ETGS/AIPG Newsletter
December 1999


In this issue...

ETGS/AIPG December Meeting and Holiday Party
December Presentation
Last Month's Presentation
Autumn Field Trip
AIPG Corner
Membership Renewal (Dues are due!)
Year 2000 ETGS Officers (Elections at December meeting!)
Contact Information


Monday, December 6, 1999
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Barcio's Restaurant (Energy Room)
Ramada Inn, 420 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge

Refreshments Provided!


Digging up the Dirt on Ancient Atmospheres

Dr. Claudia Mora
Department of Geological Sciences
The University of Tennessee


Fluctuations in the carbon dioxide content of the paleoatmosphere may have played a critical role in determining ancient paleoclimates and ecosystem development. Theoretical models point to the Paleozoic Era as a period of extreme fluctuation in atmospheric carbon dioxide, associated with the rapid evolution and diversification of vascular land plants and global climate change leading to the extensive Permo-Carboniferous glaciation. Fossil soils (paleosols) formed in direct contact with the ancient atmosphere and the stable isotopic compositions of soil-formed minerals may preserve a proxy record of changing atmospheric chemistry. Paleosols occur in a surprisingly large number of Paleozoic red-bed successions of the Appalachians. Secular changes in the stable carbon isotope composition of pedogenic carbonate and coexisting soil organic matter from a suite of well-characterized, late-Silurian to early-Permian Appalachian paleosols suggest a nearly ten-fold decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels during this period.

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Our November presentation was given by Greg Underberg of CH2M HILL. During his presentation, Groundwater Characterization in Memphis: Somewhat Different than East Tennessee, Mr. Underberg discussed a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) addressing groundwater contamination by chlorinated volatile organic compounds. He presented information suggesting the existence of discontinuities through a low-permeability layer, permitting possible connections to an underlying water-supply aquifer.  The abstract of Mr. Underberg's presentation is included in the November Newsletter, and he may be reached via e-mail at gunderbe@ch2m.com. ETGS and AIPG thank Mr. Underberg for an informative program!

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See trip report with photos at http://www.discoveret.org/etgs/fall99.htm.

Fourteen eager hikers (twelve people and two canines) gathered for a series of geology hikes in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Pickett State Park. These neighboring parks are located atop the scenic Cumberland Plateau on the Tennessee-Kentucky border. Both parks provide numerous opportunities for learning more about the geology of our region.

The weather was fantastic with a clear, blue sky and temperatures in the 70s. Three short hikes took us to Hazard Cave, Indian Rockhouse, Twin Arches, and a series of large sandstone bluffs and rock shelters. Each location features impressive displays of Pennsylvanian-age sandstones and conglomerates. Patterns of jointing, crossbedding, and lisegang banding add to the natural beauty of the rock. The effects of weathering and erosion are easily observed in the arches and shelters, as well as in the dramatic gorges incised into the "layer-cake" geology of the plateau. The rock shelter at Hazard Cave is so deeply cut into the bluff, that near-total darkness prevails in the rear portions of this feature even at midday. Hazard Cave provides habitat for a recently discovered population of "glowworms," which are really the larvae of the fungus gnat (Diptera mycethoilidae) [The Official Guide to the National Park Service Activities and Events, Big South Fork, 1999, p. 16).

ETGS extends special thanks to Harry L. Moore, who graciously contributed material relevant to the area from his book A Geologic Trip across Tennessee by Interstate 40 (University of Tennessee Press, 1994).  Mr. Moore is Head of the Geotechnical Section for Region 1 of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. He is also the author of A Roadside Guide to the Geology of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (University of Tennessee Press, 1988). Combined with interpretive information available from the parks and the expertise of those on the trip, Mr. Moore's material on Twin Arches provided the foundation for our exploration of the area. Some general information is also presented in an online brochure provided by the National Park Service.

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Tennessee Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists

Since February 1997, ETGS and the Tennessee Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) have held shared meetings and published the Newsletter jointly. This cooperative relationship was begun to pool resources for the benefit of both organizations. Larry Weber, President of the Tennessee Section of AIPG, attended the February meeting and expressed support for continuing the relationship between AIPG and ETGS. In particular, he pledged that AIPG would support publication of Newsletter, which is produced by ETGS. In return, ETGS agreed to expand distribution of the Newsletter to all AIPG members in Tennessee. During the March meeting, Dr. Barry Beck, last year’s Tennessee Section President, explained the benefits of affiliating with AIPG, as well as the requirements and procedures for obtaining AIPG membership, registration, and certification. As a result of the cooperation between these organizations, ETGS members have become more familiar with AIPG, and a few AIPG members have joined ETGS.

Chris Maner, President-Elect of the Tennessee Section, has lead an effort to obtain e-mail addresses for AIPG members in Tennessee. He has also been forwarding the Newsletter by e-mail to those members for whom he has an address. However, ETGS is still mailing paper copies to 36 AIPG members whose addresses were provided by Mr. Weber. This costs approximately $36 per month in printing and postage--a figure which has been as high as $60 in previous months. Moreover, considerable additional effort is required to format, print, copy, fold, label, stamp, and mail paper copies.

