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American Institute of Professional Geologists
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Section Newsletter - 2014 Spring-Summer Section Officers Related Links Geologist Licensing
2013 AIPG California History Career as a Professional Geologist (4/16/13) Consulting 101(4/16/13) California State Science Fair

News Items

Greetings Everyone,

The California Section AIPG - UC Davis Student Section will be having a field trip on Saturday, May 17th to visit Virginia City, Nevada where we will get to tour the Comstock Mining, Inc. operation there!  This mine has a rich history, especially with providing a lot of wealth for San Francisco from silver mining.  This will be a rare opportunity to see some of the active mining and processing operations there.  We will also get to hear from Larry Martin, V.P. for Exploration, Comstock Mining, Inc. about their operation there.  

Due to space limitations, we must limit attendance to about 30 people, and this will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  Luckily, I was able to obtain some funding from the Club Finance Council, and we are able to offer this trip at only $10 for student members and $30 for professional members.  The fee for the trip is non-refundable, and will have to be paid byApril 26th either to Richie Winn (UC Davis Student Section president), or to Ingrid Dittmar, othe UC Davis Student Section treasurer, and will cover transportation from UC Davis to the mining operation and the tour there.  Attendees will also have to be members of AIPG to go.  If you have not yet signed up, please visit www.aipg.org to get a free student membership.  Also, you can email Richie Winn (richiewinn@gmail.com) if you would like directions on how to get the membership.  

Signing Up

Below is a link to the sign-up list, and anyone can check to see if their name is there.  If you want to be listed, just email me back, but spaces will not be confirmed until the fee is paid and the membership is verified.  If we get more sign-ups than we have space for, we will wait-list the extras, and in the event space isn't available by the time of the trip, we will refund the fee to those wait-listed people.


For the Trip
On May 17th, we will be meeting at 6:30 am outside the EPS building so that we can leave by 6:45 am.  The vans will return around 7:00 pm that evening.  For lunch that day, we're still figuring out if there will be places to eat or purchase food there, but to be safe, it would be best to plan to bring a lunch.  We should be able to stop for dinner on the way back, but that can be worked out by the people in each of the vans.

If you have any questions about the trip, feel free to email me.  Once again, space is limited, so respond quickly to reserve your seat!  Hope to see you there!

Contact/Organizer: Richie Winn; richiewinn@gmail.com
President - UC Davis AIPG Student Section

See you there!!!

James A. Jacobs, P.G., C.H.G.
California Section President

Greetings Professional Geologists and students,

Here is an announcement of an upcoming meeting with Bill Motzer (March 5, 2014), and SB1270, which updates SMARA and requires more professional input in the process.  For the first item, Bill is an excellent and interesting speaker and an expert in metals issues.  For the second item, SB1270, SMARA hasn't been updated since 1975, and this is a chance to update the law with stronger requirements for professional input and oversight by geologists and technical experts (see the bold portion of my notes below).  I ask you to read the bill, and if you also agree, send your representatives in Sacramento and Senator Pavley a letter of support for SB1270.

-Jim Jacobs, CPG
AIPG California Section President

AIPG California Section – UC Davis Student’s Section
March 5, 2014 Meeting

William E. Motzer, PhD, PG, CHG
Senior Geochemist
Todd Engineers

Location: UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences • Moores Conference Room (1st Floor); Earth and Physical Sciences Building • UC Davis • One Shields Avenue • Davis. CA 95616

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Presentation Title: Mercury Deposits of the California Coast Ranges and Their Environmental Impacts
Mercury (Hg) deposits occur at sites throughout California’s Coast Ranges: e.g., New Idria (the largest producer), New Almaden (west of San Jose), and Clear Lake in the Mayacamas Mining District (the second largest). The major Hg ore is red cinnabar (mercury sulfide) although a black variety, metacinnabar, also occurs.  Ores were deposited from hydrothermal (“hot spring”) activity, generally along active faults and associated extension fractures in Jurassic to Cretaceous [~200 to 100 million year old (Ma)] Franciscan complex host rocks.  These were altered by the hot waters producing a silica carbonate rock.  Hydrothermal activity is younger than the host rocks, ranging from Miocene (~23 Ma) to Pleistocene (~2.6 Ma).  Ore deposits typically occur as masses, veins, and disseminations ranging from ≤1,300 to ≥600,000 tonnes, grading from ≤0.23 to ≥0.65% Hg.

