Archived Department News and Events

2012 Geology Graduates


Graduation celebration began this year with a gathering of faculty, staff, students, and graduates and their families, in the Hanna Room. Our outstanding graduate student this year was Jozi Kerry Del Angel. Our outstanding graduating senior was Sam Wachtor.

For additional graduation photos see

Shake Out 2011

Shake Out logo

Students enrolled in introductory geology classes in conjunction with students in the Department of Geological Sciences' Geology Club have planned to advertise the ShakeOut Exercise on Oct. 17-19 and to staff a Festival in Sierra Quad on Oct. 20. Students also plan to visit classrooms during the week of Oct. 17 to give short earthquake preparedness presentations. The festival on Oct. 20 from 9a.m. - 2 p.m. will include earthquake-kit booths, a video of damage to CSUN's campus in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and earthquake preparedness handouts and other information.

For 2011 ShakeOut photos see

Seismometer Recovery Cruise

Dr. Weeraratnee on the rv New Horizon

Dr. Weeraratne is currently involved in the study of offshore southern California seismic data. This project is part of the ALBACORE study that is designed to understand seismic and tectonic structure of the North American and Pacific plate at crustal, lithospheric, and asthenospheric depths. Ocean bottom seismometers that were deployed off the coast of southern California in August 2011 are currently (September 2011) being recovered. See the following link for further information, including a description of the research project, the CSUN Geology students involved, a location map showing where the seismometers were deployed and the current state of recovery.

29th Fall Field Frolic

Join the Geology Department field trip as we frolic at Zion National Park, Utah; Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah; and Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. August 24, 25, 26. See flyer for further details: FFF announcement.pdf

Follow this link to see trip write up and photos:

The Fritsche's Geotrek IV

Geotrek IV logo

GeoTrek IV was a series of 10 hikes led by Gene Fritsche, Geology Professor Emeritus at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). The purpose of these hikes was firstly to acquaint the participants with the geology along the route of the hike. More importantly, Gene walked the 100 miles to secure support and contributions from CSUN geology alumni, faculty, staff, and other friends of geology for the GENE AND SUE FRITSCHE GEOTREK ENDOWMENT, which awards annual scholarships to geology students at CSUN. Ten Terrific Topical Transverse Range Traverses
To see photos of previous GeoTreks follow these links:
GeoTrek I L.A. Zoo to Point Mugu
GeoTrek II San Gabriel Mountains Transect
GeoTrek III Hiking the rim of the San Fernanado Valley

AAPG Short Course

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"Geology & Geophysics Applied to Industry Basic Seismic Stratigraphic Interpretation" Presented by Fred W. Schroeder, Ph.D.

CSUN Geology 2011 Summer Field in Ruth, Nevada

The CSUN Geology Department will again share its Summer Field program with CSULB in Ruth, Nevada.

New Geology Faculty

Professor Cecil

The Department of Geological Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of two new faculty members, both of whom will start at CSUN in Fall 2011. Robinson Cecil received a BA in Geology from Vanderbilt University and MS and PhD degrees in Geosciences from the University of Arizona.  She is presently finishing a postdoc at Caltech.  Robinson's research focuses on problems in regional tectonics, using mainly geo- and thermo-chronometry and radiogenic isotope geology to better understand the magmatic and topographic evolution of continental arcs.  She is particularly interested the interplay between lithospheric-scale tectonic processes operating at depth in orogenic systems and their associated surface responses.

Professor Schwartz

Josh Schwartz received his A.B. and M.S. from Brown University, and PhD from the University of Wyoming. His research focuses on understanding the magmatic and thermal evolution of mid-ocean ridge lithosphere, and the generation of magmas in collisional orogenic belts. His current field areas include Macquarie Island (Southern Ocean), the Blue Mountains (NE Oregon), the Southern Appalachian orogen (Alabama), and Fiordland (New Zealand). His research combines field mapping, igneous petrology, isotope geochemistry and U-Pb geochronology.

