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Elevating geosciences in the southeastern US: New ideas about old terranes

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Geoscientists from across the southeastern U.S. and beyond will convene at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, on 10-11 April 2014 to discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the geologic wonders of the region. Organizers have developed a technical program and field trips that cover a diverse set of geologic topics and processes, including seismology; Cenozoic volcanism; Paleozoic sedimentation, magmatism, and metamorphism; surface and groundwater processes; and Paleozoic and Mesozoic geobiology.

Topics of interest on Thursday include the 2011 Virginia earthquake, the effects of coal mining activities on human health and community well-being, and hydrocarbon recovery via fracking. Friday sessions include a look at the hidden gems of geological collections and museums in the southeastern U.S. and an examination of water quality issues in the region.

In celebration of the geologic diversity of the region, organizers of this meeting have published a field guide, Elevating Geoscience in the Southeastern United States. Edited by Christopher M. (Chuck) Bailey of the College of William and Mary and Lorrie V. Coiner of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals & Energy, this volume includes 10 field trips that explore the southern and central Appalachians. Three chapters focus on the geology of the Appalachian Plateau and Valley and Ridge, considering such topics as the enigmatic Eocene igneous rocks, the gas-rich Marcellus and Millboro shales, and new models for karst formation. The 2011 magnitude 5.8 Virginia earthquake, which literally shook up geologists' understanding of the Piedmont, is covered in two field-trip guides that focus on new research in the epicentral region. Other guides take in the Paleozoic to Proterozoic geology of the Blue Ridge province and focus on Mesozoic geology, including the world-class Lagersttte fauna in the Dan River basin, a unique uranium deposit at Coles Hill, Virginia, and the tectonics of the Scottsville Basin.

Selected Highlights of the Scientific Program

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.


Lessons Learned from the 2011 Virginia Earthquake
J. Wright Horton Jr. of the U.S. Geological Survey, Martin Chapman of Virginia Tech, and Russell Green of Virginia Tech., presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 3).


Evaluating Dust Contaminant Exposure and Impact on Human Health and Community Well-Being Associated with Coal Mining Activities
Nicholas Basta of Ohio State University, John R. Craynon of Virginia Tech, Nancy E. Johnson of Kentucky College of Public Health, J. Buchanich of the University of Pittsburgh, E. Talbott of the University of Pittsburgh, Vladislav Kecojevic, of West Virginia University, Braden Lusk, of the University of Kentucky, Susan L. Meacham of Virginia Tech, and Michael E. Karmis of Virginia Tech, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 5).


  • Paper 5-5 (9:20 a.m.): Use of national air toxics assessment data to evaluate dust and volatile organic exposures in coal and non-coal mining communities of West Virginia: A preliminary study.
    Lead author: Evelyn O. Talbott of the University of Pittsburg:

Hydrocarbon Recovery using Fracking Technologies
John Chermak, Virginia Tech, presiding, 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. (session 14).



Hidden Gems: Geological Collections and Museums in the Southeastern U.S.
Jim Beard of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Llyn Sharp of the Virginia Tech Museum of Geosciences, and Sarah Timm of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 27).


Water Quality Issues in the Southeast U.S.
Vijay Vulava of the College of Charleston and Madeline Schreiber of Virginia Tech, presiding, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (session 39).


  • Paper 39-5: Occurrence of ethylene dibromide (EDB), dibromochloropropane (DBCP), other volatile organic compounds, and radium in groundwater from the upper coastal plain aquifers near McBee, South Carolina.
    Lead author: James E. Landmeyer of the U.S. Geological Survey:

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 2013 or 2014.
  • PIOs of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Present media credentials to William Cox 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.


Contact: Christa Stratton
Geological Society of America

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