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GSA Annual Meeting

Last Updated: 15th Nov 2018

By David Von Bargen

The Annual meeting of the Geological Society of America was held in Indianapolis in early November. It is attended by people who are interested in all aspects of geology. It is an important experience for those enrolled in the study of geology as well as professionals. Students (and others) give both oral presentations as well as poster sessions. The range of topics was truly diverse. There was a paper on the Saber Toothed cat that showed they were probably social animals (tooth wear indicated that after some accidents they were feeding on soft food (flesh instead of flesh and bones) to the accuracy of geologic information in Victorian to Edwardian science fiction.

The exhibition/vendor area was basically divided into three different groups, those involved in selling books or geological societies, universities promoting their graduate programs, and those vendors providing goods and services. These varied from dealers such as Estwing which was selling hammers, to desk top X-ray powder machines, drone services, microscopes and three dealers from whom you could buy minerals, fossils and jewelry.

The GSA Geoinformatics Division sponsored several sessions at the conference.

FAIR Data—What Can Geoinformatics Do?
Mineral Evolution and Ecology: Potential Directions for the Next 100 Years with the Mineralogical Society of America
This is the Hazen group that is interested in mineral evolution (Jolyon was a coauthor of one of the papers in this section). One of the presentations said there will be a total of 9007 terrestrial minerals found. Mineralogy on different planets will probably be different from the mineral assemblages found on earth.

The afternoon session was a rather unusual in format. They gave groups of people who are programming databases and the human interfaces five minutes to give an overview on what they are doing and had them all having live demonstrations.
Earth As a Big Data Puzzle: Advancing Information Frontiers in Geoscience

Late Breaking Session: Kīlauea 2018: Geoscience and Communication during a High Profile Natural Event
This was a presentation by the USGS (it was live-streamed) on what happened in the recent eruption of Kilauea and how they were trying to keep the public informed as to what was happening during the eruption. They found the first instance of andesite eruption from the volcano.

A New Mechanism for Transition Metal Isotope Fractionation by Solid-state Ion Conduction https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2018AM/webprogram/Paper320877.html

This may sound like a very esoteric topic, but it has real uses for mineral collectors. It looked at silver isotopes produced by nature as well as artificially grown. Most natural wires are about 0 per mil for silver isotopic composition versus +2 for those wires produced artificially by heating silver sulfide. The domains of silver in a wire are a mosaic of regions in the wire and do not correspond to the "ropes" seen on the surface of the wires. Growth of small wires can even be initiated by the electron beam in a microprobe.

• Attendees: 5,628

• Professionals: 2,041

• Early Career Professionals: 505

• Students: 2,294

• K–12 Teachers: 62

• Mentors: 168

• On To the Future Scholars: 68

• Countries Represented: 54

• Abstracts Presented: 3,554 (1,474 poster; 2,080 talks)

• Short Courses: 18, with 297 participants

• Field Trips: 17, with 383 participants

• Companies Exhibiting: 206

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