The Speaker Series will include several lectures that will benefit anyone with an interest in earth science, archaeology, or collecting. Our goal is to deliver professional quality presentations with as broad appeal as possible. 
                         2015 Speaker Schedule
                                 All Speakers in Seminar Room The Vug

                            Saturday                                           Sunday

11:00 am

Dr. Terry Panhorst

University of Mississippi

How To Make Gold: The Standard Hill Gold Mine, Mojave, California

1:00 pm

Steve Arnold

From the Discovery Channel Show

Meteorite Men

                 1:00 pm

Dr. Michael  Gibson

University of Tennessee. Martin

“Bite Me, Scratch Me, Bore Me to Death: A Primer on Trace Fossils”

2:30 p


Herb Nicholson P.G

Geology Program for Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts

No advance registration required

  • rock types
  • ID of Minerals with samples
  • Rock Cycle with samples
  • Fossils with samples
  • Jobs in Geology
  • Tie in this information with what can be seen at show.
  • He will bring plenty of rocks/fossils to show everyone and will also have several posters illustrating main points. This will not be a power point presentation, but more of a hands on presentation

    2:30  pm

    Steve Arnold

    From the Discovery Channel Show

    Meteorite Men

    3:30 pm


    Alan Parks P.G

    Essentials of the Boy Scout  Geology Merit Badge (minerals option)

    This presentation is will cover all the elements required for the Geology Merit Badge.  Alan will provide insight into career opportunities in geology and provide a virtual tour to an active mine right here in the Memphis Metro Area.   The presentation will include a PowerPoint presentation and ample time for questions.

    4:00 pm

    Bill Gilbert

    MAGS member

    Pyrite, Fluorite collecting in Spain



    Presentation Abstracts from the PAST Shows


    Dr. Terry L. Panhorst

    Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering,The University of Mississippi


    Included in the definition of a mineral is that it must have a particular chemical composition and a specific atomic structure.  Some substances, however, can crystallize with more than one type of atomic structure.  Thus different minerals may have the exact same chemical formula.  Polymorphism is the ability of a substance to do this, and the various minerals formed are called polymorphs.  Many common minerals, such as quartz, calcite, pyrite and diamond, have polymorphs.  Pseudomorphism is where one mineral has the outward crystal shape of another mineral.  In this case the chemical composition and atomic structure belong to one mineral, but the visible external shape is that of a completely unrelated mineral.  These pseudomorphs can occur through various methods to many common minerals.  This presentation will show many examples of both polymorphs and pseudomorphs. More about University of Mississippi geology can be found here 


    Dr. Michael Gibson

    Professor of Geology, Department of Geology, Geography, and Physics,The University of Tennessee at Martin


    Dr. Gibson will give a presentation on "Geologic Curiosities:  Concretions, Nodules, Geodes, Mimetoliths, & Such". The word “fossil” literally means “to dig” and was originally applied to anything dug from the ground regardless of whether it was ever a living organism.  Although today we restrict “fossils” to the remains or traces of once living organisms, many odd things are dug from geologic strata that are often confused for fossils.  Concretions, nodules, geodes, mimetoliths and many other odd objects form in many ways and are often misinterpreted by collectors and professionals.  In this talk we explore some of the origin of these curiosities and their interpretations. Dr. Gibson is President of the Tennessee Academy of Science, higher education advisor for the Tennessee Earth Science Teachers and national chair of education and outreach for the Paleontological Society.  More information about Dr. Gibson here



    Mr. Herb Nicholson, P.G.

    Field Office Manager, Division of Solid Waste Management, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

     Herb will discuss the following topics: 

    1. 3 rock types

    2. ID of Minerals

    3 Show samples

    3.Rock Cycle


    5 Show samples

    6.Jobs in Geology

    7. Tie in this information with what can be seen at show.

    He will bring plenty of rocks/fossils to show everyone and will also have several posters illustrating main points. This will not be a power point presentation, but more of a hands-on, entertain/challenge the class type of approach.


    Alan G. Parks, P.G.

    Vice President of Exploration and Planning, Memphis Stone & Gravel Company


    “Essentials of the Boy Scouts Geology Merit Badge:  Minerals Option” · This presentation is will cover all the elements required for the Geology Merit Badge.  Alan will provide insight into career opportunities in geology and provide a virtual tour to an active mine right here in the Memphis Metro Area.   The presentation will include a PowerPoint presentation and ample time for questions and answers (No Registration Required). More information about Alan here

    Dr. Daniel Larsen
    Professor of Geology, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Memphis

