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USGS Featured at AAAS—Nation’s Largest Science Meeting
Released: 2/17/2005

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Diane Noserale 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4333

A.B. Wade 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4483

Editor’s Note: Please check with AAAS regarding their embargo policy for the symposia listed below.

Washington, D.C. - How close are we to predicting earthquakes? Can science help diplomacy and national security? Could an ancient catastrophe offer a solution to a very modern problem? Learn the answer to these questions and more as USGS scientists participate in the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, Feb. 17-21. "The Nexus: Where Science Meets Society" is this year’s theme.

Saturday, Feb. 19
Symposium: Sharing Geospatial Data Across the Homeland
Security Enterprise
8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Level 2B, Empire

Geographic information that is reliable and readily available is critical for improving preparedness in national emergencies. Data-sharing partnerships at all levels of government and across the civilian, defense and intelligence communities have been essential to emergency planning, mitigation, response and recovery efforts. This session brings together officials from civilian organizations, defense agencies, and state government to explore future coordination across the homeland security enterprise for emergency response.

Symposium: The Earth Sciences and National Security
8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Marriott Wardman Park, Mezzanine Level, Wilson B

Earth science has long been relevant to national security and diplomacy. Since ancient times, battles of war and diplomacy have been decided on knowledge. But modern times mean that earth science must bring more to the table. Solving water conflicts, monitoring nuclear testing, or planning for natural disasters requires geoscientists who can work across scientific disciplines with planners, and with military and political leaders.

Symposium: The Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Formation and Consequences
8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Marriott Wardman Park, Exhibit Hall B North, Workshop Room E

About 35 million years ago, an asteroid or comet nucleus measuring about 1-1/2 miles in diameter collided with the Earth at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The force of this collision was so great that it vaporized hundreds of feet of seawater and blasted sediments forming a 53-mile-diameter crater. Glass particles called "tektites" scattered across North America. Tsunamis triggered by the impact may have topped the Blue Ridge Mountains and were much larger than those caused by the recent Indonesian earthquake. This symposium will review the crater’s formation, how scientists discovered it 35 million years later, and how the results of this impact crater affect the residents in one of the fastest growing urban centers on the East Coast. The international group of scientists will also discuss several possible implications of recent findings.

Workshop: See Your Backyard with Just a Click and a Few Layers of Data
10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Workshop Room B

Learn how to use scientific information by mapping the terrain, monitoring changes over time, and analyzing how and why these changes have occurred with the hope some day of forecasting events before they happen.

Plenary Lecture: Climate Change and Sustainability: Status and Trends of the Nation’s Water
12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Marriott Wardman Park, Marriott Ballroom Salon 1

Join USGS Director Chip Groat for a discussion about how today’s science affects tomorrow’s water. For any natural resource, whether its water, minerals or energy decisions about future utilizations depend on having a clear understanding of the status of the resource, the amount that has already been extracted, the amount remaining, and the impact of further depletion. Resource managers in communities, cities, and regions need to know how much water they currently have, how its availability and use have changed over the years, and what its availability will likely be in the future.

Symposium: Himalayan High Ice: Climate, Water, Hazard, War and Peace
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Lobby Level, Virginia Suite A

The development, the political stability, and the welfare of people from Himalayan valleys to the Aral Sea, and in heavily populated South Asia, is tied to the fate of rapidly melting glaciers in the Himalaya and other ranges of Central Asia. Glaciers supply much of the fresh water and hydroelectric power in the region. This shared economic interest and the mitigation of flood and landslide hazards could improve relations among this region’s nations or incite conflict. The diminishing glaciers could open new corridors for trade and cultural exchange and forge new alliances in the region, or open transit routes for militants and for military action. This symposium includes USGS scientist Jeff Kargel, who will discuss Global Land Ice Measurements from Space, a USGS/NASA funded project, and its alliance with HIGH ICE, an organization devoted to Himalayan applied science and political healing.

Sunday, Feb. 20

Press Conference: Predicting Earthquakes
1 p.m.
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Wilson A, Mezzanine Level

Join USGS scientist Lucy Jones as she discusses recent efforts at short-term earthquake prediction.

Symposium: Transcending Boundaries: Challenges for Holistic Restoration in the Chesapeake Watershed
1:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level, Virginia Suite C

There is growing concern that efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay, our nation’s largest estuary, are not resulting in significant improvements to the ecosystem. Restoration actions have only minimally decreased excessive nutrients and sediments entering the Bay. Several factors contribute to the "lag time" between implementation of practices to reduce nutrients and sediment and the response in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. These factors make meeting the restoration of water-quality conditions in the Bay by 2010 very difficult. As a part of this symposium, Scott Phillips, USGS Chesapeake Bay Program Coordinator, will discuss how this information is being used to better plan and target the types of management actions that may provide the most rapid water-quality improvement in the Bay ecosystem.

Symposium: Top-Down, Bottom-Up Growth of a Global Invasive Species Information Network
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Lobby Level, Congressional A

Invasive alien species are any species not native to an ecosystem and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm, to the economy, environment, or human health. Unlike chemical pollution, this "biological pollution," is self sustaining, often propagating explosively. Invasives are often well established by the time they’re discovered. Scientists and economists estimate that losses in the U.S. from all types of invasive plants, animals, and microorganisms total more than $100 billion per year.

To mitigate this global threat requires early detection, and rapid response. This symposium features several USGS scientists and their cooperators who will discuss international efforts to develop a Global Invasive Species Information Network for individuals addressing the issue at national, regional, and global levels.

Monday, Feb. 21

Symposium: How Close Are We to Predicting Earthquakes?
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Lobby Level, Diplomat

Assessments of where strong earthquake shaking will occur over decade-long time spans have strengthened building codes and saved untold numbers of lives and property in the U.S. But what about the prospects for a more immediate warning? It remains unclear whether intermediate- and short-term earthquake predictions are feasible, but the number and scope of prediction efforts is accelerating as researchers seek to take advantage of new dense arrays of instruments being deployed in high-risk regions around the world and other exciting new tools. This renewed interest raises questions on how scientists should evaluate such predictions and how emergency managers, policy-makers and the public should react.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

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