Technical Program


Technical sessions are scheduled for oral and poster presentations beginning 8 a.m. Sunday, 1 April, and concluding at 5:30 p.m. Monday, 2 April. All oral and poster sessions will be in the Renaissance Asheville Hotel.

Information for Session Chairs

Session chairs are invited to attend the “Session Chairs Orientation and Breakfast” from 7–7:50 a.m. in The Top of the Plaza on the 12th floor of the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, Sunday, 1 April and Monday, 2 April. Session chairs are requested to strictly adhere to the schedule and to limit speakers to the allotted times.

Information for Presenters

Each speaker is allotted 20 minutes which includes ~15 minutes for the presentation and 5 minutes for questions. Authors of posters are asked to have their posters in place by 8 a.m. for morning sessions and 1:30 p.m. for afternoon sessions. Authors of posters should be present at their posters for 2 hours: 9–11 a.m. for morning sessions, and 2:30–4:30 p.m. for afternoon sessions. Morning session posters must be removed by noon and afternoon session posters by 5:30 p.m. Poster presenters will have one 4' by 8' horizontal (landscape) display board. Electrical hookups will not be available for poster boards.

Speaker Ready Room

The Eagle Room on the second floor of the Renaissance Asheville Hotel will serve as the speaker ready room. Student volunteers will be staffing the speaker ready room and providing assistance for uploading presentations. Each speaker should bring their PowerPoint presentation to the speaker ready room on either a CD-ROM disk or on a USB compatible flash drive (a.k.a. thumb drive, memory stick) according to the schedule listed below. All morning presentations must be uploaded by the end of the day prior to the presentation. All afternoon presentations must be uploaded by noon on the day of the presentation.

Speaker Ready Room Schedule
Saturday, 31 March4–7 p.m.
Sunday, 1 April7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Monday, 2 April7:30a.m.–2 p.m.



1. Transcurrent Motion in the Southern Appalachians: Comparing Kinematics and Timing across the Orogen.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division.
Cheryl Waters-Tormey, Western Carolina University,;
Jim Hibbard, North Carolina State University,
Transcurrent motion likely played a major role in the evolution of the Appalachian orogen and its foreland basin.  However, the record and timing of transcurrent and oblique plate motion is only just beginning to be recognized throughout the orogen.  Recognition of transcurrent motion is significant because it is a major factor in trying to build sequential regional tectonic models that link crustal components of the orogen from the foreland to the hinterland.  This symposium will highlight current work documenting the kinematics and timing of transcurrent and oblique tectonic events across the orogen, and directions for future investigations. 
2. Industrial Minerals of the Spruce Pine (NC) District and the Southeast.
Cosponsored by SME Carolinas Section; GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division
Bob Ganis, Consultant,;
Alex Glover, Active Minerals International,
3. Practical Applications of Engineering Geology.
Cosponsored by AEG Carolinas Section.
Paul Weaver, Chair, AEG-Carolinas,;
Brad Worley, North Carolina Department of Transportation,
The Practical Applications of Engineering Geology symposium will include talks by numerous geoprofessionals covering varied engineering geology projects throughout North Carolina.  The purpose of this symposium is to provide an insight into how engineering geology is currently being used to investigate and provide practical solutions to geological issues.  The talks will be given by experts in their fields of practice with emphasis on new technologies, methodologies, and data interpretation.  Each talk will cover a different aspect of applied engineering geology in order to expose the symposium attendees to a wide range of engineering geology topics.  Included among the planned presentations are landslide mapping and the practical applications of the resulting maps for land use planning by municipal and state engineers, the use of geotechnical subsurface investigations in highway planning and construction through challenging geologic terrains, and the use of in-depth geologic mapping during the planning phase of infrastructure projects for the anticipation and alleviation of construction issues.