CSUN Geological Sciences among top 100 hydrogeology programs

well in stream

The National Groundwater Association has named CSUN among the 100 best programs in hydrogeology. More than 400 programs were considered and, in the end, 100 selected. There were a number of factors centered around the length and strength of the program, as well as its faculty. The National Groundwater Association reviews and selects the programs for its Top 100 list to give prospective groundwater students a list of strong options and a jumping-off point for their search in selection of schools. You can see the list at:
CSUN hydrogeology courses can be found at:

OBS Recovery Cruise

Dr. Weeraratne in storm

Dr. Weeraratne weathers a storm on the deck of the Kilo Moana. Dr. Weeraratne along with Cristo Ramirez and Jialin Li, both CSUN geology graduate students, are on a scientific cruise to recover two arrays of ocean bottom seimometers (OBS). The OBS's were deployed a year ago and have been sitting on the ocean bottom in the western Pacific collecting seismic data. They are part of a research project to determine how oceanic tectonic plates are constructed and evolve with time. More on this cruise can be found at: Details of the deployment (previous) cruise can be found at:

Shakeout 2010

Shakeout text on phone

On 10/21/10 at 10:21 a.m. the third annual Shakeout earthquake drill took place. After receiving notification of the drill via the CSUN Office Phone Messaging System there was a collective, campus-wide, Drop, Cover and Hold On. In the accompaning photo Dr. Doug Yule is in the process of getting under a desk in the Geology Department office. He was joined by department staff members Mari Flores-Garcia, Perla Vielma, and Romica Silas.

2010 AAPG-SEG West Coast Student Expo Field Trip

Rebecca and Aaron in Oxy shirts

This year’s AAPG-SEG West Coast Student Expo field trip was led by Aaron Hebeler with help from Rebecca Greenberg.   Both are CSUN geology alumni now employed by Occidental Petroleum.  The trip was to the San Miguelito oil field west of Ventura.  CSUN geology professor emeritus Dr. Gene Fritsche was on hand to provide lessons at the outcrop.

Bender in Washington DC

Students on building steps

On July 22 a poster event of "exemplary research" was held for members of congress in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill to celebrate the success of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. California State University Northridge (CSUN) was honored to have one of its undergraduate LSAMP students, Ms. Carrie Bender (back row, beneath arrow) from the Department of Geological Sciences, chosen to represent all of the CSU System at this event. Carrie will continue her graduate studies in the department this Fall, supported by an LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) fellowship. She joins second-year graduate students and BD Fellows Cristo Ramirez and Melissa Nunley who entered the program last year.

2010 Geology Graduates

Graduates in cap and gowns

On graduation day this year we had a well-attended afternoon soiree in the mineralogy/petrology lab celebrating the achievenments of our latest geology graduating class. Outstanding graduate (Aaron Hebeler) and senior (Ben Termeer) awards were presented and all graduates were honored by fellow students, faculty, staff, families, and friends. Shortly thereafter caps and gowns were donned and Pomp and Circumstance commenced.

Professor Sails on Record-breaking Drilling Expedition
and Receives University Award

Crowd on front of ship

Dr. Kathleen Marsaglia recently sailed as a shipboard scientist on Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 317 off the Canterbury Margin of South Island, New Zealand. This two-month scientific cruise set several records for deep ocean drilling: deepest hole continuously cored, shallowest water depth, and deepest microbial sample from a hole. A preliminary report of their exciting findings can be found at:
She has several graduate students lined up to study the relationships among the distinct seismic stratigraphic sequences drilled on this margin, sand provenance and cementation.

Dr. Marsaglia also received the CSUN Outstanding Faculty Award for 2009-2010.

CSUN sends team to PS-AAPG Imperial Barrel Award Competition

Students receiving award check

Representing the Department of Geological Sciences at CSUN, the AAPG Imperial Barrel Award Team accepts a $500 scholarship check from Morgan Sullivan (Chevron) for placing second in the Pacific Section competition.  The team is, from left to right, John Johnson, Jenna Fleck, Cristo Ramirez, Rebecca Greenberg, Marcia Lidzbarski, Ben Termeer, and Adewale Adedeji, followed by their proud advisor, Dr. Kathie Marsaglia.  Not pictured is MS student Aaron Hebeler who, as a past participant at SDSU, served as the team mentor. 

