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California State University, Long Beach
Geological Sciences


Leo Giannetta wins first place in the Masters division for best poster at the PSAAPG Student Expo

(October 2017)

Leo Giannetta (Advisor: Rick Behl) won first place in the Master's division for best poster at the Pacific Section American Association of Petroleum Geologists Student Expo at Cal State Northridge on October 7, 2017.

His presentation was titled, "Using Clay Microporosity to Improve Formation Evaluation in Potential Residual Oil Zones: Cypress Sandstone, Illinois Basin". This work was completed just prior to joining the CSULB MARS Project to earn his Masters degree.

Leo photo

Patrick O'Connell won the Outstanding Student Presentation Award for his talk at the Groundwater Resources Association of California's 2017 Conference and 26th Annual Meeting.

(October 2017)

Patrick's presentation title was: "A percolation monitoring program using distributed temperature sensing."

Patrick and his advisor, Dr. Matt Becker, developed a user-friendly infiltration monitoring program (in MATLAB) for the Orange County Water District (OCWD) to monitor recharge basin infiltration rates, spatially and temporally. The program uses distributed temperature sensing (DTS) and hydraulic time series data, along with XYZ coordinates, to identify when and where infiltration rates vary. Results indicate a combination of basin water level heights, sediment compaction, clogging and heterogeneity have significant impacts on basin percolation performance

Patrick does good

Geology Department Chair Dr. Rick Behl is President-Elect of the Pacific Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

(June 2017)

Geology Department Chairman Dr. Rick Behl has been elected to a 3-year progressive term as President-Elect -> President -> Past-President of the Pacific Section AAPG (2017-2020). Dr. Behl has been active in the society as a meeting organizer and field trip leader for many years and was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award by the Section in 2010.

Since 1924, the Pacific Section has held an annual technical conference and published field trip and symposium volumes on the stratigraphy, sedimentology, structural geology and petroleum geology of the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Each year, the Pacific Section funds approximately $20,000 in student scholarships to undergraduate and graduate geology students, including many won by CSULB students.

The AAPG was founded in 1917, with the original purpose of fostering scientific research, advancing the science of geology, promoting technology, and inspiring high professional conduct as well as providing publications, conferences, and educational opportunities to geoscientists and disseminating the most current geological information available to the general public. The AAPG is made up of about 40,000 members in 129 countries.

Geology Department Alumni camping trip

(May 2017)

The Geology Department hosted a CSULB Geology Department Alumni camping trip on the weekend of April 29-30. The campout was at the newly rain-replenished Lake Cachuma.

40 CSULB grads, faculty, spouses and friends, plus 5 potential future students, stayed at the beautiful Pawnee Plateau group campsite overlooking the lake. The weather was perfect.

There were four 1/2-day field trips: (1) Figueroa Mountain (serpentinites and knockers), (2) Sweeney Road (diatomites, porcelanites and chert in the deformed Monterey and Sisquoc formations), (3) Zaca Creek (fluvial strath terraces, viticulture and soils, followed by a Zaca Mesa Winery tour), and (4) Gaviota beach (submarine channels, injectites and fractures in porcilanites and shale of the Monterey Formation).

Here is a link to some of our photos from the weekend - please upload your own pictures to share with everyone -- 2017 CSULB Alumni Geologist weekend.

All agreed, "The Beach" was and still is a great place to learn geology.

Geology students awarded PSAAPG and LABGS scholarships

(April 2017)

John Farrell and Cesar Mejia were amoung the students recently awarded scholarships from the PSAAPG and LABGS (Pacific Section American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Los Angeles Basin Geologic Society).

John and Cesar won the scholarships from the PSAAPG, while LABGS scholarships were awarded to Kelsey Doiron, Mo Nonu, Ryan Weller, Melissa Lizarraga and Joseph Gutierrez. Former CSULB graduate, Jenifer Leidelmeijer, now pursuing her Masters degree, also received funds.

