‘Tis the season to…. go to a conference? A couple of weeks before Christmas might not seem like the most sensible time to hold a big international conference, but next week tens of thousands of geoscientists will descend on the Moscone Center in San Francisco for the AGU Fall Meeting. They’re coming to present their latest work, and see what everyone else in their field is up to. Data will be mulled over, new ideas will be inspired and grant proposals dreamed up, new connections will be forged and old connections will be strengthened. And there will be beer. As Brian Romans says, for geologists it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Both the Highly Allochthonous bloggers well be there this year, along with a whole host of our friends and colleagues, both online and off. For the past few days we’ve been going through the scientific program to try and identify which talks and posters we want to go and see. This is not a trivial task – many sessions run in parallel everyday, and it’s not unusual to find yourself torn between the cool science on offer at two or more of them. Here are our tentative schedules, which are subject to change based on whim, burnout, and bumping into old friends in the hallway.
I’m starting my AGU week a day early by participating in the 5th Annual Berkeley Catchment Science Symposium. This day-long event features four long-format talks by watershed scientists doing provocative work. With 40 minutes for each talk and 20 minutes for Q&A, I’m looking forward to getting to hear some cutting-edge watershed hydrology in depth. (My PhD advisor, Gordon Grant, is giving one of the talks, based in part on my PhD work, so I’ll try not to heckle that one from the audience.) In addition to the long talks, there is time for short (3 minute) pop-ups, and I’ll probably give one about the urban watershed work with which I’m now involved.
Unlike Anne, I’m at a bit of a loose end on Sunday at the moment, although with so many old colleagues arriving from Europe I’m sure I’ll find something to do. If the weather looks nice, Andrew Alden brought my attention to a little expedition to find a fault, which looks like it’s being organised by my old South African geoblogging pal Christie Rowe (formerly at the Cape).
In the morning, I’m probably going to be browsing posters in session H11G. Measurements and Modeling of Storage Dynamics Across Scales I. In the early afternoon, I’m going to have to decide between talks in C13C. Innovative Modeling and Snowmelt Partitioning in Mountain Environments I (3010 Moscone West) and H13I. Measurements and Modeling of Storage Dynamics Across Scales II (3016 Moscone West). I’m a co-author on a talk in the latter session, so it might be nice to hear the questions from the audience. Later on, I’m hoping to catch some talks in the sessions H14D. Megascale Hydrogeology: The Promise and Challenge of Examining Groundwater Systems at Regional and Continental Scales I (3016 Moscone West) and H14B. From Pores to Catchments: Coupling Hydrologic Concepts and Models Across Multiple Scales II (2002 Moscone West).
It looks like my Monday is going to start off grand and sweeping – just the way I like it- with talks in T11G & T12C. The Wilson Cycle Revisited: From Microplates and Mobile Terranes to Supercontinent Dispersals I & II. I’d also like to browse the posters for GP11A. Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism General Contributions I. In the afternoon, I’ll probably end up browsing the Wilson Cycle session posters before heading for T14B. Subduction Zone Segmentation Over Multiple Earthquake Cycles II
On Tuesday a number of fantastic sessions on groundwater-surface water interactions take off. In the morning there are poster sessions H21B. Groundwater/Surface Water Interactions: Dynamics and Patterns Across Spatial and Temporal Scales I and H21C. Groundwater/Surface Water Interactions: Linking Physical and Biogeochemical Processes in Modeling and Management Frameworks I . There’s also poster sessions H21G. Water Resources Science and Strategies for Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change I and EP21C. Megaflooding: Causes, Processes, and Effects that are liable to draw me in. Somehow, I’ll have to get through all those posters by 10:00, because the latter half of the morning features the must-attend Langbein Lecture by Bill Gray on the topic of “Opportunities for Impacting the Trajectory of Hydrologic Model Development.”
In the afternoon, my various research interests put me in conflict again. There’s session EP24B. The Morphodynamics of Big Rivers: What Do and Don’t We Know? I (308 Moscone South), relevant to some work a graduate student and I are trying to finish up this spring. But at the same time, there’s H24C. Groundwater/Surface Water Interactions: Linking Physical and Biogeochemical Processes in Modeling and Management Frameworks II (2009 Moscone West) with some fantastic talks relevant to other work I’m doing. They are not even in the same building!
There’s not much standing out for me on Tuesday morning at the moment, except for DI22B. Time Variability of the Geomagnetic Field I. Posters for that session are in the early afternoon, and T23C. The Formation and Deformation of the Mediterranean Basins, Continental Margins, and Arcs III also looks interesting. And I’ll finish up the day with GP24A. Frames of Reference for Plate Motion looks to be a great relevance to the project I’m starting here in Chicago, (which is all about global plate reconstructions).
