Iowa State University

Carl Vondra, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, (515) 294- 4477
Bill Simpkins, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, (515) 294- 7814
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917
Curt M. Pratt, News Service, (515) 294-4066


AMES, Iowa -- Gordon Eaton, former president of Iowa State University, will speak at the 30th annual North-Central Section of The Geological Society of America, which will be held in Ames on May 2 and 3.

Eaton, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va., will give a special address, "Employment and Education in the Geosciences, 1996-2006," on May 2.

"Dr. Eaton is considered one of the leading geologists in the U.S., if not the world," said Carl Vondra, professor and chair of ISU's department of geological and atmospheric sciences. "We feel it is an honor to have a former president and faculty member come back and speak at this conference."

The conference will stress all aspects of geology, said Bill Simpkins, associate professor of geological and atmospheric sciences. There is an emphasis on environmental applications of geology, geological education, and traditional aspects of geology at the conference.

Simpkins and George Hallberg, University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, will be giving a full-day symposium on agricultural water quality. "There is a lot of interest in water quality because of ISU's agricultural community and the surrounding states," he said. "This symposium should not only interest geologists, but agricultural chemical companies and the agriculture industry as well."

The conference will include a number of field trips that focus on different aspects of geology. One field trip will be to the Walnut Creek Watershed south of Ames. "The watershed is unique in the U.S. because of its extensive monitoring network for water quality and because it has been the focus of cooperative research between ISU and federal agencies including the USDA National Soil Tilth Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. EPA," Simpkins said.

Another field trip, entitled: "Hogs, Logs, and Bogs," will visit wetlands, earthen manure storage facilities, and agricultural drainage wells within the Des Moines "lobe." "This field trip will focus on issues that are under a lot of legal scrutiny," such as environmental concerns arising from large hog lot operations, said Simpkins.


Reporters are welcome to attend all or any part of the conference and its associated field trips. For more information, contact Bill Simpkins at (515) 294-7814.