San Joaquin Geological Society Bakersfield California
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The San Joaquin Geological Society has no formal dues, and our activities are open to anyone interested in geology.

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Current Abstract


Vertical Field Methods in Geology


Dr. Michael S. Clark

Petroleum Geologist, Aera Energy, Bakersfield, CA




Yosemite Valley is an amazing granite gorge located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Cretaceous-age plutonic rocks up to 114 MA in age were emplaced during several intrusive events, with subsequent ice age glaciations that over the last 30 MA have excavated a one-mile by seven-mile u-shaped valley with sheer granite walls displaying up to 3,000 feet of vertical relief. Although these incredible exposures provide unique opportunities for geologic study, the magnitude of relief also makes large areas of the valley inaccessible to the average geologist. However, pioneering ascents of the largest rock walls beginning in the late 1950s and continuing up to the present demonstrate that the techniques exist to analyze and interpret these outcrops in detail. This talk explores how these field methods may be successfully applied to studying vertical rock walls, whether they are in Yosemite or elsewhere.




Michael S. Clark is a petroleum geologist, currently working at Aera Energy. He has an A.S. degree in Biology from Cabrillo Junior College in Aptos, California (1973), a B.S. degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1975), an M.S. degree in Geology from the University of California at Davis (1979), and a Ph.D. in Geology from the Colorado School of Mines (1991). Dr. Clark has worked as an exploration geologist for Amoco Production Company in Denver, a research geologist for Exxon Research in Houston, and for Elf Aquitaine in Pau, France, a senior geologist for ARCO Western Energy in Bakersfield, CA and a staff geologist for Chevron in Bakersfield.  His research interests include sequence stratigraphy, process sedimentology, and organic geochemistry, and he has published several professional articles on various aspects of the Cretaceous and Tertiary of California.



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3The San Joaquin Geological Society gladly accepts your donations. In 2011, the Society awarded nearly $8000 to educational institutions and organizations.

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