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Find Your Science at GSA
11 March 2013
GSA Release No. 13-16
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
Palominito Islet
Palominito Islet, Puerto Rico. Image courtesy

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Puerto Rico, Haiti, Florida, and the Caribbean: Science Topics at the 2013 GSA Southeastern Section Meeting

Boulder, CO, USA –Geoscientists from across the southeastern U.S., Puerto Rico, and beyond will convene in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 20-21 March to discuss infrastructure, earthquakes, sustainability, waste-water management and sanitation, and coastal vulnerability and take time to explore the area’s stunning geology and history. Puerto Rico's wide variety of geologic and geographic settings includes a world-class karst province, limestone cliffs, a central mountain range, and the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest system.

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 Wednesday include the proposed U.S. presidential initiative to expand and modernize Kennedy Space Center infrastructure, which is within 500 meters of the Atlantic coastline in Florida. Another paper covers the Governors' South Atlantic Alliance, established in 2009 by North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida as a regional forum for addressing the environmental sustainability, natural resources, and socioeconomic environment of the southeastern states. Wednesday's poster session "Sustainable Water Resources and Water Treatment in Haiti" includes presentations by scientists from Haiti's Université Quisqueya.

Thursday sessions include analysis of Caribbean earthquakes and tsunamis, with discussion of the use of untethered free-vehicles to explore the Puerto Rico Trench and Muertos Trough. International collaboration as part of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network is also highlighted.


The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 17 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. Go to to learn more.

Assessing Coastal Vulnerability: Technical and Management Considerations
Chester W. Jackson Jr. of Georgia Southern University and Clark Alexander of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 1).
• Paper 1-8: Regional Collaborative Research in the Southeastern US: Progress Toward a New Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Assessment Tool. Lead author: Clark Alexander of Skidaway Institute of Oceanography: (10:50 a.m.)
• Paper 1-9: A Science-Based Decision Support System for the Management of Critical Infrastructure along NASA Kennedy Space Center Shoreline, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Lead author: Richard A. Mackenzie III of the University of Florida-Gainesville: (11:10 a.m.).

Sustainable Water Resources and Water Treatment in Haiti
Peter J. Wampler of Grand Valley State University, Richard R. Rediske of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University, and Azizur R. Molla of Grand Valley State University, presiding, 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (session 21).
• Paper 21-2: Water and Sanitation in Haiti -- An Ethnographic Perspective. Lead author: Azizur R. Molla of Grand Valley State University: (3:25 p.m.).
• Posters: Sustainable Water Resources and Water Treatment in Haiti
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with authors present from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (session 18):

Caribbean Earthquakes and Tsunamis
Alberto López of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and Christa von Hillebrandt of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 25).
• Paper 25-1: Exploration of the Puerto Rico Trench and Muertos Trough with Untethered Free-Vehicles. Lead author: Wilford Schmidt of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez: (8:05 a.m.).

Collaborative Seismology in the Caribbean and Central America
Jay Pulliam of Baylor University, Víctor Huérfano Moreno of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, and Olga Cabello of the IRIS Consortium, presiding, 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (session 39).
• Paper 39-7: International Collaboration: A Central Component of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network Tsunami Response Process. Lead author: Lillian Soto-Cordero of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez: (5:10 p.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 Beth Engle 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.