Central Rocks

Taped on the campus of Central Washington University, the local television show "Central Rocks" is broadcast throughout Kittitas County on KCWU-TV. Hosted by CWU geologist Nick Zentner, the program features faculty and staff of CWU's Department of Geological Sciences. Central Rocks....get it?

Occasionally, special guests from the US Geological Survey and other regional organizations drop in for a visit. "Central Rocks" aims to promote an appreciation and understanding of Washington geology - while also shedding light on research and teaching of CWU faculty.

KCWU-TV Studio & Post Production work by CWU's Multimedia Technology and Instructional Support. Directed by Chris Smart. Cameras by Rick Spencer. Editing by Rick Spencer. In addition to KCWU-TV television broadcast, these shows are available as streaming video. This webpage was designed by Craig Scrivner. Follow the links below to shows that interest you.


Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger

Show 32: "From CWU Geology to NASA". NASA astronaut and CWU alumnus Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger visits CWU's campus to discuss her transition from geology student to high school teacher to space shuttle astronaut. Taped on March 2, 2012.


Jack Powell

Show 31: "From CWU Geology to Washington's DNR". Washington Department of Natural Resources field geologist Jack Powell visits CWU to discuss his two decades with CWU Geology - and his more recent geology work at Washington DNR. Taped on December 2, 2011.


Richard Waitt

Show 30: "Missoula Flood Deposits". USGS Field Geologist Richard Waitt visits Ellensburg to discuss his ongoing field work devoted to the deposits of the Missoula Floods of the Pacific Northwest. Taped on December 2, 2011.


Bob Bentley

Show 29: "Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy". CWU Geology Emeritus Professor Bob Bentley visits Ellensburg to reflect on his long teaching and research career at CWU. Bentley's research on Washington's Columbia River Basalts is highlighted. Taped on June 3, 2011.


Vic Baker

Show 28: "Five decades of Ice Age Floods research". University of Arizona geology professor Vic Baker visits Ellensburg to discuss his distinguished career devoted to eastern Washington's Ice Age Floods. Taped on June 3, 2011.


Jim O'Connor

Show 27: "Pacific Northwest Megafloods". USGS Hydrologist Jim O'Connor visits Ellensburg to discuss current research on the Missoula Floods and Idaho's Bonneville Flood. Taped on April 7, 2011.


Don Ringe

Show 26: "Four decades of teaching geology at Central". CWU Geology Professor Emeritus Don Ringe visits the TV studio to discuss his teaching career in Ellensburg back in the 1960's, 70's, 80's, & 90's. Taped on April 7, 2011.


Dan Dzurisin

Show 25: "Mt St Helens in 1980" Cascades Volcanology Observatory volcanologist Dan Dzurisin visits Ellensburg to share his personal experiences from the famous 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens. Also discussed: the 2004 reawakening of St Helens and current work applying geodetic techniques to active volcanoes. Taped on August 10, 2010.


Cynthia Gardner

Show 24: "Cascades Volcano Observatory" Scientist-In-Charge Cynthia Gardner visits Ellensburg to discuss her career with the United States Geological Survey and the Cascades Volcano Observatory based in Vancouver, Washington. Taped on August 10, 2010.


Susan Kaspari

Show 23: "Climate Change from Glacial Ice Cores" Central Washington University geology professor Susan Kaspari discusses her field work on glaciers in the Himalayas and Antarctica. Black carbon concentrations, ice chemistry, and public reaction to global warming are also discussed. Taped on March 12, 2010.


Bob Butler

Show 22: "From Geophysics to K-12 Teacher Training" University of Portland geophysics professor Bob Butler visits Ellensburg to discuss his dramatic career shift from paleomagnetism research in Arizona to geoscience education training of middle school teachers in Washington and Oregon. Taped on March 12, 2010.


