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Tracking Dinosaur Origins Conference Announcement



March 14-16th, 2005       Dixie State College     St. George, Utah, USA


Followed by the Utah Friends of Paleontology Annual Meeting - March 18-20,

Registration form and full conference announcement available at
http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/TDO.pdf or contact Jerry D. Harris at

               The Triassic/Jurassic transition is a critical time in Earth
history, recording the origins and early radiation of dinosaurs, pterosaurs,
crocodylians, mammals, and several other significant Mesozoic vertebrate
clades.  Additionally, a major interval of faunal, stepwise extinction is
recorded in both the marine and terrestrial environments that may be linked
to impact events, setting the stage for the ascendance of dinosaurs to a
position of dominance for the remainder of the Mesozoic.  Current research
in this area is dynamic and has important implications for a number of areas
in both paleobiology and geology.

               A number of recently discovered fossil localities in a
little-researched area of southwestern Utah that preserves a thick sequence
of rocks spanning the Triassic/Jurassic boundary are proving to be a
catalyst for new studies on this time period.  In addition to discoveries at
Zion National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, many of
these discoveries have centered on the basal Jurassic St. George Dinosaur
Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.  This remarkable new site preserves an
extraordinary series of track levels along the margin of a Hettangian lake
(colloquially termed "Lake Dixie") and has associated fossil plants,
invertebrates, fish, and dinosaur remains, making it particularly
significant.  These discoveries, along with a new interpretive center slated
to open in the first half of 2005, provide an impetus to bring scientists
together to discuss terrestrial faunas across the Triassic/Jurassic
transition in the dramatic geologic setting of the warm, palm-tree-studded
desert of southwestern Utah that we hope will be unfamiliar to yet
exhilarating for most attendees.

               A full color overview volume is planned by the Utah
Geological Survey, and all attendees will receive a complementary copy of
the book.  This volume will include short review papers on areas of critical
interest regarding the Triassic/Jurassic terrestrial transition in various
areas of the world, summary papers on these rocks, and their preserved
fossils in southwestern Utah.

Preliminary Conference Program
MARCH 14 (All Day): Field Trip: Triassic/Jurassic Geology and Paleontology
in the St. George Region and Zion National Park Areas
MARCH 15 (AM): Plenary Papers (30 minutes each)
MARCH 15 (PM): General Conference Papers (15-20 minutes each)
MARCH 16 (All Day): General Conference Papers (15-20 minutes each)

                Electronic abstracts are due by Dec. 15, 2004. They are to
be no more than one 8.5x11 inch page long in 12 point, Times Roman font with
1 inch margins. Titles should be in all caps followed by an indented list of
authors (names in caps) and affiliations. Speaker's information should
include an e-mail address. Abstract text follows on a new line. Send by
e-mail to jameskirkland@utah.gov; or by snail-mail to James Kirkland, Utah
Geological Survey, PO Box 146100, Salt Lake City, UT 84044.

               A proceedings volume containing full-length papers
(including papers not presented at the conference)  is to be published as a
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin following the
conference. For more information contact Spencer Lucas; NMMNH, 1801 Mountain
Rd. NW, Albuquerque NM 87104-1375 slucas@nmmnh.state.nm.us

Conference participants may fly into St George, Utah directly via SkyWest
airlines from Salt Lake City or Los Angeles (http://www.skywest.com or your
local travel agency), or speakers may fly into Las Vegas, Nevada and then be
transported by volunteers to St. George. Speakers wishing to drive
themselves from the nearest airports should anticipate a scenic 2 hour drive
from Las Vegas or a 4.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City, both on I-15.

Conference participants are invited to remain for the Utah Friends of
Paleontology Annual Meeting, which will include additional afternoon field
trips on March 18 and 19 and all day March 20 to numerous vertebrate and
invertebrate-bearing fossil localities in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.

               In addition; there will be a paleo art show entitled "The
Beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs" that will be up from February through
June. The show will be hosted by the Pioneer Center for the Arts in St.
George. For more information contact Gary Sanders, Community Arts and
Exhibits Administrator, City of St. George, Pioneer Center for the Arts, 47
East 200 North, St. George, Utah  84770  (435) 634-5942 ext. 16

               Information on the St. George tracksite may be viewed
starting on page 4 of Utah Geological Survey Notes 34(5); this article may
be downloaded at http://geology.utah.gov/surveynotes/snt34-3.pdf.  Also see
Sponsored by Utah Geological Survey, Dixie State College, City of St.
George, and the Utah Friends of Paleontology.

