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Find Your Science at GSA
26 April 2012
GSA Release No. 12-34
Kea Giles
Managing Editor,
GSA Communications
Jemez Mountains
Rainbow over drought- and insect-killed Douglas fir trees in the heart of the Jemez Mountains at Valles Caldera National Preserve.
2004 photo by C.D. Allen courtesy USGS.
New Mexico
USGS–EROS Landsat state mosaic of New Mexico.
2012 Rocky Mountain Meeting Program
Meeting Program

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Rocky Mountain Rio GeoFiesta Invites Geoscientist from across the Region to New Mexico

Geological Society of America Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 9–11 May 2012

Boulder, CO, USA – More than 400 members of The Geological Society of America’s Rocky Mountain Section will meet on 9–11 May in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, for a “Rio GeoFiesta.” This meeting of professional geologists, university researchers, students, and others interested in geoscience includes three days of presentations, a keynote address on the Yellowstone Supervolcano, and field trips to see the “Dinosaurs That Did Not Die,” the Santa Fe impact structure, and Albuquerque volcanoes.

The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico will host the meeting at the Hotel Albuquerque in historic Old Town.

Keynote Address: The Yellowstone Supervolcano: Past, Present and Future (open to the public)
Speaker: Robert B. Smith, Distinguished Research and Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Utah

When: Thursday, 10 May, 7:30–8:30 p.m.
Where: New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87104, USA; +1-505-841-2800


The scientific program is made up of oral and poster presentations organized into 19 topical sessions and four general discipline sessions. Go to to learn more.

Wednesday, 9 May
Water Quality and Biogeochemistry before and after the Los Conchas Fire, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico. Cliff N. Dahm and Jon Chorover, presiding.
The summer 2011 Los Conchas fire was the largest fire in the recorded history of the state of New Mexico. The State of New Mexico Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) based at the University of Arizona, and the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP) all have extensive research activities in the burned catchments. This session demonstrates the need for interagency cooperation and examines the water quality and biogeochemistry of the area affected by the fire both before and after the burn.
Abstracts:, 8:30–10 a.m. (session 2)
• Paper 2-6: Catastrophic Forest Fire and Water Quality: The Las Conchas Fire of 2011. Clifford N. Dahm, Univ. of New Mexico, and eight colleagues. Diebacks from insect infestations and catastrophic forest fires have hit the forests of the southwestern U.S. hard in the past decade. Understanding the effects of these events on water quality and resource planning is essential. Dahm and colleagues demonstrate that interagency cooperation coupled with real-time sensors can aid in early trend detection, identify monitoring gaps, and ensure timely data for science-based decisions across a range of issues related to water quality, freshwater ecosystems, and human health:

Thursday, 10 May
Arsenic, Uranium, and Radionuclides: Geology and Health Impacts in the Southwest and Rocky Mountains. Malcolm Siegel, presiding.
Concentrations of carcinogenic arsenic, radium, and nephrotoxic uranium are naturally high in rocks and waters in many parts of the Navajo Nation and in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain States. Development of mineral resources and urbanization has led to significant pollution in several areas. Evaluation of the resultant health effects has political, social, and economic implications and requires collaboration among earth scientists, civil engineers, and health professionals. This interdisciplinary session examines such topics as past and proposed uranium mining and the impact of new drinking water regulations for arsenic and radionuclides on communities for this and other regions worldwide.
Abstracts:, 8:30 a.m.–noon (session 16)
• Paper 16-9: Selection of Arsenic Treatment Technologies for Small Community Water Systems in New Mexico: Geochemical (and Other) Determinants. Malcolm Siegel, LJS Consulting Inc., and Kristi Castello, TK Services Inc. Six years after the new drinking water regulations for arsenic took effect, many small community water systems still struggle to meet the maximum contaminant level requirement. This talk will present the results of pilot studies in three New Mexico communities characterized by drinking water sources with contrasting water compositions and infrastructures: Socorro Springs, the Paakweree Water Coop of southwest Albuquerque, and a site near the Zuni Mountains:

Friday, 11 May
Meteorites and Impact Craters. Rhian Jones and Adrian Brearley, presiding. The Rocky Mountain Region and the Southwestern U.S. are fertile hunting grounds for meteorites, and home to several notable meteorite collections. Meteorites form the basis for understanding the origin and geological evolution of the planets and small bodies of the Solar System. Meteorite impacts are a significant geological process on the Earth and are represented in this region by several recognized impact craters, including the well-known Barringer Crater ("Meteor Crater") and the recently identified Santa Fe impact structure. Contributions to this session that cover all topics related to meteorites and impact structures.
Abstracts:, 8:30 a.m.–noon (session 31)
• Paper 31-1: Craters of the Southwest Both Young and Old, Small and Large: Meteor Crater, Arizona, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Shawn Wright, Auburn University, and Horton Newsom, University of New Mexico. With so few sizeable impact sites on Earth's surface, the field geologist is has scant opportunity to view their unique features. The southwestern U.S. has two impact sites, Meteor Crater, Arizona, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where these features can be examined. The two craters differ remarkably in nearly every aspect; this presentation by Wright and Newsom covers a variety of features and geologic histories. The authors note that Meteor Crater has already been well studied, and so to generate interest in a one-day field trip to Santa Fe on Saturday, May 12th, Wright and Newsom present current information about the Santa Fe impact structure:

Find complete meeting information at
Find local contact information at


Eligibility for media registration is as follows:

Present media credentials to Beth Engle 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.

For additional information and assistance, contact Kea Giles, Managing Editor, GSA Communications, at the address above.


The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.