April 2020 Virtual Meeting

Monday, April 13, 2020
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Note: ETGS members will receive an email with info for logging into the meeting.


Geology & More in the Land of Fire & Ice
Travels in Iceland - September/October 2019



J. Brad Stephenson, PG
Tennessee Dept. of Environment & Conservation (TDEC)
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

with support from
Seaira Stephenson; Harry L. Moore, PG; and Alice Ann Moore.



During September/October 2019, several ETGS members mounted an expedition to the "Land of Fire & Ice", a geologic wonderland better known as Iceland. Most introductory geology textbooks mention Iceland as one of the few places on Earth where one can stand on dry land and directly observe evidence that tectonic plates are diverging along a mid-ocean ridge. Recent interpretations hypothesize that the formation of Europe's largest island may also be attributed in part to the presence of a hot spot in the underlying mantle, much like the one responsible for the Hawaiian island chain. The result is a geologist's paradise filled with active volcanoes, lava caves, geysers, hot springs, earthquakes, glaciers, ice caves, flash floods, massive waterfalls, columnar basalt, breath-taking scenery, and an array of opportunities for exploration and adventure. Iceland's northern latitude supports interesting extremes of weather and daylight or darkness, not to mention chances to witness the aurora borealis or northern lights.


Mr. Stephenson is a professional geologist with 30 years of experience in environmental consulting for government and commercial clients. He has a B.S. from the University of the South (Sewanee) and an M.S. from Western Kentucky University. He grew up caving in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia (known as KTAG among cavers), which fed his interest in the geology and hydrology of karst areas. Following seasonal work as a park ranger at Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, much of his career has focused on solving environmental challenges in karst settings, including work under RCRA and CERCLA regulatory programs. Since 1995, he has been on the organizing committee for 12 meetings of the Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, commonly known as The Sinkhole Conference, serving as co-editor for proceedings volumes in 1997, 2013, and 2015. He joined TDEC in 2016, where he works with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to support cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation in a manner that protects the public and the environment. He has been a member of the East Tennessee Geological Society (ETGS) since 1995, serving in various roles, including secretary, webmaster, and president.

Welcome & Logistics

Greetings, and welcome to the April 13, 2020 ETGS virtual meeting. We hope you, your family, and your colleagues are staying healthy and well as we endeavor to "flatten the curve".

As a courtesy please mute your cell phone or the microphone in your laptop/tablet to minimize background noise and feedback echos. We will also make an effort to mute all participants - at least until the presentation is finished. Please use the chat feature to type any comments or questions you may have. We recommend that you send questions for the speaker to "everyone" so all participants can see the question. In the interest of time, we may hold the Q&A at the end of the presentation.

The presentation abstract, speaker biography , and other ETGS news was provided in the emailed meeting announcement. This included a recent article on the Gray Fossil Site and an upcoming AGI webinar on "Mapping Displacement and Subsidence with Time-series Radar".

We will create a virtual attendance list. It is not always possible to tell who is participating, especially for those joining by phone, so please email
etgs@live.com to be listed on the attendance sheet. Let us know exactly how your name should appear on the list. We will add a note explaining the lack of signatures due to COVID-19-induced distancing and have an ETGS officer sign as usual.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try this online format. As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback and suggestions for improvement.


This presentation is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Don Byerly, one of the founding members of ETGS. Many of us knew and loved Dr. Byerly, without whom we would not likely have an ETGS to support continuing education and networking among local geoscientists. In fact, the Iceland "field trip" presented this evening would not have occurred were it not for Dr. Byerly's influence. The seed for this trip was planted at an impromptu lunch immediately after Dr. Byerly's service of remembrance and thanksgiving on May 6, 2018. As we cope with the effects of COVID-19, it seems appropriate to share a poem from Dr. Byerly's funeral  program...

Advice from a Volcano

Stay Active
Keep Your Inner Fire Burning
It's OK to Let Off Steam
Go With the Flow
Be Uplifting
It's All a Matter of Time
Have a Blast!



Page updated April 14, 2020