mpollock December 3rd, 2012
San Francisco, CA – The annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union is the largest earth science conference in the world.
With more than 20,000 attendees and about 3000 posters per day, you’re bound to bump into someone you know. Today, I ran into Wooster alum Jesse Davenport (’11). You may remember his senior I.S. adventures in Montana, working on 2 billion year old sheared igneous and metamorphic rocks. Jesse is currently a graduate student at Notre Dame and has shifted his focus to more recent (~80 million years old) basalts – a topic that I can finally relate to!
Jesse is studying the compositions and textures of plagioclase and olivine crystals in basalts from the Detroit Seamount to better understand magmatic processes at ocean islands. (See a more complete explanation in his AGU abstract). It’s always fun to catch up with alumni who travel diverse paths yet have the common Wooster experience. If we’re lucky, Jesse will come to Wooster to share his research and experiences with GeoClub sometime this spring.
mpollock November 2nd, 2012
Many of the Wooster Geologists have embarked on the journey to Charlotte, NC, for the 2012 National Meeting of GSA. If you’re attending the meeting, be sure to check out one of our presentations:
- Jonah Novek – Sunday Poster – Session 27 Booth #93 – Analysis of a Rhuddanian (Llandovery, Lower Silurian) Sclerobiont Community in the Hilliste Formation on Hiiumaa Island, Estonia: A Hard Substrate-Dwelling Recovery Fauna
- Kit Price – Sunday Poster – Session 27 Booth #92 – Upside-Down and Inside-Out: Cryptic Skeletobiont Communities from the Late Ordovician of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky
- Melissa Torma – Monday Poster – Session 102 Hall B – Patchiness and Ecological Structure in a Middle Jurassic Equatorial Crinoid-Brachiopod Community (Matmor Formation, Callovian, Southern Israel)
- Richa Ekka – Monday Poster – Session 86 Booth #6 – Stratigraphy and Paleoenvironment of the Soeginina Beds (Paadla Formation, Lower Ludlow, Upper Silurian) on Saaremaa Island, Estonia
- Matt Peppers – Monday Poster – Session 92 Hall B – Analysis of Ice Springs Volcanic Field Structures, Black Rock Desert, Utah
- Anna Mudd – Tuesday Poster – Session 165 Hall B – Interpretation of a Middle Miocene Paleosol from the Powder River Volcanic Field, Northeast Oregon
- Whitney Sims – Tuesday Poster – Session 157 Booth #37 – Petrological and Geochemical Analysis: Mapping of Miter Flows in Ice Springs Volcanic Field, Black Rock Desert, Utah
- Andy Nash – Tuesday Poster – Session 180 Hall B – Climate Reconstruction for Northeast Ohio Drought Using Quercus Alba L. Tree-Rings
- Jenn Horton – Tuesday Poster – Session 180 Hall B – Dating the First Millennium AD Glacial History of Adams Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Southeast Alaska
- Lauren Vargo – Tuesday Poster – Session 180 Hall B – Tree-Ring Evidence of North Pacific Volcanically Forced Cooling and Drought in Midwestern North America
- Will Cary – Wednesday Poster – Session 236 Booth #110 – Ballistic Analysis of Volcanic Ejecta: Ice Springs Volcanic Field, Black Rock Desert, Utah
- Spring 2012 Geochemistry Class – Wednesday Poster – Session 228 Booth #8 – Geochemistry of Dikes and Lavas from the Vatnsdalur Structural Basin, Skagi Peninsula, Northwest Iceland
- Mark Wilson – Wednesday 8:45 am – Room 217D – Echinoid Preservation in a Middle Jurassic Shallow Marine Equatorial Environment: Testing Models of Taphonomy and Encrustation
- Meagen Pollock – Wednesday 4 pm – Room 210AB – Enhancing Undergraduate Research with Social Media
Don’t miss us at the Group Alumni Reception on Monday at 7 pm in the Westin Grand Ballroom CD. We’re taking our annual alumni photo at 8 pm. GSA President and Wooster Alum George Davis (’64) will also be joining us at 8 pm.
Real-life photos to come!
mpollock October 2nd, 2012
WOOSTER, OH – Our dedicated Mineralogy students appeared in the lab bright and early this morning for an optional sample prep session.
Each student has an unknown mineral that they are studying in a semester-long research project. Most of the work involves using modern analytical techniques for identification. Not all samples are well-suited for every technique, though. All of the students have been able to describe the physical properties of their sample, but only some can observe the crystallography. Some students are starting to use optical methods while others are using the XRD. Eventually, a few students will get to analyze the chemistry of their samples by XRF.
As with any research project, some students are struggling with uncertainty: “how am I supposed to be sure about the identification of my mineral?” That’s a fantastic question, and one that we are constantly engaging in our I.S. program. The answer is that the best identification is the one that is supported by the evidence. By using a variety of techniques, the students should become more confident in their identifications. Instantly, students see the advantages of some methods. In fact, one student asked if it was “cheating” to use the XRD to identify his/her mineral. No, it’s not cheating. It’s called data.
mpollock June 13th, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – On Tuesday, Team Utah visited the Core Research Center at the Utah Geological Survey. The repository includes cores and cuttings from more than 4000 wells, on-site microscope facilities, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. We suspect that the sedimentary xenoliths that Kevin has been finding represent Lake Bonneville sediments. Tom Dempster and Peter Nielsen pulled out some cuttings for us to look at and set up the microscope. Mark Gwynn showed us some core that they recently recovered from an area near our study site.
