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Geology Projects

Geology

Scanning Electron Microscope Study of Reservoir Sediments in Southern San Joaquin Basin Oil Fields, California.
Dr. Robert Horton

The southern San Joaquin basin is one of the United States' most prolific oil producing regions; if Kern County was a state it would rank fifth among U.S. states in terms of current production. San Joaquin basin oil fields have also been identified as potential sites for CO2 storage and sequestration. Yet little is known about the mineralogy of most of these oil fields. Understanding the sediments mineralogy and the geochemical processes operating in the subsurface are becoming increasingly important as new technologies are applied to enhance oil production, and such information is critical for predicting the effects of CO2 injection. One of the best tools for studying the mineralogical makeup of sedimentary rocks is the scanning electron microscope (SEM). Our group will learn how to operate CSUB's SEM. We will use the SEM to collect images and chemical analyses from samples of reservoir rocks obtained from cores collected from San Joaquin basin oil fields. Finally we will interpret our data to see how the sediments have been modified due to the effects of burial and reactions with subsurface fluids.

Lanscape Response to Active Faulting in the San Emigdio Mountains, CA
Dr. Chris Krugh 
Earth’s landscape reflects the material properties of underlying geologic units and a competition between tectonic activity and surface processes. In equilibrium, these competing factors produce geomorphic features such as hillslopes, drainage basins, and stream channels that maintain consistent characteristics across the landscape. Departure from equilibrium, due to changes in any of the boundary conditions, will force the landscape to adjust until a new steady state is established. Geomorphic features can therefore be used as indicators of tectonic activity in areas where the underlying geology and surface processes can be reasonably assumed to be uniform. In this study, participants will utilize Geographical Information System (GIS) software to characterize key geomorphic features in the San Emigdio Mountains, CA. The San Emigdio Mountains are located west of Bakersfield, CA along the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley. Formed largely due to transpression along the San Andreas Fault, the San Emigdio Mountains are also impacted by active faults including the Pleito, Wheeler Ridge, and Los Lobos thrust faults as well as the recently active White Wolf fault (1952 M 7.3 earthquake, second largest in CA history!). Quantitative comparison of geomorphic features will help researchers investigate fault activity and aid in evaluation of seismic hazard in the region.