Field Courses

Field Course Disclaimer:

Field courses will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and registration will be limited to the number of spaces shown. The indicated minimum and maximum numbers of participants are based on a combination of factors, including transportation, accessibility, and safety at roadside outcrops. Field courses are subject to cancellation if minimum number of registrants is not met. Field course logistics (e.g., schedule, duration, route, transportation, location/number of stops, etc.) are also subject to change. Participants should be prepared for variable weather conditions and hiking on uneven ground.  Field courses will proceed rain or shine. Additional information regarding the logistics of each field course will be provided to the paid registrants by the field course leader(s) at a later date, but well in advance of the course. 

Field Course #1: Texas Hill Country Terroir Experience

Photo Credit: texashillcountry.com

DATE: 

Monday, September 20, 2021

 

TIME:

8:00am-6:00pm

 

LOCATION:

Departs from the Hotel Lobby

 

COST (per person): 

$170.00 before 8/1/21, $200.00 after 8/1/21

(Includes: Transportation, box lunch and wine tasting)

LEADER: Bill Flanigan, WDF Geosciences, LLC; Darrel Schmitz, Schmitz Geological Services, LLC; and Claire Babineaux, Northern Gulf Institute

MINIMUM TO RUN THE TOUR: 30, MAX: 48

According to Forbes prior to the pandemic Texas was fourth among the states with the most wine-making facilities with eight American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) with the Hill Country AVA being the most popular.  This excursion will visit selected wineries of the Hill Country AVA in central Texas.  The wineries visited will have soil derived from differing geologic deposits providing for a unique terroir tasting experience.  A box lunch will be provided at LBJ State Park located on the Pedernales River adjacent to former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Ranch.  Our excursion will depart San Antonio through the Balconies fault zone into the scenic Texas Hill Country along the edge of the Edwards Plateau and into the Llano uplift traversing Lower Cretaceous, Paleozoic, and Precambrian age terrains.  Along the way more details will be provided on the geology and history of the area.  Join us for this unique experience and support the AEG Foundation in its effectiveness.

Trip Sponsorship is available through the AEG Foundation at aegfoundation.org 

Field Course #2: San Miguel Lignite Mine – San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Photo Credit: Kiewit

DATE: 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

 

TIME:

8:00am-5:00pm

 

LOCATION:

Departs from the Hotel Lobby

 

COST (per person): 

$70.00 before 8/1/21, $95.00 after 8/1/21

(Includes: Transportation, box lunch and guided tour)

LEADERS: Nellie Frisbee (Permit Specialist), and Joe Harris (Reclamation Supervisor), Marilyn Czimer Long, PG

MINIMUM TO RUN THE TOUR: 18, MAX: 20

The San Miguel Lignite Mine is located about 1.5 hours south of San Antonio. On this field trip we will visit the mine and the adjoining power plant, owned by the San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Inc.  We will meet the mine representatives at the main office for an orientation regarding general facility information, safety, site geology, mining operations, and the power generation plant. From the office, we will visit geologic outcrop(s) and observe the mining operations. The mining operations include overburden removal (2 draglines) and the mining of 4 (or more) lignite seams (Jackson Group, Manning Formation, Eocene).  Approximately 3+ million tons/year of lignite is delivered to the adjacent power plant, where 391 net megawatts of electricity are produced and supplied to nine member cooperatives across 42 South Texas counties.

Following lunch (on-site), a visit to the power plant has been arranged.

Requirements: Must have closed foot shoes/boots (due to some folks traveling steel toed boots will not be required). Must have long-sleeved shirts (no short sleeves or tank tops). Safety glasses (Bring your own safety glasses, if possible. The mine office has a limited number). Hard hats (local attendees may bring their own hard hats; the mine does have hardhats for visitors) Bring you own sample bags; we hope to have some outcrop/sample stops. Cameras are allowed.

Field Course #3: San Antonio River Improvements Project

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Photo Credits: San Antonio River Authority

DATE: 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

 

TIME: 

8:00am - 4:00pm

 

LOCATION:

Departs from the Hotel Lobby

 

COST (per person): 

$90.00 before 8/1/21, $115.00 after 8/1/21

(Includes: Transportation and box lunch)

LEADER: Brian Mast (San Antonio River Authority)

MINIMUM TO RUN THE TOUR: 20, MAX: 28

The San Antonio River Improvements Project (SARIP) was a $384.1 million investment by the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, San Antonio River Authority, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the San Antonio River Foundation in flood control, amenities, ecosystem restoration and recreational improvements along 13 miles of the San Antonio River from Hildebrand Avenue south to Loop 410 South. The River Authority served as project manager for all sections of the SARIP and as local sponsor with USACE specifically for the Mission Reach. The main goals of the SARIP were restoring the ecosystems around the river and linking together access to the cultural institutions of San Antonio with a linear park, extended barge access, and improvements to over 15 miles of trails. These enhancements to the river encourage economic development, connect the communities of San Antonio, and provide space for people to enjoy recreational activities such as cycling, jogging, wildlife viewing, and access to paddling the river.

