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AEG Great Basin Monthly Meeting—December 6

Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, Great Basin Chapter, Monthly Meeting

Speaker: Dr. John Wakabayashi, 2017–2018 Jahns Lecturer
Date: Wednesday, December 6 (change from usual monthly meeting date)—RSVP by December 4
Topic: Evolution of step-overs and bends along strike-slip faults: Implications for seismic hazards assessment

Abstract: Step-overs along strike-slip faults have been traditionally considered to grow in size and cumulative slip accommodation as more slip accrues on the parent strike-slip fault. In such a model with greater slip, a pull-apart basin grows larger and deeper and a restraining step-over generates more uplift and exhumation. Inspection of step-overs of the San Andreas fault system suggests that step-overs migrate with respect to material formerly within them. This requires progressive formation of new transfer structures in the direction of migration. This process appears to operate from the meters/tens of meters scale of sag ponds and small push-up blocks to multi-kilometer scale basins and uplifted welts, with the Mendocino Triple Junction region being perhaps the largest scale structure of this sort proposed. Migrating step-overs result in inversion at all scales from thrusted sag pond deposits to inverted large-scale sedimentary basins. This style of step-over migration complicates assessment of long-term displacement on strike-slip faults because the zone of displacement is commonly much broader than the active strand, and this also applies to more recent displacement and earthquake history. Accordingly, siting of paleoseismic trenches needs to address this potential complexity in order to most optimally capture the full fault slip rate (for fault-parallel trenches) and most complete earthquake histories (for fault-crossing trenches). In addition the migrating step-over mechanism leads to propagation of some fault stands and the dying out of activity on others. This may result in some faults with a large cumulative displacement that have little or no late Quaternary activity whereas some immature strands with little geomorphic expression may accommodate significant slip rate.

Based on the following published papers (but the paleoseismic implications are not in these papers):

Wakabayashi, J., 2007, Step-overs that migrate with respect to affected deposits: Field characteristics and speculation on some details of their evolution: in Cunningham, W.D., and Mann, P., eds. Tectonics of strike-slip releasing and restraining bends in continental and oceanic settings.  Geological Society of London Special Publication 290, p. 169-188.

Wakabayashi, J., Hengesh, J.V., and Sawyer, T.L., 2004, Four-dimensional transform fault processes: progressive evolution of step-overs and bends: Tectonophysics, v. 392, p. 279-301.

Biography: John Wakabayashi is a San Francisco Bay Area native who moved to Fresno in 2005 to begin his academic career as a geology professor at California State University, Fresno. He received his B.A. in Geology in 1980 from UC Berkeley, and his PhD in Geology in 1989 from UC Davis (advisor: Eldridge Moores). He is a Professional Geologist (California) and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

After graduating from Davis he worked as an engineering and environmental geologist for 16 years (1989-2005), the last 13 years as an independent consultant based in Hayward, California, before becoming an academic. He worked on a variety of different types of projects, including seismic hazard evaluation/paleoseismology, slope stability, engineering and forensic petrography, naturally occurring asbestos, and two Superfund projects on which his primary specialty was evaluation of ambient concentrations of metals of environmental concern in soils and rock. He was a member of the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities.

When not doing project work (i.e. when not billable), he conducted independent research, some of which derived from his project work, but most of which dealt with more esoteric research issues such as subduction initiation processes, metamorphic P-T paths and metamorphic contrasts as tectonic indicators, emplacement of ophiolites, subduction interface processes and development of subduction complexes, evolution of orogenic belts, development of strike-slip fault systems, and long time and length scale geomorphology. He incorporated academic research of his own and others into all of his project work, trying to bridge the academic-applied geology gap from the standpoint of a practitioner. After becoming an academic he has continued his efforts to bridge this gap, with realization that the vast majority of geology professors have never been employed in the engineering and environmental geology profession that most geology graduates will work in. He incorporates both his professional and research experience into his teaching so as to better prepare students for professional careers, as well as providing a foundation for students who wish to undertake graduate study.

