GSA Short Course: Deep Carbon through Deep Time

DCO is organizing a short course, "Deep Carbon through Deep Time," at the 2014 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

The Deep Carbon Observatory is organizing a short course, "Deep Carbon through Deep Time," at the 2014 Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. 

Date: Saturday, 18 October, 2014 - 09:00 - 17:00

Location:Harbour Centre, Studies Lab 2945, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The short course will be offered the day before the 2014 GSA Meeting officially begins.

Registration:Register here by 15 September 2014 (early bird)

Cost: US$30. Includes lunch. (The cost is low due to a subsidy for this short course provided by the Deep Carbon Observatory.)

Instructor: Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institution of Washington and the Deep Carbon Observatory

Cosponsors: Mineralogical Society of America; Carnegie Institution; Deep Carbon Observatory

Confirmed invited speakers include: Barbara Sherwood Lollar (University of Toronto), Rajdeep Dasgupta (Rice University), Rick Colwell (Oregon State University); Steven Shirey (Carnegie Institution); Craig Manning (University of California Los Angeles)


Course description:

Carbon plays an unparalleled role in human life. It is the element of life, providing the chemical backbone for all essential biomolecules. Carbon-based fuels supply most of society’s energy, while small carbon-bearing molecules in the atmosphere play a major role in Earth’s variable and uncertain climate. Yet in spite of carbon’s importance to geology, many aspects of the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of Earth’s subsurface carbon-bearing systems remain unresolved. How much carbon is stored in Earth’s interior? How do deep reservoirs form and evolve? How does carbon move from one deep repository to another? What is the nature and extent of deep microbial ecosystems, which by some estimates rival the total surface biomass?

These questions are the motivation for the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO), which is a multidisciplinary, international, 10-year initiative begun in 2009 and now boasting 1000 collaborating scientists in 40 countries on 6 continents. With significant core funding by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the DCO is dedicated to achieving a transformational understanding of Earth’s deep carbon cycle, including its poorly-constrained reservoirs and fluxes, the unknown role of deep biology, and unexplored influences of the deep carbon cycle on critical societal concerns related to energy, environment, and climate. The objectives of the DCO closely align with those of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) and GSA’s Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division, many of whose officers and members are participants in DCO research projects.

The scientific interests and ambitions of DCO, GSA, and MSA extend to the enigmatic and little-explored changing character of deep carbon through 4.5 billion years of Earth history. Accordingly, we proposed to sponsor a GSA Workshop that will bring together seven leading experts from Europe and North America to explore “Deep Carbon in Deep Time.” The broad range of proposed topics in this GSA Workshop reflects MSA, DCO, and GSA’s diverse and expanding interests, as well. Presentations touch on geology, biology, chemistry, and physics, from Earth’s crust to its core.

MSA and DCO are especially committed to the active participation of early career researchers and scientists from under-represented groups.

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