Development of Earthquake Early Warning Systems

Development of Earthquake  Early Warning Systems

Recently joined GSOC member William Burgel, retired from working for and consulting with the Union Pacific Railroad, spoke to GSOC in September 2018 about his experiences in preparing the railroad system for earthquakes. His expertise stretches back to the 1960’s, and along with performing his job for the railroad company, helped organize and deploy early warning systems for earthquake shaking applicable to government and industrial participants.

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GSOC Annual Picnic Wrap-up

GSOC Annual Picnic Wrap-up

August 12, 2018 at Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Hillsboro

This year’s GSOC annual picnic was at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro. It was attended by over 70 club members and was a very great success! The money collected at the picnic was used to purchase a one-year membership for all GSOC members and to secure a guest speaker, Dr. Nicholas Famoso, USNPS Chief of Paleontology of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, who will also be a guest field trip leader at Camp Hancock in September.

One outstanding happening at the picnic was that Rosemary Kenney, GSOC member for 54 years, presented 45 fossil items to Famoso for donation to the John Day Fossil Bed’s collection. The presentation followed the conclusion of Nick’s lecture at the picnic. Some of the major items were also displayed the day before in a case at the NARG Fossil Fest, also at the Rice Museum.

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Clarno and John Day Lava: Extent and Origins

Clarno and John Day Lava:  Extent and Origins

Synopsis of July 13, 2018 GSOC Friday Night Lecture by Emily Cahoon, PSU PhD Candidate

PSU PhD Candidate Emily Cahoon spoke to GSOC at the July Friday night meeting about her research into the origin of the Clarno and John Day magmatism. Her research is part of an ongoing push in the geoscience community to determine the origin of the magmas to erupt in Oregon. This is a tricky question when the magma originates somewhere in the earth’s mantle, is filtered by partial melting of intervening subducting plates and/or continental crust, erupts onto the earth’s surface, and is then is pushed and pulled, rotated away from its original location, covered up in some places and eroded away in other places.

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Rotating Crustal Blocks Form a Simplified Picture of Pacific NW Plate Motion

Rotating Crustal Blocks Form a Simplified Picture of Pacific NW Plate Motion

May’s GSOC Friday night lecture from retired USGS research geologist Ray Wells gave the listeners a big picture of the tectonic motion of the Pacific NW and explained much about the distribution and function of shallow crustal earthquakes and their associated faults in the region. This picture had sharpened over Wells’ 40-year career at USGS, as our understanding of plate tectonics evolved and new techniques contributed to the store of information and provided corroboration for earlier findings. 

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A Sharper Image of the Landslides of Skamania County

A Sharper Image of the Landslides of Skamania County

Synopsis of GSOC Friday Night Lecture, April 13, 2018

Tom Pierson has been a research scientist at the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory (USGS CVO) since 1981. His field-based research focuses primarily on the hydrological response to volcanic eruptions—lahars, debris avalanches, and floods. Pierson spoke to GSOC in February 2014 about the debris flows following the eruption of the Chaiten Volcano in Chile. Pierson’s April 2018 topic hit a lot closer to home, although the Pacific Northwest also has plenty of volcano hazards.

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From Bowlby to Zumwalt: Exploring the Geology of Oregon's Wallowas

From Bowlby to Zumwalt: Exploring the Geology of Oregon's Wallowas

Synopsis of the GSOC 83rd Annual Banquet lecture given on March 11, 2018, with speaker Dr. Ellen Morris Bishop

Dr. Ellen Morris Bishop – geologist, writer, and photographer – drove from her ranch near Enterprise, Oregon, to speak to an enthusiastic GSOC audience at the 83rd Annual Banquet on Sunday, March 11, 2018. The purpose of her talk was to introduce GSOCers to the geology of Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains and Hells Canyon (WMHC).

Bishop began by showing the location of WMHC on a terrain enhanced road map of Oregon, then a satellite view, and finally a geologic overview as depicted by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries’ (DOGAMI’s) online interactive map. Studying the DOGAMI map one sees that the bulk of the Wallowa Mountains consists of outcrops of the “Wallowa Terrane” and “Nevadan Intrusives”, which can both be viewed as a result of the docking of ancient island complexes to the North American continent by the mechanism of plate subduction.

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Geology of Eastside Portland and Johnson Creek

Geology of Eastside Portland and Johnson Creek

Moments after the election of the new GSOC board at our February 9th meeting, President-elect Paul Edison-Lahm addressed a near-record crowd with his presentation “An Amateur's Guide to the Geology of Johnson Creek and Eastside Portland.” He explained that since a creek cuts down through vegetation and construction into layers of earth otherwise unseen, the rocks in the creek can tell us the geologic history of the surrounding countryside. Grey basalts and dull orange quartizites, found in the Reed College Lake near his home for example, are clues to earlier epochs of catastrophic volcanism and icy inundation.

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Oregon Gems of the Rice Museum

Oregon Gems of the Rice Museum

Rice Museum curator Leslie Moclock is in charge of the museum’s education curriculum. In the course of her educational presentations, she finds that kids always ask deceptively tricky questions like, “Why are minerals the color that they are?” Moclock enjoys this part of her work because answering these questions opens doors to doing research. Examples of research topics she has pursued include two famous Oregon gemstones, opal (notably from Opal Butte in Morrow County) and sunstones (from Ponderosa and Plush area mines). 

