Technical Sessions

The submission period for abstracts has now ended (18 Dec. 2007). Please remember that you may present only one volunteered paper but you may be a co-author on multiple abstracts. Those individuals invited to present a paper in a symposium may present an additional volunteered paper. All speakers must also register to attend the meeting.

Oral presentations will be 15–20 minutes long with 3–5 minutes reserved for questions and discussions. A single digital projector with standard presentation software will be provided in each room. Use of 35 mm slides will be permitted only under special circumstances and must be requested 30 days in advance by contacting the technical program chair. Dimensions for the poster boards are 4′ × 8′.



The technical program will consist of general discipline sessions as well as more-focused symposia and theme sessions. Inquiries about the technical program can be directed to the Technical Program Chair, Terry Spell, .


  1. Seismic Hazards Summit-Southern Nevada Region.
    Wanda J. Taylor, UNLV; Jim Werle, Converse Consultants; Craig dePolo, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology; Catherine M. Snelson, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; Barbara Luke, UNLV.
         This session will provide the opportunity for professionals from a range of disciplines to exchange information on seismic hazards of the southern Nevada region, state-of-the-art practices in earthquake hazard identification and characterization, seismic hazard maps, and mitigation techniques for liquefiable ground, seismically induced landslides, and surface rupture potential. Papers on all geology, geophysics, engineering geology, and geotechnical engineering topics are encouraged. Oral and Poster.
  2. The Klamath Mountains Province—500 Million Years of Crustal Accretion and Exhumation.
    Cal Barnes, Aaron Yoshinobu, Texas Tech University; Rod Metcalf, UNLV; Art Snoke, University of Wyoming.
         Phanerozoic growth of the North American craton was primarily by accretion of tectonostratigraphic terranes. Therefore, an understanding of continental growth requires a thorough understanding of accretionary processes and their interplay with exhumation. The Klamath Mountains province is one of the best examples of accretion in the continental United States because it records ~500 m.y. of subduction-related terrane accretion and exhumation (locally involving granulite and eclogite facies rocks) preserved in a series of shallowly dipping, thrust fault-bounded slices. In addition, the province has undergone Pliocene to recent uplift and exhumation that may relate to on-going accretionary processes along the Cascadian convergent margin. We invite contributions that will advance our understanding of ancient and modern terrane accretion, along with associated basin development, metamorphism, and magmatism in the Klamath Mountains and neighboring provinces. Oral and Poster.
  3. Mafic-Silicic Magmatism: Crystallization Histories, Magma Interactions, and Eruption Mechanisms.
    Terry Spell, Eugene Smith, UNLV.
         The evolution of crustal magma systems is dominated by open system processes and disequilibrium. This is recorded in plutonic and volcanic rocks by evidence for magma mingling/mixing, zonation, and chemical and isotopic heterogeneities at the intracrystalline scale. Eruption triggers, such as basalt injection into silicic magma chambers, are associated with these features. Plutonic and volcanic rocks offer distinctive but complimentary data sets that, taken together, have significantly advanced our understanding of crustal magmatism. This symposium brings together workers who approach these problems with both traditional and contemporary tools, including mapping and textural relationships, geochemical and isotopic studies, mineral chronometers, and micron-scale analysis of chemical and isotopic zonation within minerals. Oral and Poster.
  4. Geomorphic Responses to Holocene Climate Change in the Western USA.
    Grant Meyer, Les McFadden, University of New Mexico.
         Much attention has been focused on variations in geomorphic processes over the last glacial-interglacial transition, but climate change within the Holocene has also prompted substantial response in sensitive landscapes. We invite reports on investigations of climate-process linkages and resulting Holocene geomorphic change, especially involving weathering, soil, hillslope, and fluvial systems, over diverse environments of the western United States. Oral and Poster.

