GSA 2012 meeting, Day 2

With my poster behind me, I was able to spend a good part of day 2 at the GSA meeting looking at other people’s work. I spent more than half the day in the poster session, looking at some of the 356 posters that were up today.

John Cook and David Rodland used mathematical simulations to try to determine if the giant short-faced kangaroo Procoptodon goliah was capable of hopping, considering that it was much more massive than modern kangaroos. Their preliminary modeling suggests that it likely was able to hop. (The smaller, but related short-faced kangaroo Simosthenurus occidentalis, from AMNH, is shown above.

There were several posters from James Madison University on Eocene igneous rocks from Virginia, including Trimble Knob (below). These included Michael Bulas and Elizabeth Johnson on the age of felsic dikes in this complex (approximately 48 million years), and  Derek Guzman and Elizabeth Johnson’s suggestion that Trimble Knob was formed by a single two-stage eruption.

John Nance et al. examined shells of the Miocene-Pliocene snail Ecphora, which is relatively common in Chesapeake Group sediments in Virginia and Maryland (below). Ecphora shells have a distinctive reddish-brown color, which according to Nance et al. is caused by organic molecules that contribute to the outer part of the shell. In addition, Nitrogen 15 values suggest that Ecphora was a predatory snail.

Jennifer Scully et al., examining images of impact craters on the asteroid Vesta taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, described features that suggest that water may have briefly flowed on Vesta’s surface, even in the absence of an atmosphere. In glorious NASA tradition, these features are referred to as “potential transient liquid water flow features, or PFTs.”

I also made it to another education session, to see Dave Heiser et al.‘s talk on “CT Rocks”, following up on their poster from yesterday. Pete Berquist et al. discussed the advantages of team teaching field courses, and Merry Wilson described the use of an artificial outdoor outcrop (“GeoScene”) to introduce introductory students to fieldwork before releasing them into the wild.

After the sessions were over, many departments had their reunion parties tonight. Brett and I spent some time at the Carleton College reunion, catching up with old friends and teachers and meeting some of the recent graduates (although it is a bit distressing that the new graduates are young enough to be my children).

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