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Find Your Science at GSA
21 March 2011
GSA Release No. 11-21
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

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New Orleans, Louisiana
NASA Landsat 7 Satellite image of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and surrounding wetlands. Acquired 26 April 2000.

Scientists to Discuss Complexities of Louisiana's Dynamic Coasts and Wetlands

Boulder, CO, USA –More than 300 geoscientists will gather at the Chateau Bourbon Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter on 28–29 March to discuss new earth-science research on coastal processes and evolution, wetlands, southern North America paleontology, impacts of the MC 252 oil spill, deltaic geology, high-temperature geochemistry, shale geology and other topics at the 45th annual meeting of the South-Central section of The Geological Society of America. Scientists from the University of New Orleans are hosting the meeting.

The scientific program includes a two-part symposium on the “Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill,” a three-part symposium on “Our Dynamic Coasts,” and 14 various themed sessions; as well as three pre-meeting field trips that highlight the geology of the north-central Gulf Coast and the many environmental issues that are currently facing southern Louisiana.

Technical sessions begin at 8 a.m. Monday and end at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Members of the media are invited to attend with complimentary registration (see below).

Find complete meeting information at

Read session descriptions at  

View the session schedule by day or search the program by keywords at

Click on session titles for a list of presentations, and click on presentations for the individual abstracts.


Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Tracing the Landed Oil and its Effects on the Gulf Coast.
Monday, 28 March, 1:30-3:50 PM
This session explores biogeochemical experiments tracing oil pollution related to the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo well head blowout in the spring/summer of 2010. Scientists will share early results and emerging trends in dispersion, environmental degradation, and preservation of oil from this disaster, as well as its effects on the geomorphology of the northern Gulf Coast.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Biotic Responses to the Oil Spill Incident—Microbes to Macrobiota.
Monday, 28 March, 4:05-5:30 PM
This session highlights research examining the impact of biotic responses to the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo Well spill Presentations will range from those documenting microbially induced evolution of hydrocarbon composition to alterations in the abundance and distribution of ecosystem engineers such as marsh grass and oysters.

Our Dynamic Coasts: Delta Plain Management—What Are We Learning From the Geological Record?
Monday, 28 March, 8:00-9:45 AM
Advancing scientific understanding of the geological history of the Mississippi Delta is extremely important to improving delta management and restoration planning. This session addresses questions related to subsidence rates, delta development process, sediment budget, composition, and distribution.

Our Dynamic Coasts: Past, Present, and Future Impact of Severe Storms, Accelerated Sea-Level Rise, and Variations in Sediment Supply.
Monday, 28 March, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
This session brings together scientists who focus on both natural and anthropogenic controls on coastal change. Presentations will use both modeling approaches and results from field investigations.

Our Dynamic Coasts: Monitoring Coastal Evolution and Deformation Processes.
Tuesday, 29 March, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
This session deals with monitoring, modeling, and interpretation of coastal evolution and/or deformation in the coastal zone. Monitoring techniques include terrestrial and airborne LiDAR, satellite observations, GNSS, ground-penetrating radar, tide gauges, wetland vertical accretion measurements, and other field-based techniques.

Wetland Interfaces
Tuesday, 29 March, 8:00-10:15 AM
Wetlands provide valuable services to mankind—including acting as filters, nurseries to commercially-fished species and, in coastal regions, buffering storms—and their good condition depends on delicate balances, both physical and biogeochemical, many of which we are still striving to understand. In this session scientists from different disciplines will discuss the interactions that are important in shaping and maintaining the health of wetlands. Speakers will present their most recent findings exploring the impact of hurricanes, contaminants, and existing wetlands’ restoration efforts.

Quaternary Faulting Along the Northern Gulf of Mexico Margin
Tuesday, 29 March, 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
This session will explore multidisciplinary approaches to quantifying patterns and rates of Pleistocene-Holocene normal faulting along the northern Gulf of Mexico margin. It will highlight the role of Quaternary faulting as a potential contributor to coastal subsidence and land loss and as a poorly understood control on coastal landscapes.

Local Contact:  Mark Kulp, , Meeting Chair
University of New Orleans
Office phone: +1-504-280-1170 (pre-meeting)


Eligibility for media registration is as follows:

Present media credentials to William Cox onsite at the GSA registration desk to obtain a badge for media access. Complimentary meeting registration covers attendance at all technical sessions and access to the exhibit hall. Journalists and PIOs must pay regular fees for paid luncheons and any short courses or field trips in which they 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.


The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 23,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 95 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.