As Jody mentioned seven of us from the Geocoastal Research Group attended the 19th INQUA conference in Japan last week. The theme of the Conference was ‘Quaternary Perspectives on Climate Change, Natural Hazards and Civilization’. Sessions ranged from reconstructing paleoclimates and sea level to climate modelling, human behaviour and geomorphology! There really was something for everyone and it was a great opportunity for all of us to present our work to experts from around the world.
Two of my favourite presentations were from Andrea Dutton (University of Florida) and Jane Hart (University of Southampton). Andrea presented an excellent overview of the current state of knowledge on sea level rise due to icesheet mass loss (you can read all about it here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6244/aaa4019.full). She highlighted the complexities which must be taken into account when considering this topic in a way that was easy to understand even to those new to the field (like me!). Jane presented her amazing work using Environmental Sensor Networks to investigate cryospheric processes. By inserting “pods” into glaciers she was able to measure different aspects of glacier flow and behaviour. These technologies certainly have many and varied applications, including on the Great Barrier Reef, and will no doubt become more prevalent into the future. INQUA also had nine very interesting plenary speakers across a range of topics (with an almost 50-50 gender balance – well done INQUA!).
One of the highlights for me was meeting Professor Hironobu Kan from Kyushu University. He has been studying coral reef geomorphology, in particular spurs and grooves, for decades and is one of the only people ever to have collected cores from spurs! It was great to meet someone with so much experience working in the area and to see some of his amazing photos and data from spur and groove systems in Japan and elsewhere. Our groups are hoping to collaborate in the future. I was also lucky to have my business card drawn out to win a book from the Geological Society of New Zealand!
We made good use of our time after the Conference to explore some of the sights, sounds and tastes of Japan (see pictures below). We visited Tokyo, Mt Fuji and Kyoto. In Tokyo we braved a 2:45 am wake-up to get to the fish markets in time to see the auction of giant Blue Fin Tuna. These fish were an impressive sight and, though we couldn’t understand much of what was going on, the auction itself was an interesting flurry of activity! In Kyoto we visited many temples including the beautiful, World Heritage listed, Tenryuji Temple and zen gardens. We also braved the heat to ride around the Sagano bamboo forest and along the Oi River.