Theme Sessions

  1. Driving Mechanisms and Structural Styles of Synconvergent Extension.
    John P. Platt, University of California; Michael L. Wells, UNLV; Thomas D. Hoisch, Northern Arizona University.
         Extension during plate convergence (synconvergent extension) is widely recognized, yet its causes remain controversial. Temporal or spatial changes in plate boundary forces, buoyancy forces, and rock rheology are each inferred to be locally important. We invite contributions from workers studying the processes of both orogen-parallel and orogen-perpendicular synconvergent extension from a variety of tectonic settings in order to investigate the similarities and differences in inferred driving mechanisms, structural styles, kinematics, and tectonic settings. Oral.
  2. Causes and Consequences of Laramide Tectonics in the Forearc, Arc, and Backarc of the Southwestern United States.
    Michael L. Wells, UNLV; Carl E. Jacobson, Iowa State University; Andrew P. Barth, Indiana University-Purdue University.
         The Laramide orogeny provides a world-class example of flat-slab subduction, yet the causes and consequences remain controversial. We are soliciting contributions from a broad range of geophysicists and geologists working on the various processes of interaction between the slab and overlying continental lithosphere and the record of these processes in the southwestern United States. Potential topics include the mechanisms of slab flattening, the relative roles of erosional and extensional exhumation and slab refrigeration in causing cooling, subduction erosion versus delamination, Laramide magma production and the role of slab dehydration, and underplating of the Pelona-Orocopia-Rand schists. Oral and Poster.
  3. Pennsylvanian to Early Triassic Deformation and Sedimentation in the Western United States.
    Pat Cashman, James Trexler, University of Nevada-Reno; Wanda Taylor, UNLV; Walt Snyder, Vladimir Davydov, Boise State University.
         Detailed field work over the past 20 years in the Great Basin has shown that the Late Paleozoic tectonic history of the western North American continental margin is complex and comprises multiple orogenic events. The most obvious events, the late Devonian Antler and the early Triassic Sonoma orogenies, bracket a time of multiple tectonic episodes that deformed strata and created both basins and regional unconformities. This orogenic activity is the ultimate control on the complex Pennsylvanian through Permian stratigraphic record of the continental margin. We invite presentations that document the details of paleogeography, timing of deformation, or geometry and kinematics of deformation during this period. In particular, we are interested in work that contributes toward the understanding of regional kinematics and possible links to coeval Ancestral Rocky Mountains tectonism in the cratonal interior to the east. Oral and Poster.
  4. Paleozoic Environmental and Climate Changes: Evidence from the Great Basin and Beyond.
    Ganjing Jiang, UNLV.
         The Paleozoic witnessed important ice ages (Ordovician and Carboniferous-Permian), mass extinctions (Late Ordovician, Late Devonian, and Late Permian), and fluctuating carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. High-resolution studies on Paleozoic paleoenvironmental and paleoclimate changes may provide critical information for understanding future climate changes and sustainable Earth environments. The Great Basin in western United States preserves a rare sedimentary archive amenable for integrated sedimentological, stratigraphic, and geochemical studies, which in combination with coeval strata globally, would provide important information for the Paleozoic earth systems changes. This session welcome multidisciplinary studies focusing on sedimentology, stratigraphy, and sedimentary geochemistry of the Paleozoic successions in western United States and their comparison with other successions regionally and globally. Oral or Posters.
  5. Rancholabrean Paleoecology of Western North America.
    Steve Rowland, Aubrey Shirk, Josh Bonde, Angela Russo, UNLV.
         This session will provide an opportunity for Pleistocene researchers to present new data and syntheses of old data concerning terrestrial paleontology, palynology, paleoclimatology, and archaeology during the terminal 500 thousand years of the Pleistocene in Western North America. Oral or Posters.
  6. Mineralization in the Western United States.
    Adam Simon, Jean Cline, UNLV.
         The Cordilleran-Rocky Mountain region of the western United States hosts a number of different ore deposit types ranging from the world-famous Carlin gold deposits in central and northern Nevada to the classic porphyry-copper and molybdenum deposits throughout the region to the reduced porphyry-copper and gold deposits of Alaska. The recent upswing in metal prices has caused resurgence in regional exploration, which requires the reevaluation of old formation models and the development of new models to guide exploration. This session invites contributions from researchers involved with mineral deposit formation with an emphasis on new data, new models, reinterpretation of extant models, exploration methods, and challenges for sustained productivity. Oral and Poster.
  7. Geology in the K-12 Curriculum.
    Steve Rowland, Kim Johnson, UNLV.
         Exciting things are happening in K-12 classrooms concerning earth science education. This session will be an opportunity for K-12 teachers and higher-education faculty working with K-12 teaches to show off their work and exchange ideas. Posters.
  8. Importance of Outdoor Education to Earth Sciences.
    Peg Rees, UNLV.
         Is experiential outdoor education an essential element in enhancing earth science literacy, developing responsible public policy, and ensuring an earth science workforce in the future? Statistics show that for the first time in Americas' history, more children are being raised in urban environments than rural, and more parents are from urban environments with little or no lived-history in the out-of-doors. How does this phenomenon affect (1) the future of earth science education at the K-12 and higher education levels, (2) the outdoor recreation and education activities of youths and adults, (3) earth-science literacy and public policy, and (4) the future earth-science work force? Awareness of the social and ecological consequences of Americans divorced from nature is sweeping the nation in part because of the popular book Last Child in the Woods-Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (2005) by Richard Louv.
