Jan
8
6:30 PM18:30

Jan 8: Multiphase pre-Andean deformation guides Cenozoic mountain building in the central Andes, southern Peru

Multiphase pre-Andean deformation guides Cenozoic mountain building in the central Andes, southern Peru

Nicholas D. Perez, Texas A&M

The central Andes are the locus of the highest magnitude shortening and crustal thickening along the Cenozoic Andean margin. In southern Peru, pre-Andean shortening and extension during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, respectively, guided subsequent deformation. Late Permian shortening is evidenced by folds and reverse faults of variable orientation, potentially reflecting fold interference or changing stress orientation. These folds are covered unconformably by volcanic and non-marine siliciclastic rocks of the Triassic Mitu Formation. Lateral variations of facies, thickness, and fault patterns within the Mitu Formation suggest it is the stratigraphic archive of crustal extension overprinting Permian shortening. Although the magnitude and geodynamic drivers of these deformation phases remain debated, inherited structures from both events were selectively reactivated. During Andean orogenesis, the deformation front jumped from the Western Cordillera to the Eastern Cordillera in the Eocene, and potentially localized near pre-existing Triassic extensional structures. Thin-skinned shortening within the Eastern Cordillera reactivated inherited normal and reverse faults. One key structure is the Ayaviri fault, which defines the eastern Altiplano margin, and preserves growth strata constraining Oligocene fault motion. This structure has been variably interpreted as accommodating reverse or strike-slip offset, a reactivated pre-Andean fault, and as a boundary between suites of different volcanic products potentially reflecting contribution from different lithospheric blocks. Structural and magmatic observations from other segments of the Andean margin support variable influence from inherited structural architecture. These results emphasize how pre-Andean deformation may condition the crust for future deformation, as well as the continued need to characterize the role of inheritance on orogenesis.

Biography

Nick’s research focuses on basin analysis and tectonics. His expertise is in non-marine siliciclastic sedimentology/stratigraphy, integration of U-Pb geochronology and provenance techniques, structural mapping and balanced cross-sections, and low-temperature thermochronology. His research topics include basin dynamics and sediment routing during deformation, the role of structural inheritance on subsidence and deformation, and the integration of sedimentology, geochronology, and kinematics. 

Nick is developing new research projects in the Peruvian Andes, Ancestral Rocky Mountains, Morocco, and the Cascades. Motivated students are encouraged to contact him if interested in M.S. or Ph.D. tectonics research. 

 

View Event →

Dec
8
12:00 PM12:00

Dec 8. (Non AGS Event) Reflections and Roasting of Dr. Jack Sharp

This fall is Dr. Jack Sharp's last semester to teach Hydrogeology at UT, and we would like to celebrate his spectacular career. 

Join us December 8 (Friday) at the Hydro Brown Bag seminar at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences and/or the BBQ Reception at the Pierce home to share exciting thoughts and reflections on our experiences with Jack. 

Jack sharp.jpg

Hydro Brown Bag Seminar: Reflections and Roasting of Dr. Sharp

Where: UT campus, JGB room 3.222

When: December 8, 12:00 – 1:00

BBQ Reception

Where: Pierce home, 5903 Deep Spring Cove, Austin, TX

When: December 8, 4:00 – 9:00 PM

RSVP through Evite

View Event →
Dec
4
6:30 PM18:30

Dec. 4: The Global Energy Scene: A Few Things You Might Not Read in the Times

The Global Energy Scene: A Few Things You Might Not Read in the Times

Scott W. Tinker

Over the past few decades, a story of “good” and “bad” energy has evolved: renewable good, fossil and nuclear bad. Schoolkids are taught “facts” about energy that often violate economic and even physical principles. Passionate evangelists, Hollywood actors, activist investors, and even national newspapers present slanted “ideal world” scenarios. As the United States considers its position in energy—from climate and carbon, to poverty and immigration, to renewable energy and reregulation of electricity markets—it is vital to understand the facts, real costs and benefits, and global implications of various policies in order to minimize politics and maximize lasting impact. I’ll review a few global-energy realities that you are unlikely to read in the Times, and pose a few questions whose answers might challenge what you think. As Mark Twain is credited with saying, “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”

articleTinker.jpg

Biography
Dr. Scott W. Tinker is director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, the State Geologist of Texas, a professor holding the Allday Endowed Chair and acting Associate Dean of Research in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Scott is past president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Association of American State Geologists, the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, and the American Geosciences Institute. Scott is a Halbouty Leadership Medalist, a Boyd Medalist, and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. He has given over 650 keynote and invited lectures to government, industry, academic, and general audiences, and visited nearly 60 countries. Tinker serves on many private, public, academic, and government boards and advisory councils and co-produced and is featured in the award-winning energy documentary film, Switch, which is on thousands of college campuses and has been seen by over 15 million people. He is working on another film project, Switch ON, focused on energy poverty.

View Event →
Nov
18
9:00 AM09:00

AGS Field Trip: Albian Rudist buildup

Field trip to Lake Georgetown spillway--Albian Rudist buildup

The fieldtrip participants will meet Saturday, November 18 at 9am at the small parking lot outside the entrance gate to the Corps of Engineers Cedar Breaks Park on the south side of Lake Georgetown. Cost per participant is $10 and can be paid on site. Bring field shoes, hat, sunscreen, and water; we will provide a printed field guide. Rest rooms are available in the park but not at the spillway. We will spend at least three hours on the excellent exposures of Albian rudist buildups in the spillway, but there is more of the Edwards/Comanche Peak section exposed to explore on your own.

Please contact Charlotte  Sullivan at: charlotte.sullivan(at)pnnl.gov

 

Exposures of Cretaceous carbonates at the Lake Georgetown spillway, Williamson County, Texas provide a rare three dimensional view of vertical and lateral changes in Upper Albian rudist communities. 

