Serving professionals in engineering, environmental, and groundwater geology
since 1957


Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2004
(this is the 3rd Tuesday of the month) Location: Steven’s Steak House, 5332 Stevens Place, Commerce, California
Time: 6:00 p.m.-Social Hour; 7:00 p.m.-Dinner; 7:45 p.m.-Presentation

Cost: $25 per person with reservations, $30 at the door, $12 for students with a valid Student ID
Reservations: Call (949) 253-5924 ex 564, or email Brian Villalobos,
By noon, Monday, November 15, 2004

SPEAKER: Roy J. Shlemon
TOPIC: “The 32nd International Geological Congress, August 2004, Florence, Italy: Geology, Renaissance Culture and Much Fun”


This past August, more than 9,000 geologists descended upon Florence, Italy to participate in the 32nd International Geological Congress. The resulting international babble of languages, combined with the essentially unintelligible cacophony of touters, tourists and thieves, made this particular Congress a cultural – though expensive – delight.

The Congress saw literally thousands of papers and posters presented in 15 or more concurrent sessions over the 10-day period. The official language was English, much to the dismay of the French (c’est la vie)! Thankfully, most Asian-language speakers supplemented their oral presentations with Power Point slides (no traditional Kodak slide projectors allowed). In contrast, the English of many Scandinavians was far more grammatically correct than that of the Americans, particularly in use of the subjunctive.

Pre-and post-Congress field trips emanated to all of Europe and to North Africa. A few participants, in their dotage, preferred urban hotels and hearty Italian cuisine; and so, being one of them, I went off to look at “urban hazards” between Firenze, Roma and Napoli. So now on to reconstruction of medieval fortresses, to differential settlement and a 2,000-year history of floods along the Tiber, to the potential geologically imminent demise of Naples, and to the 79 AD burial of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Avanti!


Roy Shlemon received the Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1967. From 1965 to 1973, he held teaching and research positions at the University of California at Davis and the Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. In 1973, he started his consulting practice in southern California focusing on applications of Quaternary geology, geomorphology and soil stratigraphy to engineering practice. This work has taken him to all parts of the world. Typical projects range from gold and platinum exploration (dredging and hydraulic mining) in Latin America to siting nuclear power plants, large dams and waste repositories in South America, the Middle East and throughout the United States.

Most emphasis has been on paleoseismic investigations, particularly to assess fault activity, age, recurrence and slip rates. Roy continues to teach, part-time, at various American universities, holding Adjunct and Consultant Professorships. He is a Registered Geologist in the State of California, and an active member of 20 national and international geologic and environmental societies. He also serves as a Trustee for several scientific Foundations including the Geological Society of America and the Association of Engineering Geologists. Roy is the author or co-author of more than 300 professional publications and technical reports.