Boston College Geologists Play Host to Colleagues

Boston College Geologists Play Host to Colleagues

The subterranean intricacies of Boston's massive "Big Dig" Central Artery project and the urban geology of quaint Beacon Hill were among the many attractions for 5,000 geological scholars and researchers who attended a national convention hosted by Boston College at the Hynes Convention Center last week.

Prof. J. Christopher Hepburn (Geology and Geophysics) served as chairman of the weeklong Geological Society of America conference, at which several other BC faculty led or participated in various information and data-sharing events.

Conference attendees, representing each of the United States as well as a number of foreign countries, heard more than 2,800 speakers in 180 technical sessions discuss topics ranging from proposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the emerging discipline of medical geology.

Among the most popular convention sessions, according to Hepburn, were underground tours of the Central Artery and Tunnel Project. These events attracted hundreds of geoscientists for an up close look at the grouting galleries, slurry walls, jacked tunnels and cellular cofferdams that will be the foundation of Boston's eagerly-awaited downtown expressway system.

In contrast to the bustle and complexity of the expansive highway construction, Hepburn said, another favored event was a walking tour of Boston's Beacon Hill led by Prof. Emeritus James W. Skehan, SJ, former director of BC's Weston Observatory.

Assoc. Prof. Alan Kafka (Geology) chaired a series of conference workshops and events for educators involved in teaching earth sciences to students from kindergarten through college levels. These sessions included such topics as solar system exploration, on-line learning, earthquakes, plate tectonics and investigation of evidence.

-Reid Oslin


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