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Richard H. Jahns Lecturer at University of Georgia
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When: October 13, 2016
6:30 pm
Where: Gelogy/Geography Building
210 Field St
Room 200A
Athens, Georgia  30602
United States
Presenter: Jerome "Jerry" De Graff
Contact: Matthew Howe
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Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists Atlanta Chapter Meeting Announcement

Richard H. Jahns Lecturer at University of Georgia

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Topic: Fire, earth & rain: emergency response for wildfire-induced landslide hazards

Speaker: Jerome “Jerry” De Graff - 2015-2016 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer

Time: 6:30PM

Place: Geology/Geography Building, Room 200A, 210 Field Street, Athens, GA 30602

Cost: Free

AEG Members: For further information, including directions to the meeting location, please contact
Mr. Matthew Howe, Atlanta Chapter Chair at

Not a member of AEG yet? Students can join for free. Go to for more information.

1 PDH is available for this presentation

The Jahns Lecturer Series: The Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists and the Engineering Geology Division of the Geological Society of America jointly established the Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lectureship in 1988 to commemorate Jahns and to promote student awareness of engineering geology through a series of lectures offered at various locations around the country throughout the year. Richard H. Jahns was an engineering geologist who had a diverse and distinguished career in academia, consulting, and government.

About the Speaker: During most of his 36 years in the US Forest Service, Jerome (Jerry) De Graff served in positions designated as being either an environmental or engineering geologist on National Forests in Utah and California. In those capacities, he collected and interpreted geologic information needed for sustainable development, multiple-use management of natural resources, and emergency response. Jerry acted as the in-house geologist providing information about geomorphic processes, groundwater conditions, and other relevant geologic information. During his last 6 years, he was a Forest Service On-Scene Coordinator for Superfund-type issues and resposes at abandoned mines and other Forest Service sites in California. Since retiring from government service in February 2014, Jerry continues his geology career teaching graduate courses for the Department of Earth &
Environmental Science at California State University-Fresno, acting in editorial and related capacities for various professional journals, and being active in professional organizations.

All through his geology career, Jerry has been active in professional organizations; notably the Geological Society of America (GSA) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG). He joined GSA in 1972, was made a Fellow in 1983, and served as Councilor from 2006-2010. In addition to holding the Chairmanship and other leadership positions in GSA's Engineering Geology Division, Jerry received their Distinguished Practice Award in 2004. He was honored with their Meritorious Service in 1997 and in 2011. Jerry joined AEG in 1980 and chaired their Committee on Landslides from 1984 to 1995. He received presidential citations 1995 and 2013 in appreciation for his service to AEG. Jerry is presently Vice-Chair of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter in AEG's Sacremento Section.

A native of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Jerry graduated from State University of New York-Geneseo with a BS in Education/Earth Science in 1967. He continued to take geology courses there for six years while working full-time. During the  last five years while an instructor at the Strasenburgh Planetarium (Rochester, NY), he realized he was too interested in what was beneath his feet to continue talking about what was happening among the stars. So Jerry and his wife moved west where he earned an MS in Geology from Utah State University in 1976. A job offer from the US Forest Service following a year as a USU researcher seemed more attractive than his original goal of returning east to teach in a community college, so he took it and never looked back.

While not hired as a researcher for the US Forest Service, Jerry often undertook extended studies in order to generate needed geologic information. Other opportunities to gain geologic information occurred during overseas assignments in the Caribbean, Thailand, and Italy. When the results seemed interesting, he would make an effort to share the information through presentations at conferences or in publications. Consequently, he has authored or co-authored more than 60 contributions to journals, books, and proceedings volumes. With Dr. Robert B. Johnson, he co-authored the textbook, Principles of Engineering Geology, which was awarded GSA’s E.B. Burwell Jr. Memorial Award in 1989 and AEG’s Claire P. Holdredge Award in 1990. In 2010, Jerry received the annual AEG publication award for the paper, “The formation and persistence of the Matthieu landslide-dam lake, Dominica, W.I.”, published in the journal, Environmental and Engineering Geoscience.

Wildfire is a unique natural hazard because it poses immediate threats to life and property as well as creating conditions that can lead to subsequent debris flows and accelerated rock fall. This is a significant problem in the western U.S. where large wildfires have become more frequent since the mid-1980s. Limiting the impact of these post-fire geologic hazards requires determining their likelihood and location within the burned area. A rapid assessment is needed to ensure mitigation measures can be implemented prior to initiating rainfall.

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