Exposures of Cretaceous carbonates at the Lake Georgetown spillway, Williamson County, Texas provide a rare three dimensional view of vertical and lateral changes in Upper Albian rudist communities. 

SATELLITE MAP GEORGETOWN.JPG
PARKING LAKE GEORGETOWN.jpg
View Event →
Nov
6
6:30 PM18:30

Nov. 6: Systems Thinking for Macroeconomic Modeling: Energy, Debt, Dynamics, and Economic “Structure”

Systems Thinking for Macroeconomic Modeling: Energy, Debt, Dynamics, and Economic “Structure”

Carey W. King

Abstract

Macroeconomic modeling needs to consider a wide range of economic factors (employment, wages, economic output, capital, debt, income distribution) and physical factors (population, rate of energy consumption, capital). Most economic models focus on the former factors much more than the latter.  The Long-term models also need to consider dynamics that have the ability to understand how the rate of change in the energy system interacts with the rest of the economy.  In this talk, Dr. King discusses data and analysis that provide insight into the long-term (100+ years) changes in size and structure of the world and U.S. economy in the context of the size of the energy system.  This topic has implications for modeling a transition to a low-carbon economy, a task for which many mainstream economic models (e.g., general equilibrium models) are ill-equipped.

 

Bio

Dr. Carey W King performs interdisciplinary research related to how energy systems interact within the economy and environment as well as how our policy and social systems can make decisions and tradeoffs among these often competing factors. The past performance of our energy systems is no guarantee of future returns, yet we must understand the development of past energy systems.  Carey’s research goals center on rigorous interpretations of the past to determine the most probable future energy pathways.

Carey is  Research Scientist at The University of Texas at Austin and Assistant Director at the Energy Institute. He also has appointments with the  Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy within the Jackson School of Geosciences and the McCombs School of Business. He has both a B.S. with high honors and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He has published technical articles in the academic journals Environmental Science and Technology, Environmental Research Letters, Nature Geoscience, Energy Policy, Sustainability, and Ecology and Society. He has also written commentary for American Scientist and Earthmagazines as well as major newspapers such as the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, and Austin American-Statesman. Dr. King has several patents as former Director for Scientific Research of Uni-Pixel Displays, Inc.

View Event →
Oct
24
9:00 AM09:00

Core Workshop: Shelf-to-Basin Architecture, Depositional Systems, and Facies Variability of the Southern Eastern Shelf of the Permian Basin

Presented by The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology: State of Texas Advanced Oil and Gas Resource Recovery (STARR) Program

Sponsored by the Austin Geological Society

October 24, 2017 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Austin Core Research Center, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas 78758; (512) 471-1534

Registration: Please contact Sigrid Clift at sigrid.clift@beg.utexas.edu; Limited to 30 participants; Registration fee: $30.00 (Includes morning refreshments and lunch plus presentations on CD and handouts, but not $3 parking fee).

This all-day workshop offers an in-depth overview of shelf, shelf-edge, and slope depositional facies characteristics, stratigraphic variations, and sedimentation trends of the Missourian Canyon Group and Virgilian–Wolfcampian Cisco Group across the southern Eastern Shelf and the adjacent Midland Basin. Regional depositional features of equivalent strata of the northern half of the Eastern Shelf are well documented in the works of Frank Brown and others. However, the facies architecture of the southern half of this major petroleum province previously had been only incompletely examined. This study is based on detailed analysis of more than 2,200 well logs and approximately 10 cores within a 19-county area of West Texas. Attendees can get a hands-on view of key cores with a detailed review of depositional environments from source to sink—fluvial incised valley fill, shelf, shelf edge, slope, and slope-to-basin-floor transition. Core descriptions, cross sections, and lithofacies maps document temporal and spatial variations in progradational sediment wedges and indicate that significant volumes of sediments were delivered into the Midland Basin where a thick succession of both siliciclastic and carbonate reservoirs offers numerous opportunities for oil and gas production.

Click here for a PDF flyer

Presenters:

Tucker F. Hentz, William A. Ambrose, Robert W. Baumgardner, and Fritz Palacios

Isochore map of the Wolfcampian upper Cisco Group showing location of wells used in the study. Thickest strata coincide with a depocenter of much-thickened slope systems comprising siliciclastic and carbonate debris-flow deposits and thick sections of slope mudrock. Slope sandstones and limestones are among the most productive facies of the southern Eastern Shelf.

Isochore map of the Wolfcampian upper Cisco Group showing location of wells used in the study. Thickest strata coincide with a depocenter of much-thickened slope systems comprising siliciclastic and carbonate debris-flow deposits and thick sections of slope mudrock. Slope sandstones and limestones are among the most productive facies of the southern Eastern Shelf.

 

 

View Event →
Oct
2
7:00 PM19:00

Oct 2. AGS Meeting: Geology at the Crossroads--Big Bend Ranch State Park

Geology at the Cross Roads: Big Bend Ranch State Park: Geology, Landscape, Culture, History

by Blaine R. Hall, TPWD, Ret.

Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP), is the largest of the Texas State Parks covering an area of over 300,000 acres (~1200 square kilometers). The scenery is magnificent and the landscape varies from river lowlands, through deep canyons, across high plateaus, and up steep mountains. Ultimately all of this is controlled by the character and variety of the underlying geology and the processes that created it over millions of years.

But why a Crossroads of Geology?   

Because, the park’s southern boundary follows the Rio Grande from about 10 miles below Presidio through a series of Basin and Range grabens for some 40 miles down-river to Lajitas at the northwest corner of Big Bend National Park. Extensive Cenozoic-age volcanics and intrusives make up the Bofecillos Mountains in the central part of the Park, while the Solitario Dome covers the northeastern corner where early Cretaceous-age limestone mark the flank of the dome and Paleozoic-age chert, sandstone, limestone, novaculite, and shale are exposed in its core.  And finally, in southeastern BBRSP early Cretaceous-age shale, marl, and limestone are exposed along the Fresno-Terlingua Monocline.

