New discoveries about Tsunamis, Hurricane Coastal & Barrier Island Destruction, Improved Predictive Modeling for Hazardous Earthquakes and Landslides, Inflating Volcanoes in Hawaii, New Geological Observations of Mars will be featured during 2006 AGU
Well-known USGS oceanographer Abby Sallenger from St. Petersburg, Florida; Mars expert Ken Herkenhoff from Flagstaff, Arizona; tsunami specialist Eric Geist from Menlo Park, California, and sub-sea gas hydrate expert Tim Collett from Denver, Colorado, will participate in four press conferences now scheduled during the week.
On Monday, December 11 at 4:00 p.m. PST, Tim Collett will join colleagues on the topic of shallow gas hydrates on the seafloor and their climate impact. Abby Sallenger will be talking on Tuesday, December 12 at 11: a.m., about dramatically changing coastlines and barrier islands, their response to storm events, the human toll from these impacts particularly in view of predictions of elevated sea level rise.
Ken Herkenhoff, co-investigator of the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will discuss his geologic observations at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13.
Eric Geist will offer his analysis of the variability between earthquake size and tsunami run-ups in a news conference about the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami and what has been learned in the two years since it occurred, and it implications for future large ocean earthquakes off the Pacific Northwest. This press conference will be Thursday, December 14, at 11:00 a.m.
Paul Okubo will join colleagues to discuss the M6.7 Kiholo Bay and M6.0 Mahukona, Hawaii, earthquakes that shook the Hawaiian Islands on Friday, October 15, 2006. These quakes resulted in Hawaii's greatest recorded losses associated with earthquakes, and significantly contributed to understanding Hawaii's State-wide seismic hazard risk. The press conference will be held on Friday, December 15, at 10:00 a.m.
All AGU press conferences will be held in MCS 232. Reporters not attending the conference can participate by telephone. Details on how to access the AGU press conferences are available on the Internet at www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0641.html.
Monday, December 11
Geoinformatics: How can a global, multi-disciplinary, integrated, digital approach called "geoinformatics" advance earth and planetary sciences? USGS Chief Scientist for Geology Linda Gundersen will kick-off an exciting new global partnership vision to share the science knowledge of earth and planetary sciences. It involves a broad, shared, digital infrastructure available to scientists, educators, and students globally on the Web "grid." It will provide known tools and data, and future that access data from earth science specialties including geology, hydrology, seismology, atmospheric sciences. The Geoinformatics global partnership provides the next generation of study and discovery of the earth system and other planets through advanced information technologies. Challenges are many, but shared benefits will push forward our understanding of the universe. Envisioning the Future of Earth Science Data and Knowledge Access Through Broad Geoinformatics Collaboration; Town Hall Meeting in the Marriott Hotel, Salon 7 at 6:30 p.m. MONDAY, December 11.
Tuesday, December 12
Climate Change in Alaska
Changing Conditions in the Yukon River Basin: The USGS Alaska Science Center is conducting extensive research in the Yukon River Basin. This vast watershed spans the state and encompasses diverse Arctic and sub-Arctic ecosystems. Scientists are focusing on rapidly changing conditions in land cover and fires, fish and wildlife populations, and the hydrologic cycle. Studies suggest that recent fire size and frequency is outpacing forestry replenishment. Landsat imagery is used to analyze historical and existing landscape cover, the effects of fire and climate change on lake drying, and to define fire burn boundaries controlling important caribou foraging areas. Streamflow statistics show earlier ice breakup and earlier peak flows resulting from warmer temperatures causing increased melting of snow and glaciers. Changes in habitat and salmon reproduction at spawning sites are being examined to determine conditions critical to reproduction. The Yukon River delta is an internationally important breeding area for many waterfowl, and long-term studies of waterfowl indicate shifts in breeding habits, likely directly or indirectly linked to changing climate conditions. Changing Conditions In The Yukon River Basin, Alaska: Biological, Geographical, And Hydrological Research Of The U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center; by Timothy Brabets, Session B21C-1036 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. TUESDAY, December 12.
