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About me


I am a 4th generation northern Californian who grew up in Marin County, with frequent weekend family trips to the San Lorenzo Valley and Santa Cruz. As a child I liked science, being outdoors, hiking, and getting dirty, so gravitated to geology and archeology. I attended the local junior college in Marin, then completed a B.A. and Ph.D. in Geology at U.C. Berkeley. During 40 years as a Professor of Geology at Stanford University, I taught classes in introductory geology, volcanology, igneous petrology, and geoarcheology. My graduate students and I did research on volcanoes, granite plutons, geothermal systems, and ore deposits. For the last decade we focused on developing an exploration model for lithium, a critical element for batteries that power electric vehicles. Over the years, I served in a number of academic leadership positions. For more on my academic career, click here.

In preparation for my retirement, my husband, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, and I bought a home in Felton in 2017. I soon became interested in local water supply issues and the challenges our valley's unique geography and geology pose to maintaining safe, affordable water. I began attending SLVWD Board meetings and Santa Margarita Groundwater Association (SMGWA) meetings, and soon realized that Ibackground complemented that of the existing Board members, and that I could make important contributions to the District. For the past year I have been informally assisting Board Directors representing the District in SMGWA deliberations. In January, I was appointed to SLVWD’s Engineering Committee, where my geologic expertise has proven useful in deciding how to deal with a costly repair of an access road to a major water tank, which was taken out by a landslide in the wet winter of 2017. I decided to run for Director of the SLVWD Board because I want to contribute my scientific expertise and leadership experience to the community I now call home.

For fun, I enjoy hiking and doing geology with my husband, Wes, and our corgis, Flash and Gwyny.  I keep up-to-date in my avocation, archeology, and am an avid gardener. Before Gwyny and I got too old and creaky, we competed nationally in the sport of dog agility and dabbled in herding sheep, goats, and ducks.

Paid for by Gail Mahood for SLVWD Director
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