Except for the Almaden Quicksilver County Park and its historic trail, few old Hg mines are readily accessible or open to the public.  Prior to European discovery and mining, the New Almaden Hg deposits were used by the Ohlone Indians as a source of the deep red cinnabar for pigment and paint.  It subsequently became a busy mining center for more than 125 years, from 1845 until 1976, with seven mines producing nearly 38.1 million kg of valuable liquid Hg used for amalgamating fine placer and lode gold, Civil War explosives, Victorian glass, and 20th century battery cells and thermometers.  Mine wastes however, have contaminated the Guadalupe River basin and San Francisco Bay with elemental mercury being biologically converted to toxic mono-methylmercury.

Speaker’s Biography:

William E. Motzer, PhD, PG, CHG
Senior Geochemist
Todd Engineers

William E. (Bill) Motzer holds a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Idaho.  He is a registered California Professional Geologist (PG) and Certified Hydrogeologist (CHG), with PG registrations in five other states.  Bill has extensive experience in conducting surface and subsurface water quality chemistry and environmental forensic investigations.  He formerly was a minerals exploration/mining geologist with projects from Alaska to Mexico that included the search for hot spring-type mercury/gold deposits.  Bill is a recognized expert in forensic geochemistry, with particular expertise in stable and other isotopic “fingerprinting” and age dating techniques, water quality/contaminants, and emerging contaminant geochemistry. He has conducted more than 400 environmental projects, including mine litigation support, throughout California and other western states.  He is a current AIPG member and CPG, past President of the San Francisco Bay Branch of the Groundwater Resources Association of California, and the current Northern California Section Chair for the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration (SME).

Introduced by Senator Pavley

The California Section of AIPG needs to show support (letters and emails) for SB1270 an improvement and update of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975.

We support Senator Pavley’s efforts to update SMARA and notably, the requirements for professional qualifications as noted in quite a few places.   

This is an important bill not only from the very much needed proposed reform of SMARA, but finally forcing the California Department of Conservation to  have competent professionals and not bureaucrats to oversee various earth science components of mining.  Below is the summary first few pages, with the full text as an attachment.

February 21, 2014

An act to amend Sections 607, 677, 2006, 2207, 2208, 2733, 2770, 2772, 2773.1, 2774, 2774.1, and 2774.4 of, and to add Sections 2006.5
and 2717.5 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to surface mining operations. legislative counsel’s digest SB 1270, as introduced by California Senator Fran Pavley. 

(1) Under existing law, the Department of Conservation, under the supervision of the Director of Conservation, is comprised of various entities, including the State Mining and Geology Board, and the work of the department is divided into divisions including the California Geological Survey and the Office of Mine Reclamation. Existing law requires the board to nominate, and the director to appoint, the State Geologist to advise the director regarding technical, scientific, and engineering issues, including the scientific quality of the products and activities of the California Geological Survey, and requires the State Geologist to meet specific qualifications.This bill would instead require an unspecified individual or entity to appoint the State Geologist and would make that individual responsible for the management of the California Geological Survey. The bill would change the qualifications for that person. The bill would also designate the Office of Mine Reclamation as the Division of Mines, would require an unspecified individual or entity to appoint a State Mine Inspector to be responsible for the management of the Division of Mines, and would prescribe the specific qualifications for that person.

(2) Existing law requires the owner of operator of a mining operation to forward annually to the director and the lead agency a report that provides specified information with respect to the mining operation. This bill would require that report to be submitted to the State Mine Inspector and the lead agency.

(3) The Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975, administered by the board, prohibits a person, with exceptions, from conducting surface mining operations unless, among other things, a reclamation plan, as specified, is submitted to and approved by, and financial assurances for reclamation have been approved by, the lead agency for the operation. Existing law provides an appeals process for decisions of the lead agency in approval or denial of approval of a reclamation plan.

This bill would instead make the director responsible for reviewing and approving financial assurances in surface mining operations and would require the director to take specified actions in seeking forfeiture of those financial assurances. The bill would also provide an appeals process for the director’s approval or denial of approval of financial assurances. The bill would require a portion of the reclamation plan to be certified by a registered professional geologist, geophysicist, orprofessional engineer and to include a schedule with time limits for completing reclamation, as specified, and would require the lead agencyto determine a time period for reclamation to be complete in certain circumstances. By imposing additional duties on lead agencies, this billwould impose a state-mandated local program.

(4) Existing law requires the lead agency to conduct an inspection of a surface mining operation with 6 months of receipt by the lead agency of the annual report described in (2) above. Under existing law, if the lead agency or the director determines that a surface mining operation is not in compliance, the lead agency or director is required to notify the operator of that violation.

This bill would instead require the director to conduct an inspection of those operations withing one year of receipt of the report by the State Mine Inspector. The bill would require the notice of violation to include, among other things, specific remedial steps to be taken to correct the noncompliance and also information on time to comply.

