Indianapolis, Indiana, was full of aspiring and current geologists at the Geological Society of America (GSA) conference Nov. 4-7.
Almost 6,000 students, faculty and researchers attended.
Of that 6,000, there were several familiar faces. More than 25 people from Missouri State University presented at GSA. More than 15 students presented their work. An additional 15 alumni were also present.
“This conference is the most important geology conference in North America,” said Dr. Melida Gutierrez, professor of geology. “It brings together geologists from the USA and 53 other countries. It provides a forum where research results are presented to peer geologists who can challenge any of the information if is not properly supported.”
Highlights of the conference
Joe Gillman, a GGP alumnus and State Geologist and Missouri Geological Survey Director, won the prestigious GSA Fellow.
Dr. Kevin Mickus was the conference’s technical chair.
A couple MSU presentations stood out. Graduate student Ashley DeLong presented her modeling results of the crustal structure beneath the Iowan Rift. She used a 3-dimensional model to find differences in the deep crust and upper mantle. Her model is about 250 kilometers deep.
Undergraduate student Bailey Pfitzner used a drone so she could accurately represent topography according to its angle during motion.
GGP also hosted a night for MSU alumni that attended the conference. This was open to students as well to provide connections to alumni.
“Alumni provide key support to the GGP department,” said Gutierrez. “They keep an eye on opportunities for our graduates and provide the GGP department with help in the form of advising, scholarships, seminars, as well as expert advice about trends in geology’s job market.”
Sessions at the conference
Other highlights of the conference include current geological changes. This year is the 50th anniversary of the discovery of plate tectonics. That session lasted a day and a half due to many exceptional experts presenting.
Kilauea, a volcano, has also been very active this year. Directors of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory USGS presented about the monitoring they are doing and answered questions.
Students and faculty alike enjoyed attending these special sessions.
These graduate students presented:
- Brooke Benz
- Zach Collette
- Bennett Conway
- Sam DeYoung
- Kinzang Duba
- Miranda Jordan
- Ben Lockwood
- Annie McClanahan
- Sourav Nandi
- Conor O’Dowd
- Katy Reminga
- Derek Spurgeon
These undergraduate students presented:
- Jordan Cruzan
- Mary Humphreys
- James Quick
- Mackenzie Wegmann
These faculty presented:
- Dr. Jill Black, associate professor of geography
- Dr. Toby Dogwiler, department head of GGP
- Dr. Douglas Gouzie, professor of geology
- Dr. Matt McKay, assistant professor of geology
- Dr. Gary Michelfelder, assistant professor of geology
- Mickus, distinguished professor of geology
- Dr. Bob Pavlowsky, distinguished professor of geology
- Dr. Charles Rovey, professor of geology
Some faculty also chaired sessions:
- Damon Bassett, senior instructor of geology