5:00 PM17:00

Fall General Meeting

BGS will have its first meeting of fall quarter on Wednesday (10/3) at 5pm in the Mineralogy classroom (Geology 4146). We will have a short presentation on geology current events followed by a presentation on gear essentials for field mapping. We will be selling BGS stickers and the remainder of our hanksite minerals found during last year’s trip to Gem-O-Rama in Trona, CA.

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Raman Spectroscopy Lab Tour
5:00 PM17:00

Raman Spectroscopy Lab Tour

On Wednesday (4/25) at 5pm, grad student and BGS member Krista Sawchuk will be giving us a walk through of the Raman spectroscopy lab.

***We will meet in the Geology Common Room (3680) and walk up together.

If you are unfamiliar with Raman spectroscopy see this website: 

"Raman spectroscopy is a technique which is revolutionizing the field of mineral identification. It involves exposing minerals to a laser beam, which stimulates various atomic vibrations. The vibrating atoms scatter light from the laser, which is captured and analyzed via use of a spectrometer. The Raman spectra reflect the specimen's vibrational behavior – providing insight regarding the material's chemical and structural composition."

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Research Presentation Practice
4:30 PM16:30

Research Presentation Practice

On Wednesday (4/11) BGS will be hosting an informal research presentation session. This is geared toward anyone that is interested in practicing their PowerPoint presentations or poster presentations. If you are just starting your research and would like to do more of a literature review, that would also be great. Anyone that is interested in hearing about undergrad research going on in this department is welcome.

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Natural History Museum Fossil Collection Tour
12:00 PM12:00

Natural History Museum Fossil Collection Tour

On Saturday, BGS will be be going to the Natural History Museum's fossil collection facility in Carson. We will be taking a tour of their collection and get to see the specimens that are not currently on display. We will meet at the loading dock at 12pm and probably return around 3-4pm. If you are interested, please email BGS at bgs.ucla@gmail.com. 

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9:00 AM09:00

Rockhounding at Mt. Baldy

We will be heading out to Mt. Baldy on Saturday for a day of rockhounding! We'll be exploring Corundum Canyon and looking for (tiny) rubies. We are going to meet at the loading dock at 9am and return at around 5-6pm.

Bring a rock hammer, backpack, hat, and lunch/snacks

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Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) Meeting
5:00 PM17:00

Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) Meeting

Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) Meeting
When: Wednesday (1/10), 5-9pm
Where: Victorio's Ristorante in North Hollywood
Cost: $25 for students with valid university ID

BGS will be attending AEG Southern California Chapter's first meeting of the year, which includes a social hour, dinner, and presentation by USGS geophysicist and UCLA Civil Engineering Professor, Dr. Kenneth Hudnut. The presentation is entitled: Natural Hazards Risk; identification, quantification, management, and reduction. Description is shown below. 

We will be leaving UCLA at 5pm and returning around 9pm. AEG meetings are attended by engineering geologists and professional geologists, please dress business casual. 

We will organize cars once we know how many people are interested. If you can drive, please let us know. 

If you would like to go, please email BGS or RSVP directly to AEG Chairperson Darrin Hasham (AEG.SouthernCalifornia@gmail.com) by 3pm Tuesday, January 9th. 

Presenter: Ken Hudnut
Ken Hudnut is the Science Advisor for Risk Reduction for the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) Natural Hazards Mission Area. He works to understand and explain natural hazards in order to help people; he is responsible for ensuring USGS hazards science is being applied to help solve societally relevant problems. To help understand the San Andreas Fault system and the behavior of faults in general, he has studied earthquakes worldwide using satellite & airborne imagery along with field work to provide ground truth. He currently serves as science advisor to FEMA & CalOES for the Southern California Catastrophic Earthquake Plan and as a Resilience Experts Panel member for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and Department of Water and Power. In 2017, the American Geophysical Union selected him to receive the Mueller Award for distinguished service and leadership. He has served as a geophysicist studying earthquakes for the USGS office in Pasadena, California since 1992. Before joining USGS, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, where he still serves on the faculty as a Visiting Associate in Geophysics. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1989, and his A.B. (high honors) from Dartmouth in 1983.

