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Find Your Science at GSA
6 March 2013
GSA Release No. 13-15
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
Northeastern Section flyer
Download the meeting abstracts & program book.

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GSA Meeting: Hydraulic Fracturing, Digital Technologies, and the Impact of Hurricane Sandy

Geological Society of America Northeastern Section Meeting

Boulder, CO, USA – Geoscientists from across the northeastern U.S. and beyond will convene in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, on 18-20 March to celebrate GSA's 125th Anniversary and discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the unique geologic and historic features of the region. Field trip topics include the Mount Washington Observatory and glacial geology and archeology in the Northern White Mountains. Symposia cover climate change, the Northern Appalachians, and the history of geology in the Northeast.

This meeting is creating unprecedented interest -- already, it has set an all-time, GSA single-Section record for submitted abstracts (618; previous record: 501) and is expected to attract more than 1,000 attendees during its three-day run.

Topics of interest presented on Monday include groundwater contaminants; unconventional natural gas, potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing, and Project SWIFT (Shale-Water Interaction Forensic Tools); and natural and induced seismic hazards, including discussion of the M5.8 August 2011 Mineral, Virginia, earthquake.

A special Plenary Session on Monday evening (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.) will address "21st-Century Sea Level Rise: An Overview of Current Status & Alternative Modeling Approaches," with speaker W. Tad Pfeffer of the Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Pfeffer is a member/lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I.

Sessions of interest on Tuesday include innovations in education and research using digital technologies such as Google Earth; applications of digital terrain data in research, mapping, and design; and LiDAR surveys of the entire ocean coast of New Jersey immediately before and just after the landfall of Hurricane Sandy.

Wednesday’s sessions include continued study of the impact of Hurricane Sandy, especially the damage, clean-up, and mitigation. A poster session from 8 a.m. to noon continues Monday’s discussion of "Unconventional Natural Gas Plays in the Eastern U.S. and Canada with Emphasis on the Marcellus Shale and Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing."


The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 32 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. Go to to learn more.

Naturally Occurring Contaminants in Groundwater Used for Water Supply in the Northeastern United States
Joseph D. Ayotte of the U.S. Geological Survey and Yan Zheng of Queens College, CUNY, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 3).
• Paper 3-2: Hydrogeochemical Control of Arsenic, Uranium and Radon in Domestic Wells from Bedrock Aquifers in Central Maine, USA. Lead author: Qiang Yang of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University: (8:25 a.m.).

Natural and Induced Seismic Hazards in Intraplate Regions
John E. Ebel of Weston Observatory at Boston College and Margaret Boettcher of the University of New Hampshire, presiding, 8 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. (session 5).
• Paper 5-5: Scenario Earthquakes for Assessing Possible Losses from Strong Seismic Events in New England and Vicinity. Lead author: John E. Ebel, Weston Observatory, Boston College: (9:10 a.m.).

Unconventional Natural Gas Plays in the Eastern U.S. and Canada with Emphasis on the Marcellus Shale and Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing
Brett T. McLaurin of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and Cynthia Venn of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, presiding, 10:40 a.m. to noon (session 4).
• Paper 4-2: Characterizing Water Quality in Southern New York State before Hydraulic Fracturing: Project SWIFT (Shale-Water Interaction Forensic Tools). Lead author: Laura K. Lautz of Syracuse University: (11:10 a.m.).

Innovations in Geoscience Education and Research Using Google Earth and Related Digital Technologies
Stephen J. Whitmeyer of James Madison University and Declan G. De Paor of Old Dominion University, presiding, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. (session 52).
• Paper 52-4: Exploring Google Earth and Google Mars with In-Service Teachers through the NSF-MSP-Funded Rites Project. Lead author: Dawn Cardace of the University of Rhode Island: (2:25 p.m.).

The Emerging LiDAR Landscape: Applications of Digital Terrain Data in Research, Mapping, and Design
Rick Chormann of the New Hampshire Geological Survey and Fay Rubin of the University of New Hampshire, presiding, 1:30 to 3:55 p.m. (session 53).
• Paper 53-1: Topobathymetric LiDAR Analysis of the New Jersey Coastal Response to Hurricane Sandy. Lead author: John C. Brock of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program: (1:40 p.m.).

The Geomorphic Impact of Hurricane Sandy: Predictions Made, Damage Done, Clean-Up & Mitigation
David Robert Wunsch of the Delaware Geological Survey, Rick Chormann of the New Hampshire Geological Survey, and Stephen G. Pollock of the University of Southern Maine, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 73).
• Paper 73-2: Impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the New Jersey Coastline & How Can We Respond. Lead author: Jane Uptegrove of the New Jersey Geological Survey: (8:25 a.m.)

Poster Session: Unconventional Natural Gas Plays in the Eastern U.S. and Canada with Emphasis on the Marcellus Shale and Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing
Authors will be present from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

View the complete 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.
Find complete meeting information at
Find local contact information at


Eligibility for media registration is as follows:
• Working press representing bona fide, recognized news media with a press card, letter or business card from the publication.
• Freelance science writers, presenting a current membership card from NASW, ISWA, regional affiliates of NASW, ISWA, CSWA, ACS, ABSW, EUSJA, or evidence of work pertaining to science published in 2012 or 2013.
• PIOs of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

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 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 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.