Jim Hinthorne

Show 21: "From Industry to CWU Geology" CWU Geology Professor Emeritus Jim Hinthorne visits Ellensburg to discuss CWU Geology back in the 1980's and 1990's. Jim also chats about his time in industry and his motivation to move to CWU in 1980. Taped on August 3, 2009.


Steve Lundblad

Show 20: "Geology on the Big Island" University of Hawaii-Hilo geology professor Steve Lundblad visits Ellensburg to chat about his teaching and research on the Big Island of Hawaii. Steve also reflects on his decade of teaching at CWU Geology. Taped on August 3, 2009.


Gene Kiver

Show 19: "Origins of the Ice Age Floods Institute" Eastern Washington University emeritus geology professor Gene Kiver visits Ellensburg to discuss the Ice Age Floods Institute. Gene chats about the past, present, and future of the Institute, discusses two new book projects on the geology of Washington, and reflects on his career at EWU Geology. Taped on June 3, 2009.


Winston Norrish

Show 18: "From the Oil Industry to CWU" Central Washington University lecturer Winston Norrish chats about his career in Texas working in the oil patch - and his escape to the friendly confines of Kittitas County. Also discussed: his transition to teaching non-science CWU students and his popular Oil Game featured in his Petroleum Geology course. Taped on June 3, 2009.


Chris Mattinson

Show 17: "Metamorphic Rock study in western China" CWU geology professor Chris Mattinson talks about his ongoing research in western China. Ultra-high pressure metamorphic rocks have been mapped and collected for lab study. Chris and his students have ultimately helped determine uplift rates on the Tibetan plateau. Taped on May 29, 2009.


Pat Pringle

Show 16: "Field Work in the Cascades" Centralia College professor Pat Pringle visits Ellensburg to chat about his field career in the Cascade Range. Pat discusses his early efforts in the decade following the 1980 Mt St Helens eruption, his work in Mt Rainier National Park, and his time with the Cascade Volcano Obervatory. Taped on May 29, 2009.


Marcelo Santillan, Brad Woods, & Craig Scrivner

Show 15: "Computers & CWU Geology" CWU data analysts Marcelo Santillan and Brad Woods discuss GPS data processing, PANGA, and the Plate Boundary Observatory. CWU Seismologist Craig Scrivner discusses his life as a Systems Administrator with CWU Geology and CWU Geography. Taped on April 25, 2008.


Tom Sisson

Show 14: "Mount Rainier Research: Past & Present" USGS Volcanologist Tom Sisson visits Ellensburg to chat about all things Rainier. Tom discusses the Cascade Volcano Observatory, Rainier's volatile history, and current research efforts to learn when the next eruption might occur. Taped on April 25, 2008.


Frank Ramos

Show 13: "Geochemistry and You!" Former CWU geology professor Frank Ramos talks isotopes, mass spectrometers, and teaching geochemistry to the masses. Nick & Frank visit the labs in Lind Hall to learn about CWU Geology's analytical instruments. Frank demonstrates the step-by-step process for geochemical analysis of materials. Taped on March 28, 2008.


Beth Pratt-Sitaula

Show 12: "Nepal & Geoscience Education" CWU geology professor Beth Pratt-Sitaula discusses her work in Nepal - tectonic geomorphology, snowpack changes, and teacher training. Plenty of talk of WATERS, TOTLE, and Beth's split life between CWU Geology and CWU Science Education. Taped on March 28, 2008.


Wendy Bohrson

Show 11: "Magma Chemistry of the Casacades" CWU geology professor Wendy Bohrson discusses her research of magmas deep beneath the Cascade volcanoes. Microscope work on crystal size distribution in igneous rocks leads to understanding of magma chemistry and physics. Wendy also chats about her Hawaii and Cascades field trips. Taped on August 7, 2007.


Bruce Bjornstad

Show 10: "On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods" Tri-Cities National Laboratory Geologist Bruce Bjornstad visits Ellensburg to chat about his new book, 'On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods'. Bruce discusses his work at Batelle in Richland, his motivation for writing a general audience book, and his work with the Ice Age Floods Institute. Taped on August 7, 2007.


