Short Courses


Can I take a short course if I am not registered for the meeting?
YES! You’re welcome to—just add the meeting nonregistrant fee (US$40 by 18 Sept.) to your course enrollment cost. Should you then decide to attend the meeting, your payment will be applied toward meeting registration.

GSA K–12 teacher members: You are welcome to take short courses without registering for the meeting or paying the nonregistrant fee.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs): Most professional development courses and workshops offer CEUs. One CEU comprises 10 hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction. [more]

Short courses are open to everyone. Register now before they are full.

Friday Courses

Click on title for abstract and details.

Cost: US$158. Limit: 15. CEU: 0.6.
Instructors: Tom Martlev Pallesen, I•GIS; Lucia Maria Petersen, I•GIS.
Cosponsor: I•GIS.

Abstract: The course focuses on the process of creating a 3D hydrogeological layer model, from data to final model. We will discuss considerations in the modeling process, using different kinds of data (e.g. wells, geophysics, and chemical data). Participants will learn through a combination of presentations and "hands-on" work in the GeoScene3D software. The course will cover topics as: Modeling workflow, importing and visualizing data, including AEM-data, wells, logs, etc. Participants will be given hands-on experience in 3D geological modeling, make 3D visualizations of model and data and use the final 3D model for creating isopach maps, aquifer specific potentiometric maps and exporting the model for further processing in other software. The course is aimed at people working with geology and groundwater. Focus is the geological model.

Cost: US$82. Limit: 24. CEU: 0.8.
Instructors: Marianne Okal, UNAVCO; Christopher Crosby, UNAVCO.
Cosponsor: UNAVCO.

Abstract: This one-day course will provide faculty, students, and professionals with an introduction to Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS—a.k.a., ground-based LiDAR) for research and education. TLS provides high-resolution three-dimensional images of geologic features and has emerged as a powerful tool for applications ranging from outcrop mapping to analysis of earth-surface processes. The course will focus on TLS technology, data collection, processing and analysis, and examples of science and educational applications. A combination of lectures and hands-on demonstrations of TLS equipment and data processing will be used. Limited financial support is available for students (see the UNAVCO Short Course Series page). This course can be taken alone or together with "High Resolution Topography and 3D Imaging II: Introduction to Structure from Motion (SfM) Photogrammetry" (course #513) for an introduction to 3D imaging technology that compliments TLS.


Friday-Saturday Courses

Click on title for abstract and details.

Cost: $US55. Limit: 55. CEUs: 1.6.
Instructors: Morgan Sullivan, Chevron; Bret Dixon, Anadarko; Tonya Brami, ExxonMobil.
Cosponsors: Chevron; Anadarko; ExxonMobil.

Abstract: This two-day short course is designed to teach graduate students the principles, concepts, and methods of sequence stratigraphy. Sequence stratigraphy is a methodology that uses stratal surfaces to subdivide the stratigraphic record. This methodology allows the identification of coeval facies, documents the time-transgressive nature of classic lithostratigraphic units, and provides geoscientists with an additional way to analyze and subdivide the stratigraphic record. Using exercises that utilize outcrop, core, well-log, and seismic data, the course provides hands-on experience. The exercises include classic case studies from which many sequence stratigraphic concepts were originally developed.

Cost: US$55. Limit: 30. CEUs: 1.6.
Instructors: Bob Stewart, ExxonMobil Exploration Co.; Tonya Brami, ExxonMobil Exploration Co.
Cosponsors: ExxonMobil Exploration Co.; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.

Abstract: This course will explore the concepts, methods, and tools of petroleum geoscience used on a day-to-day basis in the energy industry. We will focus on how we make decisions with limited information, evaluate risk vs. uncertainty, and maximize value from integrated teams. Day 1 reviews fundamental stratigraphic and structural concepts. Day 2 is an applied problem in basin exploration. Students will make play maps, bid on prospective acreage, and analyze individual prospects within that acreage. Throughout the course, we will stress integration across disciplines and scales, focusing on interaction and expression of basin formation, fill, and evolution processes from regional to prospect scale.

Cost: US$150. Limit: 30. CEUs: 1.6.
Instructors: Wendy Bohrson, Central Washington Univ.; Frank Spera, Univ. of California Santa Barbara; Jussi Heinonen, Univ. of Helsinki; Guy Brown, Rocking Hoarse Professional Services.
Cosponsor: GSA Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division.