Theme Sessions

1. Terranes of the Southern Appalachian Blue Ridge and Piedmont: Insights into Their Tectonic Heritage and Incorporation into the Orogen from Recent Geochronologic, Isotopic, Provenance, and Field Studies.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division.
Arthur J. Merschat, U.S. Geological Survey,;
Brendan R. Bream, ExxonMobil Exploration Co.,
The southern Appalachian orogen is an amalgamation of terranes assembled during multiple Proterozoic and Paleozoic events.  These terranes are the building blocks of the orogen, but the nature of the larger crustal blocks from which they were derived remains a subject of debate.  Questions of interest include: (1) is there recognizable stratigraphic, isotopic, or geochronologic evidence that links the terranes to crust that was exotic, proximal to, or even located on the Laurentia margin; (2) when and where were the terranes transferred to Laurentia; and (3) what were the mechanisms by which they were incorporated into the orogen.  We invite papers that address these and related questions regarding the tectonic heritage of the terranes of the Blue Ridge and Piedmont and the subsequent amalgamation of these terranes into the orogen through various approaches including geochronology, isotopic, provenance, geochemical, petrologic, and field studies.
2. Ancient and Modern Eolian Systems of Eastern North America.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Chris Swezey, U.S. Geological Survey,;
Rich Whittecar, Old Dominion University,
Several recent studies have identified and described various ancient eolian strata and modern eolian sediments in eastern North America.  For example, eolian interpretations have been applied to certain strata of Paleozoic age in the Appalachian Basin, Michigan Basin, and Illinois Basin (when what is now eastern North America was located approximately 20 to 30 degrees south of the Equator).  Eolian interpretations have also been applied to certain strata of Mesozoic age in basins that formed during the opening of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.  Finally, both stabilized and active eolian sediments of Quaternary age have been identified in numerous river flood plains, inland interfluvial settings, and coastal settings in the eastern United States, eastern Canada, and the Caribbean region.  This session focuses on these diverse eolian systems of eastern North America, and explores how the interplay of climate, sea level, tectonics, and geography led to their creation and preservation.
4. Hydrological Processes and Problems in the Southern Appalachians.
Cosponsored by GSA Hydrogeology Division.
Mark Lord, Western Carolina University,;
Dave Kinner, Western Carolina University,;
Jerry Miller, Western Carolina University,
The southern Appalachians have experienced unprecedented growth and land-use change during the past decade, and socioeconomic studies indicate that development will continue through at least the middle of the 21st century.  Combined with recent meteorological events (e.g., Hurricanes Ivan and Frances in 2004 and a subsequent, multiyear drought), there is considerable interest in the current state of the region’s aquatic resources.  Federal, state, and local agencies, for example, have argued that the development of steep slopes with easily eroded soils has increased the flux of sediment and other contaminants to the region’s streams and rivers, posing a significant threat to aquatic ecosystems.  The quantity and quality of groundwater is also stressed by development, highlighting the need for an improved understanding of the interaction of ground- and surface waters.  In fact, local groundwater supplies proved to be inadequate during a recent drought as reservoirs fell to near all-time lows.  This session is intended to highlight studies that address one or more of the relations between human activities and basin hydrology, surface and subsurface flow systems, fluvial geomorphologic processes, water quantity and quality, and riverine ecological health.  Included in this broad range of topics are analyses of the current approaches to the management and restoration of the region’s water resources.
5. Hydrogeology and Geomorphology of Carbonate Aquifers in the Southeastern United States.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section SEPM; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division; GSA Hydrogeology Division.
Lee J. Florea, Ball State University,
Carbonate aquifers comprise some of the most important and extensive regional aquifers in the southeastern U.S. They span a range of geologic ages and hydrogeologic characteristics. Furthermore, the secondary porosity and permeability of these aquifers are self-organizing and evolve into karst. The landscapes of these karst environments are linked to the interaction between surface water and shallow groundwater, and are dominated by sinkholes, caves, and springs. This theme session considers recent research in the Paleozoic limestones of Interior Lowlands Plateaus and the Cenozoic limestones of the Southeast Coastal Plain. Potential abstract topics may include studies in hydrogeology, carbonate stratigraphy, cave and karst studies, landscape evolution, groundwater modeling, geophysical investigations, and contaminant transport.
6. Coastal Hydrogeology.
Cosponsored by GSA Hydrogeology Division.
Samuel Mutiti, Georgia College and State University,;
