Follow this link to a Powerpoint file that provides more details, while we update this web page, as details emerge. Thank you!





July 15, 2016 (midnight): Early bird deadline to register for the LoessFest (reduced rates, see below).

August 26, 2016 (midnight): Final deadline to register for the LoessFest.

September 21, 2016: Icebreaker at Houligan's Pub, from 4:00 to 9:00 pm. Registration materials can be picked up at this time.

September 22-25, 2016: Dates of the LoessFest.

September 25-28, 2016: Geological Society of America meetings, in Denver, Colorado. Details are provided here:

General Information about the 2016 LoessFest

Location/venue: The LoessFest will be held on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The conference will be housed at the W.R. Davies Student Center (below), on the UWEC campus. The Davies Center is a gleaming, first-rate building, built in 2012. It has gardens, verandas and balconies for casual mingling, several "fast-food" style restaurants, and a full buffet. It is in the center of campus, near the beautiful Chippewa River. See photos below.

Davies Center

View from Davies Center

Organizers: Dr. Randall Schaetzl, Michigan State University, is the conference organizer. Co-organizers include Doug Faulkner and Garry Running (UWEC Geography), Kent Syverson (UWEC Geology), John Attig (Wisconsin Geological Survey), and Joe Mason and Kristy Gruley (UW-Madison Geography).

Structure/organization: The LoessFest will be a 4-day meeting, from Thursday, Sep. 22 to Sunday, Sep. 25, 2016.

Days 1 and 2 will be devoted to scientific presentations (poster and oral) in the Davies Center, with two keynote addresses each day, and a talk at the banquet. Breakfast foods, coffee, tea, and other snacks and drinks will be provided during the day. There will also be an ice-breaker social hour on Wednesday evening at Houligan's Pub, near the conference hotel, and other social events in the evenings of each day. The conference banquet will be held on Friday night at the Davies Center. Days three and four of the LoessFest will each feature a full, one-day field trip, with participants back in their Eau Claire hotel on Saturday night. This structure will enable everyone to stay in the same hotel for the duration of the meeting.

Field trips/excursions: The first field trip will focus on fluvial and glacial systems as loess sources. Both the Mississippi and Chippewa Rivers were important loess sources for this region; we will visit both. Several faculty at the UW-Eau Claire Department of Geography have been studying the fluvial history of the Chippewa River for years; their work will be a focus for the first day's field trip. We will also examine the late Wisconsin end moraine, with its abundant ice-walled lake plains, whihc we believe were loess sources. The second field trip will focus on loess landscapes, eolian transportational systems, and will be a field discussion of the concept of loess transport surfaces. This concept, first advanced by Mason et al. (1999) and supported by the work of Stanley and Schaetzl (2011), will be discussed in the field, as we visit some sites which may appear to both support and invalidate the concept. It will make for an interesting and stimulating discussion. In sum, thin loess, and how past landscape instability and slope gradient affect loess distribution and transport, will be the focus of the second trip.

Field trip sites will include backhoe pits (trenches), scenic overlooks, sites of varied geomorphic interest, and at least one historical site.

Keynote speakers, in alphabetical order, and their tentative talks:
Art Bettis (banquet speaker): Conditions and Processes During Deposition of Last Glacial Loess in the North American Midcontinent
Kathryn Fitzsimmons: At the heart of Eurasia, but on the edge of everything: What Central Asian loess can tell us about shifts in climate subsystems
Slobodan Markovic: Loess correlations: between loess and realty
Tom Stevens: Rivers of dust and aeolian cannibalism: How zircons are challenging our understanding of the Chinese Loess Plateau
Alida Timar-Gabor: Results and challenges from optically stimulated luminescence dating of loess using single aliquot regeneration protocol on quartz
Shiling Yang: Global temperature change as the ultimate driver of the shift in the summer monsoon rain belt in East Asia

Landscape: West-central Wisconsin is a beautiful area, with rolling hills, immaculate dairy farms and deep river valleys. Plus, the friendly nature of the local Wisconsinites is an added benefit.

They love loess!

Western Wisconsin landscape

Social events: The LoessFest will not lack for optional social and networking opportunities! Registrants who arrive in Eau Claire early may wish to participate in an afternoon bicycle tour of the city on Wednesday, Sep 21, led by Dr. Doug Faulkner, a Geography professor at UWEC. The tour will take approximately 2 hours, travelling across the many bridges that span the mighty Chippewa River in downtown Eau Claire. Those taking the tour will be expected to pay the nominal cost of the bicycle rental.
A pre-meeting ice-breaker will be held in Houligan's Pub, from 3:00-9:00 local time. Beverages and light snacks will be provided, until gone. Please stop by to pick up your registration packet.

There are several other social venues within walking distance of the Davies Center, and each evening vans will be circulating to take anyone who is there back to the hotel. Please join us!

SPECIAL NOTE: The 2016 LoessFest spans Sep. 22-25 (Thursday through Sunday). Coincidentally, the annual meetings of the Geological Society of America will occur in Denver, Colorado on September 25-28. As a result, participants have a unique opportunity to piggy-back the LoessFest with the GSA meetings. Denver is a short flight from Minneapolis.

A Topical Session on loess will be held at the GSA meetings on Wednesday morning, Sep 28. Participants in this session may present either a poster or an oral presentation. Look for the session entitled, "LoessFest Part II". GSA participants may request that their papers be placed in this special session. There is also a session on Wednesday afternoon entitled "Aeolian Processes in Time and Space: Evidence from Landforms and Sediments." LoessFest participants can fly to Denver on Sunday or Monday, and participate fully in these eolian sessions at the GSA meetings.

