Archive | June 2011

New publication on Wells earthquake


On February 21 at 6:16 a.m. PST, northeastern Nevada was struck by a moment magnitude (Mw) 6.0 earthquake, the largest event in Nevada within the last 42 years, the largest earthquake to occur in the Basin and Range Province in the last 15 years, and the largest earthquake to occur in the conterminous United States in 2008. With support from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the University of Nevada, Reno, the Nevada Earthquake Safety Council, the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, and the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, a collection of papers has been put together on the 2008 Wells earthquake to document the event. Twenty-eight papers are included along with a geologic map of the region surrounding the earthquake fault, a satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) image that shows ground displacement resulting from the earthquake, PowerPoint presentations, and hundreds of photographs of earthquake effects.

The volume covers not only the many scientific aspects of the earthquake such as the geological, geophysical, seismological, and geodetic settings but also the community impact aspects of the earthquake: damage to buildings, houses, and utilities; the emergency response; community recovery; and impact on city government. These papers are further enhanced by numerous photographs and images, and a video made by a local community member. The goal of the volume is to document as many important aspects and lessons of the Wells earthquake as possible, so these can be used by Wells and other towns and cities to better prepare for earthquakes and to design more earthquake-resilient communities. Earthquakes are inevitable in Nevada, but injury, damage, and loss from earthquakes can be greatly minimized with some forethought and preparation. This volume gives insight into the effects of a major earthquake on a Nevada community to aid in these endeavors.

SP36 – The 21 February 2008 Mw 6.0 Wells, Nevada earthquake: A compendium of earthquake-related investigations prepared by the University of Nevada, Reno, edited by Craig M. dePolo and Daphne D. LaPointe, available free on the Web:

SP36d (DVD version) $35.00: 

SP36p (comb-bound paper copy, 507 pages) $62.00:
The paper copy does not include the following:  Appendix A (“Geologic Map of the Wells Area”), Appendix C (“Photograph Gallery”), Appendix E (“Preliminary Earthquake Simulations…”), Appendix F (“Wells Nevada Earthquake…” Teachable Moment PowerPoint).

Robert C. Speed Geologic Map Collection now online


Robert C. (Bob) Speed was a major contributor to the understanding of Nevada geology.  In NBMG section, “Remembering Bob Speed,” the biographical memorial written by Richard Sedlock was published in the Geological Society of America Memorials volume 33, April 2004. The tributes from his wife and former students are excerpts from the book, Bob Speed Here: Memorials & Records of Robert Clarke Speed, edited by Christine Speed. Both describe Bob Speed’s accomplishments, character and dedication to geology.  This information is intended to provide a background to the Robert C. Speed Geologic Map Collection. “Collection Home” summarizes his geologic mapping and specific geologic map publications about Nevada.  Bob’s work in Nevada started with his dissertation at Stanford on the Humboldt lopolith, a topic he pursued throughout his career with publications up through 2000.  That introduction to Nevada geology stimulated his interest in Paleozoic and Mesozoic deformation, starting with the Sonoma orogeny and expanding into the Antler orogeny and all aspects of Paleozoic and Mesozoic tectonics, sedimentation, and magmatism.  Throughout his career, Bob led and inspired numerous students to work on these topics, and those students now lead their own productive careers. Although best known for his work on pre-Cenozic geology, Bob’s interest branched into Tertiary volcanism with his study of the Candelaria Hills with student Allen Cogbill.

Bob Speed’s work was based on thorough, detailed geologic mapping, and many of his geologic maps were published through the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the U.S. Geological Survey. He and Ron Willden are the authors of NBMG Bulletin 83, Geology and Mineral Deposits of Churchill County, Nevada and its accompanying geologic map.  Bob’s maps published through the USGS include the Sodaville quadrangle (MF-1300), the Mina NW quadrangle (MF-1487), Huntoon Valley quadrangle (Open-File Report 81-0274), and Little Huntoon Valley quadrangle (Open-File Report 84-0503). However, as with all geologists, Bob Speed did not have time to publish everything he did, including much of his geologic mapping. NBMG was able to scan paper copies of many of his unpublished and preliminary geologic maps.  Major groups of maps are in the following areas: the Candelaria Hills–Mina, West Humboldt and Stillwater Ranges–Greater Lovelock, Toiyabe and Toquima Ranges, and Clan Alpine and Augusta Mountains. The Inventory provides a list of individual sheets that are available.   These are now provided as PDF files that can be downloaded for free from the Bureau’s website. We welcome contributions of any additional unpublished work by Bob Speed to add to this collection.

In order for NBMG to scan these maps, the Trustee of the Robert C. Speed Estate had to fly to Evanston, Illinois and meet us at Northwestern University Archives. We thank the Trustee for this considerable effort. We also thank Northwestern University Archives for permitting her to briefly withdraw the original maps for our digital imaging. The photographs and memorials are also courtesy of Mrs. Christine A. Speed.

Robert C. Speed Geologic Map Collection:

Inventory of Robert C. Speed Unpublished Geologic Maps:

Remembering Bob Speed:

Don’t miss geology talk by Jon Price at Waldens Coffee House, Tuesday June 7th!

NBMG Director and State Geologist, Jon Price, will be giving a talk at Waldens Coffee House (3940 Mayberry Drive in Reno) on Tuesday, June 7th at 7:00 pm.  The topic will be “The Future of Global Mineral Resources.” Hope to see you there!