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7 CAAWG 2014

7th Conference of the African Association of Women in


3rd-9th November 2014

Theme: Earth Science and Climate Change: Challenges to

Development in Africa







Dr. Mary Seely

Prof. Patricia Vickers-Rich

Dr. Gabi Schneider

Prof. Ezzoua Errami

Dr. Judith Kinnaird

Dr. Mosidi Mokgae


Monday, 3rd November 2014: Open day and Workshop

Tuesday, 04 November 2014

Wednesday, 05 November 2014

Thursday, 06 November 2014








–  –  –

On behalf of the organising committee, CAAWG and the Geological Survey of Namibia, I would like to warmly welcome all delegates.

The 7th Congress of the African Association of Women in Geosciences (CAAWG), held in beautiful and diverse Windhoek. The conference is being held taking into consideration the current challenges the African continent is facing in view of the changing climatic conditions, which is threatening sustainable development. Climate and its implications on development is a critical issue throughout the world. This conference is dedicated to the “Earth Sciences and Climate Change: Challenges to Development in Africa”. In addition to the keynote address, oral presentations and workshop please make time to visit the many posters being presented at CAAWG7. Additionally, a 3 day postconference field excursion is planned to giving the CAAWG7 community an opportunity to see the beautiful Namibian geology and landscape. Our social events offer a further opportunity for networking.

During you stay here I hope you will enjoy some of the delights that our country has to offer Warm regards, Dr. GIC Schneider Director: Geological Survey of Namibia

–  –  –

Conference Welcoming Reception The conference welcoming reception will be in National Earth Science Museum, Ministry of Mines and Energy, (Ground Floor, near the reception). It will start at 18:30 till 21:00 Conference Dinner The conference Dinner will be at NICE Restaurant on Wednesday 5th November at 18:30 to the Restaurant.

Useful local Information Telephone The international dialling code for Namibia is 264. To dial out from Namibia the international access code is 00 Contact Information For conference specific queries, contact the registration desk Tourisms Information

For more information on things to do and what’s on, please visit:

http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/ http://www.namibia-travel-guide.com http://www.namibiatourism.org

–  –  –

Dr. Mary Seely Affiliation: Desert Research Foundation of Namibia Email: mary.seely@drfn.org.na Title: Women and Climate Change When the topic of climate change and women comes up, the immediate response is to think of the hardships imposed particularly on rural women. These include having reduced quantity and quality of water available, reduced access to fuel in the form of firewood and reduced crop production to feed their families. The other side of the coin is rarely considered. Amongst the climate change scientists, including those contributing to the IPCC assessment reports, women stand out as adding some of the most innovative and valuable research and understanding. This presentation will illustrate ways that women have contributed to climate change, while emphasising the fact that women are but one half of the scientific or policy team addressing these issues Prof. Patricia Vickers-Rich Affiliation: Monash University, Australia Email: pat.rich@monash.edu Title: The Importance of Early Childhood Education in the Earth Sciences Today I am fascinated with everything around me, and this is what brought me first to Africa in the 1970s to work on the fossil birds from this continent, including those from the Leakey collection in Kenya and Tanzania. Then in 2003, I worked further back in time (some 500 million years) in Namibia. But this could not have been imagined by me when I was a 5 year old growing up on a small farm in California, raised by a Dad with a 6th grade education and a bookkeeper Mum. What mattered was their support for me to try new things and a free education, and I was the very first in my long family history to ever go to University. And this education and encouragement of my curious mind gave a Cherokee-Irish girl the chance to explore and choose where she travelled in life. Now I am in love with the most ancient of animals in Africa that lived in the oceans of Namibia more than 540 million years ago. Education and the nurturing of curiosity in youth are the reasons I am here.

–  –  –

Dr. Gabi Schneider Affiliation: Geological Survey of Namibia Email: gschneider@mme.gov.na Title: Mining, Archaeology, Palaeontology and Climate Change There are some unexpected links between mining, archaeology and climate change in Namibia. Some archaeological and palaeontological finds were made only because of exploration and mining operations. Archaeological artefacts and fossils are protected in Namibia under the National Heritage Act. This way it is ensured that these valuable heritage objects are safe-guarded and secured during exploration and mining activities.

In 2008, the oldest shipwreck in sub-Saharan Africa was found in a diamond mining excavation behind an advanced seawall, in an area that would normally be beneath sea level. The artefacts recovered turned out to be extraordinary, belonging to a 16 th century Portuguese East Indiaman. They include navigational instruments, kitchen implements, copper-, lead-, and tin ingots, ivory, other trading goods, and much more. But the clue to the origin of the ship gave the over 2000 Spanish and Portuguese gold coins, which pinned it down to the first half of the 16th century. The copper ingots carry the trade mark of a German merchant house of the time, and an isotope study is under way to investigate the provenance of the copper.

Again in the course of diamond mining, the richest Miocene fossil site on the African continent was found in 1976 in terraces of the Orange River. Mining the vanadium-bearing karst breccias of the Otavi Mountainland at Berg Aukas resulted in the discovery of the first Miocene hominoid south of the equator in 1991, which shed new light on the hominoid lineages in Africa. Both finds allow conclusions concerning the palaeo-climate at the time.

The more recent uranium boom in the Namib Desert has resulted in many archaeological studies, and eventually in the Namib Desert Archaeological Survey by the Namibia Archaeological Trust. This survey has added more than 800 new archaeological sites to the existing record, and has revealed new evidence about human adaptation to very variable climate conditions.

