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Geology and Geography. (Divisional Report).

The Geology and Geography Division met this year in a one-day session with 18 presentations and one poster. There was little time for relaxed conversation. Some of the broader topics discussed were:

(a) Visions of a statewide, high-quality, geographic information system (GIS) available on the Web

The 2003 Legislature passed a law that envisions the development of high-quality, digital, statewide, geographic data. This kind of information will be very useful to government, private sector, education, and citizens. The Mississippi system will integrate with the developing national system. The development of this digital information system will be as fundamental to Mississippi's digital future as literal roads were to our transportation network--each playing a vital role in Mississippi's ability to compete for a quality lifestyle for its citizens through efficient government, a thriving economy, education, recreation, etc. All of the GIS work of the future will be built on this quality foundation. As in all forms of infrastructure development, you need to build a good foundation.

(b) Licensure of geologists

(c) Geologic mapping

Geologists whose work can impact the health, safety, and welfare of the public are required to have professional registration. This law also requires that these professionally qualified geologists be used when geology is involved in the task being performed. Mississippi has an active board of registered professional geologists.

Geologic mapping is important because everything is built on the underlying geology So, it is good to know its predictable influences on human activities such as: (1) construction sites with swelling clays, faults, boulders, or abrasive materials; (2) sanitary landfill site suitability; (3) water resources--recharge areas with susceptibility to contamination, aquitards with enhanced runoff, spring distribution, and water quality characteristics; (4) mineral resource distribution like oil and gas, sand and gravel, commercial clays, limestones, and who knows what in the future. For these reasons and many more, the surface and shallow geology has influenced the historical development, both natural and human, of the state and will continue to have influence in the future--to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Many of the talks focused on site-specific geologic situations such as coastal geology, fossil whale excavations and findings, ground-water management techniques, seismic research, and earthquake research. Do you realize that northwest Mississippi is near the New Madrid Fault Zone? During the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes, church bells were rung in Boston, the Natchez area was shaken, and islands in the Mississippi River disappeared. When the next big earthquake hits near our area, whether in New Madrid or Alabama, our geology will play a major role in the resulting effects (including liquefaction and soil amplification). That is why we need to know our geology and use that knowledge for future development. Our division session was an information-packed day.

We were so delighted to have the Mississippi Geological Society (MGS) sponsor a "Best Student Presentation Award." Seven student papers were given and Jeannie Bryson of Milisaps College won with her paper entitled "An Investigation of the Origin and Extent of a Perched Wetland, Milisaps College, Jackson, Mississippi." With the guidance of Dr. Stan Galicki, Jeannie took a multidisciplinary approach to her defined problem and resolved the study issues. She was an undergraduate who is now pursuing graduate study at the University of Arizona. Dr. Galicki is now inspiring the next class of aspiring geology students to equal levels of success and beyond. The MGS will be sponsoring best paper awards for undergraduate and graduate students at the Biloxi meeting. We greatly appreciate the support of these students and professors by such a fine professional organization as MGS.

We are delighted to announce that the Geology and Geography Division will host a symposium on "climate change as seen in the geologic record" at the Biloxi meeting. The subject matter is of great interest to any who follow the news. Global warming--is it happening? Is the climate supposed to change or have the last 5 to 10 thousand years been the exception to the rule? The subject is fascinating and the amount of research going into it is enormous. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have this fascinating subject presented by nationally and internationally recognized experts Dr. Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. Joan Fitzpatrick of the United States Geological Survey. This will be an opportunity to hear the state of the knowledge presentation on a subject that will affect all our lives. Details of the symposium will be coming in future issues. We hope that professors, students and the public will take this opportunity to hear these distinguished scientists present the story. Hope to see you there.
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Author:Moody, Jack
Publication:Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences
Geographic Code:1U6MS
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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