His research has resulted in 82 published papers and over 100 abstracts tied to presentations at major geoscience meetings. The breadth of his research has broadened rather than narrowed over time. In spite of the wide range of research interests, the geology of that beguiling train wreck of rocks known as the Franciscan Complex of coastal California remains his chief interest and the many aspects of mélanges have become his main focus since 2009. At Fresno State he teaches non-major introductory geology, geology major undergraduate courses in petrology, geomorphology, and structural geology, graduate courses on active tectonics/seismic hazard analysis and orogenic belt tectonics, and his bread-and-butter undergraduate course in advanced geologic field mapping (he makes his students map Franciscan along with landslides, flights of stream terraces and some potentially active faults). He has supervised or is supervising a large number of graduate and undergraduate student researchers, and this includes a number of students from outside of Fresno State.

Outside of geology and beer (an amateur brewer since 1994), he is probably best known for his experience trout fishing in the backcountry (must be hiked to) of California, having launched casts into over 750 different lakes, about 700 of these in the Sierra Nevada; 2015 was an especially good summer. His strength and fitness routine that prepares him for his fieldwork and recreational hiking (and burns off some of the beer), as well as holding his body together for his return to playing basketball, has also gained some notoriety. This routine includes excessively long plank sessions and multiple repetitions of muscle ups.

(Hotel name change – same location)

The Social Hour is sponsored by Silver State Analytical Labs – Open Bar.

Members: $25.00
Non-Members: $29.00
Students: $15.00
Student Dinners are sponsored for the first four who sign up for the meeting. All other students will be charged $15.

Please give us a 48 our cancellation notice if you are not able to attend.


Schulich Historic Certificate Collection Grand Opening— at Keck Museum


A message from Garrett Barmore, Keck Museum: “Please join us Saturday, December 2nd from 10 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the W.M. KECK EARTH SCIENCE AND MINERAL ENGINEERING MUSEUM in the Mackay Mines Building at the University of Nevada, Reno for the SCHULICH HISTORIC CERTIFICATE COLLECTION GRAND OPENING!

The W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum invites you to celebrate its newest exhibit, the Schulich Historic Certificate Collection!

The exhibit features stock certificates signed by famous historical figures including, Buffalo Bill Cody, Sam Houston, Santa Anna, George Wingfield and many more!

The exhibit also features a new augmented reality case which is the first of its kind in the United States.

This is a family friendly event. Everyone is welcome. We hope to see you there!”

Garrett Barmore
Museum Curator
W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum
University of Nevada, Reno
Office: 775.784.4528

Parking at UNR:

Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex

NBMG will be at AEMA!

NBMG Booth at AEMA ConventionDecember 48
If you are attending the AEMA Convention in Reno (December 4–8, 2017), please stop by the NBMG booth # 333.

NBMG’s Acting Director and Director of the Ralph J. Roberts Center for Research in Economic Geology, John Muntean, will give a talk at the following session:

SESSION TIMES: 2:00 – 5:30, COFFEE BREAK 3:35 – 4:20

Chaired by: Rich Perry, Administrator, Nevada Division of Minerals, Carson City, NV
Area of Interest – Mineral Deposits, Geology & Exploration

Session Description: Want to hear MORE about exploration and mining activities for the past year in western states and provinces? In this all-day session, state and province economic geologists will provide an update on the latest activities in their respective areas, and discuss new opportunities for exploration and mineral development.” (from the AEMA Final Registration Brochure)

Here are the other State of Nevada booths at AEMA—plus the GSN booth:
333 – Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG)
335 – Nevada Division of Minerals (NDOM)
336 – Center for Research in Economic Geology CREG)
337 – Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering (MSESE)
339 – Geological Society of Nevada (GSN)

Publication Sales and Information Office Holiday Hours

The Publication Sales and Information Office at Great Basin Science Sample and Records Library will be closed the week of December 25–29, 2017.

No orders will be filled during this time period. If you will need any publications before January 2, 2018, please place those orders by December 19 to give us time to fill them before the week that we are closed.

Order online by December 19:


Order by phone by December 19:
775-682-8766 (Tues-Fri, 8-4, PST)

The NBMG Public email ( will not be monitored from December 23, 2017 through January 1, 2018.