Presentation Topic: Natural Hazards Risk; identification, quantification, management, and reduction. 
Risk reduction is an essential part of making America resilient to the impacts of future natural hazards events. Increasingly, Americans are at risk from natural hazards as population centers impinge on the urban-wildland interface, as we build more infrastructure along our coasts, and as we construct more houses on active faults, volcanoes, landslides, flood plains and alluvial fans. In addition to threatening lives, economic disruption caused by recent events serves as a reminder about the importance of restoring vital services as rapidly as possible so that people can return to their homes and their jobs. Accurate scientific information can help people to make well informed decisions about how to manage and potentially decrease their risk. Communities at risk can benefit from scientific guidance, for example through the infusion of science into public policy. Scientific information is increasingly available at one's fingertips by checking an app before buying a house on an active fault or landslide. Improved awareness and accessibility of good information will continue to help make people safer, especially if the scientific information and products are understandable and actionable for users. A review of southern California earthquakes and faults serves to inform by example on risk topics, but this talk will include case studies from recent damaging events of other kinds as well, such as Oroville Spillway and hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria and their cascading impacts.

If you have any questions please email BGS.

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7:00 PM19:00

General Meeting

We will be holding a general meeting on Tuesday at 7pm in Geology 3645. There will be a short presentation on current events in geology. Snacks will be provided! We will be selling BGS stickers and the remainder of our hanksite minerals found during our trip to Gem-O-Rama in Trona, CA.

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4:00 PM16:00

Beach Bonfire

Join us on Nov. 17th for a beach bonfire hosted by CSUN's American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) club. CSUN's Geology club and the Geology/AAPG clubs of CSULB and USC will be going. 

The bonfire will be at Dockweiler Beach at 4pm. This is a great opportunity to meet geology/earth science majors from other schools!


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9:00 AM09:00

Explore Your Universe at UCLA

BGS will be hosting the rock and mineral room at Explore Your Universe this year! Explore Your Universe (EYU) is a science outreach day that includes demos and hand-on science experiments for all ages. Its a really fun event and is a great way to give back to the community by inspiring young scientists. In the next few weeks we will be looking for volunteers for our station. Email BGS if you are interested!

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to Oct 15


Bruin Geological Survey will be going on its first trip of the year next weekend (10/14-10/15) to Searles Lake in Trona, CA for the 76th annual Gem-o-Rama mineral hunting extravaganza. Once a year, the Searles Valley Minerals mining company opens up its grounds to the public to collect minerals such as hanksite, sulfohalite, borax, and pink halite from under a briney crust. Hanksite is a rare mineral only found in two places in the world, Trona, CA and Lake Katwe in Uganda, Africa. 

We will be leaving Friday evening to avoid traffic and returning on Sunday afternoon. We plan to camp about 15 minutes away from Trona. 


Saturday at 7:30am Mud Field Trip

Minerals to be found: cluster and barrel hanksite, trona, borax


Saturday at 2:30pm Blow Hole Field Trip

Minerals to be found: hanksite, halite, borax, sulfohalite - dry surface


Sunday at 9am Pink Halite Field Trip


Check out the event website: 



For a more in-depth explanation:



What to bring for prospecting:

(All of these things can be purchased at Gem-o-Rama for reasonable prices or I can go on a run to Home Depot)

  • small gardening hand rake
  • brine to wash crystals (bought at their store, but we do need empty milk jugs)
  • gloves
  • bucket to hold specimens
  • carpet square to kneel or sit on
  • rock hammer
  • shovel

What to bring for camping:

  • tent
  • sleepingbag
  • jugs of water
  • clothes that can get dirty
  • warm clothes (in case it gets cold at night)
  • hat
  • sunscreen

Transportation: to be arranged

Cost: ~$40, TBD

If you need gear, the Wooden Center rents tents, sleeping bags, and anything you might need. You are also welcome to borrow gear from me.

Please let us know if you are interested by emailing BGS!

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6:00 PM18:00

General Meeting/General Election

Bruin Geological Survey will have its first meeting of the year this Thursday (10/5) at 6pm in the Geology Common Room (3680). Come learn about the exciting event we have planned for this quarter such as:

- Gem-o-rama: A gem and mineral hunting extravaganza overnight trip (10/14-10/15)
- Cassini at Saturn Presentation: Dinner social and lecture (10/26)
- Explore Your Universe (11/5)
- Mineral Sales
- Day hikes around Southern California

Snacks will be provided
Hope to see you there!

