Western State Colorado University Hosts Major Geoscience Conference

Western State Colorado University hosted a meeting of geoscientists from the Rocky Mountain region this spring to celebrate the Geological Society of America’s 125th Anniversary and discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the unique geologic and historic features of the Gunnison Valley and beyond. Topics include hydrogeology, geoscience education, dust and soil, rare-earth elements, and other mineral deposits.

The GSA annual meetings are attended by as many as 500 geologic professionals and students.

“We are excited to host this conference, because it is a chance for Western to showcase its wonderful Geology faculty while bringing hundreds of scientists and students to this great campus,” Western State Colorado University President Dr. Jay Helman says.

The theme for this year’s conference was "Survey to Science," reflecting the long history of geologic investigation in the Gunnison River Valley. It started with the original Haden Survey, which published early geologic and topographic surveys of the area in 1874.

Western geology professor Dr. Timothy Wawrzyniec helped to organize the conference. “These early studies demonstrated the existence of the Colorado Mineral Belt, which is a metal-rich line of ore bodies that extends from Golden to the southwest corner of the state. It includes the Elk and West Elk Ranges of the upper Gunnison Valley,” Dr. Wawrzyniec says. “The reports of mineral deposits drove not only the settlement of the state, but also created a vast mining industry that produced some of the richest gold, silver and base-metal finds in the lower 48 states.”

Western State Colorado University’s Geology program offers students a hands-on education in the expansive Rocky Mountain laboratory of the Gunnison Valley, with extensive opportunities for field work. Thanks to generous support of the Paul M. Rady Family Foundation and W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr., Western has an emphasis in Petroleum Geology, well-equipped laboratories and strong collaborations with the petroleum and mineral industries. The petroleum track within our Geology degree program represents one of only 10 undergraduate petroleum geology programs in the country, and one of two in Colorado.

Learn more about Western's Geology program.

About Western State Colorado University

In Gunnison, Colo., Western is a public university unlike any other in Colorado, and unique nationwide – with the faculty focus and feel of a private college; a commitment to access, excellence and student success; and a strong tie to the land, our local natural resources and our surrounding community. With an enrollment of 2,300 students, Western offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate academic programs, along with unlimited opportunity to shape your identity, customize your education and chart your course for a meaningful life. To learn more, please visit Western.edu. 

About the Geological Society of America

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 9:45am