Welcome to GSA 2019!
Steve Semken, GSA 2019 General Chair
The Grand Canyon State welcomes the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting & Exposition to our capital city of Phoenix for the first time in more than three decades. It’s an especially auspicious year for GSA to come here, as 2019 marks both the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell’s first expedition through Grand Canyon, and the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park! Arizona is indeed a land of textbook geology, where you can set your feet, hands, senses, and camera on the exposed rock record of nearly two billion years of deep time.
As symbolized in the logo for the 2019 Annual Meeting, Arizona has tremendous geologic, topographic, climatic, and ecological diversity: from the Sonoran Desert landscapes of the rugged and arid Basin and Range in the south where Phoenix is located, through the mountainous Transition Zone, north to the high-elevation Colorado Plateau with its colorful, fossil-rich layer-cake strata incised a mile deep in the mighty Grand Canyon. Owing to this great natural diversity, Arizona is often referred to as “many states in one.” We produce more copper than all but a few nations, let alone any other U.S. state. We are home to 22 national parks, monuments, and historic sites, and wonderful state and local parks as well. The record of human history and culture in Arizona dates back many millennia, and twenty-one contemporary Native American nations know it as their homeland. Arizona’s history and culture have also long benefited from our proximity to and friendly relations with México. Thirty-one different pre-meeting and post-meeting field trips are scheduled, offering you many opportunities to explore and enjoy the geology, geography, and scenery of Arizona and adjoining areas of the Southwest.
Today’s Phoenix is decidedly different from the town that hosted the GSA Annual Meeting in 1987. We are now the fifth largest city in the United States: a sunny, friendly, exciting, culturally rich, proudly Southwestern place. Amenities range from the lovely landscapes of the Desert Botanical Garden to the world’s largest collection of Native American art at the Heard Museum, to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s fascinating western home base at Taliesin West, to the climate-controlled Chase Field just blocks from the Convention Center, where you can come watch the Arizona Diamondbacks play during a home series that coincides with our meeting. And Phoenix is a gastronomic paradise, renowned for its multi-regional Mexican, Latin American, and Indigenous cuisines, to be sure, but also home to scores of other diverse and delightful restaurants and pubs—including a pizzeria that many national food critics consider to be among the very best in the USA. Our light-rail and bus systems make it easy to get around, and Sky Harbor Airport, served by all major carriers, is a very short hop from downtown.
The Annual Meeting technical program features 28 short courses and workshops, 6 Pardee Symposia, and 201 topical sessions and symposia. We’re also planning plenty of activities and informal gatherings, and as always, a dynamic Exhibit Hall. Students and early career geoscientists will find much here to engage and interest them. Come join your colleagues in Phoenix this September: We look forward to welcoming one and all to the Valley of the Sun!
GSA 2019 General Chair
Professor of Geology and Education, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University