South Coast Geological Society



South Coast Geological Society Newsletter

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Meeting Date: Monday, February 11th
Dave & Buster’s (20 City Blvd W G1, Orange, CA)
Member $30, Non-Member $35, Student/Professor. $15

Topic: A Landscape Altered: The Explosive End to Kilauea’s Summit Lava Lake and the Lower East Rift Zone Eruption of 2018

Speaker: Chris Baker

Please join South Coast Geological Society for our monthly meeting on Monday, February 11th, 2019 at 6:00 PM to be held at Dave & Buster’s, Orange CA. We are hosting guest speaker, Chris Baker, Hydrogeologist of MP Materials, who will present their topic: “MP Materials and the Mountain Pass Mine: A Geological and Environmental Perspective.”


In this edition:

  • Meeting Information
  • Presidents Corner
  • Membership Drive
  • Corporate Sponsors
  • Volunteer with SCGS
  • Additional Links
  • Ways to Support SCGS

Meeting Information

For nearly a century, mining activities have occurred at the Mountain Pass Mine, located in Mountain Pass, CA. During this period, occupancy and mining activities have been conducted and transitioned between several operating owners. Each operator has shared a similar goal: extract high-grade Light Rare Earth Elements (LREE) from the host bastnaesite ore body. The bastnaesite found at Mountain Pass is widely accepted to be one of the richest concentrations of LREE’s worldwide; as well as the only operating LREE mining facility in North America. These extracted elements are utilized in the production of rare earth magnets, electrical components, batteries, lasers, medical equipment, lenses, among a variety of other products.

As modern technology has improved LREE extraction methods, environmental standards have also evolved. With improvements to environmental standards, site operators have continually evaluated historical environmental impacts, while working to improve and mitigate any further impacts. MP Materials is the new owner/operator of the facility, and along with producing a high quality LREE product a prime directive is to remediate historical impacts, prevent any future negative impacts, and to remain stewards of the environment. MP Materials has detailed monitoring programs for legacy and current impacts and is conducting both active and passive remedial activities while constantly evaluating additional technologies for remediation.

Chris Baker is an environmental geologist and is currently employed at a rare earth mine located in Mountain Pass, CA. Chris currently manages the groundwater and drinking water programs at the mine, along with various other environmental and mining aspects. Prior to employment at the mine he worked and gained experience in both geotechnical and environmental consulting. Other than working in industry Chris has involved himself heavily in the geologic community and is a past president of both SCGS and the GRA SoCal Branch, currently serves as Vice President for GSN Southern Nevada, sits on multiple non-profit organization boards, and has helped to further community and educational outreach in both California and Nevada. Chris studied geology at CSUF (BS) where his research was focused on the exhumation rates of southern Alaskan mountain ranges surrounding Anchorage.

  Presidents Corner 

Hey there South Coasters,

Like February, I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

Our meeting on Monday will highlight Chris Baker’s work at Mountain Pass Mine. I know I am extremely biased since Chris is a good friend, but I think this is going to be the most exciting meeting of the year! Chris is an SCGS past-president who devoted many years to the society and set the foundation for bringing the us into the 21st century. Knowing the enthusiasm and devotion he brings to every aspect of his life, I’m sure his time at Mountain Pass Mine has led to a plethora of information and stories he’s dying to share with us. I’m hoping everyone makes the trip out to show their support.

Quick reminder, membership for the society is run on a calendar basis, so it is time to renew your dues. To renew your membership, visit the link below. You are also welcome to pay at the meeting during check-in. If you are a returning member, we can recycle your information from previous years. If you are a new member, or your information has changed, please don’t forget to fill out the membership application form. This is also a great time to tell us if you or someone you know would be interested in presenting at a monthly meeting!

We are currently in search of corporate and personal sponsorships for 2019. These sponsorships allow South Coast to give scholarships to students who have shown an excellence in research, and free membership and a reduced meal fee to students at our monthly meetings. To become a sponsor, visit our website, or send us an email.

Special thanks to those who have already donated:

Gold ($500): Bill Elliott, Earth Consultants International, Murbach Geotech

Silver ($250): Redfin

Bronze ($100): Carole Ziegler, Chris Baker

Lastly, Save the dates for our upcoming meetings:
On Monday, March 11, we will be continuing our annual tradition of hosting a meeting at The Chartroom at CSULB. Dr. Nate Onderdonk will share his research on active tectonics and tectonic geomorphology.
On Wednesday, April 3, SCGS and GRA will be cohosting Dr. John Doherty, 2019 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer and author of PEST, the widely used software package for groundwater model calibration and uncertainty analysis. This meeting will be held at Dave and Busters in Orange.

Hope to see you Monday!

Allison Bieda
2019 President

Become A Member
Become A Corporate or Individual Sponsor

Allison Bieda, SCGS President


Your membership in 2018 allowed SCGS to host stellar field trips, provide over $2,000 in student scholarships, and improve the society in many ways. South Coast Geological Society raises our annual budget through private contributions, so your membership is essential for us to continue the society, make improvements, provide phenomenal meetings, host field trips, and award student scholarships. To support the goals of SCGS we are asking for your membership renewal for 2019.


A membership to South Coast Geological Society has many benefits including discounted meeting and field trip costs, exclusive field trips and events, and more! 
We welcome you to join or renew your membership with SCGS, one of the largest, most active Geological Societies in Southern California. 

Membership Costs:
Professionals: $35 / year
Students: Free

Become A Member


March 11th, 2019 Meeting at The Chartroom in Long Beach, CA
South Coast Geological Society and CSULB Department of Geological Sciences welcomes you to attend our meeting on Monday, March 11th at The Chartroom in Long Beach (CSULB Campus). This years lecturer is Nate Onderdonk, Ph.D. who will present his recent neotectonic research. 


April 3rd, 2019 Meeting at Dave & Busters in Orange, CA
South Coast Geological Society and Groundwater Resources Association – So.Cal. Branch welcomes you to attend our joint meeting featuring the Groundwater Foundation’s Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture Series in Groundwater Science. This joint meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3rd, from 6PM to 9PM at Dave & Buster’s in Orange, CA (20 City Blvd West Orange, CA 92868). Each year a panel of scientists and engineers chooses an outstanding groundwater professional to share their work throughout the year with peers and students. This years lecture, “Dancing with Models – The Importance of Model Partner Software”, will be presented by Dr. John Doherty, 2019 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer and author of PEST, the widely used software package for groundwater model calibration and uncertainty analysis.

South Coast Geological Society Corporate Sponsorship

SCGS greatly appreciates our Corporate Sponsors! Corporate sponsorship allows SCGS to host stellar field trips, provide annual scholarships, and publish guidebooks. There are four Corporate Sponsorship Levels: DIAMOND ($1,000+), GOLD ($500+), SILVER ($250+), and BRONZE ($100+).


Click Here to Become a Corporate Sponsor!

Volunteer with SCGS

South Coast Geological Society is seeking motivated individuals to serve as committee members for our scholarships, poster session, field trips, and community outreach.
Contact us if you are interested.



Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists – So. California
Association for Women Geoscientists – LA/OC Chapter
American Society of Civil Engineers
Coast Geological Society
Groundwater Resources Association of California – So. California
Inland Geological Society
Los Angeles Basin Geological Society
San Diego Association of Geologists
San Joaquin Geological Society
Southern California Paleontological Society


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Copyright © 2019 South Coast Geological Society, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
South Coast Geological Society
P.O. Box 10244
Santa Ana, CA, 92711-0244

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