Field Course #4: Karst Cave – Cave without a Name

DATE: 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

 

TIME:

9:00am - 4:00pm

 

LOCATION:

Departs from the Hotel Lobby

 

COST (per person): 

$95.00 before 8/1/21, $120.00 after 8/1/21

(Includes: Transportation, box lunch and cave tour)

LEADER: 

MINIMUM TO RUN THE TOUR: 20, MAX: 27

Photo Credit: Cave Without a Name

Built in 1939, the stairwell into the cave has 126 steps descending to approximately 90 feet below the surface. The cave maintains a constant temperature of 66 degrees all year round. Within the cave there are two main areas. The main set of chambers open to the public make up the show cave, extending just over a quarter of a mile. This part of the cave consists of 6 large, well-lit rooms full of speleothems including stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, columns, and draperies. The second main area of the cave is an extensive set of caverns linked to the underground extension of the Guadalupe River. During a 1975 expedition of the Cave Without A Name, cavers mapped out over 2.7 miles of caverns, making it the 7th longest cave in Texas. Some of the unique features of the cave include the 50-foot-long (15 m) set of rimstone dams beneath the natural spring-fed pool, the 19-foot-long (5.8 m) draperies referred to by the cave's tour guides as "Texas-sized cave bacon", and a collection of stalagmites that resemble the nativity scene. In the winter months, the cave becomes home for between 5-10 dozen eastern pipistrelle bats. The seasonal inhabitants do not interfere with the tours as they only use the cave for hibernation. Another resident of the cave is a rare blind Texas salamander known as the Kendall salamander that may only be found in the Cave Without A Name and another area cave, Cascade Caverns.

Field Course #5: San Antonio Water System H2Oaks Facility – Keeping San Antonio Drinking

Photo Credit: San Antonio Water System

DATE: 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

 

TIME:

9:00am - 3:00pm

 

LOCATION:

Departs from the Hotel Lobby

 

COST (per person): 

$70.00 before 8/1/21, $95.00 after 8/1/21

(Includes: Transportation and Box lunch)

LEADER: Joe Smith (San Antonio Water System)

MINIMUM TO RUN THE TOUR: 20, MAX: 27

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) serves 1.9 million people in Bexar County as well as parts of Medina and Atascosa counties. The population includes more than 511,300 water customers and 457,600 wastewater customers. The $192 million H2Oaks facility is one the largest inland water desalination plants in the United States. The state-of-the-art plant pumps brackish water from the Wilcox Aquifer and uses a system of reverse osmosis membranes to purify 12 million gallons of water per day, which is enough to supply 53,000 homes. The H2Oaks facility is also the home of SAWS Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) facility. ASR technology is a proven method of storing water underground. The concept is simple. Water is pumped from the Edwards Aquifer throughout the year and stored in the Carrizo Aquifer in southern Bexar County. Later, during the hot, dry periods, the drinking water is pumped back into the existing distribution system to help meet demand. If water is not required to be recovered during the current year, it can remain in storage until required in a future year. As of December 2020, more than 173,527 acre-feet of water was stored underground.

Field Course #6: Canyon Lake Gorge

(A unique opportunity to study the geomorphological power of rapidly moving water and rapid canyon formation.

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DATE: 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

 

TIME:

8:00am - 4:45pm

 

LOCATION:

Departs from the Hotel Lobby

 

COST (per person): 

$100.00 before 8/1/21, $125.00 after 8/1/21

(Includes: Transportation and a box lunch)

LEADER: 

MINIMUM TO RUN THE TOUR: 20, MAX: 22

Canyon Lake Gorge is a limestone gorge around one mile long, hundreds of yards wide, and up to 50 feet deep. The gorge was exposed in 2002 when 67,000 cubic feet (1,900 m3) of water per second flowed over the spillway of Canyon Lake, Texas for approximately six weeks, the first time the spillway had been in use since the reservoir dam was constructed in 1964. Normally, the flow out of the reservoir is around 350 cubic feet (9.9 m3) of water per second. The Guadalupe River basin forms a part of "Flash Flood Alley" which is one of the river basins most prone to flash flooding in the world. Nine people were killed by the flood over a 20 mile (32 km) stretch of the river, which damaged or destroyed 48,000 homes and cost around $1 billion in damages, but the Canyon Lake manager has stated that even though the floodwaters went over the spillway, the dam still prevented an estimated $38.6 million in damages downstream during the event. The gorge provides a valuable exposure of rock strata as old as 111 million years showing fossils and a set of dinosaur tracks, and forms a new ecosystem for wildlife with carp and other creatures in a series of pools fed by springs and waterfalls. The Gorge Preservation Society formed as a local citizen's group to develop long-term plans for the Gorge in partnership with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. No rock or fossil collecting is allowed. The guided hike and tour lasts about three to four hours. On this tour expect to see the amazing power of water on the limestone formations in this area. Expect a few deer and if you are lucky a UTSA mascot (beep beep) sightings during this eventful morning field trip.