Therefore, considering that the Newsletter is now available online (http://www.discoveret.org/etgs/news.htm), ETGS will distribute paper copies only to its members who do not have access to the Internet. This change will take effect with the January 2000 edition. The Tennessee Section of AIPG may continue using e-mail to notify its membership when the Newsletter is online each month. However, it will be up to the Tennessee Section to determine whether to produce a paper version for its members. If you are an AIPG member, please contact Chris Maner at magmatic@earthlink.net to let him know your preferences.

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Dues are due!

ETGS serves the geological community of East Tennessee, including Knoxville and Oak Ridge. Through monthly meetings, field trips, newsletters, and its budding web site, the Society provides local geologists with opportunities to stay abreast of technical and professional trends in the geosciences, as well as opportunities for social interaction and networking. ETGS is truly a “grassroots” organization which exists only because its members choose to come together in this manner.

Like public radio and television, most ETGS services are now directly accessible at no apparent cost. In large measure, this is made possible by electronic communication via the Internet. Although the costs of producing and distributing the monthly Newsletter have been reduced substantially, expenses associated with maintaining the Society and its activities still exist. Routine annual expenses include registration with the state, rental of a mail box at the Post Office, and miscellaneous costs associated with monthly meetings.

When you join ETGS or renew your membership, your dues support the continuation of the Society. Elimination of traditional expenses permits your membership dues to support additional activities as desired by the membership. Equally important, the information you provide on the membership form facilitates Society communications and networking among its members. As a dues-paying member of ETGS, you will receive notifications of monthly meetings, field trips, and other Society activities. You will also be eligible to be included in membership directories and to take advantage of potential employment opportunities that arise from time to time.

Please consider joining or renewing your membership at the December meeting. Doing so will extend your membership through the end of 2000. Membership dues remain a bargain at just $15 per individual, $20 per couple, and $5 per student. Whether you join or renew at a monthly meeting or by mail, please complete a membership form so that we can keep the society's records updated. In particular, please make sure we have at least one current e-mail address. If you have a paper edition of the Newsletter from earlier this year, just use the membership form contained within it. Forms are also be available at each monthly meeting, as well as online at http://www.discoveret.org/etgs/member.htm.

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Volunteers & Nominations Sought
Elections to be Held at December Meeting

Although ETGS is not a large, complex organization, the efforts of a few dedicated individuals are necessary to maintain the Society and its various functions. Please consider volunteering your time and talent to support your society. Critical leadership positions must be filled to carry ETGS through the final year of the millennium.

The primary leadership roles are listed below with brief descriptions of the responsibilities associated with each. These positions are designed to function together as a team, distributing the work and minimizing the load that any individual must carry. Moreover, as an ETGS officer, you will be able to draw on the resources of past officers and the membership to get the job done.

The following positions must be filled at the December meeting.

  • President: serves as the primary representative of the Society; presides over monthly meetings; and coordinates or delegates all official functions.
  • Vice President: presides in the absence of the President; and arranges technical program for monthly meetings, including communication with guest speakers and meeting facility management.
  • Secretary/Treasurer: records meeting proceedings; manages membership database and other Society records; maintains state registration; keeps all financial records; collects dues; disburses funds; and maintains the Society bank account.
  • Membership Director: assists the Secretary/Treasurer with membership issues--e.g., updating membership records and serving as a general point of contact for inquiries about Society membership.
  • Newsletter Editor: coordinates the preparation of announcements and articles by members and officers; assimilates same to produce monthly Newsletter and other Society communications; and transfers materials electronically to the Webmaster for electronic publication.
  • Webmaster: coordinates development and maintenance of the web site; posts Newsletters and announcements;  and provides for site-wide consistency across all Society web pages prepared by the Webmaster and other contributors.

If you are willing to volunteer or nominate someone to fill one or more of these positions, please do so at the December meeting. If you cannot attend, you may volunteer or make a nomination by phone or e-mail to any of the ETGS officers listed at the end of this Newsletter. Voting will take place at the December meeting.

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Post Office Box 6193
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6193

President, J.J. Hollars, SAIC, 865-481-4741, james.b.hollars@cpmx.saic.com
Vice President, Rick Arnseth, Tetra Tech NUS, 865-483-9900, arnsethr@ttnus.com
Secretary/Treasurer, Seaira Stephenson, Scientific Sales, 865-483-9332, sstephenson@scisale.com
Newsletter, J. Brad Stephenson, P.E. LaMoreaux & Assoc, 865-483-7483, jbrad@ispchannel.com


President, Larry Weber, Geosciences Design Group, 615-883-9434, gdgllc@bellsouth.net
President-Elect, Chris Maner, Tenn Dept of Env and Conserv (TDEC), magmatic@earthlink.net
Vice President, Brian Parnell, MAPCO Express, 615-367-3100
Secretary/Treasurer, Ken Haislip, Ogden Env & Energy Services, 615-333-0630, shaislip@bellsouth.net
Screening Chairman, Robert Freas, Franklin Industries, 615-259-4222

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