Current Abstract

June 11th, 2024 Meeting Abstract

Pluvial Lake Ferdinand, Anthropogenic Lake Isabella, and the Evolution of the Kern River in the Southern Sierra Nevada


Presented by: Gregg Wilkerson



The evolution Kern River of Kern County, California involved the development, diversion, and eventual drainage of Lake Ferdinand. This lake occupied 58 square miles in the same general area as anthropogenic Lake Isabella which covered 17 square miles when at maximum capacity when it was built in 1953. The dam was raised 16 feet in 2024. Evolution of Lake Ferdinand and history of the Kern River are closely associated with erosional zones of weakness along long-lived fault structures. The Kern River has evolved over several distinct phases which can be seen today throughout the southern Sierra Nevada.



Gregg is a Renaissance man with interests in economic geology, mining and mineral development history, antique vehicle restoration, archaeology of the Old Testament, and nature of science and society. He began working in the San Joaquin Valley with Petrolog in 1973 and moved to Bakersfield in 1986 when he also became a member of SJGS.
Gregg has multi-cultural work experience in geology, economic analysis and environmental management – including tours of duty at 3 universities, 2 colleges, 6 mining companies, and 2 government agencies since 1974. He has coordinated complex interdisciplinary projects involving teams of up to 20 specialists for mineral resource appraisal. He has managed or investigated projects in all western United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Honduras.
Gregg has a unique combination of geologic modeling, economic evaluation, and ArcGIS map making skills. These skills have been applied to research in mining districts throughout California for the past 40 years. This experience has formed of his theories of ore deposit genesis, means of exploring for them, and appraisal methodologies for evaluating them. He also has an extensive experience in the cleanup of abandoned mine sites and served as project manager for CERCLA actions at the Klau-Buena Vista Superfund Site. He is an expert in environmental permitting, land use planning, and geologic applications for ArcGIS technologies.