We also had the chance to meet with Amanda Hintz, a UGS geologist with an expertise in the Black Rock Desert.
Finally, Stephanie Earls, the UGS Research Librarian, was so helpful in finding historic aerial photographs for us.
After a productive day at the research center, we visited Bingham Canyon on the way out of town.
mpollock June 11th, 2012
FILLMORE, UTAH – [Guest Bloggers Matt Peppers, Whitney Sims, and Will Cary]
With our alarms set for 6:30, we guaranteed that we wouldn’t be up before 7 am. After a hurried lunch packing session, the group headed out to inaugurate Tricia into the research community. She will be doing a project focused on the origin of the basalt islands in the western channel. Hopefully, her project will be used as an analogue for the islands found in the rest of the lava field. We mobbed Tricia in the morning, and through a heroic effort, managed to complete her fieldwork in just under three hours. Dr. Shelley “The Machine” Judge burned through a majority of the 50 individual columnar joint orientation measurements that will help Tricia with her interpretations. While the measurement team ran through the orientation measurements, the rest of the group broke into two smaller teams to collect samples and track out the significant fractures in the area. With each person working toward his or her specialty, the data collection process flew by.
Riding high after a stellar group outing, we moved toward the western breach to take a look at a large fissure Dr. Pollock, Whitney, and Tricia had seen a few days before. When we came across the gaping fissure (nicknamed “Chubman”), we decided to take a well-earned lunch break in the shade of the nearby wall before tackling the measurement process. While Team Fissure worked on mapping and tracking the fissure in the northern end, Team Flow Bandits tracked the fissure south on their way to investigate the possibility of a nearby flow boundary. The familiar call and response of, “Whitney, do you want to take a sample here?” followed by a subdued, “Yes…” echoed throughout the flows as the day came to an end. We had a weary trek back through the sand and sagebrush back to the car, satisfied after a productive workday. Celebratory pie for desert was the icing on the cake to yet another day in paradise.
mpollock June 8th, 2012
FILLMORE, UTAH – [Guest Bloggers Matt Peppers and Will Cary]
On the morning of the 8th, all seemed well. Much like days before, we all arose and began to pack our lunches for the day. However, as we piled into the car, an ominous light started to blink on the dashboard. Low tire pressure. Concerned, Dr. Judge pulled us into a nearby gas station and checked the tires. Much to our dismay, the left rear tire was 10 psi lower than it should be, a repeat occurrence from a few days earlier. Not wanting to jeopardize our upcoming Mystery Fun Day, Drs. Judge and Pollock made the decision to take the car into a repair shop to have the problem diagnosed. While they were gone, they left us to wreak havoc upon the KOA Kampground. We started by swimming and relaxing by the pool, and ended by swimming and relaxing by the pool. All before lunchtime. We retired to our individual cabins to enjoy the lunches we had packed a few hours earlier in glorious air conditioned komfort.
Around 1 pm, the professors returned and it was business as usual. Even though we had lost half of our day to a small hole in the tire (curse you, basalt!) we rushed out to mob Kevin’s project for the afternoon. Arriving on the cinder cone at peak temperature made for a challenging work environment (especially after having spent most of the day in a sun-induced stupor) but we turned the afternoon into a very productive, albeit rushed, day. After reviewing the wall Kevin had used to map his xenoliths, we spread out and tried to collect as many of the 16 different types as we could find. After a few small injuries, stumbles, artistic work with a rock hammer, and some sore hands trying to pry the xenoliths out of the uncooperative host rock, we amassed a small mountain of samples for Kevin. As Whitney struggled to bag and record the samples in the gusting wind, the rest of us made one last sweep of the area for any xenoliths to claim.
We trooped back down the van, and made the dusty trek back to the kampsite, just in time to shower and recover before we left for dinner at six. After a quick stop to pick up a package containing some hardier field notebooks we went of to dinner followed by a stop for ice cream, where the professors revealed the Fun Trip they had planned for Saturday. We will be driving down to Bryce Canyon on the morrow to spend the day in the park. None of us have been there, so it promises to be a unique experience for us all!
mpollock June 7th, 2012
FILLMORE, UTAH – What do volcanic bombs, xenoliths, and giant gypsum crystals have in common? Not much, except that we saw them all during our long and productive day. We met to pack lunches at 7:30 am and finished with student-faculty meetings at 10 pm, so we’re all ready for a good night’s rest, but we thought we’d give you a quick update on our progress.
Although it was long and challenging, the cool temperatures and partly cloudy skies made for a pleasant day in the field. Back to the lava fields tomorrow to check out some scarps and map flow boundaries. Wish us luck!