Southeastern Section, GSA
58th Annual Meeting
12-13 March 2009
The recorded history of the St. Petersburg–Tampa Bay area dates back to the 1500s, when Spanish explorers encountered Tocobaga and Calusa tribal villages along the coasts of the bays. Early immigrant residents were seasonal fishermen from Spanish Cuba in the 1700s and in small coastal villages in the early 1800s that waxed and waned with the Seminole Wars. The discovery of the Bone Valley phosphate deposits in the late 1800s, the arrival of railroads, and the beginning of several industries — tourism, cigar rolling, and sponge diving among these — brought large Cuban, Spanish, Italian, and Greek immigrant populations to the region. Today, the area continues to be one of the largest exporters of phosphate in the world, and tourism — to our beaches (Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida, was rated the Best Beach in the USA in 2008, and past Best Beach winners dot our Gulf Coast), for our cultural history and diversity (the Cuban communities of Ybor City and West Tampa; the Greek community of Tarpon Springs), and to regional sights and theme parks — is a major industry.
Along with its well-known tourist attractions, the St. Petersburg area offers a range of geologically interesting venues, from excellent examples of covered karst, pristine and human-influenced coastlines, natural springs, sinkholes, and both freshwater and saltwater wetlands environments. Typical weather in early March is sunny and dry with highs between 25 and 30 °C. We hope you’ll join us in St. Petersburg this March!