Spring Transitions to Summer 2015

IMG_0829Spring semester wound down quickly, highlighted by induction of a strong NU contingent at the VT Sigma Xi Induction Dinner, before coming to a close with a large crew at graduation; 10 Seniors and four faculty marched in parade. My CT River course followed immediately, again this year with Chris Koteas co-teaching, and it was a great success – great students, colleagues, weather and water. Things have moved quickly since then, with our grant writer/manager Karen Andrésen moving on to read for the Vermont Bar (4 years with no law school required) we ramped up a search  for her replacement. Karen and I finished our collaboration of eight years with >220 grant proposals requesting a total above $22M, and over $11M received in funding over that time. Not too shabby.Class of 2015

IMG_1620In early June a group of us went off to Portland, ME for a Campus Compact Institute, our inclusion stemming from a small grant we have received from the Davis Educational Foundation in a program called Campuses for Environmental Stewardship. I was joined by Tom Roberge (Outdoor Education), Matt Lutz (Architecture) and Tara Kulkarni (Civil and Environmental Engineering), and we focused for two days on our project to develop educational experiential activities to go into a flood-resistant park being developed by the Town of Northfield and numerous community partners. All four of us are incorporating integrated Service-Learning modules in our courses this fall, and I’ll share details as they unfold.

I’m off to Norman, OK with Amy Woodbury Tease next week for the Undergraduate Research Program Director’s meeting. Amy and I were both participants in Posters on the Hill this year in Washington, DC, where a Norwich student, Hannah Bell, was one of 60 students selected nationally to present her work in the Rayburn Building. I will stay in OK for another few days for the CUR Annual Business Meeting, finishing up the first of my two-year term as Chair of the At-Large Division. Hopefully, our time will be very productive, with task forces make substantial progress on our goals.

FaystonLast week I got invited by former student, Molly Seaberg (actually a grand-student), to speak to Carla Lewis’s grade school class in Fayston, and as always it was a hoot. The kids followed up after I left with contributions to an online book called If You Find a Rock, and Carla wrote a short blurb about the visit. Right now my plans call for a quick trip to Italy in July, working with Sergio Rocchi to finish up chapters for the Springer book in the Advances in Volcanology series. Costs are high, but the my productivity rate is really high when I’m isolated away from the busy-ness of the office.

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Mid-Winter Flurry

Brunswick Springs Cliff section 2015

Brunswick Springs Cliff

Just an update on my activity since AY13-14 came to a close in May. We ran the CT River course in May with a full-time videographer, former student Paul Barnard,  on board both weeks. Chris Koteas team-taught the course with me this year, and a good group of students made things go smoothly – of course knowing that I’m going to be parking my rear end in the stern on flowing water every day does a lot for my sense of serenity. Our goal is to use the footage as part of an effort to develop an online science literacy course built around the basic science that we deal with on the river.

Allen Glazner and John Bartlow - GSA Field Forum at Half Dome

At Half Dome Overview

For the first time in more than twenty years I opted not to travel to Italy in the summer, and instead joined Sergio Rocchi at the Goldschmidt Conference in Sacremento, followed by a spectacular trip in the Sierra Nevada Batholith run by Allen Glazner and others. The rocks as fascinating as they were beautiful, and the conversations rose to the same level. Sergio and I worked sporadically on manuscripts, but for the most part, we were soaking in the significance of the range of possibilities of how magmatic systems can vary in terms of how long-lived their chambers may or may not be.

My work with the Council on Undergraduate Research absorbed a week in Washington, D.C. starting with the annual CUR Business Meeting at which I was elected Chair of the At-Large Division. This was followed by the semi-annual CUR meeting at which Karen Andrésen, Amy Woodbury Tease, and Travis Morris joined me so that we could all present a panel on The Mentored Undergraduate Research Program at Norwich University:
A Symbiotic Transformation of Campus Culture (Westerman et al, CUR 2015). Our good friend Kathleen Mullaney from Dominican University kept the discussion lively, and after breaking up into working groups, participants prepared illustrations of their exisiting undergraduate research and faculty development programs and then augmented them to show how they envisioned a future with greater symbiosis.

NU on outcrop at NYSGA

NU on outcrop at NYSGA

Fall rolled along, with me keeping the Office of Academic Research running, well actually helping Lisa Brucken keep it running. I had passed on the responsibilities of Faculty Development Coordinator to Lea Williams, so the distribution of the my load in the office changed. Rick Dunn, department chair, was on sabbatical so I covered as chair and taught an intro section. The department interrupted the normal weekly schedule and broke away to western NY in the Thousand Island region for the New York State Geological Association field trips. A great group to travel and camp with, and great geology to see, but next year we’ll return to our normal NEIGC trip that will be hosted at Wesleyan University in CT.