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to Mar 21

Weekend on Catalina Island

The Bruin Geological Survey will be spending the second weekend of spring break on Catalina Island. Catalina is a wonderful place to spend time on the beach, see unique wildlife (both in and out of the water), and most importantly see some cool schist! Catalina Schist that is... The island is another puzzle piece in the complex geological history of southern California. However this puzzle piece has a whole story of its own.

We will be staying the weekend at USC's Wrigley Marine Science Center at Two Harbors. The center has their own boat that will give us a ride to and from the island, leaving out of San Pedro, Los Angeles.

A four bedroom cottage and a two bedroom apartment will make up our accommodations for the weekend. The apartment comes with a full kitchen and outdoor barbecue area, so we are planning on bringing our own food to the island and cooking ourselves.

Our plan while we are at the island is to get a clear picture of how the island fits into the greater geological history of southern California. We plan on accomplishing this in a number of fun and interesting ways. This part of Catalina Island has miles of hiking trails, which will take the eager geologist past many well exposed outcrops. You can also take the marine approach, and kayak up to the cliffs that line the island's shores. We can even explore the rocks beneath the surface with a snorkel mask and some fins. We will have three full days on the island, so there will be time to explore the area on your own as well.

This trip will be the second weekend of spring break. The specific dates are Friday March 25 - Monday March 28. We will depart from San Pedro Harbor at 8 a.m.on Friday morning, and will be departing from the island at 3:30 p.m. the following Monday. We are returning on Monday because the Marine Center's boats do not run on the weekends. There is an option to take a boat back from Two Harbors on Sunday at 2 p.m., but this will cost extra, and it does not return you to the same terminal we will be leaving from on Friday.

There are only a limited number of spots available for this trip- we currently have 13 available spots. If you would like to join us on this weekend, then please email us ASAP. We will be requiring a $75 deposit by March 1. This will ensure your spot on the trip, and will be sent to the Marine Center as part of our group deposit. The overall cost of the trip will be roughly $150. This price will vary depending on how many people sign up, what activities we want to do on the island, and how much food we want to bring. The deposit will cover $75 of the total cost.

RSVP to bgs.ucla@gmail.com to save your spot today and feel free to email us if you have any questions.

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to Feb 14

Death Valley Overnight Trip

  • Death Valley National Park (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

On Saturday, February 13, BGS will be heading out early to Death Valley National Park, and will be returning late on Sunday, February 14

Death Valley
Death Valley is the land of extremes. The lowest point in the contiguous United States, the greatest topographical relief in the contiguous United States, and the highest recorded temperature in North America are all records held by Death Valley. This dry and rugged landscape is a geologist's paradise. The exposure of rock is 100%, so all the neat and interesting formations are highly visible. There is a lot to see here, and we only have two days, so we will really be truckin' through the park to get in as much as we can.

Here is a broad, tentative itinerary of what we will be doing: 

Day 1:
Leave UCLA early Saturday morning
Fossils Falls (off 395 in Owens Valley)
Mosaic Canyon
Zabriske Point
Dantes View
Camping at one of the park's campgrounds

Day 2:
Mormon Point
Natural Bridge Canyon
Artist's Drive
Aguereberry Point
Trona Pinnacles
Return to UCLA in the evening

This schedule is subject to change based on the interests of the group.

This trip will be more of a geology tour than an in-depth survey of one specific area. Our goal is to get a broad picture of the geology of Death Valley. Any hiking will most likely be for a short distance.

We will be camping in one of the various campgrounds in the park. They are all first come, first served, so it is not set which campground we will be staying in. Leaving UCLA early Saturday morning will allow us to get to the park, pick a campsite, then go and explore for the rest of the day.

February is a wonderful time to visit Death Valley, as the temperatures are cooler, and more comfortable. However, temperatures can still fluctuate quite a bit, and the nights will most likely be cold. Prepare for the daytime by having layers that will keep you cool in the sunshine, but also have layers that will keep you warm in the shade. You will want plenty of clothes to keep you warm at night.

BGS will not be providing food for the trip, so you will be required to bring your own meals. We may cook a communal meal on Saturday night. Also bring plenty of water along. A gallon of water a day should suffice.

Number of spots available
For the sake of transportation, there will be a limited number of spots available on this trip. There are twenty spots available, which should allow us to pack into four cars. Drivers are needed, and we can only provide as many rides as we have spots in the cars.

There will be a small fee to attend this trip
. We need to pay for gas, park entry, and campsites. This will be $30 per person.

