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The Geological Society of America comes to Charlotte

November 3, 2012

The Geological Society of America holds its annual national meeting in Charlotte this week. GSA is one of the nation’s largest professional organizations for geologists and geoscience education.  Research and Collections scientists are contributing three presentations to the meeting.

Trish Weaver will be presenting data on a variety of fossil cephalopods that she collected this summer (see Trish’s blog posts from earlier this year). I contributed infrared spectroscopy to the search for organic material.

My summer intern, Bailey Mueller of Dennison College, will be presenting her work on “pyrite disease,” the oxidation and hydrolysis of pyrite. When pyrite reacts with oxygen and water, it forms a lot of sulfate minerals, and eventually forms sulfuric acid. This makes pyrite a problem in museum collections, but there are also applications to Martian soils and acid mine drainage.

My talk is in Advances in Spectroscopy for Geological and Mineralogical Analysis, applying new mathematical models to the analysis of apatite minerals. Apatites are found in a wide variety of rocks, and have huge importance as materials and biomaterials. I study them to understand the behavior of water and carbon dioxide in volcanic rocks, which require infrared spectroscopy.

You can get all the latest research on rapid sea level rise, geology of the Appalachians, Vesta or Mars, or the latest advances in teaching the geosciences on the GSA website. All of the abstracts are free for the general public.  You can even search the past few years of meeting abstracts.

Find out for yourself what the scientists are saying.  Curiosity has endless rewards.

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