Welcome to the Colorado Scientific Society

The oldest scientific society in the Rocky Mountain region

Founded in 1882, the Colorado Scientific Society promotes knowledge, the understanding of science, and its application to human needs.
We focus primarily on earth science, welcoming members with interests in all fields of science. Learn more.

Future Colorado Scientific Society Meetings and Field Trips

CSS Past Presidents’ Dinner and Meeting
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Kilauea’s 2018 Eruption – New methods and perspectives for monitoring volcanic eruptions

Our annual dinner to honor our past presidents is open to all, with a talk that both members and their spouses will enjoy. It will be at the Mount Vernon Canyon Club again. Those who do not want to come to the dinner can came later for the talk.

Eruption at Kilauea
USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Response Supporting the Kilauea Volcano Activity

In May 2018, the USGS deployed equipment and trained personnel to provide UAS remote sensing data acquisition over the impacted area of the Mount Kilauea eruption in Hawaii. The UAS response team flew over 1,300 flights totaling more than 300 hours of aerial geospatial and gas emission data collection utilizing nearly 40 different UAS operators from across the nation for a period of four months A USGS volcanologist guided mission planning in coordination with the UAS operations team lead to ensure tight integration of the team’s efforts and the needs of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), the National Park Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local emergency managers. The initial missions included providing visible and thermal imagery to monitor lava flows moving through residential areas and threatening critical infrastructure and to construct up-to-date digital elevation models of areas where lava flows had dramatically changed the topography. Measuring concentrations of hazardous gases were also a critical concern to emergency managers so the UAS payload was modified to collect gas data utilizing three different sensors. The Team was routinely asked to provide 24×7 surveillance including separate UAS operations (requiring three shifts) to cover FEMA and HVO data requests to provide situational awareness missions for emergency managers to assess spillovers and new lava channel breakouts.

Drone over Kilauea

Presenters: Don Becker, USGS and Jeff Sloan, USGS

Don Becker, USGS, is a videographer who was sent to Kilauea to film and document the 2018 eruption and earthquakes. See a summary of Don Becker’s presentation below, after the details about the dinner.
Jeff Sloan works in the USGS UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems; i.e., drones) program and will show how they were used at Kilauea. Drone(s) will be on display at the meeting.
Expect to see a lot of great video of the eruption.

Lava fountains

Roasted Vegetable Risotto (Gluten Free)
– Fennel, carrots, parsnips, cremini mushrooms
Teriyaki Chicken
– With pineapple pepper relish and coconut rice
Steak Medallions – With soy cream and ginger purple potatoes

Flourless Chocolate Torte
Crème Brulée with Fresh Berries

Cash Bar

Social Time 5:30
Dinner 6:00 pm
Program 7:00 pm

Reservations for the dinner are now closed because we need to give Mount Vernon Canyon Club advance notification. If you want to come for just the presentation on Kilauea’s 2018 Eruption – New methods and perspectives for monitoring volcanic eruptions at 7:00, please email Colorado.Scientific.Society@gmail.com with the number of people just attending the talk so we can provide seating.

The Mount Vernon Canyon Club (formerly Mount Vernon Country Club) is on Lookout Mountain, southwest of Golden:
Mount Vernon Canyon Club
24933 Clubhouse Circle
Golden, CO 80401

Map for Mount Vernon Canyon Club

Monitoring Kilauea

Don Becker’s Presentation about Kilauea’s 2018 Eruption

Don Becker, USGS, is a video producer with the Office of Communications and Publishing and is the manager of the USGS Video Archive and who has made films for the USGS for 43 years. Don has filmed in nearly every U.S. state, Canada, and Africa. He was sent to Hawaii by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for a two-week period to film and document the USGS scientists working the 2018 Kīlauea eruption and earthquake-damaged HVO building near the Halema`uma`u crater. Don has in the archive nearly all the USGS footage of the 2018 Kīlauea eruption, which lasted from around the end of April to early September 2018. Don will show footage acquired from the on-scene HVO scientists along with what he filmed, including spectacular, rare footage of an earthquake at the Jaggar Museum at the summit, and will present a brief history of the eruption using footage from the ground, helicopter, and UAS.

Don had the experience of a lifetime seeing an actual volcano eruption in progress, something that he had hoped to do since childhood. His first view of the erupting Fissure 8 in the Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) was on an early morning helicopter overflight. He filmed the eruption from several angles from the air, then proceeded to film down the length of the 6-mile lava flow to the ocean entry. After landing on a remote road so he could get out of the helicopter to make room for animal rescue folks who quickly needed to use the helicopter to remove dogs from a house being overrun by the lava flow, he resumed the flight back to the forward operating base. He then went out with a ground crew to Leilani Estates and filmed the crew, fissure 8, and the lava flow from the ground. He did this same routine for several days, and then also spent several days at the summit filming the Halemaumau crater. While at the summit, he rode through several magnitude 5.4 earthquakes that were caused by rockfalls in the crater left empty by the drainage of the lava into the LERZ. Don then spent time filming with the UAS crew who were using their aircraft to document the physical changes to the Halema`uma`u crater and they were simultaneously recording level readings with a gas sensor on the aircraft. He got wonderful footage of the crew doing their setup and flights. During his time on Hawaii, Don got to experience filming the lava flow at night, which was an amazing sight. Don filmed a one-on-one interview at the summit Volcano House with Don Swanson, USGS, a Research Geologist at HVO, formerly of the Cascades Volcano Observatory where he worked intimately with the eruption of Mount St. Helens. The interview was interrupted on multiple occasions due to large earthquakes. Lastly, Don was asked to film the inside and outside of the HVO building, damaged during the many earthquakes. At that time, the earthquakes were on an approximate 24-hour schedule, so when he was done at the HVO, he set up a camera just outside the Jaggar museum, on a tripod with the legs stretched far out so it could not tip over. As you will see, the resulting footage was spectacular; the next earthquake caused the sidewalk to open up and the rock wall begin to crumble. Don’s hope is that you enjoy seeing the fierce beauty in the volcano eruption that caused so many local homeowners to lose everything that they owned and their lives to be changed forever.