Alex Manda, East Carolina University,
Groundwater resources in coastal regions are increasingly being stressed because of population growth, urban development, and natural changes to the environment. In order to address current and future stresses on groundwater, scientific information and data are required to inform water resource management decisions. This session will examine groundwater regimes in coastal regions and how they are influenced by climatic variability and anthropogenic and other variables. The session will also address surface water and groundwater interactions in coastal environments.
7. Building the Foundation for Geoscience Education, a Next Step: Working with Expert Earth Science Teachers to Create More Highly Qualified Earth Science Teachers.
Cosponsored by National Association of Geoscience Teachers Southeastern Section; North Carolina Geological Survey.
Randy Bechtel, North Carolina Geological Survey,
The geologic community needs to provide educators with age-appropriate resources as well as generate educational opportunities—discussion, activities, and community participation.  The foundation of education begins in the elementary school (K–5) where the most assistance is needed because teachers are least prepared to teach science.  The middle and high school levels (6–12) have a shortage of geologically knowledgeable teachers, and all levels have pressures to teach to the End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests.  Many times geology is pushed aside because of these pressures. These high school graduates are then ill prepared to be successful in college level science courses or make appropriate decisions regarding health, safety, and economy in an era with increasing misinformation and disinformation.
      More highly qualified earth science teachers are needed to teach and mentor students and new, or geologically inexperienced, teachers to understand the interconnectedness of geology over a wider range of topics than identifying rocks and minerals and learning the layers of the Earth. Industry, government, and academia can support teachers by providing understandable information in an understandable format so that real world connections can be made.  Another aspect of this process is the adoption of the newly revised National Curriculum and the Race to the Top program. We encourage educators and geoscientists to submit their best practices for engaging students, teachers, and the public in Earth Science education.
8. Geologic Maps, Digital Geologic Maps, and Derivatives (Poster Session).
Michael W. Higgins, The Geologic Mapping Institute,;
Ralph F. Crawford, The Geologic Mapping Institute,
Geologic maps are the most fundamental tool of the science of geology. Almost all other geologic research is ultimately based on the geologic map.  The art and science of geologic mapping must be kept alive and nurtured if geology is to survive.  A new tool for presentation, printing, and publication of geologic maps is geographic information systems (GIS), which locates the topographic base map in real space, allowing production of a digital geologic map.  Geologic maps, geophysical maps, and digital maps are best displayed in poster sessions.
10. Coastal Response to Sea-Level and Climate Changes.
Cosponsored by Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines; Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Katie McDowell, Western Carolina University,;
David Mallinson, East Carolina University,
Changes to coastal systems, resulting from climate processes or sea-level rise, will likely have enormous economic ramifications related to the disruption of biological, hydrological, and terrestrial resources, and accelerated rates of shoreline erosion. The key to understanding the fate of coastal systems in the future is to examine modern processes and the changes that have occurred in the past in response to sea-level rise and variability in storm patterns. This session will present the latest research on the response of coastal systems to sea-level rise and climate change, on historical to geological timescales, using observations and models.  Issues to be addressed include rates of sea-level change during the Holocene, geologic evidence for rapid coastal change, thresholds in large-scale coastal behavior, geomorphic and hydrodynamic changes to coastal systems, and the future response of coastal systems to projected sea-level changes.
11. Outstanding Field Trip Stops in the Carolinas and Beyond for Professionals and Teachers (Poster Session).
Cosponsored by the Carolina Geological Society; North Carolina Geological Survey; National Association of Geoscience Teachers Southeastern Section.
Phil Bradley, North Carolina Geological Survey,
In commemoration of the Carolina Geological Society (CGS) 75th Anniversary in 2012, CGS, in cooperation with the North Carolina Geological Survey and the SE Section of National Association of Geoscience Teachers, is sponsoring a poster session to highlight some of the outstanding field trip stops within the Carolinas and the Southeast. It is the intent that the submissions from locations within the Carolinas will be included in a published “best of” field trip guidebook for CGS’s 75th anniversary at a later date.