Reserving Your Spot
If you would like to attend this trip to Death Valley, then please RSVP to bgs.ucla@gmail.com as soon as possible. Please send us your name, if you can drive, and any other questions you may have.

This is not a trip to miss, so email us soon to save your spot!

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7:30 AM07:30

BGS Goes to the Beach

Hello guys and gals,

The Bruin Geological Survey will be taking a trip to the field this upcoming Saturday January 23rd. Let's head to the beach!

This is not going to be a day of sunbathing, but a day to explore another aspect of the Transverse Range micro-plate rotation. Along the coast of Laguna Beach and Dana Point, there are wonderful outcrops of the San Onofre breccia, which contains the ever gorgeous Catalina schist. These are both remnants of the Farallon plate subduction zone, components of which were pulled ou from beneath the North American plate during rotation. We will explore how these formations are related to the Santa Monica Mountains, and further understand the geological evolution of southern California.

We will get to see lots of neat rocks and formations that you wouldn't see in the Santa Monica Mountains. And you get to see it all with your toes in the sand! Winter is the best time to visit these beach front outcrops, as much of the sand has been washed offshore by the large waves.

Leave UCLA @ 7:30-8 a.m. Saturday morning    
~ 1 hr. drive to LagunaBeach

First stop: Cameo Cove, Laguna Beach
Second stop: Mussel Cove, Dana Point
Third stop: Dana Point Marina

Return to UCLA @ 3 - 3:30 p.m.
     ~ 1.5 hr. drive back to UCLA from Dana Point

What you will want to bring:
- Lunch
- Water
- Comfortable shoes, sandals (NO flip-flops), water shoes
- Hat
- Rain coat (if in forecast)

Please RSVP as soon as possible to bgs.ucla@gmail.com. If you need a ride, please indicate that in your email. We need as many drivers as we can get! Our ability to provide you with a ride will depend on how many participants are willing to drive.

Don't hesitate to email us if you have any questions, or need more information.
See you in the field!

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8:00 AM08:00

Red Rock Canyon Park - Veterans Day Excursion

  • West Red Rock Road Topanga, CA, 90290 United States (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Hello everyone,

If you have not yet noticed, we do NOT have class on Wednesday, November 11 due to Veterans Day. So we at BGS decided this would be a perfect time for you to join us on our excursion to Red Rock Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains!

Here are the specifics:

Who: Bruin Geological Survey (led by BGS President Drew)

What: Excursion to Red Rock Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains. Attendees should were proper field attire (sturdy shoes, hat, rain coat if needed, etc.), bring snacks or lunch, and at least 1 liter of water.

Where: W. Red Rock Rd. Topanga, CA 90290

When: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. Wednesday, November 11

Why: Because Geology rocks!

The geological history of the Santa Monica Mountains (SMM) is quite complex, to say the least. Part of the larger Transverse Ranges, the SMM have been rotated, uplifted, compressed, tilted, and everything in between. While providing us with wonderful rock formations to feast our eyes upon, it has not in anyway provided us with a straightforward  account of its story of creation. Luckily we are geologists, so the twists and folds of the SMM only makes our jobs that much sweeter.

On Veterans Day, we will take a stroll along the trails of Red Rock Canyon Park, located off Old Topanga Canyon Rd. Depending on the interest of the attending group, we may hike up to 5 miles roundtrip. This may include hiking to the top of Calabasas Peak (~2100 ft.) to gain sweeping views of the surrounding area and ocean. However, we are geologists first, and hikers second, so we could end up only walking a few hundreds yards and revealing at the fascinating formations.

Our goal for the day will be to explore the methods used to determine the geological history of a region. This will include looking at the strike and dip of tilted beds, examining grain size and composition of sandstones, identifying volcanic breccia clasts, and finding fossils, if we are lucky! We want this to be an opportunity for you to learn about your local mountain range. Everyone is welcome, whether you are a sophomore studying sociology, or a fourth year studying physics, we want you to come along!

We will have limited spots available in our vehicle. If you drive, we would appreciate if you could help us out and carpool. Everyone is responsible for contributing to the gas fund of their driver.

Please RSVP as soon as possible by shooting an email to bgs.ucla@gmail.com with your name and if you will be needing a ride, or can give others a ride.

If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to reply accordingly.
We hope to see you all there!

