Archive for October, 2009

Wooster Geologists at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America

October 16th, 2009

gsaimage

PORTLAND, OREGON–Every year the Wooster geology faculty and many of our students travel to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America to share our research and learn from our colleagues.  As with most professions, these conventions are times to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.  Wooster students also meet potential graduate advisors and collect more information and ideas for their Independent Study projects.  We all especially enjoy seeing Wooster geology alumni at a gathering on Monday night.

We plan to post blog entries here about our experiences at this meeting.  I arrived in Portland this evening because the paleontologists traditionally have a short course on the Saturday before the GSA convention officially begins.  Most of the department will fly in tomorrow afternoon.

Minerals Outreach – Cornerstone Elementary

October 15th, 2009

Geology Club members Lashawna, Kelly, Bridget and Phil worked with two third grade classes at Cornerstone Elementary School to sharpen up the students mineral and rock identification skills.Mr. Gaut goes over the ground rules for the mineral and rock identification exercise. Lashawna looks on.
Mrs. Gaut goes over the ground rules for the mineral and rock identification exercise. Lashawna looks on.
Bridget and Kelly go over the basics of the three rock types and how they form.

Bridget and Kelly go over the basics of the three rock types and how they form.

Phil troubleshoots a mineral id by these two gentlemen.

Phil troubleshoots a mineral id by these two gentlemen.

This 3rd grader extends the concept of the streak test to coving his entire two hands in hematite.

This 3rd grader extends the concept of the streak test by covering his entire two hands in hematite.

Environmental Geology Fieldtrip – Soils/Geologic History and Groundwater

October 15th, 2009

The class at the No-Till experimental plots at the OARDC in Wooster. Stduents took soil cores from plots that were convnetionally tilled and those taht have not been tilled for 50 years. The soils and organin content in each of the soil cores clearly showed differences in soils structure and organ content

The class at the No-Till experimental plots at the OARDC in Wooster. Students took soil cores from plots that were conventionally tilled and those that have not been tilled for 50 years. The soil structure and organic content in each of the soil cores clearly showed the differences in the farming practices.

Richa took this spectacular shot of a recently-harvested soybean field. This shows the flay lake plain from Lake Killbuck and the underfit Killbuck River. The view to the north looks up the Killbuck Spillway. This field was stripped of a foot of fertile topsoil during the 1969 flood.

Richa took this spectacular shot of a recently-harvested soybean field. This shows the lake plain from Lake Killbuck and the underfit Killbuck River. The view to the north looks up the Killbuck Spillway. This field was stripped of a foot of fertile topsoil during the 1969 flood.

Rob and Palmer pose with coring device that they used to recover a sediment core from the bottom of the Killbuck River where is has downcut into the blue lake clay sediments. The blue clay is the confing layer of the Wooster buried valley aquifer.

Rob and Palmer pose with coring device that they used to recover a sediment core from the bottom of the Killbuck River where is has downcut into the blue lake clays. The blue clay is the confining layer of the Wooster buried valley aquifer.

Mike from the Wosoter water plant explains to the class the challenges of keeping Wooster's supplied with clean groundwater.

Mike from the Wooster water plant explains the challenges of keeping Wooster supplied with clean groundwater.

Processing the Lake Core (and Tree Cores)

October 13th, 2009

Earlier posts from the Climate Change class showed the students coring trees and a lake for the various analysis described below. The goals are to examine climate in Ohio since the last Ice Age as recorded in lake sediments and to determine how various tree species respond to changes in temperature and moisture.

Kelly and Adrian finish up the European Larch tree-ring chronology. The larch trees were sampled at the Secrest Arboretum in Wooster.
Kelly and Adrian finish up the European Larch tree-ring chronology. The larch trees were sampled at the Secrest Arboretum in Wooster.

