San Francisco Bay Branch Meeting - "The Case for Field Geology in Groundwater Investigations"

The San Francisco Bay Branch is pleased to present:

 "The Case for Field Geology in Groundwater Investigations"

Speaker: Martin Steinpress, PG, CHg, Brown & Caldwell, Walnut Creek 


Field geology is typically required coursework for earning a geology degree.  However, relatively few students still spend a full summer field course immersed in mapping and few thesis projects involve mapping.  Professional geologist exams for state registration don’t test for mapping ability and it is a skill that may atrophy if unused. Basic geologic mapping is frequently an overlooked tool in the groundwater industry. In this retrospective of one geologist’s 40-year career, several applications of field geology are presented to highlight their importance in contaminant investigations, water resources projects, and mine permitting.  

Geologic field mapping can often be a key component in the development of hydrogeologic conceptual site models.  In sedimentary basins, mapping of alluvium and older sedimentary units on the edge of the basin can yield valuable information.  Depositional environments can be recognized in outcrop that control the morphology and hydraulic properties of hydrostratigraphic units in the subsurface, such as permeable paleochannels.  In bedrock terrains, fractures and faults generally control groundwater flow by forming preferential conduits and/or barriers. Geologic mapping provides insights on orientations and hydraulic properties of water-bearing zones in fractured and faulted terrain and thus contaminant migration.  In volcanic terrains such as Hawaii and the Columbia Plateau, interflow zones can be identified in outcrop that form aquifers between impermeable basalt flows. Borings, wells, and geophysical surveys can be most useful and cost effective for testing a conceptual model when based on field geology.  Even subtle changes in strike and dip of bedding and faults can have major impacts on the location and depth of water-bearing zones or contaminants in the subsurface.  Examples from California, Washington, Idaho, and New York will be featured.  


Speaker Bio:  

Martin Steinpress holds a BS in geology from UCSB and an MS in geology with post-graduate work in water resources from the University of New Mexico.  He has been a geologist for 40 years, including 11 years in minerals exploration and 27 years in the environmental and groundwater industry for 25 years.  He is a technical expert in hydrogeology with extensive experience analyzing and solving complex groundwater problems. He has provided project management and technical expertise on groundwater investigations, remedial actions, water supply, and recharge projects. Martin is currently Brown and Caldwell’s client service manager for Agrium/Nu-West Industries and Monsanto, providing strategic leadership and managing BC’s services on four major mine permitting projects in southeastern Idaho’s phosphate mining district. His water resources planning background includes creating cooperative partnerships among water agencies to facilitate the development of regional conjunctive water management projects. His project work has included the West, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, Florida and Southwest, Hawaii and Guam. He has worked in all major aquifer types (alluvial basins, volcanic, carbonate and bedrock terrains). Martin has also served as a lecturer at California State University East Bay teaching the geology department's senior-level hydrogeology lecture and lab course and various other geology classes. He served on the GRA Board and editor of HydroVisions for six years..


5:30 - 6:30 p.m. - No-Host Social and Registration
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. - Dinner and Announcements
7:45 - 8:30 p.m. - Keynote Speaker
8:30 - 8:45 p.m. - Questions and Answers


Fish – Baked fresh Atlantic salmon with herb butter, served with rice pilaf and fresh seasonal vegetables
Meat – Rosemary chicken, garlic mash potatoes and fresh vegetables
Vegetarian – Portobello mushroom ravioli with an Alfredo pesto sauce


CANCELLATION POLICY: GRA will accept cancellations with no charge until 12:00 PM (Noon) on Friday, October 14, 2016. At that time, we must submit a final head count and we will be charged accordingly. If you cancel after that time, or are a no-show, we will ask you to pay the cost of your meal(s). Thank you for your cooperation.





GRA San Francisco Bay Branch is interested in supporting university science students. Our Scholastic Sponsorship Program is an opportunity to publicize your business while contributing toward a good cause. Your sponsorship will be acknowledged in the announcement, at the meeting, and space will be provided for a small display and brochures. Please contact Abigail Madrone or at 530-756-5905 for details.


If you have any announcements or questions, please contact the Branch President, John McHugh ( at 510-459-0474, or Branch Treasurer David W. Abbott ( at 510-928-4543.

We are actively looking for potential speakers. If you have a topic or suggestion, please contact the Branch President, John McHugh ( at 510-459-0474




Wed, Oct. 19, 2016
5:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.

Event has ended


HS Lordships
199 Seawall Drive
Berkeley, California 94710