December 14, 2010

A Geology Conference in an Earthquake Zone

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Hotel Earthquake Evacuation Guide, San Francisco, December 2010.

After a long day of travel yesterday, I arrived in San Francisco for the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Conference. The conference is held here in San Francisco every year. This is my first time at AGU. I’m very excited to be here, if a little overwhelmed by all of the people! I have to wonder a little, though, about the choice of conference venue. San Francisco, as the above “Earthquake Procedures” emergency evacuation guide I found in my hotel room reminds me, is located along the San Andreas fault and is prone to Earthquakes.  Sure, there hasn’t been a major earthquake (as far as I know) during this or previous AGU conferences, but it’s only a matter of time. Hopefully, during this (and subsequent) AGU meetings there won’t be a repeat of the great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Perhaps AGU should consider moving their fall conference to a more geologically stable interior region- Kansas, for instance. Though I guess then you’d have to worry about tornadoes. And perhaps it wouldn’t be quite as scenic.

I’ve had a great conference so far- I spent the day meeting with colleagues and attending a session on geological carbon sequestration. I also visited the vendor’s hall and visited the life-size mock-up sphere of the Alvin deep-sea submersible, which was transported by truck from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), my home base of operations. Be sure to stop by and visit the sphere- you can also enter a raffle to win a real Alvin porthole! WHOI, by the way, is an oceanographic institution located on ephemeral glacial till that will likely be underwater in the near future due to sea level rise…

Me and the Alvin Sphere Mock-Up, San Francisco, December 2010.

Okay, off to explore San Francisco a little! Hope to see some of you tonight at the AGU Movie Event!