Oct 20, 2006    #158
Contact: Nick Barron

Professors present geosciences research on national stage

Four University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) researchers will be presenting their work at the 118th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) Oct. 22 – Oct. 25 in Philadelphia. Each professor is a member of the Department of Geosciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The research that will be presented is as follows:

Late Holocene Climatic Crisis and Warfare in Coastal Southern California

Mark Raab, Ph.D., will lecture on his findings that challenge the traditional belief that California was exempt from the effects of Medieval Warm Period. Raab first became interested in this subject when he discovered that the age of prehistoric Chumash Indian cemeteries correlated with extreme climate changes. Through archeological digs at these sites, Raab found significant increases in the rates of disease and war-inflicted wounds that occurred during the Warm Period. In 2004 Raab, along with Cal-Poly professor Terry Jones, Ph.D., published a book on this research, “Prehistoric California: Archaeology and the Myth of Paradise.” Raab also teaches in the English Department.

Development of Information Theory Formulation to Quantify Parameter Uncertainty in Groundwater Modeling

Jejung Lee, Ph.D., and University of Minnesota professor Abdallah Sayyed-Ahmad, Ph.D., developed a way to use Information theory to improve groundwater remediation. This formulation may be used to shed more light on the geologic and hydrologic composition of an area targeted for remediation, which should minimize errors made when mapping the subsurface of a targeted area.

A 2nd Century Earthquake at the Time of the Roman Annexation of Nabataea

Tina Niemi, Ph.D., will present research she has conducted alongside Ross Thomas at the University of Southampton (England) and North Carolina State University professor Thomas Parker, Ph.D. The professors’ work focuses on whether or not a major earthquake struck the city of Aqaba, Jordan, during the time of Roman occupation in the 2nd Century. Niemi is a well known geologist who has received national attention for her research, including her work on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

 A Preliminary Report on Potential Link Between Heavy Metals and Health, Nile River Islands near Assiut, Egypt

Syed Hasan, Ph.D., and chair of the Geosciences department, will present preliminary results from his March 2005 visit to Nile River islands near Assiut, Egypt, where he and researchers from Assiut University attempted to learn if there is a relationship between health problems and the geological environment of the islands. Early reports indicate the presence of toxic heavy metals in the soil and wheat crop of the islands. Understanding this issue would enable the Egyptian government to find ways to remediate the problem. A National Science Foundation grant proposal, to research the issue further, is planned.

Also at the meeting, Hasan will be installed as chairman of the GSA’s Engineering Geology Division, established in 1947 and the oldest of the 16 specialty divisions within the GSA. Of his many duties as chairman, Hasan will be charged with celebrating the division’s 60th anniversary.

The annual meetings of the GSA are the largest gathering of geoscience professionals around the globe. This year’s meeting theme is “The Pursuit of Science: Building on a Foundation of Discovery,” which will commemorate the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.  UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban affairs.

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