Technical Sessions

The submission period for abstracts has now closed (18 Dec. 2007). Papers were invited for theme and general discipline sessions in both oral and poster format. Volunteered papers will be considered for any general discipline session as listed on the GSA abstract form. Authors interested in volunteering papers for symposia should contact the appropriate conveners before submitting abstracts. For further information on sessions, contact the session convener(s) or either of the Technical Program co-chairs, Gary Lash or Jason Briner.

An individual may be a presenter for only one volunteered paper in either a theme or general discipline session (symposia papers are excepted) but may co-author any number of abstracts. Before beginning the submission, please view some information on Preparing an On-Line Submission. Contact Nancy Wright at GSA, +1-303-357-1061, , if you have any problems with the electronic abstract submission process.

Oral presentations in most technical sessions will be 15-minutes long with 5 minutes for questions. All oral sessions will use a single digital projector and PowerPoint software running on laptop computers with Windows operating systems. Presentations prepared using Mac operating systems should be checked for compatibility with Windows. Computers will be available in the speaker ready room for this purpose. Poster space will be 4' × 8'. Poster presenters requiring an electrical connection must notify the technical program chairs by 25 February 2008, and a fee will be charged.


Special Hot Topic Lecture and Discussion

Funding Opportunities in Geoscience Education/Curriculum and Faculty Development in and Supporting Undergraduate Research.
Jill K. Singer, Program Director, National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education.


  1. Conversations in the Disciplines: Natural Hazards in Small Communities: How Can We Help?
    Mike Sheridan, SUNY-Buffalo, + 1-716-645-5345.
         Natural hazards like mudflows, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, wildfires, etc. are a common occurrence. Even small events can have a profound effect on the communities that they affect. In many cases local governments and safety officials are ill prepared to deal with all aspects of the disaster cycle: Mitigation, Preparedness, Disaster Impact, Relief, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction. The purpose of this symposium is to bring together researchers to present papers on various aspects of the disaster cycle for geohazards and to discuss new avenues of research that could lessen the impact on loss of property and personal injury.
  2. A Session to Honor Parker Calkin.
    Thomas Lowell, University of Cincinnati, +1-513-556-4165
    Greg Wiles, College of Wooster, +1-330-263-2298
         The session will examine the current status of research related to the pioneering work of Parker Calkin in New York and Alaska or even New England or Antarctica. Since his research interests are diverse, we encourage submissions from anyone who has confirmed, extended, or even refuted(!) the groundwork Parker laid throughout his career, as well as submissions from workers in related areas that confirmed, extended, or refuted his findings. This session also features a talk by Parker Calkin.
  3. NEtectonics: Paleozoic Accretion of Arcs and Microcontinents in the Appalachians: In Honor of Douglas W. Rankin.
    Paul Karabinos, Williams College, +1-413-597-2079
    James Hibbard, North Carolina State University, +1-919-515-7242
         The long and rich history of geologic investigations in the Appalachians makes this orogen an ideal place to explore fundamental problems found in many mountain belts. In particular, the collision zone between Laurentia and Gondwana is composed of a complex assemblage of arcs and long, narrow microcontinents. Microcontinents formed during and after the Neoproterozoic rifting of Rodinia; some were reaccreted to their source continents, whereas others traveled widely across ocean basins to collide with distant continents. Several arcs were built on microcontinents and shared their kinematic and deformational histories. Doug Rankin has extensive field experience in many parts of the Appalachians, and a large portion of his career has focused on investigating the development of the Laurentian margin and its evolution during the accretion of these crustal elements. This session explores the techniques for identifying and delineating arcs and microcontinents, the processes by which narrow microcontinents are formed and accreted, and the plate tectonic geometry that enables them to traverse wide ocean basins ahead of their source continent. We welcome contributions describing the deformation and redistribution of arcs and microcontinents after accretion and presentations of analogous processes in other orogens.

