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This year’s meeting theme is “Geology: The Cornerstone of our Future”. Geology plays a significant role in today’s society and will become ever more important in the years to come. Our reliance on basic resources and building materials such as sand and gravel for roads, limestone for concrete, iron for structural purposes, and other base metals for electronics and other applications will not diminish; rather, it will become a greater concern as existing deposits are depleted or rendered inaccessible.
The ever-increasing number of applications of rare earth elements has created a greater demand on extraction and several of these elements will be needed in ever greater quantities to assist in the transition to a reduced carbon emission future. Geologists will be needed to identify, quantify, and yes, help with extraction of these mineral deposits.
A reliable source of clean freshwater is a basic necessity for life, and the onset of climate change is impacting these resources. Changing climate patterns mean that widespread areas may become stricken with drought. This will mean that significant depletion of groundwater aquifers and surface water reservoirs will occur in these areas as withdrawals exceed natural replenishment. This is already affecting agricultural practices and driving migration of human populations to areas where this precious resource may be found, resulting in conflict and/or political unrest. In addition, anthropogenic activities have contaminated some water resources and have made these resources locally unusable or require expensive treatment.
The national conference provides opportunities to present and learn from experts in various geology and geoscience fields, with networking opportunities throughout the conference.