2010 AGU Fall Meeting — sessions I’m excited about
The dog days of summer are here, which means that abstract preparation and submission season for two gigantic annual scientific meetings for Earth scientists (at least in North America) is upon us! The 2010 Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting is October 31st-November 3rd in Denver, Colorado and the 2010 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting is December 13th-17th in, as always, San Francisco, California.
Unfortunately, I cannot attend the GSA meeting this year — just too much other stuff going on and had to prioritize travel. Such is life. So, hopefully some other geoscience bloggers who attend will keep us all updated in real time. There was a big meetup of people in Portland last year, which was a blast. I hope those who go to the meeting organize another one and try to make it a tradition.
I will be attending the AGU meeting in December. I spent some time browsing the scientific program and found numerous interesting sessions. Not all of them will actually happen — it depends on how many submissions they get. Having done this myself a couple times I remember the cutoff number being somewhere between 10 and 20 submissions to guarantee the session.
Technical sessions at AGU are sponsored and co-sponsored by one or more themes. In the past, the science I was interested in could be found in either in the Hydrology, Ocean Sciences, or sometimes Tectonophysics themes. A few years ago AGU decided to add a theme they call Earth and Planetary Surface Processes, which has been a great addition in my opinion. As a sedimentary geologist, I’m mostly interested in surface processes (and surface evolution) that operates over time scales longer than what we can measure. I’m interested in the processes that are net accumulative over geologic time — that is, processes that produce the stratigraphic record. I’m also interested in learning from those who study longer-term landscape evolution in eroding environments. The Earth and Planetary Surface Processes theme is an appropriate venue, I think, for bringing together these disciplines.
Earth and Planetary Surface Processes (EP) as primary sponsor
- Quantifying Present and Ancient Rates of Earth Surface Processes — This session addresses exactly what I was just discussing above. It will highlight the application of dating methods such as cosmogenic nuclides, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), and more for constraining surface process rates. It’s all about dates and rates!
- Quantifying Event-Scale Landscape Change — This session will focus on the influence of discrete events (e.g., storm, flood, earthquake, etc.) on how the landscape changes.
- The Morphodynamics of Big Rivers: What Do and Don’t We Know? — The term ‘morphodynamics’ refers to the linkage of process and form. This session asks questions about how the morphodynamics of big rivers might be different from their smaller cousins.
- Megaflooding: Causes, Processes, and Effects — Events with sudden and significant discharge — who doesn’t find these fascinating.
- Sorting Out River Patterns — This session aims to bring together numerical/physical experimentation and remote sensing data from natural systems to investigate river patterns.
- Transient Landscapes: Capturing Responses to Changing Boundary Conditions — The investigation of how landscapes are pushed out of ‘quasi-equilibrium’ state. My rhetorical response would be: aren’t all landscapes ‘transient’ depending on the time scale of investigation?
- Morphogenesis, From Micro-scale Experiments to Landscape Dynamics — I’ll simply copy/paste in part of the session description for this one: “We are particularly interested in studies dealing with the characteristic length and time scales that control the emergence of specific geomorphological features.”
- Linking Life to Landscape Dynamics — With the exception of traces and tracks left by animals in sediment or sedimentary rock I don’t think about the relationship of life to how landscapes evolve very often. But I certainly should! This session looks very interesting and I hope they get a lot of quality submissions.
- Source to Sink Insights into Integrated Sedimentary System Evolution — A couple of close collaborators of mine are chairing this one — I wanted something like this to happen but didn’t feel like proposing it myself so I convinced them to do it :)
Other sessions where EP is listed as co-sponsor:
- Pattern Formation in Earth System Sciences — The description for this one is quite broad. Sometimes sessions like this result in an interesting compilation of different disciplines addressing the same theme — but, in other cases, they end up being a collection of disparate presentations. I hope its the former because it sounds like an interesting idea.
- Submarine Landslides: Characterization, Processes and their Sedimentary Record — If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you already know my love of submarine sedimentation.
- Unique Applications of Multibeam Sonars: New Developments and New Applications — I’m excited to see some new seafloor mapping results. Those who invent new methods and improve existing methods of mapping the seafloor commonly show off the state-of-the-art at AGU.
Ocean Sciences (OS) as primary sponsor (and EP not a co-sponsor):
- Carbon System Dynamics in Large River-Dominated Coastal Margins — I’ve been interested in the sedimentary dynamics in such supply-dominated margins for a while so I’m hoping to learn a lot more about how the export of terrestrial carbon from land to sea is related.
Tectonophysics (T) as primary sponsor:
- The Wilson Cycle Revisited: Orogenic Cycles in Space and Time — Big picture, deep time, plate tectonics.
- The Formation and Deformation of the Mediterranean Basins, Continental Margins and Arcs — Another interest of mine is how we can use the sedimentary record in tectonically active regions to help reconstruct and constrain tectonic evolution.
There’s obviously a lot more than what I list here — this is just what I’m interested in. Take a look at the entire program and consider submitting your work.