Furthermore, four of the major orogenic events that mark the development of North America converge in BBRSP. 1) The Ouachita/Marathon foldbelt extends through the Marathon Basin and can be seen in the interior of the Solitario Dome, where exceptional exposures of highly deformed Siluro-Devonian Caballos Novaculite occur. 2) The Laramide foldbelt is also represented in the Park, particularly where the lower Cretaceous Santa Elena, Del Rio, and Buda Formations are asymmetrically folded along the Fresno-Terlingua monocline. 3) Undoubtedly, the most dramatic geological event represented in the Park is the mid-Cenozoic volcanism that built up the Bofecillos Mountains as part of the very extensive Trans-Pecos volcanic province. 4) And finally, along the south edge of BBRSP, the route of the Rio Grande follows Basin and Range age sediment-filled grabens, marked by long, continuous normal to oblique slip faults exposed along very prominent fault scarps.

And Not the Least, the geology and climate have determined the character of the landscape, which in turn greatly influenced the cultural development of the area, and the cultural development through time determines the history of the region.

So, come on out to Big Bend Ranch State Park and watch for the evidence of all four events. Revive your appreciation for the geological enormity of time and scale and the resulting variety of landscape and scenic beauty, both natural and historical, here at the Crossroads.


Figure illustrating the geologic crossroads of BBRSP. Figure from TPWD.

Figure illustrating the geologic crossroads of BBRSP. Figure from TPWD.

Deformation associated with the final stages of the formation of Pangea.

Deformation associated with the final stages of the formation of Pangea.

Biography:

hall_for_web.jpg

Blaine Hall joined Texas Parks and Wildlife in 2010 as an Interpretive Ranger at Big Bend Ranch State Park where he used a hands-on approach in explaining the natural and cultural history of the park. In particular, he helped visitors understand the geology of the park, how the geology controls the development of the park’s landscape, and how the landscape has affected the cultural and historical development of the park. He was uniquely suited for this position because he was able to utilize his wide ranging industry experience, substantial teaching experience, and strong academic background. Blaine completed his B.S. in Geology at UT El Paso, received his M.Sc. in Geological Oceanography from Dalhousie University, and carried out research in marine geology and geophysics while at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. His industry experience began with Superior Oil in minerals exploration for Proterozoic placer gold (South African type) and Kimberlites (Diamonds) in the Rockies, Canada, Kansas, and Arkansas. He then shifted to petroleum, beginning with studies of heavy oil reservoirs in California for Mobil Oil and continued with exploration and production programs in southern South America for Mobil while based in Buenos Aires. He went back to Argentina for Parker and Parsley and consequently, Pioneer Natural Resources. After leaving industry, Blaine returned to his native West Texas and spent the next ten years teaching Geology and Mathematics at Sul Ross State University. While at Sul Ross, he was also very active with the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute where he developed a permanent exhibit on the geology of the surrounding Davis Mountains and presented workshops for teachers and many other youth and continuing education programs.

Since his retirement from TPWD in 2015, Blaine, now residing in Fort Davis, has continued studying the geology of Big Bend Ranch State Park and guiding the work of others there. He is helping direct the thesis research of Master’s students from Sul Ross State University on differing aspects of the Cenozoic volcanism and tectonics in the park, as well as, special projects for undergraduate McNair Scholars. Blaine is also actively involved with UT Austin faculty and staff in studies of the lower Paleozoic units now exposed in the core of the Solitario, an uplifted and eroded intrusive dome in the park.       

View Event →
Sep
15
to Sep 17

Texas Hydro Geo Workshop (Non AGS event)

September 15-17, 2017

Cave Without a Name, 325 Kruetzberg Road Boerne, Texas

Join us in the field for a weekend of learning and fun with leading researchers and practitioners from across the nation. More than 30 modules will be offered including: 

  • Stream Gauging
  • Water Level Measurements
  • Data Collection
  • Drilling Demonstrations
  • Tracer Testing
  • Karst Feature Evaluation
  • Surface & Borehole Geophysical Surveys
  • Field Instrument Use

More information can be found here: http://caves.org/grotto/bexargrotto/HydroGeo/

TXHGW Event Flyer 2017.jpg
View Event →
Sep
11
6:00 PM18:00

AGS Annual Ethics Training for 2017

Austin Geological Society Annual Ethics Training for 2017

Presented by Will Boettner, P.G. (AGS President)

All licensed geoscientists in the State of Texas are required to complete annual ethics training as part of their Continuing Professional Development. Given that all or most of the practicing geoscientists in Texas are honorable and dedicated at their profession, the question arises of what exactly are ethics in geoscience practice, what purpose do they truly serve and why are they required.

Making ethical decisions about geoscience serves to protect the public we serve, society in general, and protects the good name of the geoscience profession. Working with a Code of Conduct standardizes expectations and actions of practicing geoscientists in a manner that is dependable and reliable for society at large. Approaches to making ethical decisions can be mapped out and followed to provide reproducible results. In the end, ethical practice and a professional code of conduct serve the interests of society, science and our professional standing.

 

Note this meeting was rescheduled from August 28, 2017 due to Hurricane Harvey. Our thanks to Will for stepping in to provide an Ethics talk and get the year started.