If you need to view air photos or core, please contact David Davis for an appointment in advance of the closure:
775-682-8767 (Tues-Fri, 8-4)

If you need to visit the Geological Society of Nevada office during the closure, please contact Laura Ruud:

Many NBMG publications are available for viewing/downloading on our website:

You can view/download topo maps free on these pages:
National Geographic—FREE Printable USGS PDF TOPO! Maps

We will be open our normal hours again on Tuesday January 2, 2018. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Our office is closed on all State of Nevada holidays:

COS Discover Science Lecture Series—Thursday, November 9:

Julie RobinsonOff the Earth: How Research on the International Space Station is Changing Our Lives Here on Earth and Our Future in Space
Space station chief scientist Julie Robinson featured speaker at lecture series:
Discover Science Lecture Series Thursday, Nov. 9, free and open to the public

Story by Patrick Hardin, Nevada Today, 10/26/2017
You can read the story at this link and also copied below.

Chief Scientist for the International Space Station Julie Robinson is the next speaker in the Discover Science Lecture Series on Thursday, Nov. 9. Her talk is titled: “Off the Earth: How research on the International Space Station is changing our lives here on Earth and our future in space.”

Robinson is an alumna of the University of Nevada, Reno. She received her doctorate in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology from the University in 1996.

Robinson’s career with NASA began when she was a contractor for Lockheed Martin, working in the Image Science Laboratory. During that time, her work involved the development of mapping coral reefs all around the globe. This work has led her to publish a textbook, Remote Sensing for Ecology and Conservation Biology.

She began working at NASA as a civil servant in 2004. She started as a program scientist for the International Space Station in 2004, rising to deputy program scientist in 2006, before reaching the position of ISS chief scientist in 2007, a position she holds to this day. For her work as the chief scientist, Robinson received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2017. She lectures at colleges and universities around the country about women in science and engineering, her work with the ISS and the benefits people receive through ISS and NASA’s efforts.

The Discover Science Lecture Series was founded by the University’s College of Science in 2010, bringing the country’s top scientists to the University to share their knowledge, research and wisdom with the community.

Robinson’s lecture will be the last one of the fall semester. The series picks back up in the spring with University of Maryland theoretical physicist James Gates, Jr. on March 8, 2018. The last speaker will be University trustee and bio-pharmaceutical researcher Mick Hitchcock on April 5.

Past speakers in the series include astrophysicists Michio Kaku and Neil deGrasse Tyson; Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic; and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Discover Science Lectures are always free to the public. They are held at the Redfield Auditorium in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center on the University’s Reno campus at 7 p.m. Free parking for the event is available on the top level of the Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex on North Virginia Street, next to the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center. For more information, call 775-784-4591 or visit the Discover Science Lecture Series website. (story from Nevada Today, 10-26-17)

Discover Science Lecture Series

Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex

One Step Closer to Defining Dark Matter

One step closer to defining dark matter, celebrate Dark Matter Day: Cross-campus collaboration brought together a quantum physicist and a geophysicist to look for particles

NBMG’s Geoff Blewitt is part of a research team from UNR, and you can read about their cutting-edge work in this article by Mike Wolterbeek (Nevada Today, 10/31/2017) at this link and copied below.

One professor who studies the earth and one who studies space came together in the pursuit to detect and define dark matter. They are one step closer. Using 16 years of archival data from GPS satellites that orbit the earth, the University of Nevada, Reno team, Andrei Derevianko and Geoff Blewitt in the College of Science, looked for dark matter clumps in the shape of walls or bubbles and which would extend far out beyond the GPS orbits, the solar system and beyond.

A scientific article of the team’s work was just published in the journal Nature Communications and just in time for Dark Matter Day, Oct. 31. Dark matter makes up 85 percent of all matter in the universe. While there are multiple astrophysical evidences for dark matter, its nature remains a great mystery. Many forms for dark matter have been hypothesized, theirs is that this form of dark matter, arising from ultralight quantum fields, would form macroscopic objects.

