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

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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)




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:


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).


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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 

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:  

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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.

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7:00 AM07:00

AGS Mini Field Trip: Wilcox-Carrizo

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22nd, 2016. 
7:00 am Pickle/8:00 am Buc-ee's in Bastrop

End ~3:00 pm
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, or call at 512-452-8068

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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)


CONTACT:            Sigrid Clift, E-mail:

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

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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.

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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


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.

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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.

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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

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:
Ernest Lundelius:
James Samson: James is an independent geological consultant and an AGS Honorary Member.


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