'A Geologic Tour of Death Valley'

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By Special to the Monitor

The next meeting of the Los Alamos Geological Society will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Christian Church, 92 East Road. The featured speaker will be Richard Stead. His talk is entitled, “A Geologic Tour of Death Valley.”
Death Valley National Park is one of the highlights of the National Park system. The largest park outside Alaska, Death Valley is a place of extremes and is home to a wide variety of climates, ecological zones and for this tour, geology.
Death Valley is one of Stead’s favorite places and he has made over a dozen visits. Stead will provide some background on the park, it’s geographic and tectonic setting, as well as its overall geologic history.
He will then take attendees (figuratively) on three tours in the park: Death Valley proper from Badwater to Stovepipe Wells; Titus Canyon in the Grapevine Mountains of the Amargosa Range on the east side of the valley; and Racetrack Valley between the Cottonwood Mountains and the Last Chance Range on the west side of the valley.
At  each  site on these  tours  he  will explain the geologic significance of these features that help make Death Valley fascinating.
 Stead is currently co-president of LAGS and a seismologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His interest in earth science dates back to the third grade.
He obtained a bachelor’s degree in geophysics at Lehigh University where he conducted research in experimental and observational petrology, potential field surveys and paleomagnetism.
He also was a founder and first president of the Geology Club at Lehigh. He obtained his doctorate in geophysics at Caltech, where he did research in seismology after one more brief detour into geodynamics.
In addition, he was a founder of Bad Movie Night at Cal-tech.
After receiving his doctorate, he went immediately to work at the Center for Seismic Studies, where he became director of operations and principal scientist for the Prototype International Data Center for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, and was one of the key scientists involved in the work supporting negotiation of that treaty and the creation of the global treaty monitoring system.
He currently works in nuclear detonation detection research at LANL for U.S. national security.