Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baylor Guys in the News

We went to a meeting of the Ft. Worth Geological Society on Monday, 5/11/09, and held an election for society secretary. The new one is:

Ta Da - Roy Yates, a Baylor alum, MS '92
Congratulations, Roy!

Right now, Roy works for Encore in Fort Worth, mainly ArkLaTex, Haynesville, Cotton Valley, and Travis Peak.

This is also the time of year when the society awards just a few scholarships to deserving recipients. The first one went to another Baylor boy,
Alan Redd Gunnell for his current thesis work with seismic and resistivity data to determine the subsurface distribution of methane hydrates in Mississippi Canyon Block 118. Alan is working with Baylor's Dr. Dunbar towards an M.S. in Geophysics and will be gathering resistivity data pursuant to his study in the GOM this summer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring 2010 BGS Field Trip

Leave some open space on your calendar!

Spring 2010 BGS Field Trip Theme: Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology of Central Texas, in honor of Dr. O.T. Hayward (date to be determined)

BGS Head Clod: Gary Stinchcomb, Ph.D. student in Quaternary Geology, will be in charge of field trip planning and organization of a field guide

Tentative Field Trip stops: (Order and final venue still to be determined):

1) Owl Creek: late Pleistocene-Holocene floodplain and alluvial fan section, located on Fort Hood Military Reservation, in Coryell County, TX, lead by Holly Meier (Holly Meier’s Ph.D.)

2) Brezina Farm: late Holocene floodplain near Axtell, in McLennan County, TX (GEO 5340 Paleopedology and GEO 5342 Micromorphology class projects, lead by Gary Stinchcomb and Aislyn Trendell)

3) Waco Mammoth Site: 68-72 ka fluvial and colluvial deposits with fossil Columbian mammoths located in Waco, TX (if open to public by then: John Bongino’s M.S. Thesis)

4) Urbanized fluvial systems: example(s) of highly urbanized fluvial systems and attendant environmental and engineering problems, hopefully to be lead by Dr. Peter Allen

5) Buttermilk Creek, Bell County, TX: late Pleistocene-Holocene floodplain terrace site with cultural materials that pre-date Clovis culture, lead by Drs. Steve Driese and Lee Nordt

BGS First Ever Hayward Lecture Scheduled Fall 2009

The 2009 Geology Department academic calendar will include the
first inaugural distinguished lecture to be presented by Dr. David Montgomery, a 2008 MacArthur Fellow, on October 5th-6th, 2009, honoring the accomplishments of Dr. O.T. Hayward in regional geomorphology. Before the beginning of Dr. Montgomery’s lecture we will honor both Dr. Hayward as well as Geology alumnus Connie Hudson whose generosity established the O.T. Hayward Excellence Fund for distinguished speakers. All alumni are invited to attend!

MONTGOMERY BIOGRAPHY: David Montgomery is a geomorphologist making fundamental contributions to our understanding of the geophysical forces that determine landscape evolution and of how our use of soils and rivers has shaped civilizations past and present. A prolific and versatile scientist, Montgomery’s numerous publications have explored how landslides and glacial erosion influence the height of mountains, how rivers originate and shape the landscape, and how human modification of river channels affects aquatic ecosystems, among other probing questions about the Earth’s surface. Unsettling conceived wisdom about environmental change at both the local and global levels, Montgomery’s field studies have taken him throughout the Pacific Northwest, his home and research base, to the Himalayas, the Andes, and the canyons of Mars (via data from NASA’s Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter). For one major research program, he investigates the role of sediment and wood debris in altering stream and river channels and develops novel methods for measuring channel stability, anthropogenic disturbances, and conditions conducive to salmon spawning. In King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon (2003), a well-received book on the history of humans’ impact on salmon populations, Montgomery broadens the reach of his field studies beyond the scientific community by distilling his findings to support applied research on the ecological management of mountain rivers. His second book, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations (2007), chronicles the role of soil in the evolution of ancient and modern societies and offers a number of solutions to contemporary soil degradation worldwide. With a scientist’s rigor, a historian’s curiosity, and an environmentalist’s passion, Montgomery is leading investigations into the ecological consequences of a wide range of Earth surface processes.

Baylor Geology Advisory Board Update

Received: Tue 5/5/2009 from R. Springer, current Board Pres.

Dear Geology Advisory Board:

I greatly enjoyed visiting with you at our last meeting in Waco, and I am excited that we are rallying together in support of the Department of Geology at Baylor. Since our last meeting, I have been in communication with Dr. Steve Driese (Chair of Geology) and Eric Abercrombie (Geology’s Development representative), and I wanted to share with you some of the ideas we have to make our Board more successful.

At our next meeting later this fall (Homecoming 2009), my hope is to do the following:
Agree upon a mission statement -- with the help of Steve and Eric, I’ll have a draft for us to review/fine-tune at the meeting
Discuss Board membership and responsibilities
Determine our goals, both short-term and long term
Outline action steps that each of us can take to help reach our goals

If you have any other items we should place on the agenda, please send them to me and I’ll be sure to include them in our business meeting.

In addition, I ask that we join together in support of the Geology Resource Endowment Fund. As we discussed when we last met, this fund was established in 1998 by the Geology Advisory Board to assist the department in providing essential resources to faculty and students, but it is significantly under-funded.

The initial goal of the fund was to bring it to $150,000, distributing to the department roughly $7,500 annually to support this need. Currently, the fund is sitting at $26,000, but if we come together we can get it up to the original goal within the next few years. This fund helps to provide online periodicals, scientific journals, reports and bulletins that are needed to keep the Geology Department up to date in the latest research and development.

I have personally committed myself to financially supporting this fund, along with Steve Driese, and I ask that you join me in doing the same. To make a gift and/or pledge, you can do so by going to and typing in “Geology Resource Endowment” in the search field. If you’re already connected to the internet when reading this, you can simply click on this link: Geology Resource Fund.

All gifts made to this fund are tax deductible, and if you have a company match, please be sure to use that benefit! If you have any questions, please contact Eric at or 254-640-9641.

I also ask that we think of those we know who would join us in support of this fund. If you are comfortable approaching those individuals to ask for their help, great! If not, please help Eric in making the initial contact with them.

I’m sure you will agree that Baylor’s Geology Department has a special place in our hearts, and I want to personally say thank you for giving of your time and resources. Although we have a lot of work ahead of us, the journey together will be fun.

Robert H. Springer, PG
Senior Staff Geologist
Encore Acquisition Co.

Dr. Driese's Response:

Dear Geology Advisory Board (cc: Geology Faculty, and Students):

I support Robert Springer’s letter and ask your continued support of the Department through your financial contributions as well as your participation in the life of the Geology Department through attendance at Board meetings and BGS Field Trips. To tempt you further, please see the attached information concerning the first distinguished lecture this fall in honor of OT Hayward, as well as a spring field trip with a geomorphology theme that will also be held in honor of Dr. Hayward. I hope that you can participate in these upcoming events!

Steve Driese

Professor and Chair
Department of Geology
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97354
Waco, TX 76798-7354