November 2018 Meeting

Monday, November 12, 2018
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
J.L Goins Administration Building
Faculty/Staff Dining Room


A Geologist's Story

Presented By
Robert Benfield, LPG TN


This talk is about looking back at a lifetime and how retirement looks like for a geoscientist. How in the first year in retirement I found the location of the oldest Trilobite in thesouthern Appalachians. In the same summer found a previously undiscovered species of worm living in a 400 foot deep well. I have learned many lessons through observations of groundwater occurrences and movement in the Unaka Province. My concentration is on springs and highly productive wells in the Rome formation. There are places in the Unaka Province where the weathering of the Shady Dolomite is over 700 feet deep. I have been very involved with tracing groundwater to water supplies and protecting the aquifer in the karst of east Tennessee.

Where are the next steps taking me in education and giving back to the community? Combining history, art, and science to inspire and educate the general public. I would like to discuss some of my public art sculptures that feature theme of biology, physics, planetary sciences.


Graduate of East Tennessee State University with a BS in Geology. Member of the Geological Society of America and been a member of the National Speleological Society.

In my early years I worked in the Oil and Gas Exploration in the fields of eastern Kentucky. I went to work for the Tennessee State of Environment and Conservation where I retired after 23 years. In that time I worked in Solid Waste, Water Resources and Underground Storage Tanks divisions, with most of my professional time spent on the DOE Oak Ridge Reservation.

In my retirement I have my own consulting business and help people mostly with drilling water wells. I have authored and coauthored papers presented at GSA and the American Water Resource Association over the years as a geologist.

My personal interests include Karst studies, Photography, Public Art Sculpture, and Electronics. I have a love for science and working to help others. I am the President of the nonprofit Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance.




Page updated November 12, 2018