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USGS Scientists Invited to International Symposium on Coastal Issues in Tianjin, China

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Bob Morton on the Great Wall of China
Above: Bob Morton on the Great Wall of China, one of the original superhighways of commerce; vendors hawking their wares all over the wall are a reminder that the commerce continues!

Bob Morton, Wang Hong, and Lisa Robbins
Above: (Left to right) Bob Morton, Wang Hong, and Lisa Robbins at one of the many banquets held by the Chinese.

Daniel Jassem outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing
Above: Daniel Jassem outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing

Starbucks "embedded" deep within the Forbidden City
Above: The Forbidden City in Beijing allowed Lisa to step back into a different time (not geologic time, this time!) and get a feel for the people and their customs. She quickly snapped out of it when she spotted a Starbucks "embedded" deep within the Forbidden City! Though longing for a decaf mocha, she protested this modern encroachment by not succumbing to the temptation.

Technology being used to reclaim land in Tianjin by draining pore water from fill material in Bohai Bay
Above: Technology being used to reclaim land in Tianjin by draining pore water from fill material in Bohai Bay.

Center director Lisa Robbins and coastal scientist Bob Morton of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC)'s St. Petersburg Science Center were invited by the China Geological Survey (CGS) to speak at the International Symposium on Coastal Geo-Environment and Urban Development, held in Tianjin, China, on October 15-18. The symposium was organized by the CGS Department of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology and cosponsored by the Tianjin Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources (TIGMR). Lisa and Bob each gave two talks at the symposium: a 30-minute talk and a followup 1-hour talk. Lisa's topics were "Challenges in Science" and "Challenges in Science: Organizational Structure to Facilitate Integrated Science." Bob's topics were "Coastal Geo-Environment and Urban Development" and "Examples of Hazard Prediction and Hazard Vulnerability Analysis." Not being fluent in Chinese, both scientists worked for three days before the talks with two very capable students who served as translators for the presentations. The four presentations stimulated a significant amount of discussion among the audience and the hosts from TIGMR and other departments and institutes within the CGS. Other speakers included scientists from the geological surveys of the Netherlands, Egypt, and Japan and a scientist from the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY.

China Geological Survey hosts Dr. Wang Hong, Deputy Director of the Research Center of Coastal Geology, and Dr. Yu Haifeng, Deputy Director of the TIGMR, also organized a field trip to the Bohai Bay coastal zone for the international group. It was apparent within the first few minutes of driving to the field area that the traffic in Tianjin was horrifying, and it was much appreciated that a police escort accompanied the group, helping it to bypass the choked traffic on the streets and highways. Field-trip participants were able to see one of the most extensive land-reclamation projects on the coast of Bohai Bay, which was described for them by a Tianjin port manager. Bohai Bay is the site of active oil production, and the reclamation site in Tianjin will accommodate a Dow Chemical facility. Tianjin city, with 10 million people, faces all the issues of rapid urbanization, including air and water pollution, ground-water withdrawal that has caused major subsidence in parts of the city, siltation in the ports, overfishing, and coastal erosion. The field-trip participants saw one of the few remaining coastal cheniers (ancient beach ridges) in the area, as well as a hydrologic monitoring station that records ground-water levels and subsidence in the region.

The leaders and scientists at the China Geological Survey and hosting scientific institutions were receptive to new ideas presented by the USGS. As a result of Lisa's and Bob's visit, and a previous visit to Shanghai by Dawn Lavoie of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program and Virginia Burkett of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, LA, a delegation of five Chinese scientists and managers will be visiting USGS offices in St. Petersburg, FL, and Lafayette, LA, in the spring to discuss, among other things, common scientific issues of subsidence, shoreline change, lidar (light detection and ranging) technology, and mapping products.

Before the meeting in Tianjin, Lisa visited the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, where she met with Daniel Jassem and Donald Steele, Second Secretaries in Environment, Science, Technology, and Health, to discuss some of the major scientific issues on which the State Department and China are working. Lisa presented Daniel and Donald with an array of USGS Fact Sheets.

Related Web Sites
St. Petersburg Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
China Geological Survey
Ministry of Land and Resources, China

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Indian Ocean Tsunami

Could a Tsunami Happen Here?

Deltaic Habitats in Puget Sound

Invasive Sea Squirt Flourishing

How Sea Floor Sediment Moves

Research Submarine Canyons Named for Marine Geologists

Outreach Appreciation Day for Congressman Young

Students Learn About Coastal and Marine Science

Hurricanes Focus Attention on USGS Research

College Students Visit USGS Center in St. Petersburg

Scientists Participate in Great-American Teach-In

Scientists Interviewed About Invasive Sea Squirt


CCWS Open House

Scientists Interviewed for HBO Program

Meetings International Symposium on Coastal Issues

Jeff Williams Reviews Storm Surge Model

Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institutes Conference

Suwannee River Basin and Estuary Integrated Science Workshop

Staff & Center News Regional Executive Visits FISC Office

Jingping Xu Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

Publications Special Oceanography Issue Includes Sediment Dynamics Article

Dec. / Jan. Publications List

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