Theme Sessions

  1. The Role of Ductile Shear Zones in Appalachian and Grenvillian Tectonics.
    David W. Valentino, SUNY-Oswego, +1-315-312-2798
    Alec Gates, Rutgers University, +1-973-353-5034
  2. NEtectonics: The Implications of Crustal Heterogeneity for Structure, Rheology, and Tectonics.
    Chris Gerbi, University of Maine-Orono, +1-207-581-2153
    Mike Williams, University of Massachusetts, +1-413-577-2270
    Scott Johnson, University of Maine-Orono, +1-207-581-2142
         Many workers have observed the heterogeneous nature of continental crust at all scales and levels. Yet, many conceptual and numerical models incorporate homogeneous properties over sometimes vast crustal areas and volumes. The purpose of this session is to examine the nature of heterogeneity in the crust and its implications for crustal processes at all scales. In addition, we will explore how, and at what scales, the incorporation of heterogeneities may improve our models. Our hypothesis is that heterogeneities across a wide range of scales impart first-order control on the distribution and intensity of deformation in Earth's crust. At the micro scale, the distributions and abundances of different minerals strongly influence the initiation and longevity of shear zones in polymineralic rocks. At intermediate scales, pathways for partial melts cause weakening of the crust, but when this material crystallizes, it typically behaves in a competent manner relative to surrounding rocks. At the macro scale, distinct compositional and/or thermal properties of structural/tectonic blocks determine the spatial distribution of deformation and metamorphic gradients within orogenic belts. This session seeks contributions from a wide range of earth scientists whose work sheds light on how mineralogical, lithological, compositional, thermal, and mechanical heterogeneities in Earth's crust control or influence the structural and tectonic evolution of deforming rocks.
  3. Granites and Migmatites-Relations in the Northeastern Appalachians.
    Paul B. Tomascak, SUNY-Oswego,+1-315-312-2786
    Gary S. Solar, SUNY College at Buffalo, +1-716-878-6731
  4. Evidence for Provenance of Peri-Gondwanan Terranes.
    Sandra Barr, Acadia University, +1-902-585-1340
    J. Brendan Murphy, St. Francis Xavier University
         General consensus has been reached that accretion of peri-Gondwanan fragments to the Laurentian margin played a fundamental role in the development of the Appalachian orogen. However, controversies persist concerning the number of these terranes, the locations of their boundaries, the relationships among them, the timing of their accretion, the orogenic events that they caused, and their original locations along the Gondwanan margin. The challenge is to identify the robust geological features which can compare and contrast these terranes, and establish criteria which can be used to trace their evolution from their source in Gondwana until their accretion to Laurentia. In this session we hope to bring together those interested in such "provenance fingerprinting" using a wide range of techniques, such as stratigraphy, structure, geochemistry, geochronology, paleontology, and whatever else might work.
  5. New Scoops in Old Dirt: Advances in the Stratigraphy of Eastern North America.
    James Ebert, SUNY-Oneonta, +1-607-436-3065
    Bosiljka Glumac, Smith College, +1-413-585-3680
         This session will focus on new developments in stratigraphic interpretations and understanding of strata throughout present-day eastern North America.
  6. Evolution of the Taconian Foreland Basin: Timing of Late Ordovician Sedimentological and Tectonic Events as Seen From Outcrop and Subsurface Sources.
    Gordon Baird, SUNY-Fredonia
    Charles E. Mitchell, SUNY-Buffalo
    Carlton Brett, University of Cincinnati, +1-513-556-4556
         Foreland basin expansion and far-field sedimentological effects are closely associated with the Late Ordovician Taconian Orogeny. Recent advances in our understanding of the timing of the various collisional/structural phases have been augmented by refined biostratigraphic work, major new subsurface core and log data, and tephrastratigraphy. This session welcomes contributions in the areas of structural geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, geochemistry and paleontology. It is anticipated that new subsurface information based on subsurface log and core information will be featured.
  7. Coordinated Stasis Revisited: New Perspectives, Challenges and Implications.
    Gordon Baird, SUNY-Fredonia
    Carlton Brett, University of Cincinnati, +1-513-556-4556
    Linda C. Ivany, Syracuse University
         The decade-old model of coordinated stasis posits that the Phanerozoic record is characterized by a pattern of long intervals during which a majority of species persist with little or no change (ecological-evolutionary [E-E] subunits). In addition, biofacies or community types appear to recur with minimal directional changes in (a) community taxonomic composition, and (b) community trophic structure. E-E subunits probably reflecting intervals of widespread (regional to global) paleoenvironmental-biotic stability are bounded by much shorter periods of ecological overturn and extinction (see Brett and Baird, 1995). This model, initially derived from analyses of taxonomic and biofacies data from Silurian- and Devonian-age deposits in the Appalachian Basin, has the potential to be applied to other Phanerozoic systems. Many stages and certain other evolution-based units (e.g., biomeres) may exhibit intervals of relative stability. The coordinated stasis model has been only partly tested and remains controversial (see, for example, a critique by Bonuso et al., 2002, and countering views in Brett et al. 2007). Many key issues and challenges remain: how general is the pattern of stasis? How can it best be documented or tested? How abrupt are the boundaries of E-E subunits? What is the temporal scale of the E-E subunits and their boundary crises? Are these overturns local or global in extent? If the pattern is real, what are the causes of stability and of abrupt turnovers? If coordinated stasis is a common pattern, what does it imply about causes, biotic interactions, and the relationships between evolution and ecology? The goals of the session are many: (a) to provide an updated review of coordinated stasis, (b) to highlight new relevant (or improved) databases and numerical analyses, (c) to address ongoing and new challenges to one or more parts of the model, and (d) to explore alternative explanations and implications of the pattern.
