Icky Expedition Party—Friday, February 28: Great Basin Taps & Tanks

“We’re bringing renown international paleontologist, Dr. Martin Sander of Bonn University in Germany to our brewery to give a thrilling presentation on his newest ichthyosaur discoveries made in Nevada as well as from all over the world.”

TIME: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM PST
Doors open at 5:00pm, Presentation at 6:30pm
LOCATION: Great Basin Brewing Company (Taps and Tanks)
1155 South Rock Boulevard, #490, Reno, NV 89502

NMEC Great Basin Rendezvous—Friday–Sunday, Sept. 20–22 The Nevada Mineral Exploration Coalition (NMEC)

“Despite the loss of Camp Lamoille due to fire last year, our Great Basin Rendezvous lives on! This year, our seventh annual Rendezvous will be held Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 22, 2019, at the Royal Peacock Opal Mine.”

To register for and/or sponsor the event, please visit the NMEC website.

Earth’s Heat Gives States Another Option for Clean Energy Goals

  • Nevada exploring geothermal’s potential for electricity, heating
  • Cost, risk impede development

By Brenna Goth, July 15, 2019 06:01AM ET, Bloomberg Law.
Read the full story here: Earth’s Heat Gives States Another Option for Clean Energy Goals.

“Tapping heat beneath the Earth’s surface for electricity and other uses is gaining ground among policy makers, especially out West, as states seek to expand their options for meeting more aggressive renewable energy goals.

Geothermal energy’s promise lies in its ability to constantly produce power with limited environmental impacts, unlike resources such as wind or solar that are weather-dependent and have other challenges.

It also has the potential “to power the global electric grid many times over” with a nearly unlimited supply, Susan G. Hamm, director of the Energy Department’s geothermal technologies office, says in the introduction to its analysis on the subject.

While geothermal energy represents a small fraction of the power used in the U.S., production could increase by more than 26 times over roughly three decades with the right technology and policy changes, the analysis said. But the risk and cost of developing new projects could hamper the industry’s growth.

One major state player, Nevada, wants to tackle those issues as its utilities move toward getting half their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

A new initiative in the state, which is second only to California in U.S. geothermal electricity generation, directs lawmakers to audit geothermal potential and propose changes that could boost the resource.

Environmental considerations for geothermal projects vary by technology and include water use, greenhouse gas emissions higher than for wind or solar, and seismic hazards. Utilities, though, face few choices for energy sources that both meet their climate change goals and can stabilize the grid, said Paul Thomsen, vice president of business development for the Americas at renewable energy company Ormat Technologies.

“This renewable resource really is a problem solver,” said Thomsen, who also chairs the Geothermal Resources Council policy committee.

Nevada Resort Shows Potential

Nevada is taking a broad approach to analyzing its geothermal potential and impediments. Policy proposals will go to the Legislature for approval.

Lawmakers and researchers will weigh how to map geothermal resources, and the necessary technology and financial support to use them. They will consider applications like using geothermal directly to heat public buildings, and figure out how to integrate the power source with the solar, mining, and lithium industries.

Increasing geothermal use is a matter of national security for state Sen. Pat Spearman (D), who sponsored the initiative. Breaking reliance on foreign oil became a priority following her military career, she said.

“I need the experts working on this with me,” Spearman said.

Some state leaders see potential in a Reno resort’s use of geothermal for heating, which can use underground water at lower temperatures than are needed to produce electricity. The 1,621-room Peppermill Resort Spa Casino produces all of its own heat from its onsite geothermal plant.

Geothermal use at the property dates back to the 1970s. A 4,400-foot-deep production well drilled more than a decade ago replaced boilers and now saves the property $2.2 million per year on its natural gas bills, according to Peppermill representatives. Its carbon dioxide emissions also decreased by 12,000 metric tons per year.

“We were on a known aquifer. So we knew the water was down there and we were able to utilize it,” said John Kassai, the resort’s central plant and geothermal engineering manager.

Risk Reduction, Faster Permitting on Table

Market demand for geothermal is increasing with higher state renewable energy requirements, particularly in places awash with solar, said Thomsen, from the Geothermal Resources Council. The Department of Energy is among agencies looking at how to make development cheaper and faster.

Exploring and developing resources deep underground poses unique challenges. Permitting and land access issues can also increase cost and project length.

The geothermal industry doesn’t have the research and development budget to address those issues, Thomsen said. Legislation proposed in Congress seeks to help, as does federally-funded research.

A project out of Nevada aims to reduce the risk of geothermal exploration to make the energy more economical, said James Faulds, director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology at the University of Nevada, Reno, that is leading the Energy Department-funded research.

Most geothermal resources are “blind”—they don’t have hot springs or other signs at the surface, said Faulds, who is also a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The research looks at multiple characteristics of known geothermal systems, including fault locations, to find patterns that can indicate potential new resources. The goal is to make it quicker and cheaper to find and drill undiscovered systems; Industry would be responsible for actually developing the resource. Recent exploratory drilling at two areas the research identified found new geothermal systems. That result is an “enormous success” and shows promise for reducing risk, according to a statement from the Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Brenna Goth in Phoenix at bgoth@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com;
Susan Bruninga at sbruninga@bloombergenvironment.com;
Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergenvironment.com

Association of Engineering Geologists, Great Basin Chapter: Monthly Dinner Meeting—January 10, 2019

SPEAKER: Shawn Gooch, P.E.
TOPIC: Water Pollution Control Permitting in Nevada for Metals Mining