         This theme session will explore the causes and effects of the U.S. urban population's disconnection with nature, discuss intervention strategies, and illustrate successful programs that positively affect the connection of both children and adults to nature through outdoor activities, as well as earth science education, literacy, public policy, and the future workforce. Posters.
  9. New Developments in Earth Science Education.
    James Sample, Northern Arizona University.
         Earth science is undergoing a rapid teaching-method evolution. New research and technology have led to development of new methods in inquiry-based, learner-centered, and collaborative explorations of science. Technological advances (e.g., Geowall, field computer tablets) have made available to many departments new ways to visualize of earth science processes and relationships in lecture, lab, and the field. Papers are welcome on all topics related to innovations in earth science teaching at the K-16 and graduate levels. Oral and Poster.
  10. Brittle Faults and Fault Damage Zones.
    James Sample, Northern Arizona University.
         The past 10+ years have seen a rapid advance in our understanding of brittle faults. We are now able to characterize the structural evolution of these systems from incipient to kilometer-scale development of slip. Brittle fault systems are especially important for understanding the response to stress, tectonics, and fluid flow of the upper crust. These systems are spectacularly exposed in the Colorado Plateau and western United States. Contributions that deal with all aspects of brittle faults from the microscopic to regional scales are invited. Oral and Poster.
  11. Cenozoic Uplift of the Rocky Mountain-Colorado Plateau Region.
    Karl Karlstrom, University of New Mexico; Eric Kirby, Penn State University.
         Controversies about the Cenozoic uplift history of the Rocky Mountain and Colorado Plateau regions have persisted despite over a century of intensive, multidisciplinary investigations. The adjacent regions of the Rocky Mountain and Colorado Plateau share common tectonic and uplift histories to a large extent, with Laramide uplift associated with the flat slab subduction of the Farallon plate, Middle Tertiary magmatism and associated uplift related to removal of the slab, and possible continued uplift related to Neogene mantle reorganization and asthenospheric upwelling. This session focuses on new studies that evaluate rock uplift and surface uplift components associated with each event, and their driving forces, to arrive at a better understanding of topography, lithospheric structure, and mantle-to-surface interconnections. Papers are encouraged from a variety of datasets, especially multidisciplinary approaches.
  12. Proterozoic Tectonics of the Southwestern United States: Origin and History of the Lithosphere: From Continental Assembly to Breakup to Influence of Old Structures on Younger Tectonic Events.
    Karl Karlstrom, University of New Mexico; Ernie Duebendorfer, Northern Arizona University.
         This session highlights research on the Proterozoic tectonic evolution of the southwestern United States as well as studies of terranes hypothesized to have been adjacent blocks within the Nuna and Rodinian supercontinents. We encourage submissions on the Mojave province, province boundaries, studies at regional to lithospheric scale, and examples of how ancient structures or compositional domains influenced later lithospheric evolution.
  13. The Wasatch Line — Geologic History of a Major Geologic Boundary.
    Ronald C. Blakey, Northern Arizona University.
         The Wasatch Line (aka Cordilleran hinge line) has been a major geologic boundary throughout geologic time. It defines a zone that stretches from the western boundary of the Northern Rockies to southern Nevada. Following Early Proterozoic accretion, it has been a passive margin hinge line, foreland basin margin, thrust belt margin, and margin to continental extension. At present, it divides major geologic provinces: the Colorado Plateau-Rocky Mountains from the Basin and Range. Throughout its history, the Wasatch line has affected sedimentation patterns, structural and tectonic trends, igneous and metamorphic events, and paleogeography. This session welcomes a broad range of talks addressing any aspect of the Wasatch Line and its geologic history.
  14. Detrital Zircon Studies in Western North America.
    William R. Dickinson, University of Arizona; Paul Link, Idaho State University.
         Over the past decade, U-Pb ages of detrital zircons (DZ) have become indispensable provenance tools for basin analysis, paleogeography, and paleotectonics. Papers are sought that present new datasets, fresh syntheses, or novel approaches to interpretation within the western Cordillera of North America in hopes that the exchange of information and views among researchers from our combined GSA Sections will further improve the utility and enhance the scope of DZ analysis. Oral and Poster.
  15. Long-Distance Transport of Las Vegas: Recent Research along a Transect with Major Neogene Extension.
    Paul Umhoefer, Northern Arizona University; Sue Beard, U.S. Geological Survey; Ernie Anderson, U.S. Geological Survey (retired).
         The Miocene extensional domain that surrounds Lake Mead in Nevada and Arizona is arguably one of the most classic regions within the Basin and Range province. In the Lake Mead domain, the following advances have been made: low-angle normal faulting was first recognized (Anderson, 1971); lower crustal flow accompanying extension was first proposed (Anderson, 1973); the rolling hinge hypothesis was proposed (Wernicke and Axen, 1988); the eastern part of the central Basin and Range is where large-scale extension was demonstrated and quantified 20 years ago (~300%, Wernicke et al., 1988). In the past few years, there has been increased research in the domain with an emphasis on the Miocene stratigraphic record and exhumation history as well as Quaternary neotectonics. This session will highlight the major advances in recent years in the Lake Mead extensional domain.
  16. Undergraduate Research (Posters).
    Geoscience Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research
    Jeff Marshall, Cal Poly Pomona University; William S. Dinklage, Utah Valley State College.
    Poster presentations are encouraged from any subfield of the geological sciences. An undergraduate student must be first author and presenter.


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