  8. Lakes, Climate, and Environmental Change: Paleolimnological Studies of the Holocene and "Anthropocene."
    Yarrow Axford, SUNY-Buffalo, +81-716-645-6800
    Mark Abbott, University of Pittsburgh, +1-412-624-1408
         Lake sediments are the most continuous and detailed records of Holocene climate and environmental change available for many parts of the globe. Holocene paleolimnological data provide long-term context for the dramatic physical and biological changes that occurred at many sites during the so-called "Anthropocene." We encourage papers discussing Holocene lake sediment records, paleolimnological technique development, modern lacustrine processes, and anthropogenic impacts on lake systems.
  9. Meltwater Drainage.
    Thomas Lowell, University of Cincinnati, +1-513-556-4165
    Meredith Kelly, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
         Meltwater-return to oceans as glaciers decay is a primary control on sea level and climate change. To improve our understanding of the processes, patterns, rates, and chronologies of meltwater drainage during the last glacial period and at present, this session invites examples from the geological record or modern measurements that provide insight into meltwater drainage. Examples may include, but are not limited to, reconstructions of the geography of past drainage patterns, development of chronologies of past drainage events, and measurements of modern meltwater fluxes.
  10. Formation Processes and Characteristics of Subglacial Bedforms beneath the Ice Sheets of Continental North America.
    Dale Hess, SUNY-Buffalo, +1-716-645-6800
    John Menzies, Brock University, +1-905-688-5550 ext. 3865
         This session will allow for presentation of recent advances in subglacial bedform research. We seek papers that utilize novel techniques to analyze bedform internal sediment characteristics, measure and evaluate landform morphometry, or place age constraints on bedform emplacement. Projects should be focused upon areas once covered by the Laurentide and Cordilleran Ice Sheets (within continental North America, excluding Greenland) and may reflect any scale of observation. Those working on projects that test various models of bedform formation processes are strongly encouraged to submit an abstract.
  11. Advances in Planetary Geology: Image Analysis, Lab Results, and Analog Studies.
    Kevin Williams, SUNY College at Buffalo, +1-715-878-5116
    Tracy Gregg, SUNY-Buffalo,+1-716-645-6800 ext 2463
         High-resolution images and new types of data acquired by recent missions to the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets in the solar system are allowing further development and refinement of our understanding of the geologic history of these other bodies. In addition to analysis of images and data collected at these bodies, other important aspects of studying planetary geology are lab measurements and field studies in planetary analog areas. Those conducting field studies, lab measurements, and/or image analyses in planetary geology are encouraged to submit to this session. Student presentations are especially encouraged.
  1. Influence of Humans on the Geomorphology, Hydrology, and Sediment Transport of Fluvial Systems.
    Sara Gran Mitchell, College of the Holy Cross, +1-508-793-3420
    Joshua C. Galster, Montclair State University, +1-973-655-4123
         This session will showcase current research on human impacts on the morphology, hydrology, and sediment transport of urban and suburban rivers. Possible topics may include the influence of land-use change on the hydrology and/or geomorphology of urban streams; the upstream and downstream effects of dam construction and removal; effects of urban infrastructure on bank erosion and/or sediment transport; GIS analysis of temporal or longitudinal changes; evaluation of river restoration efforts; and geomorphic evaluations of river restoration projects. We welcome submissions from undergraduate and graduate student authors and research based on local service learning projects or generated from in-class exercises.
  2. Antarctic Climate Evolution.
    Sandra Passchier, Montclair State University, +1-973-655-3185
    Beata Csatho, SUNY-Buffalo, +1-716-645-6800 ext. 3921
         Variability in Antarctic temperatures, ice volume, and sea ice govern climate systems across the globe. With this session we aim to assemble contributions from researchers of ice dynamics, ice-sheet and climate modeling, geophysics, landscape evolution, sediment cores, ice cores, and marine proxy records to discuss the interactions between the climate and ice-sheet history of Antarctica and the global climate system.
  3. Quaternary Landscape Changes: Sedimentary and Geomorphic Records.
    Ilya V. Buynevich, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution , +1-508-289-2841
    Noah P. Snyder, Boston College, +1- 617-552-0839
         Quaternary landforms and sedimentary records are vital to developing our understanding of global and regional linkages between surface processes and changes in climate, biota, and land use. The session will explore the new advances in studying Quaternary geomorphic and sedimentary systems, from field-based investigations to modeling of coupled geomorphic-sedimentary dynamics.


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