Roz and Houston photographed the A and B core in their entirety - over 25 meters of mud.  Lower down in the post are three of their photos showing the variability in the sediment core.
Roz and Houston photographed the A and B sediment core taken from Long Lake located just south of Wooster. These core is over 14 meters of mud. Lower down in the post are three of their photos showing the variability in the sediment core.
masusc
Travis and Adonis collect magnetic susceptibility data on each of the thrusts
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This interdisciplinary team of English, Archaeology, History and Geology majors pick through the mud to locate organics for radiocarbon and to identify some of the flora and fauna in the mud such as seeds, charcoal, chironomids and fly wings

The is the base of the core - Late Glacial sands and gravel - at this horizon, Lindsey and Amanda  removed a stick that has been sent out for radiocarbon analysis.
The is the base of the core – Late Glacial sands and gravel, Lindsey and Amanda removed a stick from this interval that has been sent out for radiocarbon analysis. A date here will give a good estimate of when the region near Long Lake was deglaciated.
These laminated sediments represent the glacial-interglacial transition, which includes the glacial-Bolling-Allerod and Younger Dryas-Holocene transitions.
These laminated sediments represent the glacial-interglacial interval, which includes the Glacial-Bolling-Allerod and Younger Dryas-Holocene transitions.
The upper portions of the cre are primarily back, organic-rich muds with occasional loess layers - are these abrupt climate changes? The class is working on sorting all that out.
The upper portions of the core are primarily back, organic-rich muds with occasional loess layers – are these abrupt climate changes? The class is working on sorting all that out.
Rob and Bridgett picked this chironomid ffrom the 7th meter down in the core.
Rob and Bridgett picked this chironomid from the 7th meter down in the core.

Newark Earthworks

October 10th, 2009

Dr. Pollock is teaching a First Year Seminar on the Collapse of Civilization and on Saturday, she and her students visited the Newark Earthworks. The earthworks consist of geometric earthen mounds that were built by the Hopewell people between 100 BC and 500 AD. At the museum, we learned that mounds served as a ceremonial, spiritual site. When asked about the collapse of the Hopewell, our guide, Jim, replied that we don’t really know what caused their demise. He listed several possibilities: disease, war, and migration. In our FYS, we’re exploring all of these and more.

Students piled into one car while waiting leave early on Saturday morning. They eventually squeezed 8 bodies into this vehicle. Talk about a tightly-knit group!

Students piled into one car while waiting leave early on Saturday morning. They eventually squeezed 8 bodies into this vehicle. Talk about a tightly-knit group!

The plaque outside of the museum shows an overview of the Newark Earthworks.

The plaque outside of the museum shows an overview of the Newark Earthworks.

After visiting the museum, we toured the Great Circle and the Eagle Mound.

After visiting the museum, we toured the Great Circle and the Eagle Mound.

Our group is lined up on one of the small semi-circle mounds inside of the Great Circle, behind the Eagle Mound.

Our group is lined up on one of the small semi-circle mounds inside of the Great Circle, behind the Eagle Mound. From left to right: Laura Haldane, Whitney Sims, Alex Harmony, Adrienne James, Megan Innis (TA), Chrissy Duchane, Jackie O'Dell, Derick Evans, and Stipo Josipovic.

Fortunately, we had warm, sunny weather. Nature agreed with our mood, and provided a display of bright red, wild berries growing in the grass in the Great Circle.

Fortunately, we had warm, sunny weather. Nature agreed with our mood, and provided a display of bright red, wild berries growing in the grass in the Great Circle.

After lunch, we visited the Octagon Earthworks. Although a private golf course currently sits within the Octagon, we were able to see the mounds from a viewing platform.

After lunch, we visited the Octagon Earthworks. Although a private golf course currently sits within the Octagon, we were able to see the mounds from a viewing platform.

Our group poses on the Octagon viewing platform. (Note the fabulous weather!). The mounds that link the Octagon to the circle are in the background.

Our group poses on the Octagon viewing platform. (Note the fabulous weather!). The mounds that link the Octagon to the circle are in the background.

Digital image showing the Newark Moonrise. The northernmost moonrise occurs every 18.6 years and lies directly along a line extending from the observatory mound, across the Circle, through the link, and across the Octagon. Lines drawn in other directions across the earthworks align with other moon phases. Digital image by CERHAS University of Cincinnati, courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Digital image showing the Newark Moonrise. The northernmost moonrise occurs every 18.6 years and lies directly along a line extending from the observatory mound, across the Circle, through the link, and across the Octagon. Lines drawn in other directions across the earthworks align with other moon phases. Digital image by CERHAS University of Cincinnati, courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

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