Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


CALDER, Vanessa1, SHERMAN, Brett2 and MCCARTNEY, Sean2, (1)GeoCorps America, Geological Society of America, 1822 N Street, Apt 13, Sacramento, CA 95811, (2)GeoCorps America, Geological Society of America,

Beginning on March 5th2012, three GeoCorps guest scientists were contracted to work with the California Department of Conservation’s Abandoned Mine Lands Unit (AMLU). Guest scientists assisted the AMLU with fulfilling their contractual obligations with the National Park Service (NPS) to inventory abandoned mines on park lands in an effort to ensure public and environmental health, protect cultural heritage, and preserve wildlife habitat. AMLU’s need to partner with GeoCorps arose from encountering far more mining features in the field than initially estimated.

GeoCorps guest scientists engaged in double the fieldwork as AMLU staff; conducted primarily in Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park. Field responsibilities entailed drafting written descriptions, obtaining GPS data, collecting photos, and navigating complex terrain. Proper field practices included interdisciplinary data collection; as such, cultural, geological, and biological components were recorded. In the office, guest scientists post-processed and entered field data, conducted research, and updated maps in ArcGIS. Prior to the start of the contract with NPS, AMLU estimated there were 5,307 mine features on NPS lands in California. Upon completion of fieldwork, 1,093 sites and 25,602 features were inventoried. Of that, guest scientists assisted in collecting 48% of mine feature data.

The partnership with GeoCorps helped AMLU not only to fulfill but exceed its agreement with NPS. Guest scientists provided half the working staff in the field and contributed detailed and thorough scientific interpretations of mining features and geology. The unique opportunity for AMLU to partner with GeoCorps for over a year greatly enhanced project productivity.

The benefits gained by GeoCorps guest scientists are invaluable. The substantial amount of field, computer program and office experience, as well as the exposure to other closely related sciences has strengthened participant’s skills and abilities. Extensive fieldwork in diverse and complex geological terranes has greatly increased participant’s knowledge in all disciplines of earth science. GeoCorps guest scientists have come away with improved and marketable job skills; paving the way to successfully compete in a professional environment.