The scholarships were awarded based foremost on academic achievement, but also on participation with the local level organizations, the Imperial Barrell Award competition, and departmental involvement.

Geology Department hosts SCGS meeting

(March 2017)

The CSULB Geology Department hosted the South Coast Geological Society (SCGS) dinner meeting on Monday, March 6.

The dinner for 74 geology professionals, students and college faculty was held in the Chart Room on West Campus Drive.

The featured speaker, Dr. Matt Becker, the Conrey Chair in Hydrogeology and Professor in the Geological Sciences Department at CSU Long Beach, spoke on "Where Groundwater Meets Ocean: California, Easter Island, Hawaii, and Tahiti."

As groundwater migrates towards the ocean, freshwater rises to the surface on top of denser seawater. Groundwater seeps may form at the coast while the remainder flows directly to the ocean as “submarine groundwater discharge.” The groundwater/ocean interface can have important implications for humans and the environment. For example, in some ancient cultures, coastal seeps were an important source of freshwater. Groundwater fluxes to the ocean can have a profound influence on marine ecosystems. Some examples of coastal groundwater systems will be presented from island environments including Kauai (Hawaiian Is.), Moorea (Tahitian Is.), Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island, Chile), and Santa Catalina Island (California). Concepts of groundwater discharge at seawater interfaces will be reviewed briefly followed by some results from surveys from these island locales.

Geophysicist Dr. Jayne Bormann joins CSULB Geology Department

(January 2017)

Dr. Jayne Bormann joined the CSULB Geology Department in January of this year. Dr. Bormann received her PhD from the University of Nevada, Reno and was most recently at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

Dr. Bormann attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, where she studied geology and raced on the intercollegiate Nordic ski team. She graduated in 2004 with a B.A. Cum Laude in Geology, after which she spent 3 years coaching junior development and high school cross-country skiing in Minnesota.

In 2007, she entered graduate school at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she worked as a research assistant in the Center for Neotectonic Studies and in the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory. She studied active tectonics and seismic hazard in the Walker Lane using both paleoseismic and geodetic observations, and completed her PhD in geophysics in 2013. She then joined the Nevada Seismological Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow in September of 2013. Her postdoctoral research used marine seismic reflection techniques to image fault structures in the Inner California Borderlands.

She plans to continue her research in the development of active tectonics of the Pacific/North American plate boundary while developing new tools to characterize seismic hazard along active faults.

Some of Dr. Bormann's work includes:

Accommodation of missing shear strain in the Central Walker Lane, western North America: Constraints from dense GPS measurements.

Active faulting in the Inner California Borderlands: new constraints from high-resolution multichannel seismic and multibeam bathymetric data.

A Synoptic Model of Fault Slip Rates in the Eastern California Shear Zone and Walker Lane from GPS Velocities for Seismic Hazard Studies.

Neotectonics, geodesy, and seismic hazard in the Northern Walker Lane of Western North America: Thirty kilometers of crustal shear and no strike-slip?

Dr. Francis' new book presented to Sue Ollweiller

(January 2017) Professor Robert Francis presented a copy of his new book (published in 2016)- "Black Gold in California: the story of the California petroleum industry" - to Sue Ollweiler at the annual Johnson-Conrey Fellowship Holiday Luncheon in January.

Sue is the Executive Director of the Carl W. Johnson Foundation, which, since 2011, has provided $500,000 for 2-year scholarships for outstanding graduate students in geological sciences. The program is currently funded through 2021.

Carla Weaver's proposal selected for Professors Around the World (PAW)

(December 2016) Geology department lecturer Ms. Carla Weaver's proposal "Volcanic Hazards in Naples Metropolitan Area" has been selected for funding for the faculty incentive travel grant program, Professors Around the World (PAW). This grant will fund preparatory work to develop a relationship with the University of Ca' Foscari, in hopes of developing a yearly CSULB study-abroad course to Italy to study different natural hazards. Ms. Weaver is working on plans to take CSULB Geology students to Italy to study natural hazards in areas affected by past, and possibly future, volcanic eruptions.

