2006 Austin ESW Distinguished Lecture Series
Sponsored by UT Bureau of Economic Geology, Texas Space Grant Consortium,
Texas Department of Transportation, and the Austin ESW Consortium
All lectures ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC will be held at the
Texas Department of Transportation Auditorium (details below).
Raffle tickets for a meteorite sample will be on sale at the lectures for $2.00.
A drawing for the winner will be held in October.
Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Texas Coast and Hurricanes: Immediate Dangers and Long Term Threats

Dr. Gordon Wells

U.T. Center for Space Research

Dr. Roberto Gutiérrez

U.T. Bureau of Economic Geology


Hurricane Rita image courtesy

Using satellite data and advanced computing, Dr. Gordon Wells, and his team at the U.T. Center for Space Research (CSR), generate computer models that show approaching storms that help determine evacuation routes and how first responders will have to deal with an impending disaster. Dr. Wells will discuss his team's work that begins at the start of the hurricane season with the development of 3-D models based on generic storms and databases. State and local officials can use the models to plan their responses. Dr. Wells will then discuss how his team follows a storm as it enters the Gulf. If a hurricane hits land in Texas, the team then plays a very significant role in saving lives by using satellite imagery and GPS coordinates that is relayed to first responders to find survivors who have dialed 911. More than 25,000 lives have been saved as a result of this system. For more information about this program, click here.

About the Distinguished Lecturers

Dr. Roberto Gutiérrez, a researcher at the U.T. Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), is an expert in the application of satellite geodetic techniques to geologic problems including beach erosion and coastal processes. He will discuss coastal erosion, wetlands loss, land subsidence, and sea level rise that have been studied by the BEG and CSR. Find out why long-term coastal trends for those who live and vacation on the coast are becoming more vulnerable to major storms.

For more information, contact Sigrid Clift at sigrid.clift@beg.utexas.edu.

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Central Texas Floods: Flash Flood Alley

Colorado River in Austin during 1935 flood

Raymond Slade, Jr.
Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College and Registered Hydrologist

Many Texas storms represent some of the largest storms in the world. For example, for durations ranging from 1 hour to 48 hours, about one-half of the largest precipitation depths in the world have occurred in Texas. Examples of these storms include a 1921 storm in Thrall (Central Texas) that produced 32 inches of rainfall in 12 hours and a 1935 storm in D'Hanis (South Texas) that produced 22 inches of rain in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Because of large storms, Texas usually leads the Nation in annual deaths and damage costs from floods. Floods occur regularly in Texas, and destructive floods occur somewhere in the State every year. Additional flood problems often occur in urban areas because delineated flood plains have not been increased to account for flood increases caused by urbanization.

About the Distinguished Lecturer

Raymond M. Slade, Jr., one of the nation’s leading authorities on floods and content matter expert for the PBS documentary "Flash Flood Alley," will discuss the real nature of Texas’ flood problems and why the heart of Texas is the most flash-flood prone area in all of North America. Raymond served as a Hydrologist for 33 years with the U.S. Geological Survey in Texas. He was the Surface-Water Specialist for the Texas District of the USGS from 1994 until his retirement in 2003. Since his retirement from the USGS he has been an Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College, is a part-time Hydrogeologist with the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center at Texas State University, has served as a volunteer for several water-resources related agencies, and is a self-employed Consulting Hydrologist. He is certified and registered as a Professional Hydrologist with the American Institute of Hydrology.

A report describing Texas storms and floods and documenting characteristics for individual large storms is presented online here.

All lectures ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC will be held at the Texas Department of Transportation Auditorium

7:00–8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Texas Department of Transportation Auditorium, 200 Riverside Drive, Austin, Texas. The auditorium is located at 200 Riverside Drive on the north side, one block east of South Congress Avenue across the street from Thundercloud Subs (click here for a map). Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the Texas Department of Transportation parking lots surrounding the building. Please use the public entrance on the west side of the building that faces the private driveway to the Austin American-Statesman parking lot.

For more information, please e-mail Sigrid Clift