Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center


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UAS over flux tower
December 31, 2019

UAS over flux tower

Looking up at a drone hovering near an open-path methane analyzer mounted on a flux tower. Instruments mounted on both the towers and on the drones are measuring gases emitted from the soil.

Rain clouds and red sky over the Northern Bristol Mountains in the Mojave Desert, California
February 14, 2019

Twilight in the Northern Bristol Mountains

Rain clouds at twilight over the Norhtern Bristol Mountains. THese types of winter storms provide water to the desert ecosystem, but are not usually intense enough to transport sediment or do other geomorphic work. This image was captured during geologic mapping of surficial geologic materials in order to better understand the Quaternary (younger than ~2.5 million years)

Lineations on a vertical strand of the Soda-Avawatz Fault Zone exposed in Northern Soda Mountains, California.
December 17, 2018

Lineations on a strand of the Soda-Avawatz Fault Zone northern Soda Mt

Lineations on a vertical fault strand of the Soda-Avawatz Fault Zone, exposed in the northern Soda Mountains, Mojave Desert, southern California. The fault can be seen cutting both late Tertiary sand and gravel units, but is buried by an overlying mid-Pleistocene alluvial gravel deposit.

Adjustment of tension in infiltrometer to measure post-fire recovery.
March 1, 2018

Research Geologist Jonathan Perkins measuring post-fire infiltration

Research Geologist Jonathan Perkins adjusting tension in infiltrometer to evaluate post-fire recovery conditions in the Pepperwood Preserve, Santa Rosa, CA following the October 2017 Tubbs Fire to better understand how landscapes heal after wildfire. 

Oil with a taffy-like consistency in a natural seep along a small creek, being poked with a stick to show its gooey nature.
February 19, 2018

Natural oil seep along Tarwater Creek, San Mateo County, California

The natural oil seep in this photo is located in Pescadero Creek County Park, where the Canyon Trail crosses Tarwater Creek. The oil is black, has a taffy-like consistency, and smells like motor oil.

In a pasture a white horse is standing in the foreground, in background is an apparatus that pumps oil from the ground.
February 2, 2018

Oil well pumping unit, Half Moon Bay oil field, California

The Half Moon Bay oil field is one of the oldest oil fields in California and was first developed during the 1880s. Since then, the field has produced an estimated 60,000 barrels of oil from about 19 wells. Most of the old wells have been plugged and abandoned, but this well was reworked in 1980 and produces small volumes of oil from thin sandstone layers of the Miocene

Excerpt of satellite image showing landslide impacts to roads, agriculture, and a reservoir in the Lares Municipality.
December 31, 2017

LS Preliminary Puerto Rico

Excerpt of satellite image showing landslide impacts to roads, agriculture, and a reservoir in the Lares Municipality. Points identify the approximate location of roads visibly impacted by landslides. Image filename contains approximate latitude and longitude of this impact location.

Box and whisker diagrams of electron probe microanalysis cation compositions
November 6, 2017

Box and whisker diagrams of electron probe microanalysis

Figure 5. Box and whisker diagrams of electron probe microanalysis cation compositions (listed in Table 2) of 4 selected unexpanded vermiculite ore samples (boxes with down-to-left diagonal lines), 28 unexpanded vermiculite ore samples (boxes with cross-hatched lines) and 43 expanded vermiculite ore samples (boxes with down-to-right diagonal lines) from the four major

Continuum-removed absorbance spectra.
November 6, 2017

Continuum-removed absorbance spectra.

Figure 20. (a) Continuum-removed absorbance spectra of the NIR combination region for unexpanded and expanded vermiculite ore samples from Enoree, South Carolina (same samples as used in Fig. 19), with their deconvolution into symmetrical Gaussians. (b) Continuum-removed reflectance spectra of the same samples in the same spectral region. Both sample containers were

3D map of Mud Creek slide derived from video footage collected by drone on October 12, 2017.
October 12, 2017

Mud Creek – 3D Point Cloud – Oblique Perspective

Video shot from drones yields details about changing landslide on California’s Big Sur coast

On October 12, USGS drones collected video footage of the Mud Creek landslide, which buried California State Highway 1 under a third-of-a-mile-wide mass of rock and dirt on May 20. USGS scientists have been monitoring the slide by transforming photos shot

July 30, 2017

A Record of Change: Science and Elder Observations on the Navajo N.

A Record of Change—Science and Elder Observations on the Navajo Nation is a 25-minute documentary about collaborative studies using conventional physical sciences, combined with tribal elder observations to show that local knowledge and conventional science partnerships can effectively document ecosystem change and determine the resulting challenges to livelihoods. 

Southwest view of Soda-Avawatz Fault
July 26, 2017

Soda-Avawatz Fault, eastern Avawatz Mountains

This is a view to the southwest from the top of the piedmont on the eastern side of the Avawatz Mountains, ~25 km northwest of Baker, CA. In the foreground, from right to left, are the Avawatz Mountain Front, composed of Precambrian crystalline metamorphic rocks, a narrow pediment developed on these metamorphic rocks, a sliver of marble juxtaposed against the pediment, and