Abstract: The Magma Chamber Simulator is an energy- and mass-constrained computer code (Bohrson et al., 2014) that simultaneously models recharge/magma mixing, crustal assimilation and crystal fractionation (RAFC). The first day of this workshop will involve participants doing hands-on exercises that will familiarize them with running the Magma Chamber Simulator (input, steps to run code) and archiving and effectively utilizing output. The second day will involve modeling specific scenarios (e.g., RAFC, AFC, RFC) so participants can develop an understanding of how to effectively model RAFC using their own data or data provided by conveners. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome!

Cost: US$55. Limit: 14. CEUs: 1.6.
Instructors: Kevin Bohacs, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company; Greer Barriault, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company.
Cosponsor: ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company.

Abstract: Participants will acquire and practice strategies and tactics to prepare for and lead safe and effective field activities. The first day of this fully interactive course covers injuries and illnesses that occur commonly during field activities, why accidents occur (human factors analysis), a first-aid review, and the field safety process in normal operations and emergency response through scenario analysis, problem solving, and role play. Participants will also practice using field safety training materials and modules designed for field camp students and suitable for use in field methods classes. On the second day, participant teams will take turns leading a model field day at a site near Seattle, including briefings, driving, hiking, risk assessment, intervening for safety, safety equipment use, and emergency response drills. Participants will receive copies of the “Field Safety in Uncontrolled Environments” textbook, field-safety notebook, and training modules. (Although not required, previous participants have suggested that having wilderness first aid or equivalent training will enhance the course experience. This course is not intended to compete with any commercially available first aid training. The participants will not receive any level of first-aid certification [and it is not linked to the American Red Cross digital certification system]).

Cost: Professionals: US$165 (1 spot left); Students: US$25 (FULL). Limit: 40. CEUs: 1.2.
Instructors: Matthew Kohn, Boise State Univ.; Martin Engi, Univ. of Bern; Pierre Lanari, Univ. of Bern.
Cosponsors: Cameca; ESI; SELFRAG; Geochemical Society; National Science Foundation.

Abstract: Petrochronology has emerged in the last decade as a preferred approach to geochronology, essentially using chemistry and/or textures to integrate ages in a petrogenetic context of individual crystals or crystal domains. Examples include the use of crystal domain-specific trace element patterns or thermometers in minerals like zircon, garnet, feldspar, etc. to link an age to an overall P-T-t path or evolution of a magma. Petrochronology 2017 will review petrochronologic methods, both conceptual and analytical, and illustrate how accessory and major minerals may be used to understand igneous and metamorphic processes. A Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry volume will be provided to all participants. Limited financial support is available for students (see the petrochronology web page).


Saturday Courses

Click on title for abstract and details.

Cost: US$160. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.8.
Instructors: Erkan Istanbulluoglu, Christina Bandaragoda, Sai Nudurupati, Amanda Manaster; Civil and Env. Engineering, Univ. of Washington;
Cosponsor: National Science Foundation.

Abstract: Landlab is a python-based modeling environment for building numerical models of earth surface processes ( This day-long short course will introduce Landlab and provide hands-on experience to participants with the aim that they will be able to use Landlab in teaching and research upon completing the course. First, we will use Landlab as a watershed analysis tool for hydrologic and geomorphic fluxes. Second, existing coupled models will be introduced and explored, including models for whole landscape evolution, ecohydrology, sediment transport, landslide risk, and flood routing. Participants will run Landlab on their laptops or on CUAHSI’s HydroShare ( using a web browser.

Cost: US$60. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.75.
Instructor: Doug Walker, Univ. of Kansas.
Cosponsors: GSA Geoinformatics Division; GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division.

Abstract: The StraboSpot Data System is designed to help structural geologists collect data in the field and to integrate field data with laboratory measurements. StraboSpot is designed to give users the ability to integrate images seamlessly into the database and to flexibly attribute field data. We developed the application and supporting vocabulary through extensive interactions with the structural geology community. The aim of the short course is to introduce new users to StraboSpot and help them design and build projects for both research and teaching. The system can be viewed at

Cost: US$110. Limit: 25. CEUs: 0.8.
Instructor: Greg Johnston, Sensors & Software Inc.
Cosponsor: Sensors & Software Inc.