I’m sensing a pattern as, once again, Wednesday morning is likely to find me heading to the poster hall, this time to take in H31D. Groundwater/Surface Water Interactions: Stream Tracers and Techniques I. But I’m going to have to split my time between those posters and more groundwater/stream talks in H31J. Groundwater/Surface Water Interactions: Dynamics and Patterns Across Spatial and Temporal Scales II (3014 Moscone West). Either way, I’ll probably be cognitively primed for my own talk H32C-04. Spatial heterogeneity in isotopic signatures of baseflow in small watersheds: implications for understanding watershed hydrology at 11:05 am in H32C. Groundwater/Surface Water Interactions: Dynamics and Patterns Across Spatial and Temporal Scales III (3014 Moscone West).
In the afternoon, I’ll definitely stop by Chris’s poster and try to catch some talks in H33I. Groundwater Inputs to Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans II (3020 Moscone West) and H34A. Groundwater/Surface Water Interactions: Stream Tracers and Techniques II (3014 Moscone West).
Wednesday morning will probably see me gracing a mix of talks from T31E and T32B. New Advances in Studies of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas I & II, T31F. What Lies Beneath “Stable” Eastern North America I and GP32A. Geomagnetic Secular Variation Determined From Paleomagnetic Observations I. But who knows – maybe I’ll take a brief detour into stream water isotopes instead.
In the afternoon I’ll be manning my poster GP33C-0959: Oman’s low latitude “Snowball Earth” pole revisited: Late Cretaceous remagnetisation of Late Neoproterozoic carbonates in Northern Oman, ready to
confuse awe people with the wonders of paleomagnetism. I don’t have to be there for the full period between 2 and 6, so I may wander through the other posters in my section for a while, as well as the posters for GP33A. Frames of Reference for Plate Motion II. If you want to swing by, give me a tweet!
In the morning, I’ve got a bunch of posters to see, spread across too many sessions to list, and I’m aiming to see some talks in EP42A. Advances in Critical Zone Research: Interactions Among Water, Rock, and Life at Earth’s Surface I (310 Moscone South). In the afternoon, I’ll be participating in the blogging panel (and you can too!), but I’m definitely going to stop by the wonderfully-titled EP43B. Does Size Matter? Does Local Count? The Role of Extrafluvial Events in River and Landscape Evolution Posters.
Thursday morning has proven to be one of the more difficult periods to fix a schedule for, because there are several interesting looking large-scale tectonics sessions, such as T41D. Raising a Plateau From Earthquakes, Basins, and Fold-Thrust Belts I, G42A. Plate Motion and Continental Deformation II and T42B. Lithospheric Structure and Cenozoic Tectonics in East Asia: From Tibetan Plateau to the Marginal Seas I, but I’m also severely tempted to drop in on T41C and T42A Fault Behavior Models: Improved Understanding Using Long Paleoseismic Records II & III, which includes talks on the paleoseismology of the Alpine Fault. There are also a couple of interesting looking poster sessions, including B41B. Drilling Deep Time: Windows Into Earth’s Early Biosphere and T41A. Latest Results From EarthScope’s San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth
Then, in what looks like one of the few occasions when Anne and I will actually be in the same conference room this week, I’ll be sitting on the blogging panel between 2 and 4 pm, although at some point I want to check out some posters in G43A. Plate Motion and Continental Deformation III.
On Friday, I’ll be sad to miss some wonderful geomorphology and hydrology sessions, but I’ll be flying back across the country with a virtual pile of grading on my laptop. When the geomorphologists convene at Berkeley for Gilbert Club on Saturday, I’ll be sitting at my university’s commencement ceremony cheering on our proud seniors (and hopefully not still grading).
Like Anne, I’m unfortunately going to be departing on Friday – although there do look to be several interesting posters in T51B. Great Earthquakes and Active Fault Scientific Drilling and T51D. What Controls Strong Versus Weak Coupling on Subduction Interface Faults?. The latter has some new research on the Hikurangi subduction zone off New Zealand, which was the subject of my PhD thesis research. Maybe I’ll manage a quick browse before I leave for the airport.
So, that’s what our weeks are looking like. Let us know what amazing things we’re missing. And if any readers are attending the conference and giving a talk/poster, feel free to drop the details in the comments – perhaps we’ll get the chance to drop by.