Adalyn with great-grampa Dave

Adalyn with Great-Grampa

Elga and I had a really fun holiday season as a result of a full invasion of the Georgia crew, including daughter Lisa with husband Mark, younger grandchildren Zeke, Ben and Ella, and older granddaughter Gypsy with husband Trent and the newest great-grandaughter Adalyn. The weather cooperated with full snow cover, and when they all left, we were tired by refreshed.

While I’m chronicling the year, I should mention a couple recent alumni interactions that came as welcome surpises. First was Jeff Gadway reaching out from retirement from the Air Force, and exploring what to do as a second career, and more recently unexpected seat mates at the UMass Boston hockey game when Joe Fiacco and son, along with Larry Mastera walked in and we spied each other. It was really fun to hear about their lives, and how their work at ERM has been going.

CUR Dialogues was great experience this year, with a group of seven traveling to D.C. to learn more about how to be successful in the grant business, interspersed with plenary sessions and general networking that kept us in the know of where academia is in 2015 and where it might be headed. All flights out of D.C. were cancelled as the umpteenth storm blanketed the northeast. An aborted attempt to rent a van and outrace the storm up the coast led to a crowd in the lobby watching Norwich hockey against Southern Maine in the ECAC quarter finals – victorious in with four goals in the third period (finally). We all booked, re-booked, and re-booked until we eventually arrived in Burlington in two batches to find our cars and head for home Sunday night.

Three days later I headed to Wesleyan University to present at a geology colloquium in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department. It was a great visit, being hosted by Joop Vanderkamp and other faculty, with really good questions from students. I presented essentially our whole Elba story, titling the talk Rise and Fall of a Multi-Sheet Intrusive Complex, Elba Island, Italy. It was a good time for the talk since a review chapter had just been released in a new book in Springer’s Advances in Volcanology series. The book, Physical Geology of Shallow Magmatic Systems, has been edited by colleagues Christoph Breitkreuz from the Freiburg Institute of Geology and Paleontology and Sergio Rocchi from the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Pisa.

I’m now preparing mid-term grades for the Spring semester, with 45 students in my intro class. The course keeps evolving as I become less encyclopedic in my coverage, assigning more and more of the responsibility to the students for content mastery. Class time increasingly involved in-class projects and experiments such as yesterday’s stress-strain study of Charleston Chews where students measured changes in shape as quarters were piled on the suspended ends of bars at different temperatures. Next time, we’ll control the rates, but time ran out to get too sophisticated.

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AY13-14 Comes to a Close

Most of our Seniors with Department faculty

Most of our Seniors with Department faculty

The graduating class for the Department of Earth and Environmental Science was the largest in several years, and they are headed off to work, to hunt for work, to meet the terms of their commission, or to grad school. Dunn, Westerman, Koteas and Grigg wish them all well, and look forward to an incoming class that currently has 8 environmental science and 5 geology freshmen. All of us have busy schedules planned. Chris and I are running the ID110 Ecology and Geology of the CT River course, with plans to have a complete digital record of the entire course when we’re done. We’re hoping to develop some working pieces to support this and other courses, maybe a science literacy online offering taking advantage of some realtime water data managed by USGS, and some more popular YouTube-style pieces as well. Rick is starting his sabbatical, heading off to Greece and then to Isreal on archaeology projects – they think he can find the tomb of Solomon with a drill rig in a public park. Koteas has Chris DeFelice working with him on the structure and petrology of the Knox Mountain pluton in the Plainfield, VT area. Laurie has an VT EPSCoR grant with Rick to study post-glacial lake sedimentation processes, with Roberto Armijo (’15) joining the research team for the summer. I’m headed to California to the Goldschmidt Conference, followed by a field trip with Allen Glazner in the Sierras. Then a quick trip to Apple headquarters-NYC with NU administrators for a demo-day, before CUR business and biennial meetings where colleagues and I are presenting a panel on using an institutionalized undergraduate research program to help develop a campus-wide culture of research. More later ……

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March 2014 Department News

DEPARTMENT OF EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (note upcoming name change!!!!)

