Sunday Speaker Series presentation will explore the formation of El Sauz chert

EDINBURG - The Museum of South Texas History (“MOSTHistory”) welcomes Juan L. Gonzalez, a UTRGV associate professor , who will present “It’s How Old? Volcanoes, Petrified Forests and the Formation of El Sauz Chert – New Insights into the Geologic History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley” starting at 2 p.m. in the Courtyard Gallery on Sunday, July 24.

The presentation will discuss the Catahoula ash, a 27-million-year-old volcanic ash deposit in Starr County. The ash was transformed into a rock called chert, which outcrops in the area close to the village of El Sauz in Starr County. The chert was used to make arrow heads and projectile points by Native Americans for 8,000 years. Since El Sauz chert is only found in areas around Starr County, it presented a unique opportunity for archaeologists to study trade and dispersal patterns of this rock once used in prehistoric times.

In 2009, Gonzalez joined UTRGV as an associate professor in the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences. His research includes paleoclimate, climate change, geo-archaeology and the geology of the Rio Grande Valley delta which can be found in more than 25 scientific articles. Currently, Gonzalez is conducting several research projects in South Texas along with two projects in South America and another in Belize.

This program is made possible with generous support from the Carmen C. Guerra Endowment. Mrs. Guerra was deeply committed to supporting educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. This named endowment was created at the museum by her family to honor her memory and to continue her commitment to providing opportunities for education to the community.