Southeastern Alaska Watersheds Signal Changing Climate Conditions: Southeastern Alaska is experiencing extremely high rates of glacial ice loss from erosion and the calving retreat of tidewater and lacustrine glaciers. These declines cause increased river discharge and contribute to global sea level rise and local effects on coastal villages and ecosystems. Recent discharge records from watersheds n southeast Alaska show that glacial watersheds had higher summer flows than winter, spring, and fall, while non-glacial watershed had higher flows in winter. Discharge patterns appear consistent with more rainfall and higher temperatures in summer and decreased snowfall during winter in coastal watersheds,and inland winter temperature shifts in larger watersheds with higher elevation headwaters. These study results provide a template of how watersheds in southeast Alaska are shifting in annual and seasonal river discharge in response to a changing climate, where temperature has increased 1.5 degrees C since the mid-20th century. Recent Changes in the Magnitude and Timing of Discharge in Glacial and Non-Glacial Watersheds in Southeastern Alaska; by Chris Arp, Session B21C-1032 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. TUESDAY, December 12.
Carbon and Nitrogen Export from the Yukon River Basin: Studies of the Yukon River Basin indicate changes in the relationship of Dissolved Carbon and Nitrogen for different periods of stream flow. The amount of Nitrogen and Carbon present in stream flow has decreased during summer and autumn. This reduction of organic matter could be a result of increased snow and glacier melting, drying of wetlands and increased ground water discharge throughout the basin. The reduction could result in decreased Carbon to the Bering Sea, and Artic Ocean. Carbon and Nitrogen Export from the Yukon River Basin; by Rob Striegl, Session B21C-1043 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. TUESDAY, December 12.
More Alaska Analysis of Climate Change on Wednesday:
Rates and Effects of Climate Warming and Permafrost Thawing in the Yukon River Basin: Permafrost that has been frozen for up to 10,000 years has begun to thaw in many regions of the Boreal Forest, making large quantities of carbon stored in ancient, frozen organic materials available for release into new environments. The magnitude of the consequences, such as accelerating greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere or changes in the nutrient balance of the coastal ocean, is largely unknown. The USGS and the US Forest Service are leading a US-Canadian consortium of scientists in implementing a strategy for understanding and tracking these changes in Arctic and Sub-Arctic landscapes across the Yukon River Basin. Rates and Effects of Climate Warming and Permafrost Thawing in the Yukon River Basin: The Yukon Climate Effects Assessment and Monitoring Network; by Peter Murdoch, Poster Session B21C-1031 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. TUESDAY, December 12.
Using Repeat Photography in Geoscience Education to Build a More Informed Citizenry: One way to show climate change is simple visual evidence of how Alaskan landscapes are responding to a well documented multi-decadal increase in temperature. Historical photographs, some made as much as 120 years ago, were located and sites where the photographs were taken were re-photographed. Resulting image pairs document significant trends, although show evidence of response at different rates and in different ways. Using Repeat Photography in Geoscience Education to Build a More Informed Citizenry; by Bruce Molnia, Poster Session ED31A-1367 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. WEDNESDAY, December 13.
Other interesting Science on Tuesday:
Maps of Giant Marine Sand Waves at Golden Gate: A field of giant sand waves, among the largest in the world, was recently documented by USGS scientists during a high-resolution multibeam survey in the open coastal region of the Golden Gate at the mouth of San Francisco Bay. This massive area of approximately 4 km, in water depths ranging from 30 to 100 m, features over 40 distinct sand waves aligned transverse to the dominant tidal currents, with wavelengths and heights that measure up to 220 m and 10 m respectively. Sand wave crests can be traced continuously for up to 2 km across the mouth of this dynamic tidal inlet, where tidal currents through the Golden Gate exceed 2.5 m per second during peak ebb flows. Sand waves are active and dynamic features that move in response to tidally generated currents. Calculations based upon studies of these features will lead to a better understanding of sediment transport pathways and rates of transport, important for coastal managers who direct dredging operations and for assessing the overall settlement budget for the San Francisco Bay system. USGS scientists will be discussing the shape and dynamics of these giant features and explaining their relationship to tidal forcing with dramatically colored imagery portraying the dimensions of the sand wave field. Massive Bedforms and their Movement Mapped at the Mouth of San Francisco Bay using Multibeam Sonar; by Patrick Barnard, Session NS22A-01 in MCS 220 at 10:20 a.m. TUESDAY, December 12.
Blazing a Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park–Managing Nitrogen’s Impact: Nitrogen is having an effect on one of our beloved national parks. The results of 25 years of research in the Loche Vale watershed in Rocky Mountain National Park have shown nitrogen is creating changes in soils, vegetation, and surface-water chemistry. Sources of the nitrogen may include power production, industry, and the transportation sector as well as agricultural emissions from crop and livestock production. This presentation will talk about the steps being taken to better understand nitrogen deposition. Blazing a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park: Application of monitoring and research on nitrogen deposition to air and water quality policy; by Donald Campbell, Session B23F-08 in MCS 256 at 3:25 p.m. TUESDAY, December 12.