Abstract: Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a non-invasive subsurface exploration tool used in near-surface geology (<100 meters), geotechnical and environmental surveys, mine safety, forensics, archaeology, utility location, concrete inspection, snow depth measurements, and glaciology. This course will introduce the principles of GPR instrumentation; discuss survey design; provide hands-on data acquisition with a GPR system; and explore data interpretation (including common pitfalls), data processing, and data visualization. No prerequisites are required. Students will receive a USB stick with PDF copies of the course notes and a GPR textbook written by Dr. Peter Annan, the founder and CEO of Sensors & Software. Students need to come prepared to work for 2–3 hours outside and, if interested, bring a fully charged PC-based laptop for the data processing portion of the course. The laptop should have Google Earth installed, if possible.

Cost: US$70. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.7.
Instructors: Norlene Emerson, Univ. of Wisconsin-Richland; Eric Baer, Highline College.
Cosponsors: National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT); Geo2YC Division of NAGT; GSA Education Division.

Abstract: This short course, offered by SAGE 2YC (Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education in Two-Year College) will focus on selected strategies that support the success of all students within the geosciences. Session topics include building students’ science identify, helping students learn to learn (metacognition strategies), evidence-based active learning techniques in face-to-face and online settings, and supporting pathways into the geosciences by infusing career information into your courses and program and supporting transfer as a geoscience major to a four-year program. The short course will include structured activities, presentations, group discussions, and time for reflection and action planning.

Cost: US$82. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.8.
Instructors: Edwin Nissen, Colorado School of Mines; Ramon Arrowsmith, Arizona State Univ.; Christopher Crosby, UNAVCO.
Cosponsor: UNAVCO Open-Topography.

Abstract: Structure from Motion (SfM), a photogrammetric technique that uses overlapping images to construct 3D surface models, is quickly emerging as a valuable research and education tool in geodesy, geomorphology, structural geology, and related disciplines. Images can be collected with a standard consumer-grade camera, making SfM a low-cost tool that compliments other 3D imaging technologies, such as terrestrial and airborne laser scanning (LiDAR). SfM can be collected from a hand-held camera or an airborne platform such as an aircraft, tethered balloon, kite, or UAS (unmanned aerial system), enabling 3D imaging of features ranging in size from decimeters to several kilometers. This one-day course will provide faculty, students, and professionals with an introduction to SfM technology, data collection and processing, and examples of science and educational applications. A combination of lectures and hands-on demonstrations of SfM equipment and data processing will be used. This course can be taken alone, or together with "High Resolution Topography and 3D Imaging II: Introduction to Terrestrial Laser Scanning" (course #502) for an introduction to 3D imaging technology that compliments SfM.

Cost: US$130. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.8.
Instructors: K. Leo Pullin, Consultant; Matthew Andrew, Carl Zeiss X-Ray Microscopy; Sreenivas Bhattiprolu, Carl Zeiss X-Ray Microscopy.
Cosponsor: Zeiss Raw Materials.

Abstract: Geological samples present unique challenges for microscopic imaging and analysis. This one-day course for faculty, students, and professional geoscientists focuses on the usage and application of advanced instrumentation for high-resolution and correlative imaging and characterization of geological materials. We cover sample preparation, methods selection, calibration and standards, instrument performance, and the correlation of data from multiple different methods including light, X-ray, electron and charged ion microscopy in 2D, 3D, and 4D, as well as EDS, Raman spectroscopy, and other analytical techniques.

Cost: US$55. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.8.
Instructors: Chris Goldfinger, Oregon State Univ.; Randy Enkin, Geological Survey of Canada; Audrey Dallimore, Geological Survey of Canada; Jason Patton, Humboldt State Univ.

Abstract: Subaqueous paleoseismology is an emerging field that has the potential to reveal long-term earthquake histories, temporal and spatial patterns of rupture, and relative magnitudes and intensities. The methods require proficiency in a variety of subspecialties, including radiometric and relative dating, age modeling, marine geology, sediment transport, seismic reflection, geomorphology, subsurface log analysis, sedimentology, core logging geophysics, slope stability, and turbidity current dynamics. This one-day short course will touch on the basics of these components, covering some of the specialized methods that have been developed recently, and the application of the results to paleoseismic problems.

