The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

The Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club presents:

Michael F. Diggles, FN-92, Research Geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey

Wilderness Geologic Mapping

DINNER MEETING - Friday, March 31, 1995, University Club, Powell and California Streets, San Francisco

  • 6:30 PM, Coctails
  • 7:30 PM, Dinner
  • 8:30 PM, Program
  • $35.00 each

  • Dr. Diane Clemens Knott (now with Calif. State Univ. Fullerton), Fang Ridge, South Reville Wilderness Study Area, Nevada, 1984

    During this presentation, Mike Diggles will take us with him as he guides us through high-country wilderness from the glaciers of Alaska to the deserts of the Great Basin and the peaks of the High Sierra. You will see the cream of an 18-year crop of photographs including vistas, wildlife, minerals, and the scientists in the field.

    If you like aircraft, you will see a wide range of flying machines used to get in and out of the back country. Do you like watercraft? You will see a motley collection of those as well. One of the nice things about geologic maps is they have lots of colors and make for nice slide shows.

    You will learn a little bit about field geology including that it is not done with magic. Some of the so-called "problems" in this science consist mostly of getting up to where the rocks are; the interpretation is the easy part.

    Dr. John Decker (now with Unocal), Bradfield Canal quadrangle, southeastern Alaska, 1979

    There will be a pop quiz at the end. How far is it to the top of Nine Mile Canyon? What kind of rocks are in the Granite Fiords Wilderness? What do you call the landforms in the Domeland Wilderness? What are those pretty red crystals beneath Garnet Ledge? You forgot your boots: do you traverse Sand Canyon or Talus Canyon today? During which activities is your canteen important: A) ascending Poison Canyon, B) mapping the Quartz Monzonite of Beer Creek, or C) waiting for the helicopter in Little Dry Meadow?

    During the cocktail hour, you will get a chance to see some of the tools of the trade. Field geologists get to play with lots of clever little gizmos that come in little leather belt cases; Mike is thinking of coming dressed in "native garb." For those Explorers who have spent all to many years looking at aerial photographs, you are free to stay on the far side of the room from the stereoscope.

    About the Speaker

    Mike Diggles in Dusy Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, 1990. Photograph by Joe Tysl

    Michael F. Diggles is a Geologist and Bureau Approving Official (for peer-reviewed scientific publications) at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. He was the lead geologist on the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project team and was senior author on the section on geology and minerals issues. Mike received his bachelor's degree from Humboldt State University and his Masters from San Jose State University, both in Geology. He has been with the USGS since 1977 and has produced over 100 publications (ORCID) and 14 abstracts; most recently (2010) he was coauthor on for a Tsunami Source Workshop. He currently (2017) has a paper in edit with Jim Moore and others: Saltiest Springs in the Sierra Nevada, California His geologic and mineral-resource mapping as well as his potassium-argon geochronology studies have taken him to Alaska, the Great Basin, and the Sierra Nevada. He has made Congressional briefings on mineral issues and in 1993 received the Department of Interior's Superior Service Award for accomplishments in the USGS Wilderness Program.

    Marti Miller (now Geology Office Chief at the USGS Alaska Science Center), Near Wrangell Island, Bradfield Canal quadrangle, southeastern Alaska, 1979

    Last Meeting:

    At the February meeting, members were given a special double program, courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences. First, paleontologist Peter Rodda presented a fascinating account of how he rescued some ancient mammal fossils from a building site in San Francisco. To everyone's amazement, he told how he was given a couple of hours to dig, and dared not show his face onsite, for fear of being prosecuted by the developer for trespassing! Next, Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager presented a collection of their photographs of endangered species of plants and animals. They used large-format slides in which they eliminated the background entirely, leaving the subject isolated in rich, warm colors against a pure black or white background. Their work is on exhibit at the Academy.

    Chairman Bob Schmieder, FN-86 showed two artifacts brought back from his recent trip to Easter Island: a "rain stick" that emits a peculiar whizzing noise when tilted, and a full-sized sword made from a swordfish (the airline made him check the sword!).

    We welcomed Gary and Laura Richter. Gary has traveled to many extremely remote places, the last time on a visit to the Yanamamo Indians in the Amazon basin. Gary explained that the Indians don't bury their dead; they grind them up and add them to their bread!

    Location for next month's meeting: University Club. Charlie Southall MN-91 is making arrangements. [Neither the Yacht Club nor Treasure Island is available].

    The Chapter has taken the next step toward acquiring an office. Following groundwork done by Eve Iversen, FN-86 and Mort Beebe FN-78, Chairman Bob Schmieder submitted a letter to Marc Kasky, Director of the Ft. Mason Foundation. The Foundation will make a bid for several buildings in the Presidio, and invited the Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club to participate. The idea is that the Foundation would bring the buildings up to code and then rent space to the participating organizations. Eve, Mort, and Bob, together with Charlie Brush MED-50, toured the buildings on the Presidio site and selected Building 116 as the best location for an office. Bob's letter to Kasky requests two rooms, one for an office, and one for the library, exhibits, storage, etc. The cost to the Chapter will be about $500/month. We are not committed to this, and can back out any time. What this action does, however, is reserve a space for us, should we decide to use it.

    If you know of an alternative way to acquire office space in San Francisco, please let us know. If you would be interested in helping acquire the means to defray the cost of the office, perhaps for the first year, please let us know that as well.

