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Final Meeting, September 6 - 10, 2005, Villa Olmo, Como, Italy

The Como 2005 Congress represents the concluding event of the ICSU-funded Project "Dark Nature - Rapid Natural Change and Human Responses", awarded to a consortium of organizations headed by IUGS (International Union of Geological Sciences through its Geoindicator Initiative), and including IGU, IUGG, INQUA, IGBP (web page:

The meeting will take place at Villa Olmo, a beatiful historic palace built in the neoclassic style by Marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi in (1782 - 1797), and located directly on the shores of Lake Como.

Funds to subsidize younger researchers will be available. Applications, including abstracts, must be received by June 30, 2005. Funds will be allocated and applicants notified by July 15, 2005; please visit the meeting webpage for details.
Deadline for abstract submission: July 15, 2005. Early registration fees (Congress and Field Trip): July15, 2005. Deadline for hotel reservations is July 15, 2005; after this date hotel reservation cannot be guarantee.
For downloading the first circular, and update information on the scientific program, abstracts submission, registration and hotel accommodations please check the Meeting Web Page at

Natural catastophic events, as tragically evidenced by the Sumatra earthquakes of December 2004 and March 2005, can destabilize the social and economic status, not only of the people directly hit by the events, but, due to the present globalized scenario, of the whole world.
Events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, which are not caused by human activities, are usually underestimated by politicians and local administrators all over the world, as testified by the consequences of the above mentioned catastrophes (in terms of damages to properties and loss of life) in areas where no actions had been taken to reduce the vulnerability of the populations at serious risk.
In order to attain an adequate degree of sustainability, society needs to make a major effort aimed at the prediction, prevention and mitigation of the effects of natural catastrophic events, especially those capable of causing profound social, economic and even cultural transformations.
By investigating the effects that rapid natural changes have had on societies and civilisations that preceded us, we might be able to contribute to a new perspective, based on a more careful recognition of the role played by nature in bringing rapid and radical changes to the Earth.s surface.
The key issues of the Dark Nature project are:

Papers dealing with all these issues are welcome.

The meeting will be multdisciplinary. Many participants will be from the earth and other natural sciences, but they will find themselves in dialogue with social scientists, scholars from the humanities, end- users, and experts from the media.
The main topics which will be presented and discussed at the Como 2005 event, are grouped in 2 categories, 1) global perspective and 2) Italy-focused case studies.

1) Specific room will be devoted to the discussion of the lessons learned during the other meetings of the DN Project in Mauritania (January 2004), Mozambique (November 2004), Iran (May 2005), Argentina (March 2005), and Canada (June 2005). The key issues include:

2) Italian case studies will include: A special session will be dedicated to the environmental effects of earthquakes and new approaches to their assessment, including the new macroseismic intensity scale based on coseismic ground effects (INQUA Scale Project).
A one-day field trip in the Lake Como area will take place at the end of the Congress.
The Second Circular will be distributed in late June, with full information on the scientific program and schedules.

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