CSUN Alumni Magazine Features Seismic Research Cruise

Magazine cover

Geology professor's research (see next blurb) is featured in "northridge" - a CSUN alumni magazine. The article is titled "Into the Very Deep for Data". The magazine also has an on-line version that, among other things, shows a YouTube video of a launch of an ocean-bottom seismometer by two CSUN geology students:

Seismic Research Cruise

Weeraratne inspects seismograph

Dr. Dayanthie Weeraratne (shown here), Cristo Ramirez (CSUN geology grad student in the Bridge to Doctorate Program), and Alex Hanna (CSUN geology undergrad) will spend the next month (10/8-11/5) deploying eighteen seismographs on the seafloor in the Western Pacific Ocean between Guam and Shatsky Rise. They are part of an NSF funded research project to learn more about the physical properties of tectonic plates and the underlying mantle beneath the seafloor. They are traveling on the research vessel Roger Revelle. Real-time video, webcam pics, and current ship location can be found at:
Additional information about this project as well as ship photos can be found at:

Students in the news

Students putting up poster

While at this year’s annual SCEC meeting in Palm Springs Lorena Medina and Natsumi Shintaku were featured in a KESQ Channel 3 (local ABC affiliate) 5:00 pm newscast piece entitled “Seismologists Prepare for 2nd Great SoCal Shake Out”. The two CSUN geology students were shown preparing for a SCEC poster session and Lorena was interviewed by reporter Gil Diaz about earthquake preparedness.

Fall Field Frolic 2009

Drs. Yule and Heermance

We had a fun filled Fall Field Frolic to the western Transverse Ranges led by Dr. Doug Yule and Dr. Dick Heermance.  There were twenty-five attendees; including half of the Geology Department faculty!  Special thanks to Vandenberg geologist Kathy Gerber (CSUN ’83) for coordinating our access to the base and geologic stops at Point Sal.   See our field trip pages for photos of the trip.

Congratulations to our 2009 graduates!

Graduating Students

Geology students graduating this year include (L to R): Martin Haynes, Josh Robinson, Chris Forster, Cristo Ramirez, Kenda Neil (MS), Noel Velasco (MS), Joe Carrasco (MS), Jeff DeBoo, Julie Parra (MS). Not pictured: Mike Kaericher, Kunthea Kry, Joe Green (MS), Nate Guzman (MS), Jean Rains (MS), and Jeff Woolford (MS).

More New Geology Faculty

Professor Heermance Image of Professor Alessio

The Department of Geological Sciences welcomes two new faculty members: Drs. Richard Heermance and Matthew d’Alessio.  Dick just completed his first semester with CSUN Geology.   He received his BA degree in Geology at Colorado College, MS from Utah State, and PhD from UC Santa Barbara.  He describes himself as a field geologist who combines sedimentology, and stratigraphy, geomorphology, structural geology and isotope geochemistry to infer landscape evolution.  Matt will begin teaching in the fall.  He received his BS in Geology at Stanford and his PhD from UC Berkeley.  Matt brings experience in fault mechanics, engineering geology, hydrogeology, and geoscience education.

Liggett receives Staff Award

Liggett receives Staff Award

In recognition of outstanding contributions to the Department of Geological Sciences and the College Dave Liggett has received the College of Science and Mathematics Staff Award. The award was presented by Dean Stinner. In addition, the Department of Geological Sciences has also recognized Dave for his thirty years of service to the department.

Geology professor interviewed for National Geographic Channel show

Dr. Collins and film crew

On May 6, 2009 a film crew from Zig Zag Productions came to CSUN to interview Dr. Lorence Collins, CSUN Geology Emeritus professor, for an upcoming National Geographic Channel show. The show is about a controversial boat-shaped structure found in the mountains of Turkey near Mt Ararat. Some have alleged that this structure is the remains of Noah's Ark. Dr. Collins has examined material from the structure and presents some of his findings in this show.

Emergency Preparedness & Crime Prevention Expo

Dr. Pedone discusses earthquakes with students at Expo

On April 28, 2009 members of the CSUN Geology Department faculty, staff, and Geology Club participated in an Emergency Preparedness & Crime Prevention Expo sponsored by the CSUN Police Department and the CERT Council.  The CSUN Geology booth was festooned with fault maps, posters showing historic and possible future earthquakes, Drop! Cover! and Hold On! procedure, flyers from the USGS, and an earthquake animated video from the 2008 Great Southern California ShakeOut showing the probable wave propagation of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake starting east of the Salton Sea and following the San Andreas fault northward.  However, the item that seemed to garner most of the attention was the shaking, vibrating, and twirling “earthquake in a can”.