AGS Ethics 9.11.17.jpg
View Event →
May
1
7:00 PM19:00

May 1 AGS Meeting: Mudrocks (shales, mudstones) at the Scale of Grains and Pores: Current Understanding

  • Bureau of Economic Geology, ROC Conference Room (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Mudrocks (shales, mudstones) at the Scale of Grains and Pores: Current Understanding

Dr. Kitty Milliken, Bureau of Economic Geology

The fine-grained sediments and rocks that constitute most of the sedimentary record have received tremendous research attention in the past decade. This talk reviews some of the technologies that have supported these advances and summarizes current knowledge of the diagenetic processes that drive the evolution of bulk rock properties of mud in the subsurface. Electron microbeam instrumentation has been central to improving our understanding of fine-grained materials.  In particular, improvements in resolution offered by field-emission electron guns and advances in sample preparation by various ion-milling techniques have allowed researchers to see tiny grains and pores in unprecedented detail. Grain assemblages in mudrocks vary across a very broad compositional range and the beginning compositions in muds have significant implications for the evolution of properties relevant to reservoir quality in mudrocks.  It is now clear that the principal diagenetic processes of sandstones and limestones, compaction and cementation, also operate in mudrocks. Research efforts to quantify the roles of compaction and cementation are central in the quest to refine a predictive understanding of the evolution of mudrock properties in the subsurface.

Biography

Kitty L. Milliken received a B.A. in geology (1975) from Vanderbilt University and M.A. (1977) and Ph.D. (1985) degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently she is a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology in Jackson School of Geosciences. Her research focuses on the diagenesis of siliciclastic sediments and the evolution of rock properties in the subsurface. She has authored and co-authored around 90 peer-reviewed papers, over 100 abstracts, and also digital resources for teaching sandstone and carbonate petrography. She served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Sedimentary Research (1993-2000) and as Co-Editor (2004-2008).  In 2006 she toured as a J. Ben Carsey Distinguished Lecturer for the AAPG; she was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (2008). Her current work is focused on the application of electron microbeam imaging and analysis to interpret chemical and mechanical histories of mudrocks (oil and gas shales).

 

View Event →
Apr
3
7:00 PM19:00

April 3 AGS Meeting & Panel Discussion: "Whatever possessed you to become a geologist?"

  • Bureau of Economic Geology, ROC Conference Room (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS
Decision pathways...

Decision pathways...

Panel Discussion: "Whatever possessed you to become a geologist?" or"How and why I became a Geoscientist, and what that decision led to."

The theme of the next meeting will be the interview of three distinguished geologists, John Berry, Pat Dickerson, and Ernie Lundelius. The discussion will center around the same topics as were on the member survey that we conducted at the last meeting.

Specifically, we will be asking them about: 1) when they knew they wanted to geologists, 2) what about geology appealed to them, 3) who influenced them the most, 4) what they would have become, if not geologists, and 5) what their best jobs were. We will also be releasing the results of the member survey covering the same questions.

View Event →
Mar
6
6:30 PM18:30

March 6 AGS Meeting: Thomas Ewing: A Scenic Tour of the Subsurface of the Austin Area

  • Bureau of Economic Geology, ROC Conference Room, (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

A Scenic Tour of the Subsurface of the Austin Area (Bastrop-Marlin); Milano Fault Zone and Cretaceous to Eocene Stratigraphy 

By Thomas E. Ewing, Frontera Exploration Consultants, San Antonio TX 78259

A recent project in support of groundwater modeling in the area east and northeast of Austin has allowed a good look at regional stratigraphy and structure in the eastern capitol area. Noteworthy items include:

  • Shelf edges of the Lower and Upper Edwards
  • Northeast thickening of the Eagle Ford
  • Austin carbonate bank and the Waco Channel
  • Enigmatic shelf sandstones
  • Milano Fault Zone - en echelon grabens
  • Simsboro Sand - Thickens in graben fill indicating fault movement

This talk will be a preliminary overview, a paper on the fault system will be presented at GCAGS in the fall.

Ewing_Lomond_2010 (1).jpeg

Biography

Dr. Thomas Ewing is a geoscientist with over 33 years of experience in hydrocarbon exploration and research. He is a Registered Professional Geoscientist in the State of Texas (#1320) and an AAPG/DPA Certified Petroleum Geologist (#4538), and holds certification #1610 from SIPES. He received a B.A. in Geology from the Colorado College (1975), an M.S. in Geochemistry from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (1977), and a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of British Columbia (1981).

Dr. Ewing was a research geologist for four years at the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin, working on Gulf Coast geopressured reservoirs, serving as a co-author of the "Atlas of Texas Oil Reservoirs", and compiling the Tectonic Map of Texas.   He is now a partner in Yegua Energy Associates, LLC

Tom has published over 75 papers and abstracts. Among other awards, he has twice received the Gulf Coast Section AAPG Levorsen Award (1982 and 1999), and has received the AAPG Distinguished Service Award. He has written articles on Gulf Coast geology and hydrocarbons, the geology and tectonics of Texas, and history and urban geology of the San Antonio area. He wrote the popular guidebook “Landscapes, Water and Man: Geology and Man in the San Antonio Area” published by the South Texas Geological Society in 2008.

In his spare time, he leads field trips in South Texas, and directs a 60-voice German men’s chorus, the San Antonio Liederkranz.

View Event →
Feb
25
7:00 AM07:00

Field Trip: Less Frequented Springs of the Austin Area, Texas

Trip Leaders: Alan Cherepon, Sylvia Pope, and Scott Hiers

Sign up with Charlotte Sullivan ph: 512.809.0656 email: charolotte.sullivan(at)pnnl.gov

Assembly point: Pickle Research Center, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin 78758; Meet bus in visitor parking lot on North side of Burnet Rd entrance.

Trip leader, Al Cherepon, at an exposure of the Walnut Formation near Hearth/Great Hills Spring. 

Trip leader, Al Cherepon, at an exposure of the Walnut Formation near Hearth/Great Hills Spring. 

