We live on a rocky planet. Rocks form the Earth’s solid surface provide raw material for human industries, structural materials, gems, medicines, and even food additives. The conditions of local surface rocks define the stability of human building sites. This talk will introduce the major rock types and discuss the Earth processes that drive cycles of rock formation and transformation— including climatic influences such as the hydrologic processes that we observe in the Laguna de Santa Rosa. It also will explain where the rock types tend to be found, and how to make sure that we experience them in mostly positive ways. This is the first in a series of three talks Dr. Nielson will be presenting here this spring. The next one will be “Inside the Earth” on March 29, and “From Earth to the Moon and Back Again” on April 26.
Jane Nielson has three degrees in geology, including MS in Geochemistry from The University of Michigan and Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford University, and is a California Licensed Professional Geologist (PG). Dr. Nielson worked 18 years for the U.S. Geological Survey as a field and research geologist, and taught undergraduate geology courses at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff AZ; California State University, Hayward; and Pomona College, Claremont CA. After retiring from USGS, she moved to Sonoma County in 1999, and in 2003 was a co-founder of the Sebastopol Water Information Group and the Sonoma County Water Coalition. She also serves on the board of directors for Sonoma County Conservation Action and the O.W.L. (Open-Space, Water, and Land Conservation) Foundation. She is co-author of The American West at Risk: Science, Myths, and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery, published by Oxford University Press in 2008.