    Jamie Conrad (now with USGS Coastal and Marine Geology), Sue Nedell, and Peter Hartzell, Domeland Wilderness, southern Sierra Nevada, California (not napping; looking at crystal in the outcrop using the hand lenses), 1983

    From the Chairman:

    In the coming months, I will be bringing to you several ideas and plans for activities and actions that the Chapter could do. Some of these will involve commitment to spend money. The Chapter currently is financially stable (the dinner meetings are essentially break-even). Therefore, it will be my policy that any proposal for a Chapter activity that involves significant expenditure be matched by an equal proposal for raising the funds. I will not ask the membership to sustain additional costs without a corresponding plan for generating those funds.

    Next on the agenda: We plan to generate a set of by-laws for the Chapter, a handbook for Chapter operations, and to seek a 501(c)(3) tax exemption for the Chapter. If you would like to give input or provide assistance in any of these activities, please contact the Chairman.

    Dr. Karen Carter (now at Wholly Fit), and Jamie Conrad, Owens Peak Wilderness, southern Sierra Nevada, California, 1983

    ECAD Saturday Reception at the Club HQ in New York.

    The Northern California Chapter will host a reception at the Club HQ, Saturday Morning, March 25, 10:00 AM to noon. The reception is the first of what we hope will be an annual reception hosted by the Chapters, designed to provide a place for members and guests to touch bases with the Club when they get to New York. Please come by, stay for a little while, and help welcome others. Chairman Bob Schmieder is behind this, so direct questions to him.

    Dr. Martha Gilmore (now with U.C. Davis), Gasquet nickel prospect, northern California, 1992

    Click for Calendar of future events


    Elsa Roscoe at orbicular granodiorite outcrop in the South Sierra Wilderness, southern Sierra Nevada, California, 1987

    The new Chapter Roster is out. If you were not at the last meeting to pick up your copy, you should receive it in the mailing with this newsletter. We went to full-sized pages to make the print bigger and so Elsa Roscoe and Mike Diggles could enjoy greater ease of page layout, paste-up, and production. Ron Reuther, FN-74 helped bring the Introduction section in line with the Club bylaws and Bob Schmieder provided a new Information page on the back cover. Thank you all for your fine work.

    Elsa Roscoe and Mike Diggles in the Sacatar Trail Wilderness, southern Sierra Nevada, California, 1987. Photograph by Paul Sumi

    The Annual Meeting of The Explorers Club will take place during the ECAD events and elections precede the meeting. All members should have received their election materials for members of the Board of Directors. Each year five of the three-year terms come up for election. The new board selects its officers from among it's ranks. Please be sure to fill in your ballot and mail it promptly.

    News of Members:

    Norman Vaughn

    Excerpts from Expedition News - March 1995, to which the Chapter subscribes from Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc.

    The Feb. 27 issue of FORBES featured explorers Norman Vaughan and Helen Thayer, and pedalboat adventurer Dwight Collins in a story entitled, "Adventure Marketing." Writer Randall Lane calls adventure marketing "an aspect of narrowcasting in which companies sponsor bizarre expeditions and competitive sports designed for the physically fearless."

    NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC "Explorer" coverage of the Mount Vaughan Antarctic Expedition airs April 2 at 9 p.m. EST on TBS (check local listings).

    It is difficult to keep ahead providing news to some Chapter members. Betsy Crowder, FN-94 sent me a copy of an update from Harvard Magazine with similar news. A year ago they had an article on Vaughn called Norman Conquest. The photo (above) is from Betsy's clipping and is by Larry Engel

    More Geology Photos

    Marti Miller and Richard Koch (recently retired from the USGS Science Publishing Network), Bradfield Canal quadrangle, southeastern Alaska, 1979

    John Gallinatti, Bradfield Canal quadrangle, southeastern Alaska, 1979

    Marti Miller, Near Wrangell Island, Bradfield Canal quadrangle, southeastern Alaska, 1979

    Ron Sonnevil (now with Redwood National Park), North Bradfield River iron deposit, Bradfield Canal AMRAP quadrangle, southeastern Alaska, 1979

    Maurice Chaffee (USGS geochemist, Denver), Jeffery Mine Canyon, White Mountain Roadless Area, California (during Mike's thesis field work), 1980

    Dr. Karen Carter, South Sierra Wilderness, California, 1983

    Karen at a trailhead, South Sierra Wilderness, California, 1983

    Dr. Karen Carter and Paul Sumi, Domeland Wilderness, California, 1983

    Dr. Diane Clemens Knott, South Reville Wilderness Study Area, Nevada, 1984

    Dr. Beth Rochette and Dr. Diane Clemens Knott, South Reville Wilderness Study Area, Nevada, 1984 (Dr. Rochette is now with the University of New Hampshire).

    Dr. Gerilyn S. (Lynn) Soreghan (now the James Roy Maxey Professor, ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, Sarkeys Energy Center, Univ. of Oklahoma), Orejana Canyon Wilderness Study Area, southeastern Oregon, 1986

    Jamie Conrad, outside the Guano Creek Wilderness Study Area, southeastern Oregon, 1986

    Malcolm Clark on glacial till near Big Pine, California, during the Clyde Wahrhaftig Glaciation Symposium at the White Mountain Research Station, 1995

    Mike Diggles' PSD (Physical Science Dog), Dottie, Diablo Mountain Wilderness Study Area, southeastern Oregon, 1988

    Mike Diggles, Marble Canyon Wilderness Study Area, northern Snake Range, Nevada. Photo by Susan M. Marcus, 1987

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    The URL of this page is
    Date created: 03/7/1995
    Last modified: 1/1/2017
    Created by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster, Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club

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