    The Memphis aquifer is the source of Memphis’ great-tasting, clean water and is one of our most precious local natural resources.  In this presentation I will show why geology is so important for storing this resource as well as providing avenues for replenishment.   The Memphis aquifer is part of a regional aquifer system contained mainly in the Memphis Sand and its equivalents in neighboring states.  These sand and thin clay deposits were laid down approximately 40 million years ago by ancient streams that drained into the Mississippi Embayment, which was a large marine bay or estuary during this time.  Overlying silt, clay, sand and coal of the Cook Mountain, Cockfield, and Jackson formations  were laid down in a menagerie of coastal environments on the Memphis Sand and provide a low-permeability cap on the sand over much of the area.  Much of the water in the Memphis aquifer is replenished or recharged to the east and southeast of Memphis where the clay is absent sand is exposed at the surface or present beneath sandy-bottomed stream channels.  The combination of porous, permeable sand capped by clay provides the framework for the Artesian ground-water conditions for which the Memphis area is widely known.  Unfortunately, geologic process were not perfect in their sealing of the sand and, further, subsequent erosion has locally removed the low-permeability clay such that water may have escaped to the surface at springs and seeps prior to pumping of ground water for public use.  Presently, these gaps in the clay, known as windows, provide avenues for modern water (less than 60 yrs old) to seep downward from the surface into the Memphis aquifer, sometimes threatening the purity of the older stored water.  So the next time you enjoy a glass of Memphis water, just remember that the sand, silt, and clay beneath your feet are critical to both the storage and replenishment of this vital resource!  More information about Dr. Larsen here.

    Mr. Mark Norton
    Professional Archaeologist, Tennessee Division of Archaeology

    The Pinson Mounds Complex consists of at least 17 mounds, an earthen geometric enclosure, and habitation areas that encompass more than 400 acres. This site was built by Native Americans during the middle woodland period, which ranges between 200 BC and 500 AD. The mounds appear to have been built according to a master plan, with mound 29 possibly marking the Equinox sunrises – March 21 and September 21. For reasons not yet fully understood, Pinson became the largest middle woodland period mound complex of the Southeast.  More on Pinson Mounds here

    Dr. Nathan K. Moran
    Research Associate, Center for Earthquake Research and Information, University of Memphis


    Where most of CERI's focus is on modern data to understand the New Madrid Seismic Zone his is on data from the past.Since 1999 he has been combing the historic record of the United States for information on the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812.  Accounts can be found in archives, contemporary newspapers and other documents that were generated by eyewitnesses to the event.  Dr. Moran is also gathering information on other earthquakes that occurred in the Central United States prior to the invention of modern seismographic instruments. In addition he is archiving historic data with a web site The New Madrid Compendium that consists of his catalog of felt reports (eywitness accounts) of the earthquakes that is being compliled from newspapers of the 1811-1812 time period. Find out more here.


    Dr. Lionel Crews

    Associate Professor of Physics, University of Tennessee at Martin


    Several impact craters are in Tennessee, the most famous of which is the Wells Creek impact structure located near Cumberland City and Erin, TN.  A site visit makes for an interesting study of the geology of old impacts, including breccias in rock faces near Erin and shattercones from the near central peak of the impact crater.  Although there are no major meteorite falls in Tennessee, knowing the basic types can help the avid collector spot good specimens for a collection.  Dr. Crews field of research is in star and planet formation, but he spends most of his time teaching, doing science content workshops for secondary school teachers, and serving as the Associate Director of Honors programs.  He currently is mentoring student research projects to develop an archaeo-astronomy exhibit and using the new UT Martin observatory to study variable stars.  He also serves as Associate Curator at the Memphis Pink Palace family of museums.  He very much enjoys hanging out with his Geoscience colleagues, including going on field trips around the state and out of country.  He plans to start a research project on the Wells Creek impact structure soon.  He is married to Lori and has three children, Amelia, Emma, and William.  More information about Dr. Crews here


    Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding

    Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, Delta State University


    Dr. Riding will discuss the Pleistocene epoch with emphasis on the vertebrate fossils found on Mississippi River gravel bars in Mississippi including the famous Looper Collection.  Dr. Riding will have handouts, casts, and actual fossils to highlight her presentation.  More information about Dr. Riding here


    Dr. David Dye

    Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of Memphis


    Dr. Dye will present "The Disappearance of the Late Prehistoric People of the Mississippi Valley – An Archaeological Mystery”; When Hernando de Soto travelled through the Mississippi Valley in the summer of 1541 some 50,000 people lived in the Memphis area, but when Marquette and Joliet descended the Mississippi River in 1673, the area was largely depopulated. This lecture will cover the lifestyle of the people who once lived here and will address some probable causes of their demise in the sixteenth century. The PowerPoint presentation will include time for questions and answers. More about Dr. Dye can be found here


    J. Michael Howard, P.G.

    Geology Supervisor/Mineralogist, Arkansas Geological Survey


    Mr. Howard will give a presentation on Arkansas's world class quartz and its collecting localities.  More on Mike here if you would like to explore the world of Quartz



    George E. Phillips

    Paleontology Curator, Mississippi Museum of Natural History


    Mr. Phillips will discuss the tremendous Blue Springs Fossil Locality near Tupelo Mississippi.  More information about Mr. Phillips can be found here




     From 2009 Show's Boy Scout Geology Merit Badge Presentation, presented by Alan Parks.


    Choose one of the areas below to learn more information about other various education experiences at the Memphis Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show.