Geology Lecture Series


A lecture series has been developed for both scholars and the general public. Local geologists, librarians, and teachers will address diverse topics related to the map. The lectures are free and open to the public, and will be held in the West Room on select Thursdays from 6pm-8pm throughout the exhibition period. Below is the schedule of current programs (schedule subject to change). Contact the Library Foundation at (716) 858-6393 for more information.

  1. Thursday, September 29

    Planetary Geology

    Dr. Tracy K.P. Gregg
    Associate Professor of Geology, University at Buffalo
    Chair of Geologic Mapping Standards Panel for NASA

    Two hundred years after William Smith created his historic map, technological advances now allow geologists to generate geological maps of other planets. By using data from orbiting spacecraft, planetary geologists create these maps to increase our understanding of geological processes operating throughout the solar system. This lecture will explore our current understanding of Mars, Venus, and the Moon based on these extraterrestrial geologic observations, and explain how Smith’s innovation endures through the Space Age.

  2. Thursday, October 6


    Dr. Richard S. Laub
    Curator of Geology, Buffalo Museum of Science
  3. Thursday, October 13

    Maps, Rocks, and Theories of the World

    Dr. Charles E. Mitchell
    Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair of Geology Department, University at Buffalo
  4. Thursday, October 20

    Strata and Standards: Connections Between William Smith and Modern Science Curriculum

    Ms. Clarann K. Josef
    Director of Science Education, Buffalo Public Schools
  5. Thursday, November 3

    Faults and Earthquakes in New York State: Fault Recognition Through the Use of Advanced Mapping Techniques

    Dr. Robert D. Jacobi
    Professor of Geology, University at Buffalo

    Until recently, the region of New York State between Albany and Buffalo (part of the “Appalachian Basin”) had always been assumed to be bereft of faults (a “structurally simple” basin). With few faults identified, other geological phenomena could not be easily understood. For example, many of the sporadic earthquakes in this part of New York State occurred in regions where no known faults existed. By integrating 11 different traditional and innovative mapping and geological/geophysical techniques, the UB Rock Fracture Group has been able to document several hundred faults in the Appalachian Basin. This lecture describes the techniques used to identify the faults and some of the implications for seismicity, hydrology, and oil and gas.

  6. Thursday, November 10

    Geological Map Making—Then and Now

    Dr. Marcus I. Bursik
    Professor of Geology, University at Buffalo
  7. Thursday, November 17

    The Ice Sheet That Shaped Our Backyard

    Dr. Jason Briner
    Assistant Professor of Geology, University at Buffalo

    A vast ice sheet usually exists over most of North America and its current absence is due to the climate swings that are diagnostic of the Quaternary Period, the most recent geologic period on earth. Our current understanding of this ice sheet, called the Laurentide Ice Sheet, is based on various clues that it left behind. Some of these “clues” include the Finger Lakes, the hundreds of spoon-shaped hills that lie between Rochester and Syracuse, gravel deposits so pure that they can be mined, and perhaps the clay, sand or boulder that you find in your backyard. Although the southern portions of the ice sheet have been studied for some time, our understanding of the ice sheet at its northern extent in the Arctic is still rapidly evolving. This talk will explore the rich ice sheet history of the Buffalo area and discuss a case study from an arctic site, where the author has worked for many years, to illustrate the paradigm shifts of scientific thought that is part of how geology progresses.

  8. Thursday, December 1

    Treasures From the Rare Book Room: William Smith Is Not Alone

    Ms. Elaine Barone
    Manager, Humanities Division, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
  9. Thursday, December 8

    Stone Tool Technology: A Western New York Geological Perspective

    Dr. Douglas Perrelli
    Adjunct Instructor/Principal Investigator, Archeology Department, University at Buffalo