(5) Existing law requires the board to assume the powers and duties under the act of the lead agency if, following a public hearing, as prescribed, the board finds deficiencies in the lead agency’s implementation and enforcement of the act.

This bill would authorize a lead agency to unilaterally and voluntarily relinquish its responsibilities under the act and would require the board to assume those responsibilities. The bill would also authorize the lead agency to resume its relinquished role if certain requirements are met.

(6) Existing law requires the board to adopt a schedule of fees to cover the department’s costs of carrying out specified provisions and to impose an annual reporting fee on each mining operation, not to exceed $4,000 annually for any single mining operation and not be less than $100. Existing law requires the board to adjust the fees if the director determines the resources collected were greater to or less than the department’s costs.

This bill would require that an annual reporting fee on each mining operation not be less than $1,000 and would require the fee to be based on a cost per acre as determined by the board. The bill would authorize the board to recommend expenditures of these funds as part of the annual budget process and would require the board to adjust the fees if the State Mine Inspector determines the revenues collected were greater to or less than the department’s costs.

(7) Existing law requires the department to quarterly publish in the California Regulatory Notice Register, or otherwise make available, upon request, to the Department of General Services or any other state or local agency, a list identifying the status of compliance of certain surface mining operations, as specified. Existing law also prohibits a state agency from acquiring or utilizing mined material, or from contracting with a person utilizing these materials, as specified, unless the material is produced from a mining operation on that list and that meets certain requirements.

This bill would authorize an affected mine operator, a lead agency with jurisdiction over the operation, or an affected person to appeal to the board the department’s determination regarding a mining operation’s placement on, removal from, or denial of placement on or removal from, the list.

(8) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

If you can write an email or letter of support to Senator Pavey, please do so:

Senator Fran Pavley
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4035
Sacramento,  CA  95814
Phone: (916) 651-4027
Fax: (916) 651-4927

Jim Jacobs
James A. Jacobs, P.G., C.H.G.

Here are some notes from the California Section of AIPG:

February 5, 2014 Meeting:  The AIPG Student Section at UC Davis  is quite active with monthly meetings.  On Wednesday April 5, at 6 pm in the Earth Science Building, Moores Conference Room on the first floor, Jim Jacobs will speak about Coccidioides immitis (Valley Fever) and geologists.  For those living in California and the southwestern US, the drought continues.  As such, the dry conditions associated the drought in generally low rainfall areas contributes even more to favorable conditions for Valley Fever.  Be there for free pizza!!  The abstract is attached.

April is the plan for the field trip for students and AIPG members.  It will be to Nevada, Virginia City and the environs.  We will let you know more about it.

The annual Sacramento Drive-In is being planned for the late spring.

David Sadoff noted his decade plus experience being a judge at the CalExpo State Science Fair, to be held in April in Los Angeles near the USC campus.  If you have a chance to help out with judging, please contact David.  In addition, just visiting the fair is a great experience to see the high-level of science being performed by middle school and high school students in California.

Jim Jacobs
Jim Jacobs
California Section President


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A photo from the December 2013 AIPG California Section- UC Davis Student Section meeting at the University fo Califronia at Davis.  The guest speaker was Vic Chevillon, President and Consulting Exploration Geologist of Chevillon Exploration Consulting.  He spoke about the Cordero Project in southern Chihuahua State, Mexico which offers a classic, ongoing discovery case history of major mineral deposit and the effects of market fluctuations and punitive government action on developing the deposit into a world class mine.   Cordero is a bulk tonnage Ag, Au, Zn, Pb discovery in an open pit mining configuration in the center of one of two porphyry belts defined and explored by an accelerated four phase exploration program that began in 2009.  Today the grid drilling to delimit and define mineral resources continues in a recently acquired claim in the center of the deposit.The talk was well received by those in attendance.  The attached photo was taken after the meeting.  (Photo by Olivia Jacobs)

The Career as a Professional Geologist – Consulting and Service with Passion

Abstract - Rob Cambell
UC Davis

In the quest for a career as a consulting geologist, obtaining a Professional Geologist (PG) license is critical to perform professional geological work. The crux of performing work as a licensed PG is having strong ethics and integrity in order to develop and foster a good reputation. Many times in the course of your careers, these issues will pivot around completing a project on time and on budget. This will likely generate conflicts between the client’s interests and the interests of the general public, and/or governing agency. PG professional opinions are used to obtain clarity in difficult projects, such as geological hazard assessments, hydrogeological assessments, and environmental assessments focused on planning and development.