 

The next field trip of the AGS is scheduled for 2/25/17 from 7 AM to 5:30 PM in the greater Austin area, and will be a bring-your-own-box-lunch event so as to get the most out of the day.  Six springs and seeps will be visited; one in each of the water bearing spring units, from the Glen Rose up through the Quaternary Terrace Deposits.  This trip will emphasize that there are small springs and seeps all over Austin if you know where to look.  These springs are less studied as compared to Barton or Seider’s Spring.  The span of hydrogeology to be covered will compare and identify the reasons why specifying units in the Austin area springs can often be difficult.  Some outstanding fossils, faults, scenery, and history will be seen and discussed.  WARNING:  Some of the sites are difficult to access, will require traversing steep slopes and slippery creek beds, water in the creek beds and getting feet wet.  The suggested footwear is waterproof hiking boots or knee high rubber boots.  The sites are unique and will be well worth the effort.  Come join us for a field trip that promises to be worth your while.

View Event →
Feb
11
to Feb 12

Feb 11-12 CCGS Fieldtrip: Rio Grande Delta

The Rio Grande Delta and its Surroundings: Frontiers of Geoscience and Development

Saturday-Sunday, February 11-12, 2017

Sponsored by the Corpus Christi Geological Society; Leaders:

  • Thomas E. EWING, Frontera Exploration Consultants, San Antonio, TX
  • Juan L. GONZALEZ, Dept. of Env. Sciences, UT-Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX

Join your colleagues on a two-day exploration of the Rio Grande Delta, a unique delta-shoreline complex at the southern tip of Texas. The Rio Grande delta is one of the major deltas of North America. Over 1,600,000 people live on the Holocene delta plain and its Pleistocene ancestors, yet geologic knowledge is limited.

 The delta was formed by the sediment-rich Rio Grande/Rio Bravo during the Altithermal. The river carried huge but irregular flows into a semiarid environment. Eolian activity has extensively modified the delta plain. Human settlement and infrastructure has exploited the delta and its river, such that recovering natural conditions and values is a present challenge. Major historical developments, including Mexican War and Civil War battle sites, will be addressed as well.

Combining available geologic information with global satellite photography gives a balanced view of an important delta. But a lot of work remains to be done! Come help define the problems and the ways we can resolve them. We will visit:

  • The South Texas eolian sand sheet and Sal del Rey, an historic salt deposit
  • Lagunas, esteros, and distributary channels in the Holocene floodplain
  • Clay dunes and the 'hilly delta'; erosion and accretion
  • Transgressive shoreline at Boca Chica and South Padre
  • Irrigation and drainage features, and preserved battlefields
  • Thick Oligocene ash in the upper valley-side bluffs near Rio Grande City

Logistics:   Trip departs from Corpus Christi, TX 9am Saturday (place TBA), and returns to Corpus Christi, TX about 6:30 pm Sunday.  Bus transportation, hotel (double occupancy), guide materials, breakfast burritos, lunches, and water are provided. You cover: dinner, personal items.

Cost:    Estimated at $300, minimum 15 participants.  More details to follow.

Contact:     If you're coming, please contact the trip leaders:

    Thomas Ewing        tewing@fronteraexploration.com

    Juan Gonzalez        juan.l.gonzalez@utrgv.edu

    Dawn Bissell        bissells@swbell.net

View Event →
Feb
6
6:30 PM18:30

Geology and Highway Engineering Problems in Texas

MONITORING AND REPAIR OF DISTRESSED MECHANICALLY STABILIZED EARTH WALL (MSEW): A CASE STUDY OF IH-10 MSEW IN TEXAS

CLICK HERE FOR POWER POINT

Speaker:  Marcus Galvan, PE. Corsair Consulting LLC

Forensic study and the repair measures of a distressed Mechanically Stabilized Earth wall (MSEW) on IH-10 in Beaumont, Texas. The MSEW was built in 1993 experienced a significant separation in the roadway shoulder. This separation was initially dowel stitched. About four years after initial retrofit additional pavement cracks appeared in the travelling lanes. Field inspection, extensive field and laboratory testing and MSEW monitoring using an inclinometer were performed to investigate the cause of the MSEW distress. MSEW stability, based on the laboratory test results, indicates that the MSEW is on the verge of sliding failure. This analysis was verified by the field monitoring conducted using an inclinometer. After several heavy rain events the MSEW showed the sliding behavior that caused great concern for the MSEW stability and the safety of traveling public. Consequently, repair measures were taken using the prestressed ground anchors and soldier piling system.

Bio:   Mr. Galvan has more than 29 years of experience covering broad range of structural, material, geotechnical engineering and construction issues.  For 16 of his 27 years in industry, Mr. Galvan worked in the TxDOT Bridge Division Geotechnical Branch.  Here he supervised and managed personnel engaged in statewide geotechnical activities.  These included the design of bridge foundations, retaining walls, bank and stream scour countermeasures, evaluation and remediation of slope stability issues, forensic evaluations, participation in Value Engineering studies, development of Statewide Bridge Geotechnical Standards and Specifications, planning and execution of geotechnical investigations and construction support for geotechnical structures on Texas Highway Projects.
 

View Event →
Jan
9
6:30 PM18:30

Austin Geological Society Business Meeting

January AGS BUSINESS MEETING: The AGS Executive Committee is required to report at lest once a year to the Membership.  We are holding a business meeting in the BEG Conference Room 6:30-8:00 pm on Monday, January 9th (the SECOND Monday in January).  A lot has been achieved in the past year - more than can be communicated before the regular meeting.  The ExCom will bring the membership up to date on what has been done, and BRIEF committee reports will be read.  We encourage members present to ask questions and make suggestions.


This is a business meeting so there will be no technical presentation or pizza. 