      Past CGS, SE GSA, or other field trip stops are encouraged as potential subjects.  Additionally, there are many excellent geoscience education opportunity outcrops that have not been the subject of CGS or any trips that would make wonderful stops.  It is highly encouraged to select a location on public land that will have future long-term access.
      Submissions should be targeted for two distinct audiences: professionals and teachers (non-university).  Submissions targeted for the professional will have vocabulary targeted for persons familiar with typical content found in professional journals.  Submissions targeted for the teacher should contain introductory to intermediate level geologic vocabulary and concepts with the intent that a teacher may use the stop for personal education or may bring a class to the stop.  A poster submission could contain text that targets both groups as long as the sections are clearly separate and stand alone.  A teacher's guide could be provided for some stops in addition to the professional content.
12. The 23 August 2011 Virginia MW5.8 Earthquake: Highlighting Earthquake Hazards Throughout the Southeastern United States.
Cosponsored by AEG Carolinas Section; GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division.
David B. Spears, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy,;
Russell A. Green, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,;
Mark W. Carter, U.S. Geological Survey,
The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck near Mineral, Virginia, on August 23, 2011 was among the largest on record for the eastern U.S.  The quake was felt over much of eastern North America, from northern Florida to southern Canada and westward to at least Illinois.  The USGS reports that this earthquake was felt by more people than any other in U.S. history. Damage to public and private structures exceeded $100 million in central Virginia—33 private homes were destroyed, and more than 1000 homes suffered moderate to significant damage.  Damage extended from Bedford County, VA to Prince George’s County, Maryland, northeast of Washington, DC.  Although the earthquake occurred in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone, an area that experiences small earthquakes almost every year, the severity of this quake and the resulting damage came as a surprise to citizens, government officials, and geoscientists.  Like the New Madrid, MO and Charleston, SC earthquakes in centuries past, this event highlights the fact that the eastern U.S. is vulnerable to significantly damaging earthquakes.  We must ask ourselves, “What is our role, as geoscientists, in educating and preparing the public for such events?” Please join us as we consider multiple aspects—geology, seismicity, geotechnical engineering, and public policy—of the Central Virginia Seismic Zone, as well as other seismic zones in intraplate tectonic regimes.
13. Applied and Environmental Paleontology: Using Fossils to Understand Modern and Ancient Environments.
William J. Garcia, University of North Carolina–Charlotte,;
Scott P. Hippensteel, University of North Carolina–Charlotte,
While fossils are a useful tool for answering a variety of geologic questions, they are especially valuable as a tool for understanding and interpreting past environments.  As such, fossils provide insights into ecosystems and environments prior to natural or anthropogenic disturbance and can be used for a number of significant environmental applications.  This session will explore the application of fossils to answering specific questions concerning the reconstruction of recent and ancient environments.
14. Characterizing Fluid Flow in Porous/Fractured Media.
Cosponsored by GSA Sedimentary Geology Division; GSA Hydrogeology Division.
Attila Folnagy, University of Idaho,
The processes of fluid flow through porous/fractured media present a unique challenge for geologists. This session focuses on the advances in understanding reservoir/aquifer heterogeneity and its effect on flow and transport processes. Approaches of interest include storage characterization, flow and transport modeling, upscaling, inverse modeling, hydraulic fracturing methods, and designing remediation systems.
15. Conservation Paleobiology: Using the Fossil Record to Improve Living Species Conservation.
Michael L. McKinney, University of Tennessee–Knoxville,;
Rowan Lockwood, College of William and Mary,
There is an increasing realization that the fossil record can provide useful data to improve the conservation of living species. This often includes the use of “near-time” paleontology to document human impacts and observe the natural dynamics of a group through time. Any group with a fossil record can be utilized in this way. Examples include documenting the effects of dams or pollution on freshwater mussels, the impacts of overhunting on Pleistocene vertebrate faunas, the impact of human settlements on oceanic island fauna, and even global events such as the impacts of climate change on marine and terrestrial organisms. These studies can provide valuable “baseline” data to provide essential context for the rate and cause of population declines that may be observed over recent time scales. They can also help identify the extent to which humans have played a role in the decline. Paleobiology can thus become more than a retrospective science with a focus only on the past. It can play a proactive role in the future of the biosphere.  


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