From the moment I graduated from UCD in 1989 to finding my first geology job, to career fumbles to highlights will be discussed. From this discussion, past consulting examples of poor ethics and poor integrity will be discussed and evaluated to garner alternative solutions for the problems initially rendered. Definition of standard of care practices for PGs will also be discussed. Consulting geologists current and future work opportunities, and lines of specialties for geoscience careers will be explored.

For more information see The Career as a Professional Geologist – Consulting and Service with Passion


Rob Campbell of GeoSolve, Inc. spoke about being a professional geologist on March 6, 2013 at UCD. >

Rob Campbell of GeoSolve, Inc. spoke about being a professional geologist on March 6, 2013 at UCD.

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AIPG California Section Presents Awards at the 2013 California State Science Fair

For the 13th consecutive year the California Section of AIPG presented awards at the California State Science Fair at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. A special treat awaited the participants and judges this year – the earth science projects were located directly beneath the Endeavour! 

Photo California Section at 2013 CA State Science Fair.

As in years past, we gave awards to the Junior Division and Senior Division categories ($250 and a nice certificate in each category). Dave Sadoff, California Section Vice President, was assisted by Paul Enriquez with the judging.

The Senior Division winner was Hanna Washburn for her project entitled “Rehabilitating Hydrophobic Soil to Allow Indigenous Bunch Grass Growth”. This topic is of special interest in her Fresno (San Joaquin Valley) area. Her purpose was to determine if treating hydrophobic soil with an alkaline solution or an Aqua Gro L solution would speed the soil rehabilitation process. She conducted tests on four soil types with grass/root plugs over 2 weeks to check the effectiveness of both alkaline and Aqua Gro L solutions. This effectiveness was based upon the height of the grass/root plugs at the conclusion of the test period. She concluded that Aqua Gro L has a better potential to allow water percolation and promote plant growth, which may translate as a way to rehabilitate hydrophobic soil. This could lead to better plant and root structures which may mitigate soil erosion in areas with this type of soil.

The Junior Division winner was Amanda Mickelson, with her project entitled “Seaside Heritage: Investigation Local Eocene Fossils”. Based on a visit to an area of exposed fossils from the Delmar Formation, she wanted to describe and document the current fossil deposit conditions, as she is concerned about potential loss of the deposits due to erosional processes. She made multiple visits to the site and utilized a laser rangefinder to measure distances, metric rulers, a calculator, and a digital camera to document and to describe the fossils. She also gathered loose fossils for subsequent evaluation. She found numerous Ostrea idriaensis fossils, ranging from 3 to 10 cm in length, and with densities in the exposed rocks as high as 300 fossils per square meter. Her research found the fossil deposits to be approximately 46-48 million years old. She believes the exposed deposits to be at risk as erosion appears to have accelerated in the past 20 years. She hypothesized that potential mitigation measures (e.g., sand replenishment or engineering to lessen the impacts of a nearby seawall) may help preserve the deposits.

Once again, it was a pleasure to discuss projects with such bright students who represent our future. Congratulations to the winners!

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Geologist Licensing

California (Practice/Specialties) - (916) 263-2113
CA Board for Geologists and Geophysicists
E-mail: geology@dca.ca.gov

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Related Links

California Council of Geoscience Organizations (CCGO)

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California Section Officers

James A. Jacobs, CPG
View Point Road
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Work: (415) 381-5195
Cell: 510-590-1098
Fax: (415) 381-5816

Vice President - Northern California
Dave A. Sadoff, CPG
Pepper St.
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Work: (415) 836-7261
Fax: (415) 836-3167

Vice President - Southern California
Mark Rogers, CPG
313 Silk Tree Street
Irvine, CA 92606
Phone: (949) 387-4466

Karel L. Detterman
3197 Cromwell Pl.
Hayward, CA 94542
Work: (510) 638-8400 x127
Fax: (510) 638-8404

Newsletter Editor/Webmaster (Communications Officer)
Joe Watterson, CPG
1973 S. Forest Hill lace
Danville, CA 94526
Work: (925) 790-8465

Senior Advisor
Mehmet Pehlivan, CPG
Bays Environmental Remediation Management
Direct: 714-782-7497
Cell: 714-719-6854

UC Davis AIPG Student Section
Advisor: Professor Robert Zierenberg
President of Student Section: Paul Edwards
UC Davis Section Sponsor; James Jacobs


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The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) was founded in 1963 to certify the credentials
of practicing geologists and to advocate on behalf of the profession.

AIPG represents the professional interests of all practicing geoscientists in every discipline.
It's advocacy & efforts are focused on the promotion of the role of geology and geologists in society.