News & Events

The Quimper Geological Society — A Decade of Exploration and Learning

Author: Jefferson Land Trust | 09/28/21

Mount Saint Helens Quimper Geological Society Trip

In July 2018, the Quimper Geological Society took a 3-day field trip to Mount Saint Helens to examine deposits from the 1980 eruption, changes that have taken place since then, and older volcanic eruptions.

If you’re interested in learning more about the geological and earth science history of our area and the Pacific Northwest in general, you may want to think about joining the Quimper Geological Society. It’s free, and it’s fun.

Quimper Geological Society Trip to Mount Walker

The Quimper Geological Society plans two field trips each summer, like this June 2016 trip to Mount Walker.

The origin of the society began in 2006 with the late Gerry Thorsen and his wife. For several years, the pair led a small geology-focused study group at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. In 2011, Michael Machette, who joined the group, approached Jefferson Land Trust about an affiliation — and a great partnership began.

Over the past decade, the society has hosted more than 75 lectures and led dozens of field trips, including a couple of three-day field trips — one to Mount Rainier and one to Mount Saint Helens. A completely volunteer-run organization with 11 dedicated people serving on its board of advisors, the Quimper Geological Society has no office and pays no salaries. In spite of this, it has managed to attract nearly 1,000 members and a host of compelling speakers each year.

In a typical year, the society presents six in-person lectures and two outdoor field trips. By 2019, it was regularly drawing an audience of between 200 and 250 people to their talks at Port Townsend High School.

This large boulder is a glacial erratic discovered in Woodlands Hills during the Great Erratic Challenge last summer. Since then, an even larger erratic was discovered on the ridge above Tamanowas Rock.

Because of Covid-19, they moved the 2020-21 lectures online and plan to do the same for the upcoming season, which starts on Saturday, October 9 at 4 pm, with a lecture that should prove popular — Mass Extinctions: Five and Counting.

During the one-hour lecture, internationally renowned geologist George Stanley will discuss the evidence of five mass-extinction events that have been detected in the fossil record and share how geologic and paleontologic studies can teach us to better understand, slow, and possibly reverse the sixth mass extinction now under way.

Below is the tentative schedule for the Quimper Geological Society’s 2021-22 lecture season:

  • Saturday, October 9, 4-5:00 pm – George Stanley – Mass Extinctions: Five and Counting
  • Saturday, November 20, 4-5:00 pm – Doug Clark – Late Pleistocene Alpine Glaciations of the Pacific Northwest
  • Saturday, January 8, 4-5:00 pm – Carolyn Driedger – Comparison of Volcano Hazards from the Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) and Mt. Rainer (Washington) Volcanoes
  • Saturday, February 19, 4-5:00 pm – Marli Miller – Roadside Geology of Washington
  • Saturday, April 2, 4-5:00 pm – Kim Juniper – Seabed Mining
  • Saturday, May 14, 4-5:00 pm – George Mustoe – The Chuckanut, Not Just a Good Brewpub

For more information and to join in on the Zoom lectures, visit