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GSA North-Central Section Meeting: Change through Time

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Geoscientists from across the north-central U.S. and beyond will convene in Dayton, Ohio, on 23-24 April to discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the geologic wonders of the region. Presentations cover paleontology, biodiversification, hydrogeology, geoscience student engagement, geothermal resources, mercury contamination, and environmental geoscience. Field trips go to the Serpent Mound Impact Crater, Big Bone Lick, the fossil-rich Silica Shale of west-central Ohio, and other locations of geologic and historic interest.

The meeting will take place at the Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. Fifth Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402, USA.


Keynote Lecture: Fish Rising -- Revising our Picture of Early Vertebrate Evolution:
Speaker: Michael Coates, University of Chicago.
When: Mon., 23 April, 6 p.m.
Where: Dayton Convention Center

Selected Highlights of the Scientific Program

The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 28 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. Go to to learn more.

Monday, 23 April

Geothermal Resources of the Central United StatesAn Important Source of Renewable Energy. Michael P. Angle, presiding. In 2010, The U.S. Dept. of Energy, working with the Association of American State Geologists, began a multi-state project to assess the geothermal energy potential throughout the United States, with 47 state geological surveys participating. This session presents some of the current findings.

Abstracts:, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (session 13).

Preliminary Assessment of the Potential Geothermal Energy Resources of Flooded Abandoned Underground Mines in Ohio. Mark E. Wolfe, Ohio Division of Geological Survey. A high percentage of the more than 7,000 known abandoned underground mines in Ohio are partially or completely filled with water and are thus considered to be geohazards due to the potential for mine collapse or acid mine drainage. However, these mines may hold a key to unlocking a vast network of renewable geothermal energy. Wolfe presents an evaluation of the potential for recovery of geothermal energy resources from these mines for heating and cooling, with an associated economic benefit to surrounding communities. (paper 13-2).

Mercury Biogeochemistry. Chad R. Hammerschmidt, Wright State University; Gary Conley, Ohio University, presiding. Mercury has contaminated Earth's landscapes and aquatic systems on a global scale. The problem is exacerbated by continuing anthropogenic emissions, recycling of a large reservoir of historic mercury pollution, and the microbial transformation of inorganic mercury to methylmercury -- a highly toxic, bioaccumulative compound that can biomagnify in aquatic food webs to levels that may be harmful to fish, wildlife, and humans.

Abstracts:, 3:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. (session 8).

Mercury Speciation in Tuna from the North Pacific Ocean. Jaclyn E. Klaus, Wright State University; Daniel J. Madigan, Stanford University; and Chad R. Hammerschmidt, Wright State University. It has been known for some time that canned and fresh tuna can expose consumers to highly toxic methylmercury (MeHg); however, the source (anthropogenic vs. natural, coastal vs. pelagic) of this toxin remains largely unknown. Klaus and colleagues investigate the accumulation and composition of mercury in three species of tuna (albacore, yellowfin, and Pacific bluefin) to see whether the differing levels of MeHg found in each species are related foraging behaviors or to sources of MeHg in the ocean and marine food web: (paper 8-2).

Tuesday, 24 April

The Museum as Geological Muse: Outreach, Online Catalogs, Student Internships, and More. Joseph T. Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and Brenda R. Hunda, Cincinnati Museum Center, presiding. How can museums inspire children, teachers, and the general public to become more involved in science, particularly geology? This session addresses that question and provides some unique answers.

Abstracts:, 8 a.m. to noon (session 23).

Glaciers, Cheeseheads, and the Green Bay Packers: Making Museum Field Trips Relevant. Joanne Kluessendorf, Weis Earth Science Museum; Cindy Duckert, Lawrence University; and Garold Richards, Weis Earth Science Museum. School field trips are a mainstay of museum outreach and offer a valuable opportunity to excite students about science and to help schools achieve science literacy. But as school budgets shrink, teacher demographics change, and competition for student attention increases, museums need to evolve. Kluessendorf and colleagues present a new approach to the museum field trip experience: (paper 23-1).

Bringing Bugs, Clams, and Rocks out of the Wundercabinet. Peggy Fisherkeller, Indiana State Museum. The Indiana State Museum exhibit, "Science on the Edge," explores the nineteenth-century passion for conducting research expeditions and building natural history collections as exemplified by the 1826 New Harmony, Indiana, settlement. The museum's exhibit team, led by Fisherkeller, presents their answer to the challenge of making what could be "a dry history lesson about dead guys who collected bugs, clams, and rocks into a pertinent story about exploring unknown lands and building natural history collections that represented cutting-edge knowledge and progress": (paper 23-7).

Environmental Geoscience II. Discipline Session. Abstracts:, 1 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. (session 27).

Utilization of State Geologic Survey Data for Community Interests in Frac Sand Mining in Monroe County, Wisconsin. Kort H. Butler, Rebecca Eiden, and Paul M. Fixm Jr., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Extensive deposits of frac quality marine and aeolian sand in western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota represent a growing economic interest for petroleum development, but concerns over health and safety and potential environmental and infrastructure damage have led to moratoriums and permit delays. This increasing demand for frac sand makes accurate geological data essential. Butler and colleagues use various methods to evaluate potential locations for frac sand operations that still address local community interests: (paper 27-5).

Meeting Field Guide

On and around the Cincinnati Arch and Niagara Escarpment: Geological Field Trips in Ohio and Kentucky for the GSA North-Central Section Meeting, Dayton, Ohio, 2012.

This volume has a mix of papers ranging from stratigraphy, paleontology, and hydrogeology to geomorphology, drainage basins, and building stones. The geographic spread of the chapters focuses mainly on an area bounded by those counties adjacent to Montgomery County, but also extends beyondfrom Paulding County in the north to Georgetown, Kentucky, in the south. Topics include the Silurian stratigraphy of southwestern Ohio, drainage basins of the Mad River and Little Miami River, the relationship between geology and groundwater of the Inner Bluegrass Region, Kentucky (and its connection to the distilling and aging of bourbon), and the building stones of Dayton, as well as an introduction to the geology of the Dayton area:

Contact: Christa Stratton
Geological Society of America

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