Larry D. Gurrola, Ph.D.
Dr. Gurrola’s education focused on tectonic and landslide geomorphology while at San Diego State University and U.C. Santa Barbara. While at SDSU he obtained his B.S. degree working under the guidance of field geologist Dr. Gary Girty, and completed his M.S. degree working under Dr. Thomas K. Rockwell investigating the earthquake history of the Superstition Mountain fault in Imperial Valley. This study established detailed radiometric chronology of ancient Lake Cahuilla lakestands and Holocene activity of the fault.
Dr. Gurrola pursued a Ph.D. degree at U.C. Santa Barbara under the direction of geomorphologist Dr. Edward A. Keller. Dr. Gurrola’s work on the earthquake hazards of the Santa Barbara area identified potential seismic sources, recency of faulting of the More Ranch and Mission Ridge faults, and established rates of faulting and uplift.
Dr. Gurrola was invited to present his research findings on the Rincon Mountain megaslide to the Landslide Hazards Team of the U.S. Geological Survey, and has also participated in numerous conferences and meetings of groups such as the Southern California Earthquake Center, Geologic Society of America and Association of Engineering Geology, where he has not only presented his research findings, but also gained additional scientific and technological information from other scientists. He has taught geology at U.C. Santa Barbara, Pierce College and East Los Angeles College.
Presently, Dr. Gurrola provides consulting and investigative services for properties affected by landslides, erosion and other damages. He also performs residential geologic inspections, fault and slope evaluation investigations.
Geologic Society of America, Member
Association of Engineering Geologists, Southern California Section Member
American Society of Civil Engineers, Santa Barbara/Ventura Branch Member
Coast Geological Society, Member
* Professional Geologist, No. 7865 California
* Certified Engineering Geologist, No. 2616 California
Geologists that I consider mentors throughout my education and professional career.
Dr. Gary Girty (San Diego State University)
Gary is one of the best field mapping geologists that I have met in my career. He taught his students to approach complex geologic problems in a systematic, practical approach. During my senior thesis mapping in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Gary presented a challenge by having me and the student paired with me, Brendan McNulty (now teaching at CSU Dominguez Hills), map an arc terrane complex. Gary commended our mapping of a highly sheared complex that he found difficult to map. Problem-solving for later field projects then seemed less complicated after Gary had exposed us to difficult scenarios such as this.
Dr. Tom Rockwell (San Diego State University)
I consider the time spent under the advisement of Tom Rockwell to be one of my most valuable learning experiences. From mapping and surveying alignment arrays following the 1992 Landers earthquake, to soils gemorphology trips to Baja California, life as a graduate student under Tom was always exciting. My thesis work on the earthquake history of the Superstition Mountain Fault required numerous hand-dug excavations in an arroyo near Superstition Mountain in Imperial County. Tom’s infamous words of “It never rains in the desert” came back to haunt me as my field work was conducted during in an El Nino year. Needless to say, my fault trench had to be re-excavated several times as the winter storms would fill it in repeatedly. Working with Tom provided me with a comprehensive background in Quaternary geology and active tectonics.
Dr. Eric Frost (San Diego State University)
I regard Eric as one of the best professors I have ever had in my academic career. His approach to teaching the subject and the latest technology would excite his students. He would supportively suggest techniques for our class and thesis projects. He taught the first-year graduate seminar course and it was one of the most helpful courses as it discussed the various methodologies and specialties in the geological sciences. One of my fondest memories is the afternoon Eric dedicated to helping me write my letter of statement when I was applying to Ph.D. programs. He was one of my advisors at the time and he ensured that I prepared an excellent letter and made me feel confident and proud of my achievements.
Dr. Edward A. Keller (University of California, Santa Barbara)
I have had the privilege to work with and learn from Ed Keller at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I consider Ed to be one of the premier geomorphologists in both field fluvial and tectonic geomorphology. He imparts a comprehensive geomorphology background in his students; thus I learned to map tectonic landforms in an active fold belt. Because Ed demands rigorous field work in geomorphic mapping I have enjoyed spending many days in the field with him. He expects each student to thoroughly know the particulars of their project, and will quiz his students at every opportunity. Some of our liveliest discussions were produced during the annual Keller Lab (internal) research review, where each of his students would present their data and results and were critiqued by other Keller students. Often the discussions and disagreeements would carry on for weeks but it only made us better understand our data and re-evaluate our intrepretations. I continue to work with Ed on various projects in Santa Barbara and look forward to many more days in the field with him.
Thomas Dibblee, Jr.
I first met Tom at the Keller Lab at U.C. Santa Barbara and again later, on a late Sunday morning walk. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to become better acquianted with Tom during our regular Sunday walks. We discussed some geology of the area but most of the time I was engrossed listening to stories of Tom’s youth growing up in Santa Barbara and of life on his family’s ranch. I was impressed when he inquired of my life and work and noted that he was equally interested in me. I would often stop by his home office to share geologic discoveries in my work and discuss my interpretations. He would always ask if he could see the outcrop, go in the trench or see the rock samples, so when possible, we would drive off to see such things. Along with our walks, I will always cherish those outings. I recall Tom describing how he mapped a certain area back in the 1940s while on his bicycle and the data he collected back then. When he spoke of the past, his memory remained sharp as a tack. After Tom’s passing, I wrote a memoriam recalling the last time I had the honor to take him out in the field. The article can be accessed from the following link:
Dr. J. David Rogers (Missouri University of Science and Technology)
I first met David Rogers after he was brought on a project that I had previously worked on; he confirmed my findings and later asked me to work with him on one of his own projects in Santa Barbara County. I observed the depth and quality of Dave’s geological investigations and am pleased to see eye to eye with him, which reinvigorated my enthusiasm to perform at an upmost level. Working with Dave, a university professor with profuse experience as an expert consulting geologist, has been a valuable learning experience and very rewarding. He is currently the Chair in Geological Engineering in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.