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High School Teacher Emphasizes the Scientific Method in his Geoscience Class

High School Teacher Emphasizes the Scientific Method in his Geoscience Class

Frank Hladky, registered geologist who worked for DOGAMI (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries) for 22 years, came to talk to GSOC about how he used his geological background to transform himself into a high school science teacher. He has been teaching high school in southern Oregon for over a dozen years now and is a member of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

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New Info on the Origin of Bimodal Volcanism on Oregon’s High Lava Plains

New Info on the Origin of Bimodal Volcanism on Oregon’s High Lava Plains

April’s Friday night lecture was given by a truly distinguished Oregon geologist and highlighted recent research into an area that has long intrigued geoscientists about Oregon. Dr. Anita Grunder has led a team of researchers, including PSU’s Martin Streck, exploring the possible origin of the magma that has peppered Oregon’s High Lava Plains geologic province in the last 12 million years. This magma includes both rhyolite and basalt eruptions in a swath of territory between Steen’s Mountain region to the southeast and Newberry Volcano to the northwest. 

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Thomas Condon's Fossil Collection

Thomas Condon's Fossil Collection

Professor Emeritus and Condon Collection Curator Dr. William Orr spoke to GSOC on May 12 about Thomas Condon’s fossils. This collection was assembled for teaching and reference and ranks with the best collections for stratigraphic continuity and taxonomic breadth. Many specialists from around the world come to the University of Oregon to study its fossils.
Photo: Thomas Condon with his pals Dr. Bill Orr (left) and GSOC President Rik Smoody (right).

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Climbing Through Cascades Geology

Climbing Through Cascades Geology

GSOC Past President Bo Nonn delivered the 82nd Annual GSOC banquet speech on March 12 to a fascinated crowd at Ernesto’s Italian Restaurant in Beaverton. He has a unique perspective on the geology of the Cascade Mountains: he has witnessed it in person by climbing all 16 Cascade peaks more than once, and has received several certificates of achievement from the Mazamas, as well as being a climbing instructor with that organization.

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Speaker Mike Collins Provides Dramatic Visualizations of Hotspot Evolution

Speaker Mike Collins Provides Dramatic Visualizations of Hotspot Evolution

Mike Collins, a retired administrator in manufacturing, and an avid mountaineering and geology enthusiast, presented his slide show “Flood Basalts, Hot Spots, and Spreading Centers and the Creation of the Western Landscape,” to a full house last month at the GSOC Friday night lecture. His show was based upon a manuscript he has produced explaining the evolution of the Western landscape in terms that non-technical people can understand. It is lavishly illustrated with scratchboard drawings that he has drawn, which take the reader back to scenes he describes in the book. 

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Dark Noon

Dark Noon

Dr. Richard Waitt, who arrived in Washington state from the USGS office in Menlo Park, California, shortly after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, stayed to study the volcano and built the bulk of his career at the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) in Vancouver, Washington. Dr. Waitt came to promote his new book In the Path of Destruction: Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens, Washington State University Press, 2015, to the GSOC audience and to describe the book’s origin and some of the stories it contains. He said that early in his research into the events of the volcanic eruption, he was focused more on the hard geology that people could describe. However, he became involved more in the stories that people told about their experiences and the process of determining the details of the event by analyzing the interviews of the witnesses. 

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Paleontologist to the Rescue!

Paleontologist to the Rescue!

Synopsis of Friday night lecture on July 8, 2016, with speaker Sheila Alfsen

GSOC Past President Sheila Alfsen described her experiences working as an onsite paleontologist on construction sites for Paleontology Associates, a company run by Oregon paleontologist Dr. William Orr for more than 15 years. Paleontology Associates was created to address the need for preserving important fossil finds on government property when they are threatened by construction projects. 

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Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

Teams Led By OSU Scientist Seek To Discover Answers On Climate Change At Petermann Glacier In Greenland 

Dr. Alan Mix, Professor of Oceanography in the divisions of Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry and of Geology and Geophysics in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University and Chief Scientist of the Petermann Glacier 2015 research expedition, spoke at the GSOC 81st Annual Banquet about the research he led at Petermann Glacier in Greenland. His talk stressed the value of the research in helping to further our understanding of climate change and drive the political policies needed to help us face the changes. 

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Paleoseismicity Research: From Trench to Earthquake Hazard Map

Paleoseismicity Research: From Trench to Earthquake Hazard Map

Dr. Ashley Streig, Assistant Professor in the Geology Department of Portland State University and NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, gave a talk to GSOC about her paleoseismology research on the San Andreas Fault in California. Streig’s research in the Hazel Dell site in the Santa Cruz Mountains was interpreted as showing the results of 3 significant earthquakes happening since the land was settled and logged by the first Spanish settlers.

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Traveling Oregon’s Geologic Highways and Byways with Dr. Marli Miller

Traveling Oregon’s Geologic Highways and Byways with Dr. Marli Miller

Synopsis of GSOC Friday night lecture, October 9, 2015, given by Dr. Marli Miller, University of Oregon Department of Geology and author of Roadside Geology of Oregon, Second Edition (Mountain Press Publishing Co., 2014).
by Carol Hasenberg

Dr. Marli Miller explained and gave examples of her recent book, Roadside Geology of Oregon, Second Edition, to one of GSOC’s largest audiences ever. The book was a 4 year project from which Miller laughingly said that she learned an embarrassingly large amount of material. Amongst her reviewers for the project were Portland State University professors Martin Streck and Scott Burns. The Second Edition is a long awaited rewrite of the classic Roadside Geology of Oregon by David Alt and Donald Hyndman, written in 1978.

Photo credit: Marli Bryant Miller

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