Cost: US$80. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.7.
Instructors: George Gehrels, Univ. of Arizona; John Valley, Univ. of Wisconsin.

Abstract: Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals and applications of U-Th-Pb geochronology, O and Hf isotope geochemistry, and trace element geochemistry, especially as applied to detrital minerals. The course is ideal for faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students who are interested in learning more about these methods and how they can be applied to studies of provenance and source terrane characterization. Course content will cover the basics of each method and also explore applications that emphasize integration of information from various methods. Material will be presented in lecture/discussion format, as well as with examples from real data sets.

Cost: US$80. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.4.
Instructors: Paul Klipfel, Mineral Resource Services Inc.; Heather Houlton, American Geosciences Institute.
Cosponsor: American Geosciences Institute.

Abstract: This course will expose participants to a variety of different geoscience professions and discuss the key skills and competencies employers look for when hiring early career geoscientists. Ideal for students and faculty, we will learn about careers in industries such as environmental consulting, oil, gas, and mineral exploration and extraction, hazard mitigation and health and safety, water resource management, and big data. Experts and course facilitators will design activities specifically to practice important skills needed in these professions. Using a mixture of presentations, group-discussions, and hands-on activities, participants will receive practical knowledge about the work-functions of geoscience occupations.

Cost: US$159. Limit: 40. CEUs: 0.4.
Instructors: Amy Myrbo, Univ. of Minnesota; Avery Shinneman, Univ. of Washington–Bothell; Shane Loeffler, Univ. of Minnesota.
Cosponsors: GSA Geoinformatics Division; GSA Geoscience Education Division; GSA Limnogeology Division.

Abstract: Field experiences are an integral, formative part of a geoscience education. However, logistical barriers often make field trips difficult to include in undergraduate geoscience classes. This course will demonstrate using the free, NSF-funded “Flyover Country” app to design self-guided field trips that students can take on their own schedules. Participants will learn about the app, then experience an app-led group field trip near the convention center. Afterward, we will debrief the experience and discuss successes, modifications, and lessons learned. Participants will then have a hands-on tutorial on adding their own field trip content to the app database.

Cost: US$60. Limit: 25. CEUs: 0.8.
Instructor: Noah McLean, Univ. of Kansas.
Cosponsors: GSA Geoinformatics Division; GSA Structural Geology & Tectonics.

Abstract: The ability to archive, compile, and download geologic data in databases allows researchers to quickly access, utilize, and interpret datasets, enabling a new generation of earth science questions to be posed and answered. The Geochron database allows users to publicly or privately upload both measured data and important metadata for geochronology and thermochronology studies, ensuring the data is immediately useful for active collaborations and interpretable in the future as calculations, models, and decay constants change while fulfilling data reporting requirements for grants. This course will demonstrate how to register samples and to upload and download data using examples or your own datasets.


GSA Associated Society Course
Paleontological Society

Click on title for abstract and details.

Cost:FREE, with no registration needed and no course attendance limit.
Instructors: Kena Fox-Dobbs, Univ. of Puget Sound; Erik Gulbranson, Univ. of Wisconsin–Milwaukee; Sora Kim, Univ. of Kentucky.

Abstract: The course will highlight biogeochemical approaches used to investigate questions in paleobiology and paleoecology through analysis of ancient specimens or substrates. The course will cover a range of taxonomic groups, ecosystems, overarching questions, elemental and isotopic methods, and modeling techniques. This short course will provide an opportunity for researchers interested in the fields of biogeochemistry and paleontology to discuss current and future research directions. Students and others new to how biogeochemical approaches are applied to paleontology will be introduced to a range of studies presented by colleagues with relevant expertise.


Canceled Courses

NOTE: If you've already registered for the meeting and wish to add a course, please contact GSA Sales & Service, +1-888-443-4472.

Industry Tracks

GSA offers courses relevant to applied geoscientists. Look for these icons that identify sessions in the following areas:
Economic Geology
Engineering Geology
Hydrogeology & Environmental Geology

Courses will be held at either the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) or the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

See Map

Questions about short courses?

Jennifer Nocerino