CSS Meeting, Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Colorado Scientific Society Emmons Lecture
Synthesis, serendipity, and an open mind: timely approaches to timeless challenges in mineral deposits

Dr. Mark Barton, Univ. of Arizona, Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources. This lecture will take place in conjunction with a two and a half day USGS-CSM-CGS joint Mineral Resources Forum. The exact location (on the CSM campus) of Mark’s presentation is still TBA. More info will be forthcoming.

CSS Spring Field Trip, Sunday, May 19, 2019
Denver Basin Geology and It’s Rich Cultural, Mining, and Industrial History

LEADERS: Mark Mitchell (Paleocultural Research Group), Jason McGraw (General Shale Brick), Donna Anderson (Colorado School of Mines), and David Lindsey (U.S. Geological Survey, Emeritus)

Join us for a one-day field trip with stops relating cultural, mining, and industrial history to the geologic and Pleistocene geomorphic evolution of the western portion of the Denver Basin.

The trip will include visits to:

  • Magic Mountain Paleo Indian archeological site, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Paleocultural Research Group
    This has been in the news because of recent excavations by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
    Mark Mitchell will share his findings of the site’s geology, stratigraphy, and Carbon-14 dates and habitation history.
  • Chieftain mine (General Shale Brick, formerly Robinson Brick Company) clay pit on West Alameda Parkway; Jason McGraw of General Shale will lead a tour focused on industrial minerals geology. (He does several types of tours for different audiences.) Hard hats are not required but closed-toe shoes are.
  • The White Ash and Loveland Mines, Golden; discussion led by Donna Anderson, Affiliate faculty, Colorado School of Mines
    This will be the lunch stop. Please bring your own lunch and water.
  • Clear Creek geology and Quaternary geology of the South Platte Basin; at West Lake parking area on Clear Creek on the east side of Youngfield St., south of 42nd Ave. Dave Lindsey will show and discuss Clear Creek Pliocene-Pleistocene stratigraphy and geomorphic relationships related to the Quaternary geology of South Platte basin and incision history of Clear Creek.

We will meet at the I-70 Morrison exit in the Wooly Mammoth Park and Ride and car pool from there. Please bring your own lunch and water.

Join us for this insightful venture, by sending Cal Ruleman (cruleman@usgs.gov 303-236-7804) your name, email, and cell phone number. We’ll have more details in the May newsletter and online.

Magic Mountain site; From Colorado Encyclopedia, https://coloradoencyclopedia.org/article/magic-mountain-archaeological-site

CSS Fall Field Trip, Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15, 2019
Geology and Geoheritage of the Florissant-Cañon City-Florence area

A two-day field trip with an overnight in Cañon City. Visiting: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument; Skyline Drive by Cañon City; Royal Gorge; Florence coal, oil, and gas basin; and the Cope-Marsh quarries.

CSS September Meeting
Short Presentations by Students and Poster displays
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Additional planned CSS Meeting dates for Fall 2019:
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Thursday, December 19, 2019

Details to come.

Read the April 2019 CSS Newsletter

Join or renew your membership online with the Colorado Scientific Society Membership Form

Abstracts of Past Colo. Scientific Society Meetings

The Colorado Scientific Society was founded in 1882 as a forum for the exchange of observations and ideas on the topics of earth science. Our lecture series occurs on the third Thursday of each month, from September through May. Lecture topics largely focus on earth science, and are open to the public. In addition to our monthly lecture series, the society is also active in public service. We fund student research grants, construct and post signs that describe local geologic features, and organize and lead several field trips.

The Colorado Scientific Society usually meets on the third Thursday of the month from September through May at The Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, 11500 W. 20th Ave., Lakewood CO
Social time is at 6:30; meeting & program at 7:00
(In the summer months of June-August, too many are off in the field.)
Map for Shepherd of the Hills Church

Corporate Sponsorship of the Colorado Scientific Society

Corporate sponsorship helps the Society continue to provide earth science-related talks, field trips, and other events to a broad cross-section of Front Range geologists and interested people. Please accept an invitation from the Colorado Scientific Society to become a corporate sponsor, enabling us to continue and expand our programs.
Details of corporate sponsorship of the Colorado Scientific Society

The Colorado Scientific Society is an Associated Society of the Geological Society of America

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