Get the Inside look with InSAR Imagery! This presentation summarizes the progress on exploring InSAR imagery from the Alaska Satellite Facility, which studies active volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, land subsidence, and water-level changes over swamp forests. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) is a remote sensing technology that is capable of measuring surface deformation with precision and spatial resolution over a relatively large region. The results demonstrate that InSAR can improve our understanding of many geophysical, geological, and hydrological processes. Study volcanic, earthquake, landslide, and hydrological processes with InSAR images from Alaska Satellite Facility; by Zhong Lu, Session H24C-03 in MCS 306 at 4:40 p.m. TUESDAY, December 12.
Wednesday, December 13
Hurricanes, storms, climate change and coastal response:
Hindcasting the Coastal Impact of Hurricane Ivan and Assessing Future Vulnerability to Storms: The potential impact of a hurricane's landfall on a barrier island beach can be predicted using a model that compares the relative elevations of foreshore dunes and storm-induced water levels, including both storm surge and wave runup. To provide a more detailed assessment of the impact of future storms, the authors hindcast the impact of Hurricane Ivan's September 19, 2004 landfall along a stretch of beach on the western panhandle of Florida. Storm surge and wave conditions during the hurricane were modeled, and comparisons of pre-storm beach morphology with post-storm surveys of the beach quantified hurricane-induced coastal change. This presentation will define the predictive accuracy of the model and refine its ability to assess the vulnerability of barrier islands to extreme coastal change during hurricanes. Hindcasting the Coastal Impact of Hurricane Ivan and Assessing Future Vulnerability to Storms; by Hilary Stockdon, Session H31I-02 in MCW 3002 at 8:15 a.m. WEDNESDAY, December 13.
Barrier Island Failure During Hurricane Katrina: The Chandeleur Islands off Louisiana’s coast approached complete failure, during Hurricane Katrina, losing 84% of their surface area. Their Gulf of Mexico shorelines were pushed landward an average of 240 yards, the largest retreat ever reported for a storm, and their peak elevation was reduced by more than half. The response of these islands provides a warning of how the world's barrier islands might respond to storm-surge inundation if predictions of accelerated global sea level rise prove accurate. Barrier Island Failure During Hurricane Katrina; by Abby Sallenger, Session H31I-03 in MCW 3002 at 8:30 a.m. WEDNESDAY, December 13.
Other interesting Science on Wednesday:
What’s Shaking on Your End of the World? A new global seismicity map will be presented that shows locations, depth and magnitude of earthquake activity from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. This map provides the best global catalog of uniformly processed earthquakes to date. The new map is valuable as a tool that highlights the distribution of the largest, instrumentally-recorded earthquakes, provides a dataset of larger magnitude earthquake locations, and illustrates extent of rupture for the largest earthquakes since 1900 – all in the context of global plate tectonics. A Century of Earthquakes: A New Global Seismicity Map; by Arthur Tarr, Poster Session S31B-0196 in MCW Level 1 at 8:00 a.m. WEDNESDAY, December 13.
Ash-fall from Volcanoes: USGS scientists from Cascades Volcano Observatory and Alaska Volcano Observatory discuss their experiences and methods to ensure public safety during recent eruption events at Mount St. Helens and Augustine. At Cascades Volcano Observatory, scientists are piloting a method of forecasting ash-fall event from Mount St. Helens and issuing daily forecasts. However, the rarity of ash-fall events in the United States has contributed to a lack of standardized public warning systems and guidance from federal agencies. At the same time, the re-routing of jet aircraft, potential school closures and disruption of local economies make this an important topic. Communicating Ash-Fall Hazards with Scenario Maps of Mount St. Helens; by John Ewert, and Communicating Ash-Fall Hazards: A proposed Scheme to Streamline Ash-Fall Warning Messages based on recent activity at Augustine Volcano; by Christina Neal, Poster Session V33B-0567 & V33B-0569 in MCW Level 1 at 1:40 p.m. WEDNESDAY, December 13.
