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Mudslide mania; recap of an interdisciplinary geologic hazard symposium

, : Mudslide mania; recap of an interdisciplinary geologic hazard symposium. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 37(7): 174

During June 2005, the Colorado Geological Survey and Colorado School of Mines hosted a symposium, titled "Mudslide Mania," as part of the annual meeting of the GSA Rocky Mountain Section at Mesa State College, Grand Junction, Colorado. This daylong event focused on debris flow hazards in the Intermountain West and Rocky Mountain regions. Seventeen presentations were given. The morning session focused on topics including debris flow morphologies and processes, distribution and hazard-event histories, triggering mechanisms, critical analysis parameters, wildfire-debris flow relationships, numerical modeling, and the use of trenching as a field investigation tool. The afternoon session featured presentations by non-geologists who represent end users of assessments of debris flow areas. Those speakers focused on topic including engineering designs for structures, development and planning, flood regulations and flood insurance, emergency planning and response, erosion and sedimentation controls, and transportation corridors. The session ended with a presentation about Utah's new guidelines for geologic investigations of debris flow hazards. Interdisciplinary sessions of this type have been held by the CGS for years as an effective means of educating geologists, engineers, and technical and non-technical decision makers about geologic hazard issues. In addition to the obvious benefit of technical transfer, there is great value to educating geologic and engineering practitioners about the needs of the decision makers. The aims are to foster more effective field investigations, and to improve the overall planning and decision-making process. At "Mudslide Mania," we learned that there are a number of potential end users of geologic-investigation information for debris flow areas, and that the field investigations should consider the varied needs of those end users. Regional GSA meeting are an ideal venue for holding such symposia. The sessions can be promoted locally and regionally to attract the desired interdisciplinary audience. Travel distances and costs are relatively low, one-day registration costs are reasonable, and the college meeting facilities and audiovisual equipment are typically first rate.


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