John Berry,
AGS President

Location:

BEG Conference Room
UT Austin, JJ Pickle Research Center
101 Burnet Rd., Bldg 130

View Event →
Dec
10
4:00 PM16:00

AGS Holiday Party

Austin Geological Society Holiday Party

Saturday, December 10th, 2016; 4:00-7:00 p.m.

At the home of John & Ingrid Berry; 5000 Beverly Hills Drive, AUSTIN, TX 78731 (near RM2222 & MoPac)

Members and Significant Others are invited; Traditional Holiday Food, Mulled Cider, etc (Gluten free and Vegetarian options available); BYOB Alcoholic Drinks

RSVPto jlbassoc@flash.netby Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

View Event →
Dec
5
7:00 PM19:00

The National Water Model in the Austin Area

The National Water Model in the Austin Area

David Maidment, UT Austin (Engineering)

 

Maidment.jpg

 

The National Weather Service is now operating a National Water Model as a high spatial resolution, real-time water forecasting system for streams and rivers in association with its weather forecasting system.  For Travis County there are forecasts updated hourly for about 500 river and stream segments of average length 2 miles.  The 10m National Elevation Dataset has been analyzed to generate a “Height Above Nearest Drainage” value for each 10m cell in the landscape draining to a particular 10m cell in the stream network, and from this the stream channel geometry and rating curve converting discharge to water level have been computed.  This enables the piezometric head surface of the river and stream network to be computed in real-time, and real-time flood inundation mapping to be created.  The Austin Fire Department has prepared flood response maps to anticipate actions that need to be taken when vulnerable communities are threatened with flooding. The Onion Creek watershed is being used as a test-bed to check the validity of these forecasts and planning procedures.  The piezometric head surface of the streams and rivers must be connected to the piezometric head surface of the shallow groundwater system but this connection is not well defined in the National Water Model.  Input from the Austin Geological Society would be welcomed as to how best to characterize the shallow groundwater system of relevance to this process.

More information is available at: http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-launches-america-s-first-national-water-forecast-model

Biography

David R. Maidment is the Hussein M. Alharthy Centennial Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin where he has been on the faculty since 1981.  He received his Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Engineering with First Class Honors from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, and his MS and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Texas, he was a research scientist at the Ministry of Works and Development in New Zealand, and at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria, and he was also a Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University.

Dr Maidment is a specialist in surface water hydrology, and in particular in the application of geographic information systems to hydrology. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering "For development of geographic information systems applied to hydrologic processes".

Dr Maidment teaches classes in surface water hydrology and GIS in Water Resources. From 1992 to 1995 he was Editor of the Journal of Hydrology. Dr Maidment is also co-author of the text Applied Hydrology (McGraw-Hill, 1988), Editor in Chief of the Handbook of Hydrology (McGraw-Hill, 1993), co-editor of the monograph Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling Support with GIS (ESRI Press, 2000), co-author and editor of Arc Hydro: GIS for Water Resources, (ESRI Press, 2002), and co-author of Arc Hydro Groundwater (ESRI Press, 2011).

 

View Event →
Nov
19
8:00 AM08:00

Guided Tour of Gault Archeological Site, near Florence Texas

Leave Pickle in car pool at 8am. Return about 12:30pm. Cost is $10 for the tour.

If you are interested in joining this tour, and have not yet signed up, please contact John Berry at jlbassoc@flash.net. 

Tour led by Dr. D. Clark Wernecke, Executive Director, The Gault School of Archaeological Research (at Texas State)

The Gault site is very large (40 ac) and is one of the most important archeological sites in the United States, since several million artifacts of all cultures from Clovis to Late Prehistoric have been found. More than 600,000 Clovis artifacts alone have been recovered, and there are pre-Clovis artifacts dating back to about 15,500 years BP.  In all the long discussion of the pre-Clovis period in North America, this has been one of the very few sites with well-dated demonstrably pre-Clovis material.  Thus the site raises important questions about just how North America was originally peopled.

Our guide will discuss, among other things: 

  • hypotheses regarding the peopling of the Americas
  • the geology and history of this area of Central Texas
  • cultural history of central Texas
  • primitive technologies
  • important finds from the Gault site
  • archaeological excavation

Links to more information:   

www.texasbeyondhistory.net/gault  

http://www.gaultschool.org/history/peopling-americas  

View Event →
Nov
7
7:00 PM19:00

November 7: AGS Meeting: Early Paleocene Environmental Reconstruction

Early Paleocene Environmental Reconstruction Using the Isotopic Composition of Leaf Compressions from the San Juan Basin

Steve Dworkin, Baylor University

I got my Master’s from Michigan State in glacial geology.  Ph.D.  in 1991 from UT Austin – I studied under Lynton Land and I worked on sandstone diagenesis.  I am a sedimentary petrologist and low temperature geochemist.  My work focuses on paleoclimate reconstructions using terrestrial rocks.  Most of my students work on reconstructing paleoceanographic conditions using the chemistry of black shales. 

Spherulites in obsidian are more than a curiosity

Kevin Befus, Baylor University

Dr. Befus earned his first and second degrees in Geology at Texas Christian University, and his Ph.D. at UT Austin (in 2014).  He has taught at Stanford University and Baylor.  His interests focus on the processes affecting eruptive lavas: the temperatures and pressures at which magmas are stored before eruption, the rates of ascent, emplacement and cooling of lavas when they are erupted.  He has worked on lavas from the Yellowstone Caldera, Mono Craters (CA), and the mid-ocean ridge system, as well as on phreatomagmatic rocks of K-T boundary age from West Texas.  He has used many techniques to analyze his samples: microchemical analysis of spherulites and their surroundings, Oxygen isotopes, and has developed innovative methods to make these analyses much less time-consuming and more accurate.  Tonight he will talk about the part that analyses of spherulites and their surroundings can play in increasing our knowledge of fundamental volcanic processes and their rates This knowledge will be important as we try to develop the capacity to accurately forecast eruptions.

