Contact Information image
Office: PS 218 (located in the College of Science and Health offices upstairs from the giant pendulum)
Phone: 801.863.6306
email: michael.bunds $$ uvu $$ edu
fax: 801.863.8604
Office Hours Spring 2015: MWF 10:45 am to 11:30 am (and I'm happy to schedule an appointment; please email me)

Fall 2015 Classes
Geospatial Field Methods, GEOG 4100, T 1:00-2:45, R 1:00-4:00 pm

Earth Science Seminar Series
Seminars are Tuesdays from 12:00 - 12:50, in Science Building Rm 260
Map to the Pope Science (PS) Building

Research & Seminar Presentations
Poster presentation for the 2015 Annual Geological Society of America meeting in Baltimore. ~4MB

Powerpoint slides that accompanied presentation to the Utah Quaternary Fault Parameters Working Group in February, 2015. ~10MB

Poster presentation given at the Basin and Range Province Seismic Hazard Summit in Salt Lake City, UT, in January 2015. ~7MB

Powerpoint slides that accompanied presentation given at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver, CO, in October 2013. ~11MB

Mw 9.0 Megathrust Earthquake along Japanese Coast, March 11, 2011 A work-in-progress powerpoint presentation on the disasterous Japanese earthquake and the subsequent nuclear powerplant problems ~28mb

New Zealand Mw 7.1 Earthquake: Powerpoint presentation on my first-hand experiences in the Mw 7.1 earthquake in New Zealand on 9/4/10. The presentation was given at an Earth Science Department seminar on October 5, 2010. ~11mb

Sherwood Hills, Provo, landslide: Powerpoint presentation summarizing implications of measurement of movement of the Mile High Drive landslide from 2004 to 2009. Presented to the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geologic Society of America in April, 2009.~15mb

Haiti Earthquake: Powerpoint presentation on the devastating Haiti earthquake. The presentation was given at an Earth Science Department seminar in Spring 2010. ~30mb

Lichen, landslides and major floods in the Himalaya Mountains: Powerpoint presentation on our ongoing work using lichenometry to date landslides as well as other hazards and features in Langtang Valley, Himalaya Mountains, Nepal. The presentation was given at an Earth Science Department seminar in fall 2009, and the work has also been presented to the International Association of Engineering Geologists and Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America. ~30mb

Hydrologic research in Mexico: Poster on our work identifying water sources in Tamaula, a developing water-poor village in Central Mexico. The poster was presented at the Utah Council on Undergraduate Research.

Sherwood Hills, Provo, Landslide: Poster summarizing continuing movement of the Mile High Drive Landslide; presented at the Utah Council on Undergraduate Research and GSA Cordilleran Section Meetings

Indian Ocean Mega Earthquake and Tsunami: Powerpoint presentation on the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. Presentation was given at an Earth Science Seminar in Spring, 2005.

Research Activities
I am currently involved in several research projects. The largest current project is a comprehensive study of two major, pre-historic, watershed-damming landslides, one in Little Cottonwood Canyon and one in City Creek Canyon. In collaboration with several other professors, we received an iUtah Catalyst grant to support careful mapping and dating of both landslide deposits. One student, Nick Butterfield, has already done a substantial amount of work on the Little Cottonwood landslide, and more students will be joining the effort this summer.

A second project involves mapping the scarp of the Oquirrh Fault, on the west side of the Oquirrh Mountains, and Lake Bonneville benches offset by the fault. I'm doing this work in close collaboration with Nathan Toke. We are using the new technique of structure from motion, which we have developed and successfully implemented using low-cost, low-altitude imagery to build ultra-high resolution topographic maps that allow identification and high-accuracy measurement of surface features such as fault scarps (see power point presentation above for more information). The Oquirrh Fault is of interest because it poses a serious earthquake hazard to the Tooele / Stansbury Park area, and connects with the Great Salt Lake Fault to the north, forming the second longest (and thus possibly second most dangerous) fault in Utah.