Thursday and Friday, December 14-15
Hawaiian Volcanoes and Earthquakes: the impact of recent events
Recent Inflation of Kilauea Volcano: Over the last three years, geodetic monitoring networks and satellite observations have recorded substantial inflation of Kilauea's magma system, while the Pu'u 'O'o eruption is ongoing. Combined with doubling of carbon dioxide emission rates at the summit during this period, these observations indicate that the magma supply rate to the volcano has increased. Since late 2003, the summit area has risen over 20 cm, and a 2.5 km-long GPS baseline across the summit area has extended almost half a meter. Other evidence shows that areas of uplift shifting around the caldera, together with variable inflation rates and accelerated rates of extension and uplift noted in early 2005 and 2006 were also associated with increased seismicity. This year, the rate of earthquakes extending from the summit into the southwest rift zone at least quadrupled. Interestingly, eruption volumes have not decreased and gas emission measurements indicate increased outflow, with average sulfur dioxide emissions from the eruption site having almost doubled in 2005. While the current eruption is apparently taking up some of the increased supply, at least intermittently, the magma system to Pu'u 'O'o is not capable of sustaining transport of the entire volume; as a result, both the summit area and rift zones are being pressurized. Recent Inflation of Kilauea Volcano; by Asta Miklius, Session G43C-01 in MCW 3018 at 1:40 p.m. THURSDAY, December 14.
Special Session–The October 15, 2006 Magnitude 6.7 Kiholo Bay and Mahukona Earthquake Sequence, Hawaii: A special session highlights the October 15, 2006 magnitude 6.7 Kiholo Bay and magnitude-6.0 Mahukona, Hawaii earthquake sequence. The latest scientific findings related to these events indicate Pacific Plate flexure and geochemical effects of ascending CO2 that embrittles the Pacific-Plate mantle. Although the main earthquake was located offshore of Kiholo Bay, reports indicate the strongest ground shaking intensity was felt in North Kohala, 27 miles north. Scientists have assigned Modified Mercalli Intensity level of VIII to locations where ground shaking was most intense. The most severe ground shaking includes portions of North Kohala and Waimea, where deep soils are prevalent enough to magnify effects and cause noticeable structural failures, such as loose bricks from buildings, falling plaster, and collapse of an abandoned mill smokestack. The estimation of damage could exceed $200 million. Scientists will also be conducting poster sessions describing continuous deformation and response of the Big Island, as well as strong motion recordings of the earthquake sequence, and deformation observed from GPS and radar interferometry Session S53E in MCW 3018 at 1:40 p.m. Poster Session S51F in MCW Level 2 beginning at 8:00 a.m. FRIDAY, December 15.
Other Interesting Science on Thursday:
Using Google Maps to Access USGS Volcano Hazards Information: Volcano Hazard Program scientists are revising information architecture in their website to provide data I in a geospatial context for emergency managers, educators, landowners in volcanic areas, researchers, and the general public. Providing a map-based interface for displaying hazard information offers a view of volcanic activity and an ability to quickly ascertain where hazards occur in relation to major population and infrastructure centers. The new map provides more information about volcanoes in their global context, while making a variety of visualization options available and flexible. USGS scientists are currently using Google Map, due to accessibility.. Clicking on a particular volcano will provide users with information about images, conditions, linking information from USGS Volcano Observatories, the Smithsonian Institution, and partnering universities. Using Google Maps to Access USGS Volcano Hazards Information; by Dina Venezky, Session IN43A-0901 in MCW Level 2 at 1:40 p.m. THURSDAY, December 14.
USGS Science for Restoring Puget Sound Ecosystems: Historic land-use and population expansion throughout Puget Sound have prompted the search for effective restoration strategies to recover salmon, as well as other endangered species and threatened habitats. The dramatic reduction of salmon and the diminished critical habitat in delta regions is of great concern. Delta habitats have been substantially reduced since the 1850s and are now subject to new environmental changes associated with land-use practices, wetland restoration, and regional climate change. The USGS Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound Project is integrating geologic, biologic, hydrologic, and socioeconomic information to quantify changes in the distribution and function of delta and estuarine nearshore habitats to better predict possible future directions. Geophysical, biologic, geochemical, remote sensing, and modeling techniques are used to determine large-scale coastal and land-use change, and how alteration of various processes influence the dynamics of sediment transport, estuarine mixing, habitat use and function of nearshore environments. GIS techniques to estimate land-use impacts and to provide decision-support tools for effective restoration strategies. Estuarine science and decision-support tools to restore Puget Sound delta and estuarine ecosystems: The Skagit River Delta; by Eric Grossman, Session H41C-0428 in MCW Level 1 at 8:00 a.m. THURSDAY, December 14.