“We are another step closer to discovering how to detect dark matter, and ultimately to define more accurately what it is, what kind of particle it is” Derevianko said. “Mining these archival data, we found no evidence for domain walls of ultralight dark matter at our current sensitivity level. However, this search rules out a vast region of possibilities for this type of dark matter models.”

The team focused on ultralight fields that might cause variations in the fundamental constants of nature – such as masses of electrons and quarks and electric charges. The variations could lead to shifts in atomic energy levels, which may be measurable by monitoring atomic frequencies. That’s where the GPS satellites come in. Global positioning system navigation relies on precision timing signals furnished by atomic clocks.

“Geoff has been using the atomic clocks on the GPS satellites in his geodetic work – measuring uplift of tectonic plates, the shape of the earth, earthquakes, global sea levels, so is familiar with the precision of the system,” Derevianko said. “I’ve worked on devising more accurate atomic clocks. We realized the GPS system could be used to listen to the dark matter sweeping through us.

“Instead of spending billions of dollars to eliminate some plausible dark mater models, we repurposed these common tools (GPS atomic clocks) we use every day to do basic, fundamental science to look for the answers to this great mystery – to devise our own planet-sized dark matter detector.”

Speeding through the galaxy

The Earth is speeding through the Milky Way dark matter halo at 300 kilometers per second or one-one thousandth the speed of light.  And dark matter clumps are estimated to take 3 minutes to cross the GPS constellation.

“It’s like a wall moving through a network of clocks causing a wave of atomic clock glitches propagating through the GPS system at galactic speeds,” Derevianko, a professor of quantum physics, said. “The idea is that when the clump overlaps with us, it pulls on the particle masses and forces acting between the particles. Mind you this pull is really weak, otherwise we would have noticed it. However, ultra-sensitive devices like atomic clocks could be sensitive to such pulls.”

They looked for the predicted patterns of clock glitches, as the earth, and the satellites, moved through the halo of dark matter in the galaxy. The data came from the 32 satellites in the 31,000-mile-wide GPS network and ground-based GPS equipment, every 30-seconds for 16 years. The team used data from sources around the world and in particular from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“What we looked for was clumps of dark matter in the shape of walls, using a model that – if it exists – would have collisions that are evidenced in irregularities in the atomic clock signals,” Benjamin Roberts, post-doctoral associate and lead author for the Nature paper, said. “While there is no definitive evidence after looking at 16 years of data, it could be that the interaction is weaker or that the defects cross paths with the Earth less often. Some markers indicate it could possibly be a smaller defect.”

The team involved a number of undergrads to sift through the data, or develop software to search the data, including Conner Dailey, Mac Murphy, Alex Rollings, and Wyatt Williams. Collaborators include Jeffrey Sherman, an atomic clock researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Maxim Pospelov, a professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria and at the Perimeter Institute.

Derevianko teaches quantum physics and related subjects at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has authored over 100 refereed publications in theoretical physics. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, Simons fellow in theoretical physics and a Fulbright scholar. Among a variety of research topics, he has contributed to the development of several novel classes of atomic clocks and precision tests of fundamental symmetries with atoms and molecules.

Blewitt is affiliated with the physics department, the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and is the director of the Nevada Geodetic Lab. He was awarded the Vening Meinesz Medal from the European Geosciences Union, was honored by the International GNSS for outstanding service, is an Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and received the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame Certificate of Commendation for “creation of Precision GPS Software System technology” and “successful transfer of space technology to Earth applications.”

To read the team’s scientific paper “Search for domain wall dark matter with atomic clocks on board global positioning system satellites” in Nature Communications, visit . (article copied from Nevada Today, by Mike Wolterbeek, 10-31-17)

ESW Field Trip Posted—A Land in Transition!

NBMG geologists Seth Dee, Bridget Ayling, and Chris Henry led the twentieth annual public field trip on October 21 in celebration of Earth Science Week. If you missed this excellent trip, you can download the guide now and plan your own trip anytime:

You can also view some photos from the trip on the NBMG Facebook page.