Microcosm Study to Evaluate Alternative Reduced Sulfur Compounds to Stimulate Uranium Reduction.

Nebechi Osia

Nebechi is a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering at the Texas A & M University - Kingsville.  Her advisor is Dr. Lee Clapp.  Nebechi graduated with a Masters in both Environmental Chemistry/M.E.E.S and Environmental Engineering from University of Maryland Eastern Shore and University of Maryland Baltimore County respectively. Her interest in the environment stems from her experiences in her homeland of Nigeria. Her main research interests are remediation, wastewater treatment, geochemical modeling, and the fate and transport of heavy metals.

View Event →
Oct
22
7:00 AM07:00

AGS Mini Field Trip: Wilcox-Carrizo

WILCOX-CARRIZO MARINE AND INTERTIDAL DEPOSITS, BASTROP AREA, CENTRAL TEXAS
MINI-FIELD TRIP
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22nd, 2016. 
7:00 am Pickle/8:00 am Buc-ee's in Bastrop

End ~3:00 pm
LEADER: CHRIS DENISON
 
The 4 locations we will visit provide an opportunity to examine and discuss depositional environments and stratigraphic relationships in the uppermost Wilcox Group and lowermost Claiborne Group as developed in Bastrop County. Red Bluff (Stop 3) and Golf Course (Stop 4) are frequently visited by field parties from local colleges, societies and the petroleum industry, as reservoir analogs and as potential equivalents for the subsurface Wilcox.

Ideas around the spatial and temporal relationships presented in this field guide have been developed over several years and numerous visits to the locations we will see today, combined with critical appraisal of the many publications concerning the stratigraphy of Bastrop County and beyond, but it remains a work-in-progress .
 
This is a re-run of the highly successful trip that Chris led in the spring.
 
Sign-Up: John Berry, jlbassoc@flash.net or call at 512-452-8068

View Event →
Oct
20
8:30 AM08:30

Core Workshop: Wilcox Group

Architectural variability and depositional trends in the Wilcox Group in Texas

PRESENTERS:  Iulia Olariu, William Ambrose, Hongliu Zeng, Jinyu Zhang, Cornel Olariu, Ronald Steel, and Austin Clayton

COST:                 $30 (includes continental breakfast, boxed lunch)

REGISTER:         MAXIMUM OF 40 PARTICIPANTS

CONTACT:            Sigrid Clift, E-mail: sigrid.clift@beg.utexas.edu

The University of Texas at Austin and Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) State of Texas Advanced Oil and Gas Resource Recovery (STARR) Program are presenting an all-day core workshop of the Wilcox Group in Texas. Following morning lectures on Wilcox sequence stratigraphy and depositional systems in the Main Conference Room at BEG (10100 Burnet Road, Building 130), the workshop is then devoted to an afternoon’s review of cores in the Core Research Center (Building 131). Attendees can get a hands-on view of key cores with a detailed review of depositional systems and reservoir facies. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to observe numerous examples of vertically superimposed sedimentary facies from fluvial, deltaic, and transgressive-shelf depositional systems. 

Registration does not include parking pass for Pickle Research Campus
(see http://parking.utexas.edu/parking/visitor/prc.html)

View Event →
Oct
3
7:00 PM19:00

AGS Meeting: Seismicity Monitoring and Research in Texas

TexNet and CISR: Seismicity Monitoring and Research in Texas

Michael H. Young,  (BEG),  Alexandros Savvaidis, and Peter Hennings

Michael Young will be discussing the seismicity research and monitoring in Texas, including the design of the new TexNet statewide monitoring network.  This is of current interest because of the swarms of earth-quakes in occurring in North Texas.

Dr. Michael Young is Associate Director for Environment and Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, UT-Austin. He has authored or co-authored nearly 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, several book chapters and >100 presentations at scholarly meetings. He is Editor of the Vadose Zone Journal. His research includes water/energy nexus; soil/water/plant interactions in arid vadose zones; and connections between water resources, landscape development, and human interactions.

View Event →
Aug
29
6:30 PM18:30

Annual Ethics Talk: The L’Aquila Trial

The L’Aquila Trial: What are my options if my client or employer publicly misrepresents my views.

Martin Boozer, Attorney, and John Berry

CLICK HERE FOR POWER POINT

Six leading Italian earth scientists and a civil servant were tried and convicted of manslaughter as a consequence of the supposedly falsely reassuring advice they gave just prior to the April 6th, 2009, L’Aquila earthquake, which killed 309 people.  We use this trial as a starting point for a discussion of the options open to you if your organization misrepresents your professional evaluation of the risk posed to the public by a geological event.  As part of this we will discuss the Texas whistleblower statute.

View Event →
Apr
4
7:00 PM19:00

Past, Present, and Future: Aquifer Storage and Recovery in Texas

Matt Webb, Hydrologist, Texas Water Development Board

The purpose of the presentation is to familiarize the audience with a technology called aquifer storage and recovery, or ASR. Conceptually, ASR involves taking source water when it is available and storing it via an injection well in an aquifer for later recovery at a time when other available water is scarce. ASR application can be beneficial for evaporation suppression and surface inundation mitigation. However, the technology also carries challenges that must be considered prior to attempting to implement the method. ASR activities, experimental and operational, have taken place in Texas since the 1940’s and today there are three ASR facilities in the state. Interest in the technology has increased markedly in the last several years. The TWDB is funding feasibility and demonstrations projects in Victoria, New Braunfels, and Corpus Christi.

