Robert MacFarlane at Politics and Prose June 8

Robert MacfarlaneUnderland: A Deep Time Journey — in conversation with Ross Andersen

Saturday, June 8, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Underland: A Deep Time Journey Cover Image

Macfarlane has been hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “the great nature writer of this generation,” and his beautiful and wise books—Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, and Landmarks—don’t just show us marvelous landscapes, they explore the traditions, beliefs, and language these places have fostered. His new book delves even further, exploring the “deep time” of caves, glaciers, and burial chambers as well as reflecting on the meaning of our most ancient myths and primal dreams. In a wide-ranging look at the wonderlands beneath our feet—from geological formations of limestone and karst to the ancient art in Lascaux and Chauvet to the many surprises of the Paris catacombs—Macfarlane takes us on a unique and unforgettable adventure. Macfarlane will be in conversation with Ross Andersen, senior editor at The Atlantic.

5015 Connecticut Ave NW   Washington   DC    20008

GSW 1543: Mineralogy and oceans, Icelandic coring, and bonebeds

The Geological Society of Washington
founded 1893


Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History
“A mineral perspective on coral skeletons in a changing ocean”

Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum
“Holes in the ground are cool: Using pit chains in Iceland to
measure snow on Saturn’s moon Enceladus”

Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History
“Challenges and benefits of using vertebrate microfossil bonebeds
for understanding terrestrial paleoecosystems”


Meeting flyer to print and post – Help spread the word!
Refreshments at 7:30 p.m. Formal program at 8:00 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Auditorium
2170 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC

PGS: Carnegie’s Janiszewski on imaging volcanic arcs

Please join us for our annual Joint Meeting of the Potomac Geophysical Society & DMV Chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists at 7:00 pm Thursday, May 16, 2019 at the DoubleTree by Hilton McLean Tysons, 1960 Chain Bridge Road, 22102.  As always, guests are welcomed and we encourage you to spread the word about our meetings to your colleagues and students (a flyer is attached).  Due to the special nature of this meeting, we are requesting earlier RSVP’s (noon this Friday, May 10), and the cost for the optional dinner is slightly higher ($40 members, $45 non-members).  If you plan on attending, please RSVP to  We hope to see you there!

This month’s program:

Volcano Variety: Understanding Arcs with Multi-Scale Seismic Imaging
by Helen Janiszewski, Carnegie Science DTM

While evidence for variety in volcano structure and eruptive styles abounds at the earth’s surface, magmatic architectures at volcanoes tens of kilometers beneath the earth’s surface and the ultimate causes of such variety remain enigmatic. At individual volcanoes, magmatic structures in the mid- to lower-crust have typically been difficult to geophysically or petrologically constrain. New results at two volcanoes in the Aleutian island arc – Akutan and Cleveland, which despite being only ~ 300 km from each other have different recent eruptive histories – reveal seismically low-velocity regions in the mid- to lower-crust, likely caused by a region of partial melt. However, the spatial and vertical extents of these low velocity zones beneath the two volcanoes vary substantially implying differing magmatic architectures. The causes are still unknown, although the depth to the top of the subducting crust varies by nearly 20 km perhaps implying different structures in the downgoing lithosphere beneath these volcanoes. The seismic structure of the downgoing Pacific plate in this region of the Aleutians is relatively poorly constrained at the scale of arc-volcano spacing. Instead we investigate the Cascadia subduction zone, where the recent onshore-offshore Cascadia Initiative seismic experiment has allowed seismic imaging at these scales. Prior to subduction, the oceanic plate deviates from simple thermal cooling models with along-strike variation observed at scales similar to variation in arc properties, suggesting that there may be more heterogeneity in oceanic lithosphere than previously thought. This represents an important consideration for understanding many tectonic phenomenon, including the input to volcanic arc systems, and demonstrates the need for future experiments both focused on understanding the role of structures in the subducting plate in conjunction with detailed imaging of individual volcanoes.

Originally from New Jersey, Helen Janiszewski completed her undergraduate education at Rutgers University with majors in Geological Sciences and Physics and minors in Mathematics and Russian Language.  She graduated in 2012 and moved to New York City to complete her PhD in seismology at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University which she completed in 2017.   Helen is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at Carnegie Science in Washington, DC.  Her research is focused on using seismic data to image the structure of the Earth’s crust and mantle, particularly in subduction zones, to better understand our planet’s underlying tectonic processes such as those related to earthquakes and volcanoes.

The PGS meeting location is within one-half mile of the Tysons Corner Metro station, near I-495, and has free parking available.  Our private meeting room is located on the second floor of the hotel.  The optional dinner cost will be discounted to $40 for members in good standing (have paid dues), and $45 for non-members, and is inclusive of coffee, tax and gratuity.  Drinks may also be purchased in the private meeting room on a cash basis.  Members and guests may attend the presentation after dinner for no charge; we estimate that the presentation will begin at 8:15 p.m.  For attendees who arrive early, social time will be held in the Tysons Social Tavern on the first floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel.

In summary:
Social Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m., Tysons Social Pub (formerly O’Malley’s Pub), first floor DoubleTree by Hilton
Dinner: 7:00-8:15 p.m., Peachtree Room, Harvest Cafe, second floor DoubleTree by Hilton

Meeting & Presentation: 8:15-9:30 p.m., Peachtree Room, Harvest Cafe, second floor DoubleTree by Hilton

EarthScope Finale Symposium and Reception

Celebrating EarthScope’s Fifteen Years of Geoscience Accomplishments

The EarthScope National Office, along with a coalition of Earth science organizations and facilities (UNAVCO, IRIS, SSA, AGU, AGI and GSA), cordially invites scientists, policymakers, and all others interested to celebrate the success of the EarthScope program! Please join us for:

EarthScope Finale Symposium and Reception
May 22, 2019 | Washington, DC
Science Symposium: 1:30–5:30 PM
Reception: 5:30–8:00 PM

Invited Speakers will give an overview of the scientific discoveries that EarthScope has enabled, and of its broader impacts to science and society.