Anatomy of the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: In the Fall of 2005, scientists drilled more than a mile into one of the largest and most well-preserved impact structures yet discovered on Earth. Still, they may not have reached the bottom of the crater, according to findings from seismic and other geophysical surveys. Evidence suggests that the crater moat may be more than 2 miles deep. So, when a 2-mile wide piece of rock slammed into Earth at hypersonic speed 35 million years ago, it may have dislodged material to a depth of 2.0 miles and fractured basement rocks to far greater depths. Anatomy of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure from seismic, geophysical, and borehole data along the Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia; by Rufus Catchings, Session S43D-06 in MCW 3007 at 2:55 p.m. THURSDAY, December 14.
Friday, December 15
Earthquakes, Landslides, Volcanoes and Hotspots
San Francisco Bay Area Ground Motion from Large San Andreas Fault Earthquakes: 3-D simulations of earthquake ruptures are used to characterize the expected strong ground motions in San Francisco Bay urban areas from large earthquakes on the San Andreas fault. The modeled earthquakes, using the USGS 3-D geologic model and corresponding velocity model were based on a 1906 magnitude 7.9 San Francisco earthquake, and include variations in the earthquake location, fault slip distributions, and ground rupture speeds. Simulations suggest that much of the currently urbanized area around San Francisco Bay could be subjected to stronger ground motions during the next large earthquake on the San Andreas fault. Various earthquake scenarios demonstrate that intense ground shaking could be significantly stronger than 1906, and will occur in filled sedimentary basins, such as the Cupertino and Santa Rosa areas, because of the geology and configuration of these basins. Results from these models show that variations in ground rupture directivity and fault slip have a strong influence on distribution of ground shaking in areas having a complex geologic structure. The USGS 3D Seismic Velocity Model for Northern California; by Tom Brocher, Session S51B-1266 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. FRIDAY December 15.
Regional Studies of Yellowstone Hotspot Provide Clues for Proposed Scientific Drilling: USGS scientists discuss the regional geophysical setting of the Yellowstone Hotspot Track along the Snake River Plain and surrounding regions in support of a proposed scientific drilling program for one of the world's youngest, best preserved intra-continental hotspots. Geophysical studies play an important role in all aspects of the proposed drilling activities including site selection, measuring rock properties during drilling, and long-term monitoring suggested for one of the drill holes. Existing geophysical data, rock property measurements, and geologic maps and boreholes can assess specific targets for drilling. Features of suggested Snake River Plain volcanism that may indicate upwelling of mantle material or caldera rims suggest possible scientific drilling sites and further detailed geophysical surveys that identify suitable locations. Regional geophysical setting of the Yellowstone Hotspot track along the Snake River Plain, Idaho, USA; by Jonathan Glen, Session V51D-1698 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. FRIDAY December 15.
New 3-D Northern California Geologic Map Provides a Foundation for Earthquake Simulations and Other Predictive Modeling: Detailed, realistic models of subsurface geology are needed to predict damage from future earthquakes and the means to simulate conditions that might affect human safety and well-being. Older, more simplistic geologic models are no longer deemed to be adequate. USGS scientists have constructed a three-dimensional geologic map of northern California consisting of specific geologic units separated by discrete boundaries. The map is based on a century of surficial geologic mapping, fifty years of geophysical measurements and surveying, data from well logs, and provides a model that can be easily updated. Successful simulations of ground shaking from the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, based on this 3-D map, specifically highlighted the role of sedimentary basins in amplifying and prolonging ground shaking, and more generally illustrate the benefits of a "geologic" approach for producing realistic earth models to support predictive process modeling. Three-Dimensional Geologic Map of Northern California: A Foundation for Earthquake Simulations and Other Predictive Modeling; by Robert Jachens, Session S51B-1265 in MCW Level 2 at 8:00 a.m. FRIDAY December 15.A Closer Look at Landslides: Forecasting the location and time of a possible fast-moving landslide, or debris flow, allows time to assess the hazards of the area. Many destructive debris flows begin as shallow landslides induced by intense rainfall and storm runoff. Using models and real-time monitoring of rainfall into unsaturated hillside materials can provide useful insights into forecasting where and when a rainfall-induced landslide may occur. Unsaturated Zone Effects in Predicting Landslide and Debris-Flow Initiation; by Rex Baum, Session H54B-03 in MCW 3003 at 4:35 p.m. FRIDAY December 15.
USGS Science Schedule for AGU
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