View Event →
Mar
7
9:00 PM21:00

"Inner Space Caverns (Laubach Cave): Discovery and insights into Texas' past fauna and climate"

Ernie Lundelius, Jay Banner, and Jim Samson

Abstract: 
              
In 1963 a large cave was found by the Texas Highway Department while conducting foundation core drilling for a railroad overpass of Interstate Highway 35 south of Georgetown, Texas.  A two foot diameter hole was drilled into the cave for access.  Exploration by highway department personnel and members of the Texas Speleological Association found an extensive cavern underlying the site of the proposed overpass and surrounding area.  The landowner, Dr. Laubach, received permission from the Texas Highway Department to develop a commercial cavern under the highway, and it was named Inner Space Cave.  The cavern is located in the Cretaceous age Edwards Formation and within the Balcones Fault Zone, both known for having caves and sinkholes.
              
Cave calcite deposits (speleothems) offer insight into past climate. As the calcite grows from drip water entering the cave, it may record changes in the rate of drip and/or the chemical composition of the drip water. In this way, speleothems my preserve past climate information, yet there are many uncertainties regarding how accurately we can interpret a climate signal from speleothem analysis. At Inner Space and other cave systems in central Texas, ongoing research is monitoring cave meteorology, drip water physical and chemical parameters, and the growth of calcite on artificial substrates. The goal of these studies is to evaluate the extent to which modern speleothem calcite preserves climate changes. Speleothems have the potential to record past changes in temperature and the sources of moisture for rainfall in Texas.
              
Deposits in Laubach (Inner Space) Cave have produced vertebrate fossils from five separate old openings that are marked underground by debris cones.  Radiocarbon (C-14) dates are available for three 23,000, 15,000 and 13,000 YBP.  The fossils represent fauna that lived in Texas during the late Pleistocene and include a number of extinct species as well as extant species no longer found in central Texas.  The extinct species include the scimitar toothed cat, Homotherium serum, large armadillo, Dasypus bellus, sloth Megalonyx, glyptodont Glyptotherium sp., Columbian mammoth Mammuthus columbi, camel, Camelops sp., dire wolf Canis dirus, four horned antelope Tetrameryx sp. and large javelina Platygonus compressus.  The extra-limital species, Microtus ochrogaster/pinetorum, the shrew Blarina carolinenesis, prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus, and Dipodomys elator indicate changes in the environment since the last glacial stage.  Some differences in the faunas from the five localities may indicate changes in the fauna through time.  The oldest fauna contains remains of the Mexican free tailed bat that is absent from most of the Pleistocene faunas of Central Texas.  The C-14 date of 23,000 YBP indicates that it was present during the last interstadial that preceded the last glacial maximum.  There are old guano deposits in the cave that could be dated to determine if they are the same age as the Mexican free tailed bat specimens. 

 Biographical information on the Speakers:
Jay Banner: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/researcher/jay_banner/
Ernest Lundelius: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/researcher/ernest_lundelius/
James Samson: James is an independent geological consultant and an AGS Honorary Member.

 

View Event →
Nov
2
7:30 PM19:30

“Texas Groundwater Protection Committee and Abandoned Water Wells”

Cary L. Betz, P.G., Manager of Permit Support, Compliance and Groundwater Section, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Abstract
House Bill 1458 sponsored by Representative Lena Guerrero in the House and Senator Santiesteban in the Senate, was passed by the 70th Legislature in 1989, set out the state’s groundwater protection policy, and created the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee (TGPC) in Chapter 26 of the Texas Water Code. Since that time, the TGPC has implemented the state’s policy of non-degradation of the state’s groundwater resources by coordinating groundwater protection activities of the agencies represented on the Committee, developing and updating a comprehensive groundwater protection strategy for the state, studying and recommending to the legislature groundwater protection programs for areas in which groundwater is not protected by current regulation, and publishing a joint groundwater monitoring and contamination report. Abandoned water wells have been a major concern to the TGPC for many years, as they are a threat to groundwater and public safety. Abandoned wells provide a direct channel for pollution of the aquifer below, through the direct introduction of contaminants with no opportunity for natural filtration by soils or geologic materials. The TGPC continues to advocate for enhanced groundwater protection through abandoned well plugging and educational outreach.

Biography
Cary began his career with the Texas Water Commission’s Water Quality Division in 1989, after working several years in the private sector for an engineering firm specializing in land development and municipal projects. In 1991, he was tasked with building a team to conduct Groundwater Impact Evaluations for Wastewater Permits.

When the agency became the TNRCC, Cary and his team were reorganized into the Groundwater Assessment Section. There, he served in various capacities, focusing primarily on statewide groundwater monitoring and Edwards Aquifer issues. In 2007, Cary assumed the role of the Executive Director’s personal representative to the interagency Texas Groundwater Protection Committee, where he serves as the designated chairman.

Cary was recently appointed Manager of the newly created Permit Support, Compliance and Groundwater Section in TCEQ’s Water Availability Division where he oversees groundwater protection and surface water rights compliance programs. He is a member of the federal Advisory Committee on Water Information’s (ACWI’s) Subcommittee on Ground Water (SOGW) that has developed a national groundwater monitoring program. Cary has also been actively involved with the national Ground Water Protection Council, serving on their Water Quality Division Oversight Group and chairing their Aquifer Storage and Recovery Task Force.

Locally, he represented the TCEQ during the development and implementation of the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program (EARIP), and is serving on the Williamson County Conservation Foundation’s Adaptive Management Committee and the Georgetown Salamander Adaptive Management Working Group.

For Cary, serving Texas and Texans is an honor. He is a sixth generation native Texan from Houston, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geoscience from University of Texas at Austin. He is a licensed Professional Geoscientist in the state. When not at TCEQ, Cary splits his time between his family’s newest generation of Texans, working in the rapidly growing Texas wine industry, and doing preservation work on the battleship U.S.S. Texas.

View Event →