Spring is a busy time in St. George, UT ("Utah's Palm Springs") so book your
rooms early!

The "Tracking Dinosaur Origins" conference is offering a Conference Package
at $335.00 that contains the following:

* Registration fee
* 4 nights at the Crystal Inn, Fairfield Inn, or Howard Johnson (depending
on availability) for Mar. 13-16
*2 lunches at the Red Rock Café on the Dixie State College Campus (Mar. 15 &
       The Red Rock Café features 8 stations: Deli, Grill, Home Cookin',
Pasta & Pizza, Wok, Soup & Salad Bar, Beverage Bar, and Dessert Bar

You may also assemble your stay individually. Registration fee is $70.00;
hotel options are given below.  The mixer, the banquet, and the field trip
(including box lunch) are included in the registration fee.

The following hotels have reduced their price and set aside a block of rooms
until Feb 21, 2005.  Map available at
http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/TDO.pdf.  In order to receive the discounted
rates, you MUST book the rooms through Dixie State College either by filling
out the registration form at the URL above or contacting Steve Bringhurst at
(435) 652-7901 or brings@dixie.edu. Rooms being held under the group name
"DINOSAUR ORIGINS CONFERENCE."  For more information about discounted hotels
and hotel rates, please contact Steve Bringhurst.

Crystal Inn
Rate:  $67.00/night
Phone: (435) 688-7477
1450 S. Hilton Drive, St. George, UT  84770

Fairfield Inn
Rate:  $67.00/night
Phone: (435) 673-6066
1660 South Convention Center Dr., St. George, UT  84790

Howard Johnson Express Inn
Rate:  $67.00/night
Phone: (435) 628-8000
1040 S. Main St., St. George, UT 84770

Other hotel options include: ----------------------------------

Sands Motel
Phone: (435) 673-3501
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-877-348-8629
581 E. St. George Blvd., St. George, UT 84770

Days Inn
Phone: (435) 673-6123
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-800-527-6543
150 N. 1000 E., St George, UT 84770

Comfort Inn
Phone: (435) 628-4271
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-877-577-6740
999 Skyline Dr., St George, UT 84770

Ramada Inn
Phone: (435) 628-2828
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-800-713-9435
1440 E. St. George Blvd., St George, UT 84790

Motel 6
Phone: (435) 628-8318
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-800-466-8356
205 N. 1000 East, St. George, UT 84770

Best Western Coral Hills
Phone: (435) 673-4844
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-800-780-7234
125 E. St. George Blvd, St. George, UT 84770

Best Western Travel Inn
Phone: (435) 673-3541
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-800-780-7234
316 E. St. George Blvd., St. George, UT 84770

Holiday Inn
Phone: (435) 628-4235
Toll Free Reservation Line: 1-800-465-4329
850 Bluff St., St. George, UT 84770

For further lodging options, please visit

Additional Questions: Contact Theresa Walker  435-703-0020
2flyfree@infowest.com or Jerry D. Harris 435-652-7758  jharris@dixie.edu

---------------------------------- St. George is situated at an elevation of about 2600 ft. (~
800m) above sea level, though elevations climb rapidly to the north, east,
and west. The city sits in a basin atop sediments of the Upper Triassic
Chinle Group; bluffs to the north, east, and west are composed of red
sandstones and mudstones of the Lower Jurassic Moenave, Kayenta, and Navajo
Sandstone formations and are capped with Neogene basalts emitted from the
many (now extinct) cinder cones in the area. Faulting and folding expose
the Permian Kaibab Limestone and the Lower Triassic Moenkopi formations both
to the south, west, and east of the city. The Middle Jurassic Temple Cap and
Carmel formations, Upper Cretaceous Iron Springs Formation, and
Paleocene-Eocene Claron Formation also outcrop, particularly at the base of
the Pine Valley Mountains, an eroded Neogene laccolith (possibly the world's
largest) that overlooks the city in the north. The east end of the basin is
marked by the Hurricane Fault and the western edge of the Colorado Plateau.
In March, the weather in St. George typically ranges between 36-63°F (2-17
C), and rain or snow is possible, so please bring appropriate clothes. For
more information on the city and surrounding areas, please visit
http://www.stgeorgeutah.net, http://www.sgcity.org, and

Registration form and full conference announcement available at
http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/TDO.pdf or contact Jerry D. Harris at