Archive for November 4th, 2012

“Where Our Deepest Passions Intersect the World’s Compelling Needs”: The 2012 GSA Presidential Address

November 4th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA–President of the Geological Society of America George H. Davis delivered a spectacular and inspiring address early this afternoon. As his title says, he emphasized the joys and privileges of being geologists along with the civic and scientific duties to make a difference. He discussed why we became geologists in the first place, even using images of his Structural Geology homework and Independent Study from his Wooster undergraduate days! I especially appreciated his ideas about how we can better serve the public through organized, rapid responses to geological events.

We also watched GSA Past President John W. Geissman present the President’s Medal to the author and environmental activist Bill McKibben (below). It was an apt follow-up to the Presidential Address — a real example of a life lived in service of public education and activism.

The first Wooster Geology student posters at GSA 2012

November 4th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA–The brave souls Jonah Novek (’13) above and Kit Price (’13) below were the first Wooster students to present their posters at the 2012 Geological Society of America meeting. Jonah worked in Estonia this past summer on Early Silurian recovery faunas in the Hilliste Formation on Hiiumaa Island. You can read his abstract directly here, and you can recall his field adventures by searching for “Jonah” in this blog. Kit collected Upper Ordovician cryptic sclerobiont fossils in Indiana in the late summer. Her abstract is here, and you can see her work in this blog by searching for “Kit“. Jonah and Kit started off our GSA presentation experience with confidence and joy.

Wooster Geologists at the GSA President’s Student Breakfast

November 4th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA–The Geological Society of America has a tradition of hosting a free breakfast for those students willing to come to the convention center at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The meal is hosted by the GSA President and sponsored by ExxonMobil Corporation. Secretaries of GSA sections and associated societies help serve the students, which is why I was there.

This year’s GSA President is George H. Davis (Wooster ’64) who with his wife Merrily generously greeted the Wooster students at their table, telling them stories about their Wooster days and inspiring them to geological activism. It was a classic moment for Wooster Geology.

This, by the way, was the first time I saw the Wooster students after their long drive down from Wooster to Charlotte. It was great to see them happy, enthusiastic and safe. They also seemed mighty hungry.

 

Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: Birch wood with beetle borings (Oligocene of Oregon)

November 4th, 2012

We may be at the Geological Society of America annual meeting today, but that doesn’t stop Fossil of the Week! This week’s fossil is a beautifully-detailed piece of petrified birch wood (Betula) with tree rings and insect borings throughout. It was found in the Little Butte Formation (Oligocene) of Linn County, Oregon. This rock unit consists of thick tuffs and volcanic breccias representing volcanic mudflows and nuée ardente deposits that buried diverse hardwood forests. This formation is known for its spectacular silicified fossil wood.
The beetle borings, shown in closer view above, are very similar to those bored in birch trees today. There is little work done on the ichnotaxonomy of these trace fossils, so I can’t yet give them a name, but at least we can see typical beetle activity in the twists and turns. The holes are apparently filled with a cemented mix of insect feces and wood fragments called frass, just like we find in modern birch wod today.

References:

Beaulieu, J.D., Hughes, P.W., and Mathiot, R.K. 1974. Environmental geology of western Linn County, Oregon. Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Bulletin, no. 84, 117 p.

Rozefelds, A.C. and De Baar, M. 1991. Silicified Kalotermitidae (Isoptera) frass in conifer wood from a mid-Tertiary rainforest in central Queensland, Australia. Lethaia 24: 439-442.