ABSTRACT: Metals mining in the State of Nevada that uses mechanized equipment is required to obtain a  Water  Pollution  Control  Permit  from  the  Department  of  Conservation  and  Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation (BMRR) pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes 445A and Nevada Administrative Code  445A. BMRR’s Regulation Branch operates under these statues and codes with a mission to provide protection of “Waters of the State” by enforcing water pollution control regulations at mining facilities. The presentation will provide an overview of typical water pollution control permitting for small and large scale metals mining. The presentation will also cover new 2018 regulations and upcoming changes and improvements to the permitting process. Some general attention will be given to reclamation and closure topics as well as inspection and compliance activities. The presentation will emphasize containment of process solution through a variety of methods including use of synthetic liner systems, secondary containment systems, double containment, and QA/QC procedures.

For a detailed biography, please click here:

The Bar is sponsored, and we are providing complimentary dinners to the first three students who submit RSVP’s. Any additional students will be charged $25.


Social Hour Sponsored by Doug and Merrily Graham
Cost: Members: $30.00 ~ Non-Members: $32.00 ~ Students: $25.00
Currently seeking a sponsor for student dinners!

RSVP NO LATER THAN 5PM, TUESDAY, JANUARY 8th (lenient) to mkgraham75@gmail.com

Please give us a 48 Hour Cancellation Notice if you are not able to attend. “No shows” without proper notification will be charged. You will be responsible for your invited guests who do not comply with the cancellation request.  Thank you.

NMEC 2018 Great Basin Rendezvous—September 13–16

The 6th Annual Great Basin Rendezvous registration is now available!

“It is that time of year again to begin sign-up for Nevada Mineral Exploration Coalition’s 2018 Great Basin Rendezvous. This year, we have added an extra day to the front, so the GBR will be held from Thursday, September 13 at 1:00 p.m. through Sunday, September 16, 2018, at Camp Lamoille in the Ruby Mountains. The cost for an NMEC member is $20.00 and for a non-member is $100.00 (includes a 1 year NMEC membership – good through 2019). Additional family members are $10.00.

For those of you who have never been to Camp Lamoille in the Ruby Mountains, it is situated in a beautiful glacial valley located approximately 25 miles southeast of Elko, Nevada.”

On Saturday, September 15 there will be a “9:00 AM field trip led by Larry Garside, Research Geologist Emeritus, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. This will be a driving field trip focusing on geology of the Ruby Mountains with added historical discussions from the town of Lamoille, up and over Secret Pass, south along the east flank of the Rubies, up and over Harrison pass…” (from NMEC website)

To sign up, please go to the NVMEC website:

AEG Great Basin Monthly Meeting – January 18th

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

SPEAKER: Jesse Ruzicka, P.E.
Principal Engineer, Nevada Department of Transportation
TOPIC: Soil Nails in the Lake Tahoe Basin: Lessons Learned

Mr. Ruzicka graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2003 with an undergraduate degree in Geological Engineering. Since that time, he has been involved in numerous projects providing geotechnical design and support for residential developments, flood control projects in Sacramento and Reno, commercial/industrial developments, roadway and bridge design, and mining projects in Nevada, Canada, and Mexico. Most recently Mr. Ruzicka’s experience has been focused on the transportation industry, where he is currently the principal geotechnical engineer on several of NDOT’s recent projects including Phase II of the Boulder City Bypass, the I-15/US93 Garnet Interchange, SR28 Shared Use Path at Lake Tahoe, and the rockfall mitigation at Logan Shoals.

Mr. Ruzicka has been involved with AEG since 2001, serving as a past secretary of the Great Basin Section from 2010 to 2013 and chair from 2014 to 2016.

Soil nailing is one of the many tools available to the geotechnical professional when constructing vertical excavations and stabilizing existing slopes. Due to their economy, technical advantages, and relatively quick construction process, soil nails are commonly used in temporary excavations as well as permanent retaining applications. This presentation will summarize the concepts for designing soil nails in retaining wall and slope stability applications, construction, and load testing of soil nails, emphasizing the importance of involvement by the designer during construction.

Recent experiences from projects such as Logan Shoals and the SR28 Shared Use Path in Lake Tahoe have provided several lessons learned that will be shared during the presentation.

BY BEST WESTERN (Hotel name change – same location)
COST: Members: $27.00 ~ Non-Members: $30.00 ~ Students: $20.00

The Social Hour is sponsored by Madole Construction – Open Bar

Please give us a 48 Hour Cancellation notice if you are not able to attend.

AEG Monthly Dinner Meeting—April 20—RSVP BY TODAY April 18!

Mackay Student Speakers Presenting for a Grand Prize of $300!A message from AEG: We would love to have many professionals attend this meeting to ask questions, provide feedback, and help us vote for the winning presentation!

Here are the students and their topics:

  • Sage Gandolfo—An Overview of the Geology of Finland Including the Fennoscandian Craton (Baltic Shield)
  • Evan Saint-Pierre—Lateral Loads on Drilled Vertical Shafts Caused by Caliche
  • Meredith Kraner—Earthquake Weather—Evaluating Seasonal Deformation in the Vicinity of Active Fault Structures in Central California using GPS Data
  • Andrew Pugh—NSF funded research project studying the evolution of the Santa Rosalia basin in Baja California Sur

Cost: Members: $25.00; non-members: $29.00; Students: Free Student Dinners Sponsored by AEG