On behalf of the BGS Board,
Drew Levy
BGS President

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10:00 AM10:00

Exploring Your Universe 2015

The Bruin Geological Survey will be hosting an exhibit at the Exploring Your Universe fair this fall. We will have a rock room full of wondeful specimens that you can only see once a year at this event! This is a great event targeted at exposing younger kids, as well as many adults, to the wonders of our natural world, and showing them how our daily lives are filled with scientific wonder.

If you would like to see more, check out this website: http://planets.ucla.edu/outreach/exploring-your-universe/

Also, BGS is looking for volunteers. Speaking from personal experience, I highly recommend volunteering. It was lots of fun getting to share what I enjoy so much with young people, and to see the looks on their faces after they learn something new. If you are interested in joining our team, send us a quick message and we'll get you on the list!

Hope to see you there,
BGS President

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Point Mogu Hike & Beach Day
10:00 AM10:00

Point Mogu Hike & Beach Day

Date: Saturday, May 23rd

Time: Start hike 10 am, beach hangout ~1 pm to 4

Parking: $12 (reimbursement possible, we'll keep you updated)

For the hike, we'll be following the Chumash Trail to Mugu Peak for spectacular views of the coast, rolling meadows, and mountains. We'll be hiking through the sedimentary Topanga Formation and the Conejo Volcanics, and discussing the Sycamore Canyon Fault and the general geology of the Santa Monicas.

Distance: 5.2 mi

Elevation Gain: 1255 ft

Difficulty: Moderate


We'll start the hike around 10 am, and return around 1 pm. Then we'll head to Mugu State Park beach to eat lunch and relax.


Things to bring: hiking appropriate clothes and shoes (long pants encouraged), water, sunscreen, hat, lunch, money to split gas/parking (reimbursement possible). Snacks, drinks, bathing suit, volleyball, frisbee, etc. for the beach very much encouraged! 

We'll be arranging carpools from UCLA. Let us know if you need a ride! Carpooling is encouraged, since we expect the beach to be busy due to Memorial Day weekend. In addition, let us know if you can drive and provide rides. Please feel free to just join us at the beach if you cannot make the hike, or vice versa.

So take a load off before the end of the year and join BGS for fun in the sun! RSVP by Thursday, 5/21 to bgs.ucla@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions.

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6:30 AM06:30

Rio Tinto Borax Mine Trip

Who wants to go mining? We have scheduled a tour of the Rio Tinto Borax Mine in Boron, CA:

Date: Friday, May 8th

Time: Leave bright and early UCLA ~ 6:30 am (tour begins 9 am), return to UCLA ~ 6 pm

What to bring: MUST wear long sleeve shirt, long pants, flat closed shoes (steel toes if you have em!), no jewelry, long hair must be tied back. Bring sunscreen, hat, water, money for gift shop purchases. Lunch to be discussed! See below.

RSVP by Friday, May 1st. 20 people max, will arrange carpools. Must be over 18.

We will be hosted by community affairs advisor Tania Lewis and site geologist Brandon Griffiths. The visit begins with a safety briefing and gear-up (safety vest, hard hat, safety glasses, and shoe covers).

We will take a bus tour of the mine and open pit (approximately 2 hours). Then we will return to the visitor center and have time to explore, make some gift shop purchases, view the informational video and take photos from the roof top of the pit. We can bring lunch and eat it there or hit up one of the two! restaurants in Boron. There are museums in town and a rock shop there as well. Details to be discussed.

Please RSVP by Friday May 1st to bgs.ucla@gmail.com. We would prefer if we could all carpool there, so in your response please confirm if you would like to join a carpool and/or if you are willing to drive others. In addition, due to tour policy, we need your first and last name, date of birth, shoe size, and if you have your own steel toe boots.

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Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area: Day Trip
8:00 AM08:00

Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area: Day Trip

  • 28000 Devils Punchbowl Rd, Pearblossom, CA 93553 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Get ready for the first activity of the quarter! We'll be headed to the Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area on Sunday, April 19th. This is an area of impressive sandstone formations, folded and tilted by the nearby San Andreas and other associated faults. We're planning to meet at the park at 8 am. Entrance and parking is free. We'll be following the short Loop Trail (~1 mile) and investigating and discussing the geologic context of the Punchbowl Formation. We'll also be stopping along the San Andreas Fault outside of the park.

Please RSVP to bgs.uclal@gmail.com by Friday, April 17th if you would like to join us. Carpooling will be arranged on a first-come, first-served basis.

Things to bring: Good shoes, water, notebook, hand lens (if you have one), sun protection

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