I also will be initiating two new projects this summer. One will use structure from motion methods to map part of the rupture trace of the 1983 M6.9 Borah Peak earthquake, which is the best known analog for a future earthquake on the Wasatch Fault. This work will also be in collaboration with Nathan Toke, and we expect with researchers from another university and the USGS. Another project is to pilot the use of structure from motion to map the East Cache Fault, which borders Logan. The fault is a significant seismic hazard and needs additional study to assess the threat it poses to Logan and surrounding areas.

Our work monitoring the Mile High Drive landslide in east Provo also continues. About two dozen students have participated in this project over the past 10 years. The students have used state-of-the-art RTK phase-differential GPS/GNSS surveying equipment to record the movement of the slide, and then have correlated the movement to rainfall and other factors. The students and I have presented this research at meetings of the Geological Society of America, Utah Council on Undergraduate Research and the Utah branch of the Society of American Engineering Geologists.

In Mexico, we have a collaborative project involving fellow UVU Earth Science professors Steve Emerman and Joel Bradford and me. We've been working to help develop groundwater resources in two rural areas of Mexico. One is Tamaula, a small village situated on a shield volcano in Guanajuato, Mexico. Bill Dinklage did preliminary work in the area in 2006/7, and we took up where he left off in May 2008 when we took 4 students who mapped springs and fractures in the bedrock. We returned in August 2009 and with help from UVU's College of Science and Health and U.S. Synthetics drilled an exploratory well that has been providing the village with enough potable water that they no longer need to travel an arduous 20 miles into down to get their drinking water. The second Mexican project is in the Sierra Madre Occidental, near Copper Canyon, Mexico. We are working with the Jesuit Mission based in Creel to help develop groundwater resources for tiny, remote Tarahumaran villages. The project has added interest because the villages are situated on the Sierra Madre Occidental Volcanic Field, which was the site of some of the most prolific, explosive volcanic eruptions in Earth's history approximately 30 million years ago. However, due to the remoteness of the area, little is known about the numbers or sources of the volcanic eruptions. We did a week of intensive field work in the area in October of 2008 with 4 students and returned in October 2009 with 12 students. We have made significant progress mapping the bedrock and making correlations between rock type, fracturing, and locations of springs. We have also documented for the first time some of the layers of volcanic rock formed in 3 or 4 of the major eruptions that occured in the area. We will return in May 2010 to help site and install an exploratory well in a village.

In May 2009 we began a study in Nepal that has the goal of determining the frequency of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Nepal Himalaya. This project is a collaboration with Steve Emerman of UVU. In May 2009 we and two students did 3 weeks of field work in the Langtang Himal (Nepal) to develop and test using lichenometry to date GLOFs and other features. Lichenometry utilizes species of lichen (in this case Rhyzocarpon geographicum) that grow slowly and consistently. By finding lichen on surfaces of known age, it is possible to develop a formula that correlates lichen size to age in a particular area. Then it is possible to determine the time at which unknown rock surfaces were first exposed to the air by measuring the size of the lichen on them. In this way, we can date surfaces that were exposed by geologic events such as GLOFs and landslides.

Field Trips (meeting location maps can be found here)
One of the best aspects of being a geology student or geologist is studying rocks in the field, and that means making field trips. We emphasize field trips in our classes. I normally lead at least 4 field trips that Introduction to Geology (GEOL 1010) students can attend for extra credit each semester. Typical outings are:

- Rock Canyon to see ancient sedimentary rocks and sedimentary rocks actively forming
- Santaquin to see the debris flows that inundated a subdivision in fall 2002
- Rock Canyon to see the Wasatch fault
- Point of the Mountain to study Lake Bonneville beach deposits

Upper division courses usually include several afternoon outings and day or weekend - long trips to localities in the Wasatch Mountains, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. In fact, the College is refurbishing a lodge in Capitol Reef that we expect to use extensively for field outings.

The Department of Earth Science also offers Natural History Excursions twice a year to program majors. These one unit classes are usually taught entirely in the field. Past trips have been to Death Valley, Southern Utah, Hawaii and Yellowstone. Non-majors are welcome on these trips when space is available, so if you are interested inquire in the Science Office or by contacting the Earth Science Chairperson, Danny Horns . Follow this link to see some photographs from the Spring 2002 excursion to Death Valley.