| 03.18.2018

UI to host Geological Society of America Rocky Mountain Section Conference


This May, the University of Idaho will be swarming with rock stars. While their specialty may not be music, the Geological Society of America”s (GSA) Rocky Mountain Section conference draws in some of the best and brightest geologists.

The conference, which will be held May 18-19, draws roughly 400 attendees from across the nation, including over 30 UI students, said conference co-chair Leslie Baker.

“Most of them are senior geology majors at UI presenting research and volunteering,” Baker said.

One of these students is UI senior Megan Aunan, a hydrogeology major who will present her senior thesis at the conference.

“I”ve been a member (of the GSA) for four years now, and I went to the annual conference two years ago and didn”t present,” she said. “Since it was going be here, it was a great opportunity to present my research.”

Aunan is also a member of the UI Geology Club. The club will be volunteering throughout the conference, as well as selling t-shirts.

In the past, attending the Rocky Mountain Section of the conference has always been an issue for UI geology students.

“The Rocky Mountain Section is always the week after graduation,” Aunan said. “For a geology major, you have to attend two summers of field camp that start the week after finals week.”

Because of that, this is her first opportunity to attend this branch of the conference. UI postponed field camp by a week so students were able to attend this year.

Baker said the conference is an excellent opportunity for students.

“There are a lot of opportunities and workshops to build career skills,” she said.

It”s a way to network with hydrologists and academics and further build professional relationships, Baker said.

Yet Aunan, like many people, said she is most excited for the field trips. Field trips are offered before and after the meeting, said conference co-chair Brian Yanites. There are 11 different trips attendees can opt to attend, ranging from a jet boat trip up Hells Canyon to looking at the Miocene Fossil Beds.

“This is a collection of geologists from the Rocky Mountain Region and beyond coming together to work on geologic problems,” said Yanites.

The conference has a wide range of sections to attract the interest from any geologist.

“There”s everything from mineral and oil and gas deposits in the West to the erosion and creation of the topography and the history of life through fossils,” he said.

The meeting itself is only two days, Yanites said, and most science meetings are longer than that.

“It”s a time when you can bring scientists with similar interests together into a smaller setting,” he said.

Carly Scott  can be reached at  arg-news@uidaho.edu  or on Twitter @Idaho_Scotty

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