The grant from the Professors Around the World program is providing her funding to scout the Naples area to identify suitable teaching locations involving active volcanoes as well as the impacts of eruptions on populated areas. The funding includes travel to Mt. Vesuvius, the volcanic fields of Campi Flegrei (the Phlegrean Fields) and Naples (also a metropolitan area that could be devastated by volcanic activity). She will be looking into examples of destruction caused by volcanic explosions, such as the famous archeological sites of Pompei and Ercolano.

The PAW grant is based on her lecture and laboratory courses (GEOL 110 and GEOL 110L) in which students learn about natural disasters and hazards and their impact upon humans, including the study of the principles underlying earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, climate change, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and coastal processes. Her classes analyze examples of present and past events, and discuss case studies in different regions of the United States as well as the rest of the world. These classes are the primary geology courses that satisfy the GE science requirements.

Ms. Weaver is researching these Italian natural disasters to gain a deeper knowledge of natural disasters on a global scale. She wants to better understand the different factors involved and how politics and cultural dynamics might result in natural processes turning into full-scale disasters. This includes the infamous 1963 Vaiont dam disaster in northeastern Italy (the worst natural disaster in the history of Italy, in which a massive landslide and flood was the result of the improper siting of a dam and reservoir in a geologically unstable valley - considered by UNESCO as one of the few “avoidable” disasters in human history); the 2009 M=6.3 earthquake which devastated the city of L’Aquila in the southeastern region of Italy (killing 300 people, destroying historical buildings and displacing thousands of people); and the environmental issues of the Venetian lagoon (with regional subsidence wreaking havoc on the coastal environment and resulting in salt contamination of the local groundwater).

Funding Available to Study Fluid Flow in Bedrock

A Department of Energy Geothermal Grant of $450,000 over three years to study fluid flow in bedrock using fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing technology is funding two Masters of Science students through September of 2017. Contact Dr. Matthew Becker for more information.

Johnson-Conrey Endowment

The Johnson-Conrey Endowment to support outstanding graduate students was renewed for a 2nd 3-year term. Each of the Graduate fellowships provides a 2-year $15,000/year scholarship.

We try to understand the role of groundwater in the hydrologic cycle by integrating measurement and simulation. This work is carried out in the field, the laboratory, and on computers. The Hydrogeology Program at CSULB is supported by the Bert and Ethel Conrey Endowment.

MARS Project Reaches Funding Milestone

The CSULB Geology's MARS Project industrial affiliates program surpassed the $800,000 milestone of total corporate donations that over 5 years have provided research and salary support to more than 18 graduate and 8 undergraduate students. Contact Dr. Rick Behl for more information.

AAPG and SEPM Awards

(October 2016)

Two CSULB research presentations won awards at the recent joint meeting of the Pacific and Rocky Mountain sections of the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) and SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology). Michael Thompson and his advisor, Prof. Dan Francis, won the H. Victor Church Award for the best poster presented at an annual meeting for "Tectonic Evolution of the Palos Verdes Fault - Lasuen Knoll Segment, Offshore Southern California". Ryan Weller(with co-author Dr. Rick Behl) won the Patrick Abbott Award for the outstanding poster by a graduate student for "Compositional and diagenetic relationships and controls of mechanical behavior in siliceous mudstones of the upper Monterey Formation, Belridge Oilfield, San Joaquin Basin, California".

Stan Finney Elected Secretary General of IUGS

(September 2016)

Professor Stan Finney has been elected Secretary General of the 121 nation International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) at the 35th International Geologic Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Finney had served as the Chair of the International Commission on Stratigraphy for the IUGS, one of the largest non-governmental scientific organizations in the world and, a key scientific body in the IUGS which precisely defines global units that are the basis for the International Geologic Time Scale.

Dr. Finney also teaches undergraduate Paleontology & Biostratigraphy and a graduate seminar on Integrated Stratigraphy and the Geologic Time Scale.