project: Progress, Challenges, and Revelations (Session 24)

This session includes a discussion of an innovative method for developing a visual characterization of the Tri-State Mining District; a hydrogeology study demonstrating a unique relationship between the EPA and the Quapaw Tribe; a mapping project undertaken to meet a community need; a study of the fate and transport of major contaminant metals; and a study which has utilized passive treatment technologies to develop the first full-scale mine water treatment system in the Tri-State District. Paper 24-5, Passively Addressing Ferruginous Lead-Zinc Mine Waters through Hydro-biogeochemical and Ecological Engineering: The First Full-scale Mine Water Treatment System in the Tri-State District, is particularly newsworthy as the first full-scale mine water treatment system in the Tri-State District, and the success of this project is important.

A Geology and Public Policy Forum — Reclamation in the Tri-State Lead-Zinc Mining District: A Trans-Boundary Effort

This forum, which is open to the public, will feature a discussion with panelists from the two EPA Regions involved in clean-up efforts, a representative of the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, and the Director of LEAD, a very successful local environmental activist group based in Miami, Oklahoma. Rex Buchanan (Interim Director of the Kansas Geological Survey) and Marcia Schulmeister (Emporia State University) will moderate.

In addition to the GSA meeting Web site, Local Environmental Action Demanded (LEAD) has posted information related to meeting events and provided background on the Tri-State environmental activities at

Ore Deposits of the Central U.S.:
Origin, Mining, and Environmental Remediation (Session 13)

This session will provide background information and details about ore deposits and mining throughout the region.


Monday, 12 April, Branson Convention Center: Short Creek 1

Carbon Sequestration: Research, Deployment and Commercialization (Session 11)

This session will cover geologic sequestration projects being conducted throughout the North-Central and South-Central regions and provide data from a range of projects.

Water-Rock-CO2 Interactions during Carbon Sequestering Activities (Session 12)

This session will examine the geochemical characterization of aquifers and their potential for sequestering carbon underground. Presentations will highlight U.S. Midwestern sites under consideration, including Illinois, SW Missouri, and Minnesota. These sites have unique characteristics; the SW Missouri pilot project is considering an aquifer located at a mere 1800 feet deep, which is unique, because most sites worldwide are much deeper, where carbon dioxide behaves as a supercritical fluid instead of as a gas.

4. Geological Aspects of the Civil War (Session 32 & Field TRIPS)

Tuesday, 13 April, Branson Convention Center: Cooper Creek 2

Historians and Civil War buffs will be interested in this session, which explores the relationship of geology and topography to battles, defensive works, and more. The talks will include discussions of sites ranging from Harpers Ferry Virginia in the east to New Mexico in the west. Speakers will include invited experts on these topics: Danny Harrelson (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), Walter Pittman (Roswell, New Mexico), and Stephen Henderson (Oxford College of Emory University). Kevin Evans (Missouri State University) will present what is probably the first study of the geologic influences on guerilla tactics during the war.

Two field trips will visit Civil War battlefields and sites related to guerilla activity in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The conference guidebook (GSA Field Guide 17) includes two chapters related to this topic.

5. CAVE AND KARST SCIENCE (Sessions 41 & 47)

Tuesday, 13 April, Branson Convention Center

Speleogenesis, Processes and Records in Karst Systems (Session 41)

Cave and karst science involves much more than the study of the movement of water through the subsurface. Speleogenesis, Processes and Records in Karst Systems explores the variety in cave and karst science, with presentations that investigate: (1) theory on cave origins; (2) mineralization in karst terrains; (3) karst systems modeling; and (4) modern techniques for imaging caves and karst features.

Karst Hydrogeologic Systems of the Central United States and Northern Mexico (Poster Session 47)

Southern Missouri and northern Arkansas contain mainly Paleozoic carbonate rocks; therefore, the surficial processes related to these rocks and how the water flows through them are important to this region. The central U.S. features several important karst aquifers, including the Ozarks, Arbuckles, and Edwards aquifers. This poster session works to quantitatively characterize how karst aquifers can benefit from the comparison of local and regional systems in diverse settings.


Find complete meeting information at

Eligibility for media registration is as follows:

Present media credentials to Beth Engle or William Cox onsite at the GSA Registration desk to obtain badge for media access.

Complimentary meeting registration covers attendance at all technical sessions and access to the exhibit hall. Journalists and PIOs must pay for any short courses, field trips, or ticketed events in which they wish to participate.

Representatives of the business side of news media, publishing houses, and for-profit corporations must register at the main registration desk and pay the appropriate fees.

For additional information and assistance, contact Christa Stratton, GSA Director of Communications, at the address above.