2021 GSA Connects Conference in Portland, Oregon

The Geological Society of America (GSA) Connects 2021 Conference was this Sunday-Wednesday (October 10th-13th). This conference brings together the best and brightest in geoscience for professional development, networking, and the latest innovations in the field. Check out a few of the submitted abstracts from UGS employees:

Diurnal to seasonal hydrological fluctuations in saline playas, examples from the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah 
By Jeremiah Bernau, Brenda Bowen, Elliot Jagniecki, and Evan Kipnis

Summary: The stability of the salt crust (halite and gypsum) at the Bonneville Salt Flats is dependent on the dynamic balance between water inputs and outputs for the integrity of the saline pan system. Evaporation needs to be greater than the net input of rainfall to maintain a stable crust. However, the salt crust limits saline groundwater evaporation, which hinders further development of the salt crust from the evaporation of halite saturated groundwater. Changing brine temperature controls groundwater table fluctuations on daily and seasonal scales. These fluctuations alter mineral saturation states, changing and potentially degrading salt layers by dissolution over time. Declining water levels lead to degradation of the salt crust, thereby increasing the saline pan as a dust source.

Read More: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2021AM/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/364750

Machine learning applied to a petrographic database – introducing the Global Prediction of Sand Mineralogy (GloPrSM) model
By Isaac Johnson, Glenn Sharman, Xiao Huang, and Eugene Szymanski

Predicting sand mineralogy within Cordilleran orogenic systems – machine learning applied to a global database of modern-Pleistocene sand samples
By Glenn Sharman, Isaac Johnson, Xiao Huang, and Eugene Szymanski

Summary for both: Geologists have been collecting and publishing fundamental geologic data for decades. With new and rapid computing technologies, these large data sets may be compiled digitally and analyzed using machine learning techniques to discover nuanced data relashiptions that allow us to create accurate models of geologic systems. Our new algorithm, called “GloPrSM”, can predict the mineralogy of sand eroded from mountains and deposited in basins around the world, which is important for energy and minerals assessment. We also present a special case that focuses on the erosion and distribution of sediment derived from North and South American mountain belts during the past ~2.6 million years.

Read More: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2021AM/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/368745

Read More: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2021AM/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/368526

Age and genesis of W-Mo-Cu mineralization, Gold Hill, Utah
By Nathan Carey, Simon Jowitt, and Stephanie Mills

Summary: This research is looking at the critical mineral potential of Gold Hill, a mining district in western Tooele County that has historically produced many critical minerals plus precious and base metals. Gold Hill is Utah’s largest historical producer of tungsten and was the most recent tungsten producer in the United States when a small amount of the tungsten mineral scheelite was mined in 2018. This project is studying how the previously mined tungsten deposits in the district formed, which may help us identify similar deposits that haven’t yet been mined.

Read More: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2021AM/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/365354

Combined CA-ID-TIMS and carbon isotope chemostratigraphy to correlate Cretaceous continental strata of the Ruby Ranch member of the Cedar Mountain Formation
By Marina Suarez, Noah McLean, Andreas Moller, Greg Ludvigson, James Kirkland, Elizabeth Montgomery, and Marquise Paige

Summary: Local subsidence on the west side of Arches National Park resulted in the development of a thick lake sequence at the top of the Cedar Mountain Formation known nowhere else. Volcanic ashes preserved in the lake provided our colleagues at the University of Kansas led by Dr. Marina Suarez with a refined Uranium/Lead age of 115 Ma. This date provides a critical tie point for correlating global carbon isotope changes to better-known areas in Europe and Asia.

Read More: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2021AM/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/370386

High velocity friction and synkinematic flow at the base of giant gravity slides: carbonates vs. silicates
By Eric Ferre, Nina Zamanialavijeh, Gerhard Heij, Andrea Biedermann, and Robert Biek

Summary: Two of the largest landslides on land recently had their footprints compared. Eric Ferre at the University of Louisiana, with colleagues from the Utah Geological Survey, and the Universities of Houston, Oklahoma, and Bern (Switzerland), reported distinct differences in rock types at the base of the slides that, though breakdown during sliding, led to reduced friction and enabled long run outs over the former land surfaces. Utah’s gigantic, ancient Marysvale landslide complex experienced temperatures as high as 2500 degrees F., which locally melted the basal rocks and generated elevated fluid pressures that facilitated sliding. In contrast, for a similarly gigantic ancient slide in Wyoming, temperatures generated by frictional sliding may have only been about 750 degrees F, not hot enough to melt rock, but high enough to generate gas from decomposition of limestone that facilitated sliding.

Read More: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2021AM/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/371203

The thousand lake fault: a long recurrence normal fault that has slowed down at the eastern edge of the basin and range
By Nathan Toke, David Marchetti, Christopher Bailey, Robert Biek, Hanna Bartram, Joseph Phillips, Clayton Forster, Sally Ward, Rachel Richards, Carlie Ideker, and Tammy Rittenour

Summary: Paleoseimologists recently excavated a 12-foot-high fault scarp in alluvial-fan deposits on the Thousand Lake fault near Bicknell, just west of Capitol Reef National Park, as reported at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland this week. Nathan Toke, who led the project at Utah Valley University with colleagues from the Utah Geological Survey, Western Colorado University, and the College of William and Mary, showed that the last two events on this active earthquake fault occurred at about 20,000 and 50,000 years ago. The recurrence interval between surface faulting events is much longer than that of Utah’s more active Wasatch fault, but it is still capable of producing damaging earthquakes of about magnitude 7.

Read More: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2021AM/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/364085

2021 GSA Connects Broadcast Promotion Video for Utah Geological Survey

GSA ConnectsCast is a video broadcast program of news-worthy meeting highlights, showcasing leading scientific research and best practice in the field of geoscience. A partnership with film and broadcasting company Targeted Film, GSA ConnectsCast produced daily episodes throughout the meeting.