Lastly, GSA headquarters will be giving all LoessFest attendees member-pricing to attend the Denver GSA meeting. What an opportunity!

REGISTRATION and FEES: All participants must pre-register for the conference by going to the registration web site: and by filling out the registration form and emailing it to

Registration costs are tiered for students vs. non-students, and based on whether you wish to attend the 2-day conference only, or also go on the two one-day field trips.

Before July 15:
2 day Conference only - $160 ($100 for Students)
Conference plus field trips - $260 ($180 for Students)

Rates increase on July 16th to:
2 day Conference only - $175 ($115 for Students)
Conference plus field trips - $285 ($200 for Students)

Registration closes at midnight on August 26.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION: Everyone intending to present a poster or an oral presentation at the LoessFest must submit an astract to the conference organzier, Randall Schaetzl, by August 26th. There is no abstract submission fee. Abstracts should be composed in MS-Word, using the registration form. Email this completed file directly to Randall Schaetzl at All abstracts must be between 200 and 400 words, exclusive of the title. They should clearly state the purpose, results and conclusions of the research. Conference organizers reserve the right to ask any "overflow" papers be converted to posters. Here is a link to the registration form, which contains abstract submission instructions.

Oral presentations should be prepared in Microsoft Power Point and should not exceed 15 minutes. Ideally, presentations are 12 minutes long, allowing 3 minutes for questions. Posters should be 48” wide by 66” high, maximum size. NOTE: The posterboards at the Davies Center cannot be rotated, implying that posters must be set up in portrait, NOT landscape, style. Posters will be fixed onto posterboards, using clips provided. Authors are responsible for layout and printing of the posters, as well as for any handouts.

AWARDS. A team of judges will be evaluating student posters and papers. Two winners will each receive $250 prizes. Students - please note or confirm in your abstract submission form that you are a student and that you are the first author on the poster (or the presenter of the oral paper).

In addition, I am pleased to announce that, through the generosity of Beta-Analytic Radiocarbon Dating Lab, one presenter will receive one free radiocarbon date. The radiocarbon date will be awarded for research that makes the best use of radiocarbon dating in loess-related research.

PUBLICATION OPPORTUNITIES: Presenters at the conference will have the opportunity to publish their work as part of a special issue of either Quaternary Research or Aeolian Research. Both journals are excited to be a part of the LoessFest. Papers on the stratigraphy, morphology or Quaternary history of loess deposits will be generally directed to QR, whereas papers on process will be directed to AR. Details will be presented at the meeting.

FLIGHTS. Conference attendees may fly directly into the Eau Claire airport on United Airlines from Chicago O'Hare (a United Airlines hub). Others may wish to fly into Minneapolis-St Paul (a Delta Airlines hub) and take a pre-reserved shuttle van to the Lismore Hotel - the conference hotel. After you know your flight information, you can reserve a ride on the van. Instructions are listed on the registration website. The cost is $34 each way. The trip is about 90 minutes. Vans will again be available to shuttle registrants back to the Minneapolis-St Paul airport. Please remember to reserve both of your trips, at $34 each, when you reserve the in-bound one.

LODGING. The conference hotel in Eau Claire is the Lismore Hotel. This is a new (in 2016) hotel, and for those of you that collect hotel points, it is affiliated with Hilton Worldwide and the DoubleTree Hotel brand. You will be well pleased with the accommodations.

To register for a room, you may call the hotel (715-835-8888) and tell the person that you are with the LoessFest when you register. OR you may book online at this link: Click on the link that is "Add Special Rate Codes" and then under "Group Codes" Type in "LOE" and the rates that show will be for the LoessFest. You may choose single or double occupancy. If you choose the latter, please use the comments box to inform the hotel of the name of your room guest. The cost is the same for single or double occupancy - $119.00/night (plus $16.07 tax) - a well-discounted rate for this excellent hotel. A third person may stay in each room for $10 additional. Please book your rooms early, as we have a limited number of rooms reserved for LoessFest attendees. Of course, you may lodge anywhere you wish, but shuttles to the conference center depart (see below) only from the Lismore.

LODGING FINANCIAL SUPPORT. We can support the travel of early career scholars, as well as international scholars and students. To apply for this support, you must first be registered for the conference and at the Lismore Hotel. Then, simply send an email to Dr. Schaetzl, requesting support and explaining your situation. Those receiving awards will have their share of their lodging bill paid (up to five nights maximum). Preference will be given to those attendees who (1) are presenting papers, (2) are early career or international scholars/students, and/or (3) are scholars/students from underrepresented groups or nations. Funding for these awards is limited, and will be generally dispensed on a first-come first-get basis.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION. Meeting participants will be shuttled free from the Lismore Hotel to the conference center (about a 7-minute ride), or they may walk (about 2 kms) to the Davies Center along the beautiful Chippewa River. During the morning rush period, three 13-pasenger vans will be running continuously between the Lismore and the Davies Center. In the evenings, starting at 5:30 pm, shuttles will be available to take participants back to the Lismore, or to shuttle them from the Lazy Monk Brewpub (our "social center") to the Lismore. Anyone not staying at the Lismore will need to make their way to the Lismore each morning to park ($5/day) and then take the shuttle van to the Davies Center. Parking is very tight and costly on campus; taking the shuttle from the Lismore is highly recommended.

Acknowledgements. Many thanks to everyone who has helped with the arrangements of the meeting, especially the staff at the Davies Center, Jason Mathwig and Jason Anderson in particular. I also gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (Geography and Spatial Sciences Program, and the Geomorphology and Land Use Dynamics Program), INQUA, the Wisconsin Society of Professional Soil Scientists, the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, and the UW-Eau Claire Geography and Anthropology Department.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Randy Schaetzl at