Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ian Campbell Medal citation for Jim Davis

"The Geoscience Community Honors the Man Who Shook Up Earthquake Science"

Alexandria, VA - The American Geosciences Institute is honoring one of the scientists who advanced earthquake hazards preparedness and mitigation in the U.S. by his superlative service to the earth sciences. This year's recipient of the Ian Campbell Medal, Dr. James "Jim" Davis, is one of the key scientists behind U.S. earthquake hazards and loss reduction policy as it is known today. [Photo credit, Calif. Dept. of Conservation]
He also has helped to shape how geoscientists communicate with the public to help people better understand the seismic environment they live in. Davis has been a State Geologist of not one, but two states, and has the distinction of being the longest serving State Geologist in California history; a tradition started in 1850.

His career started in New York with the New York State Geological Survey. There, he demonstrated the importance of using geology and seismology in siting of nuclear power plants and nuclear waste-disposal facilities, as well as publishing reports detailing mineral resources, developing geologic standards for a variety of environmental quality applications and creating the Northeastern US Seismic Monitoring Network.

Davis' successes made him a candidate for the California State Geologist position which was vacant. He has been a strong advocate for expanding modern seismic monitoring systems as a tool for assessing regional earthquake vulnerability enabling structural engineers to design structures that are more earthquake resistant. Emergency responders can also better evaluate post-earthquake needs. He oversaw the implementation of the Seismic Hazards Mapping Act in California which has resulted in high-resolution geologic mapping of faults, liquefaction-, and land-hazard susceptibility maps. Following the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, he accelerated seismic safety reviews of new public school construction and hospital upgrade construction designs.

Davis has taken every opportunity in his career to apply a robust knowledge of geoscience to creating legislation to protect Americans, and his techniques have been replicated globally. He is a Past-President of AGI, and his work continues with leadership positions at AGI member organization, the Geological Society of America and his colleagues continue to laud him for "strength, good character, and a willingness to listen to others." He has been recognized by AGI member organization the Association of American State Geologists, the Consortium of Strong-Motion Operating Systems (COSMOS) and was awarded the University of Wisconsin Geoscientist Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008. AGI thanks Davis for his monumental contributions to geoscience and public policy.

The Ian Campbell Medal is given in recognition of singular performance in and contribution to the profession of geology. Candidates are measured against the distinguished career of Ian Campbell, whose service to the profession touched virtually every facet of the geosciences. Campbell was a most uncommon man of remarkable accomplishment and widespread influence. In his career as a geologist, educator, administrator, and public servant, he was noted for his candor and integrity. The title of the award was changed for the 2009 award to add "for Superlative Service to the Geosciences" in order to emphasize the importance of service shown by the recipient.

[taken from the AGI announcement]

State Geologists speaking out on landslides and sinkholes

On November 13, 2014, David Norman. State Geologist of Washington and Karen Berry, State Geologist of Colorado were panelists at the Autumn meeting of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Earth Sciences and Resources in Washington DC.  Jamie Robertson, State Geologist of Wisconsin serves on the Board.  The theme of the meeting was “Landslides and landslide risk: What we have learned in the last decade?”

The Weather Channel’s “Secrets of the Earth” recently aired its production on sinkholes.  The producers did a great job presenting science wrapped in excitement and intrigue, and the animations are excellent.  Tune in to see a couple of familiar faces from the ranks of State Geologists. 

Karen Berry named Colorado State Geologist

Karen Berry has been appointed as Colorado State Geologist and Colorado Geological Survey Director. Berry has served as interim director of the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) since 2013. CGS joined Colorado School of Mines that year after the state of Colorado transferred CGS to the university. CGS is located on the Mines campus at 1801 19th St., in Golden.

“Karen’s experience and leadership were instrumental in ensuring the successful transition of the Colorado Geological Survey to Mines,” said Mines President Bill Scoggins. “I am confident that with Karen at the helm, CGS will continue to achieve even greater levels of excellence."

Berry has worked for CGS since 1999 where she has held positions including engineering geologist, land use program manager and deputy director.

“Together, Colorado School of Mines and the Colorado Geological Survey have provided more than two centuries of service to Colorado. I look forward to strengthening the partnership between Mines and CGS for the benefit of the state and earth resources education and research,” Berry said.

Prior to her time with CGS, Berry worked as an exploration geologist for Petro Lewis in Texas, engineering geologist for CRS Sirrine in Arizona, geotechnical reclamation specialist for the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board and county geologist for Jefferson County.

Berry is a Professional Geologist in Colorado and Wyoming; a certified Professional in Storm Water Quality and a certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control by EnviroCert International; and a Certified Planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners, American Planning Association.

She serves on number of boards and commissions including the Colorado Advisory Committee, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, Western States Seismic Policy Council and Jefferson Conservation District.

Berry earned her bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from Mines in 1982. She has completed graduate courses in geotechnical engineering at the University of Colorado-Denver as well as coursework in Geographic Information Systems from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

[taken from CSM news release]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Geologic Materials Center opened in Alaska

The Alaska Division of Geology and Geophysics opened a new 100,000 square foot Geologic Materials Center in Anchorage to archive cores and other samples mostly from oil and gas and mineral exploration.  The building was a former Sam's Club warehouse.  It cost $24.5 million to purchase and renovate as a scientific facility.   [Right, crowd at dedication ceremony.  Photo credit, Office of Alaska Governor Sean Parnell]

Anchorage television broadcast a tour of the new facility -