The Great Southern California Shake Out

Students in CSUN Quad

Along with millions of others the CSUN Geology Department participated in The Great Southern California Shake Out on November 13th. A new large video display provided by Dr. Gerry Simila, and recently installed in the foyer of Live Oak Hall, ran the S.C.E.C. Realtime Scenario animation showing how a rupture of the San Andreas Fault would propagate if it began at the Salton Sea and moved northward across the L.A. basin and on to Santa Barbara and Bakersfield. On the second floor of Live Oak Hall (that’s Science One for you old timers, Science South for you really old timers) classes were interrupted at 10:00 a.m. by blaring speakers announcing the simulated earthquake drill. Students dropped, covered, and held on until the simulation was over. Classes then adjourned to the quad (see photo) where Dr. Doug Yule described to the students what to expect during a large earthquake and made suggestions of what they can do to prepare for one. A reporter from the Guardian newspaper covered some of the Shake Out events at CSUN and an article appeared the following day.

Fritsche's Geotrek I

Hikers at Eagle Rock

L.A. Zoo to Point Mugu: Hiking the Santa Monica Mountains. The Fritsche’s undertook this GeoTrek in 2004 to support the Geology Scholarship Endowment through donations of support from the alumni and other interested parties. The GeoTrek was 75 miles in length and was completed in 7 days. The photo shows participants on day 3 taking a break at the top of Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park.

Fritsche's Geotrek II

Participants at Blue Ridge Campground

San Gabriel Mountains Transect. This GeoTrek was done by the Fritsches in 2006 to raise additional money for the Geology Scholarship Endowment. The hike was 108 miles in length and was completed in 9 days. The photo shows the participants on day 8 at Blue Ridge Campground where they had lunch.

Fritsche's Geotrek III

Gene and Sue at Rim of the Valley sign

Hiking the rim of the San Fernando Valley: Geology in five mountain ranges. In 2008, the Fritsches once again took to the trail to raise money for the Geology Scholarship Endowment. This hike went 135 miles around the rim of the San Fernando Valley and was completed in 12 days. The photo shows Gene and Sue at the sign where the Rim of the Valley trail begins.

CSUN 50th anniversary Field Frolic!

Northern Mojave, Owens Valley, Mammoth Lakes

Our New Faculty

Image of Professor Miranda Image of Professor Weeraratne

The Department of Geological Sciences welcomes its two newest faculty members: Drs. Elena Miranda and Dayanthie Weeraratne.  Elena received her BS degree in Geology from Southern Methodist University and PhD in Geology from University of Wyoming.  Elena’s specialty is structural geology and petrology, and conducts research on rifting at mid-ocean ridges.  Dayanthie received her BS & MS degrees from University of Oregon and PhD from Brown University, and conducts research on mantle & core evolution, seismology, and geophysical fluid dynamics.

Elena Miranda named Jerome Richfield Scholar for 2007-2008

Image of Professor Miranda receiving award

Dr. Elena Miranda was named the Jerome Richfield Scholar for 2007-2008.  The Richfield award is presented annually to an outstanding faculty member in the arts, sciences or humanities. The annual award is given in memory of former Dean and Philosophy professor Jerome Richfield, salutes an outstanding faculty member conducting research.  To celebrate her award, Dr. Miranda presented the results of her current research during the Provost’s Colloquium Series.  Congratulations Elena!

Yule awarded NSF grant for work in Pakistani Himalaya

Image of Mountains

Understanding the mechanics of the earthquake cycle is critical for establishing the seismic hazards in areas of active tectonism, and is particularly important along the heavily populated front of the Himalaya. Here, the Mw 7.6 Kashmir earthquake of 8 October 2005 caused the greatest loss of life of any earthquake in the Indian subcontinent, even though it was far from the largest earthquake there. Along with researchers at Oregon State University, Dr. Doug Yule has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to characterize the slip rate and recurrence of potentially devastating earthquakes using the paleoseismic record of faulting along the Pakistani Himalaya.