  • Introduction by Dr. David Fee, EarthScope National Office Primary Investigator (University of Alaska Fairbanks)
    ·      Earth structure by Dr. Brandon Schmandt (University of New Mexico)
    ·      Hazards by Dr. Diego Melgar (University of Oregon)
    ·      Water and the Environment by Dr. Kristine Larson (University of Colorado)
    ·      Data, Workforce, and Education by Dr. Suzan van der Lee (Northwestern University)
    ·      4D Evolution of North America by Dr. Mike Williams (University of Massachusetts)
    ·      Conclusion by Dr. Jeff Freymueller, EarthScope National Office Director (Michigan State University)

AAAS Building
1200 New York Ave NW 1, 2nd Floor Auditorium
Washington, DC 20005

Event sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute

UMD: Hopkins’ Holder on metamorphism and plate tectonics

2019 Geology Colloquium Series

Friday, April 26th 2019 at 3:10 pm
in PLS 1140

Watch live at

Robert Holder
Johns Hopkins University

Metamorphism and the Evolution of Plate Tectonics

At present, Earth’s mantle convection, which facilitates planetary heat loss, is expressed at the surface as plate tectonics. When plate tectonics emerged and how it has evolved through time are two of the most fundamental and provocative questions outstanding in Earth science. Metamorphic rocks, those that have experienced solid-state mineral transformations due to changes in pressure (P) and temperature (T), record periods of burial/exhumation and heating/cooling that reflect the tectonic environments in which they formed. Changes in the global distribution of metamorphic P–T conditions in the continental crust through time reflect secular evolution of Earth’s tectonic processes at convergent plate boundaries. On modern Earth, convergent plate margins are characterized by metamorphic rocks that record a bimodal distribution of apparent thermal gradients (change in temperature with depth, parameterized in this talk as metamorphi! c T/P), in the form of paired metamorphic belts, which is attributed to metamorphism near to (low T/P) and away from (high T/P) subduction zones. In this talk, I will evaluate the emergence of bimodal metamorphism as a proxy for secular change in plate tectonics using a statistical evaluation of the distributions of metamorphic T/P through time. I will argue that Earth’s modern plate tectonic regime developed gradually since the Neoarchaean Era in conjunction with secular cooling of the mantle and associated changes in the thickness, buoyancy and rheology of oceanic lithosphere, resulting in an evolution in the styles of both subduction and collisional orogenesis.

OSB: Deepwater sustainability

The 20th Annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture

Sustainability in Deep Water:

The Challenges of Climate Change, Human Pressures, and Biodiversity Conservation

5:30 – 7PM  |  April 24, 2019

Fred Kavli Auditorium, National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC

Register now!
The deep ocean–below 200 meters–is one of the last frontiers on earth. Not only does it hold vast mineral and energy resources, it is also a living library of biodiversity.  Even though new deep sea species are being discovered on every expedition, scientists are concerned that many of these amazing creatures will be lost to new commercial ventures such as seabed mining.  Unique features of deep-ocean ecosystems make them especially vulnerable to the confluence of climate stress and direct human disturbance.  At this lecture, marine ecologist Dr. Lisa Levin will lead us on a tour of deep ocean resources and talk about initiatives, networks, and policy instruments being developed to address the challenge of the sustainability in deep water.

About Dr. Levin
Lisa Levin is Distinguished Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, and was Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and Oliver Chair from 2011-2017. Dr. Levin is a marine ecologist who studies benthic ecosystems in the deep sea and shallow water. Together with her students Dr. Levin has worked with a broad range of taxa, from microbes and microalgae to invertebrates, fishes and whales.  Dr. Levin is a ‘Fellow of the Association’ of AAAS in Biological Sciences, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and served as Pogo Visiting Professor in Namibia and South Africa.

Questions? Contact Trent Cummings (

MSA Centennial Symposium

As MSA approaches its 100th birthday, we invite you attend the MSA Centennial Symposium in the beautifully restored Carnegie Institution Building in Washington, DC on June 20-21, 2019.  This Symposium will feature 44 speakers who will address topics ranging from minerals and sustainability to everything you wanted to know about diamonds to the evolution of Earth’s crust and mantle to mineral health hazards.  Over the two days of the celebration, 14 theme colloquia will each feature two 20-minute presentations followed by 15 minutes of moderated audience participation.  This once-in-a-century symposium is an opportunity for our community to celebrate MSA’s major contributions to the Earth sciences and to look ahead to the next hundred years.

The MSA Centennial web page is now live! You can find full program and registration details at:

The registration includes box lunches and refreshments for both days of the symposium and a private evening reception in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, & Minerals in the National Museum of Natural History with heavy hors d’oeuvres.  This reception is generously sponsored by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Seats are limited, so don’t delay in registering for this celebration at:

We thank our sponsors:

  • Diamond ($20,000+): Gemological Institute of America
  • Ruby ($12,000-$19,999): Deep Carbon Observatory
  • Emerald ($7,000-$11,999): C2/m Mineralogy and Rob Lavinsky of The Arkenstone
  • Platinum ($3,000-$6,999): COMPRES-An NSF-supported Consortium
    Gold ($1,000-$2,999): Geochemical Society
  • Silver and Gold ($1,500): University of Idaho
  • Silver ($500-$999): CrystalMaker

Additional sponsors are welcome (contact Peter Heaney at!

Come join us in toasting MSA!  See you all there!

Peter Heaney

Steve Shirey