Tim Melbourne

Show 9: "GPS in the Northwest" CWU geology professor Tim Melbourne discusses PANGA: a network of GPS instruments in the Northwest that have detected mysterious silent earthquakes that occur every 14 months. Tim also chats seismology, episodic tremor, and teaching geophysics. Taped on December 4, 2006.


Jeff Lee

Show 8: "Field Geology in the Himalayas & the American West" CWU geology professor Jeff Lee removes himself from the field to discuss his mapping projects in Tibet and eastern California. Plenty of Structural Geology and Plate Tectonics for all. Jeff also describes what it's like to teach six weeks in the field each summer in central Oregon and central Idaho. Taped on December 4, 2006.


Karl Lillquist & Marty Kaatz

Show 7: "Landslides, Debris Flows, and Mammoths in central Washington" CWU Geographers Karl Lillquist and Marty Kaatz visit with tales of field work in central Washington. Debris flows and landslides in the region are discussed, plus Karl talks CWU Mammoth excavations. Taped on July 25, 2006.


Lisa Ely

Show 6: "Flood Deposits & Geomorphology" CWU geology professor Lisa Ely discusses her flood history field research on the Owyhee River in southeastern Oregon. Ongoing field courses and projects in central Mexico, Baja California, southern Arizona, and India are described. Also, Lisa chats about her Geomorphology course taught every spring. Taped on July 25, 2006.


Brian Atwater

Show 5: "Tsunami in the Pacific Northwest" USGS Field Geologist Brian Atwater visits Ellensburg to discuss tsunami research in the world - including his contribution to tsunami awareness in the Northwest. Brain touts his new book 'The Orphan Tsunami of 1700" on the tsunami which struck the Northwest on January 26, 1700 at 9:00 pm. Taped on March 3, 2006.


Paul Hoskin

Show 4: "Ellensburg Blue Agates" Former CWU geology professor Paul Hoskin discusses his research with our famous blue agates known the world over. Mineralogist Paul breaks down the formation of the agates - and comments on why our agates are blue. Paul also chats about his teaching of mineralogy using CWU Geology's Xray Diffractometer and his work in the North Cascades. Taped on March 3, 2006.


Rex Flake

Show 3: "Tiltmeters around the Puget Sound" CWU geodetic engineer Rex Flake discusses his pet project: design, installation, and data processing of tiltmeters around the Puget Sound. Rex gives background on the plate tectonic setting of the Northwest, seismic hazards that we face, and how his tiltmeters will help our understanding of the Juan de Fuca/ North American plate interface. Taped on February 17, 2006.


Carey Gazis

Show 2: "Kittitas Valley Hydrogeology" CWU geology professor Carey Gazis discusses water, water, and more water in our region. Groundwater flow, well drilling, flow rates, geochemistry, and the science behind hydrogeology. In addition, Carey chats about a new Environmental Studies program at CWU. Taped on February 17, 2006.


Charlie Rubin

Show 1: "Sumatra & Alaska: Current Research" CWU geology professor Charlie Rubin discusses his neotectonics research in Sumatra following the tragic 2004 tsunami. In addition, Charlie describes his 2002 Denali Fault earthquake field work and his life as an instructor of a field course taught near Bishop, California. Taped on October 28, 2005.


Nick Zentner lecture: 'Public Outreach in Ellensburg'

LECTURE: Central Washington University geologist Nick Zentner discusses the beginnings of the Ellensburg Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute, the origin of the CWU geology talk show 'Central Rocks', and his outreach to alumni on the CWU Geology website. Taped on August 6, 2008 at CWU's Hebeler Hall Auditorium.


Central Rocks advertisement

PROMO: Here's a quick television spot promoting the new CWU Geology talk show 'Central Rocks'.