Page 7 Earth Science and Climate Change: Challenges to Development in Africa


CAAWG2014 Prof. Ezzoua Errami, Chouaïb Doukkali University, Morocco Prof. Béatrice Tandia (Cameroun), Dr. Monica Omulo, Maseno University (Kenya), Mrs Tea Juliette (Côte d'Ivoire) Title: Geoheritage and Geoparks in Africa and the Middle-East: challenges and perspectives The African Geoparks Network “AGN” was initiated by the African Association of Women in Geosciences “AAWG” during its pre-conference meeting held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in May

2009. The AGN aims to identify and make an inventory of the geological sites of outstanding value in Africa; to promote and increase the awareness among policy makers and the general public in Africa, particularly local communities about the necessity of the protection and the valorization of African geological heritage through the creation of geoparks for a sustainable local development; and to build the capacity of local population in the field of geoheritage through a strong networking and the organization of conferences, seminars, symposia, training courses and workshops. In that framework, the AGN is organizing as a follow up of the First International Conference on Geoparks in Africa and Middle East, held in 2011 in Morocco, a series of courses, workshops and roundtables in order to continue to promote the geoheritage and geoparks as a tool for local sustainable development in Africa.

This workshop, organized in collaboration with the AAWG and the GSN, will focus on geoheritage, geotourism and climate change: challenges for local sustainable development.

All researchers in the fields of geoheritage, geotourism, conservation, environment and sustainable development, policy makers, economists, geopark and local community administrators and leaders, NGOs, business operators, the Media and individuals with interest in geoheritage development are invited to participate and contribute to make this event a success. This workshop will be a sort of a curtain raiser on the state of geoheritage in Africa and Middle East. Let all of us jointly strive in this continent as responsible predecessors of future generations.

–  –  –

Dr. Judith Kinnaird Affiliation: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Email: Judith.kinnaird@wits.ac.za Title: Four billion years of climate change – a volcanic contribution Throughout Earth history there have been well-documented changes in Earth’s climate, i.e.

periods of Snowball Earth, or periods of unusually high temperatures. Earth’s climate is affe cted by many factors, including extra-terrestrial events such as changes in the Milankovic cy cle or global factors like changes in the distribution and size of the Earth’s crustal landmass due to orogenic processes. However, throughout Earth’s history, volcanic eruptions have m odified the Earth’s climate, sometimes for periods of days, sometimes for several years and occasionally for tens or thousands of years.

Volcanoes have erupted throughout the 4 billion years of Earth’s history. Around 1500 volcanoes have erupted in the last 10,000 years with 35-40 eruptions per year. Some volcanoes will erupt episodically with short sharp bursts of activity perhaps after long periods of dormancy, some will erupt fairly regularly every few years, whilst others, such as the Hawaiian volcanoes, are in almost constant eruption. Occasionally volcanoes thought to be extinct will burst into life with devastating consequences. Volcanoes occur along extensional plate margins (e.g. the mid-Atlantic ridge) as well as where plates are colliding.

The Pacific Plate is subducting beneath America and also beneath the Eurasian and IndoAustralian plates to produce a rim of 600-700 volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean, often termed the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Apart from lava, volcanoes produce enormous quantities of gases, the most common being water vapour, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Volcanoes in different plate settings release different proportions of these gases - a typical hot spot volcano like Mt. Kilauea (Hawaii) releases far more CO2 than volcanoes at convergent plate boundaries, which produce mainly water vapour. Gases at pull-apart margins are also dominated by water vapour, but with a significant component of sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Volcanoes add 130-230 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere each year and thus are an important contributor to the greenhouse effect that promotes global warming. CO2 re-emits radiation from the Earth, increasing surface temperatures. Without the greenhouse effect, the average global temperature of the Earth would be much lower than the present 15 oC. In contrast, large quantities of sulphur dioxide in the stratosphere cool the Earth’s climate.

Some of this gas returns to Earth as acid rain, but some reacts with sunlight, water vapour and oxygen to form a dense bright layer that blocks some of the sun’s radiation. One of the coldest years during the last two centuries occurred after the Tambora eruption on Sumatra in 1815 which killed 92,000 people, 70,000 of which died from starvation following crop failure as a result of the eruption-induced climate change.

Page 9 Earth Science and Climate Change: Challenges to Development in Africa In recent decades there have been significant climate-modifying eruptions from El Chichon in Mexico (1982) and Pinatubo in the Philippines (1991). Pinatubo ejected about 20 million tons of suphur dioxide more than 30 km into the stratosphere. Satellite images showed no sulphur dioxide before the event, but 45 days after the eruption, the aerosol plume had completely circled the Earth. Within a year, the aerosols covered the entire Earth, and average global air temperature dropped by 1oC, because several percent of sunlight were reflected back to space, with a peak effect a year after the event. This suggests that tropical explosive volcanic eruptions probably have the greatest effect on the Earth's climate as aerosols are diffused across both hemispheres.

Eruptions of the last 1000 years are small compared with some super-eruptions of the past.

During the explosion of Toba in Sumatra around 74,000 years ago, 6000 km 3 of material, together with huge tonnages of SO2, erupted causing a volcanic winter that lasted for several years. In the more distant past flood basalt events have occurred every 30 Ma or so, including the vast Karoo flood basalts of southern Africa which formed when Africa split from the rest of the Gondwana Supercontinent. Vast volumes of basalt magma flowed from active fissures covering thousands of km2 such as the Deccan traps in India, and Parana (South America), and huge tonnages of gases released over decades, resulted in cooling of the Earth and a prolonged volcanic winter. The Earth has faced several such periods with high concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have coincided with the development of large igneous provinces. In the last 300 million years there has been a clear relationship between extinction events and the formation of these large igneous provinces with associated environmental changes that may have included global warming, the development of oxygen-poor ocean waters, and release of CO2 and methane from gas hydrates.

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