NEIGC 2013 – Millinocket, Maine Region

Department of Earth and Environmental Science

NEIGC 2013 escape from the Hill

Eighteen students and three faculty from our department attended the New England Intercollegiate Geology Conference (NEIGC) in Millinocket, Maine this fall and visited some incredible locations within the northern Appalachians. Aside from wonderful views of Mount Katahdin and perspectives on Gulf Hagas along the West Branch of the Pleasant River, we saw great evidence of the last glaciation of New England and enjoyed a wonderful perspective on the less-than-traveled north Maine woods over the course of a Thursday through Sunday adventure at the height of New England foliage season. Brisk fall camping and swapping lies around the fire is fun.

Nevada – Arizona Spring Break Field Trip – 2014

Examining a massive volcanic section in the early morning

Examining a massive volcanic section in the early morning

Eight students and three faculty from the department traveled to southern Nevada and western Arizona for Spring Break. We were able to tour the inside of the Hoover Dam; examine pyroclastic volcanics, several granite bodies, and great exposures of debris fans shed from mountains of the basin and range system; camp at the base of the Grand Canyon and examine the canyon geology; tour a 19th century gold mine; and generally have a fantastic high desert experience. Each night was capped by our own fine campfire cuisine, which always included tortillas, sandy cheese, and several versions of salsa. Lots of stories of past spring break trips were shared, and new ones created.

NSF Grant Opportunity
In early March, Prof. Chris Koteas attended the IUSE IDEAS Lab sponsored by the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. The conference was well attended by physical sciences faculty from a variety of disciplines throughout the United States and fostered the development of new approaches to teaching Earth Sciences throughout all spectrums of education. He returned having made excellent connections with new collaborators to produce three new proposals for submission in the spring of 2014 focused on innovative approaches to undergraduate geoscience education.

Faculty and Student Research
Following a successful spring for professional productivity by our faculty and students, with 11 papers and posters presented by five faculty and five students at the Northeast Section of the Geological Society of America meeting, the department had a strong presence at the national Geological Society of America Meeting in Denver last fall, including the following presentations:
Dunn, R.K., Van Tilburg, J.A., Arévalo Pakarati, C. and Wachsmann, S., 2013, Landscape evolution and preservation potential of cultural horizons in Rano Raraku crater, site of ancient quarries, Easter Islandmoai tongariki on ahu
Koteas, G.C., Williams, M.L., Seamn, S. and Drumond, G., 2013, Strength variability of the fertile deep crust during deformation at granulite grade: evidence from the Athabasca Granulite Terrane in northern Saskatchewan
Westerman, D.S., Rocchi, S., and Dini, A., 2013, Laccolith generation in a brittle crust rich in magma traps: The Elba example
Rocchi, S., Westerman, D.S., and Dini, A., 2013, Controls on the transition from subvolcanic to plutonic conditions in a magmatic system: The Elba example

Peck’s Pond Limnology Study

Roberto reeling in the sampler

Roberto reeling in the sampler

Professors Laurie Grigg and Rick Dunn along with environmental science student, Roberto Armijo have been experiencing the joys and struggles of winter field work in Vermont. Working together on an EPSCoR-funded project to monitor monthly changes in water chemistry and sediment deposition at Peck’s Pond in Barre, the research team continues to find new obstacles in the form of many feet of snow and ice, while also enjoying some sunshine, just being outside, and many animal sightings. This project will continue through the summer and fall and will give us a better understanding of the connection between seasonal climate changes, water chemistry, and sediment deposition in carbonate lakes.

Twin Ponds Coring Expedition

Department of Earth and Environmental Science

Brian Shuman and Sandy Hyde lowering core rods

NU Professor Laurie Grigg and colleague Dr. Bryan Shuman from University of Wyoming led a mid-winter coring expedition to Twin Ponds in Brookfield, VT. The crew featured NU Physics Professor Sandy Hyde, VT Agency of Natural Resources biologist Leslie Mathews, and NU geology and environmental science students Brett Anchukaitis and Michael Deganich.
Michael Anchukaitis, Brett Deganich and Byran Shuman extracting a core

Michael Anchukaitis, Brett Deganich and Byran Shuman extracting a core

Temperatures were low and the day grey, but the team persevered and retrieved two 6-meter sediment cores at a water depth of about 7.5 meters. These cores contain a continuous record of deposition since just over 13,000 years ago and show the transition from glacial times to the present. Grigg, Shuman and their students will use this core to focus on a period of both climatic and ecological change that occurred around about 5,000 years ago.

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March 2013 – Department News

The Department of Geology and Environmental Science has had an exciting month of March. Prof. Dunn got called in on a major archaeological project on Easter Island where he spent his spring break carrying out stratigraphic studies to unravel the volcanic and post-volcanic history of the island. While he was working there, Profs. Westerman and Koteas took a vanload of students to Virginia and West Virginia where they linked up with alumnus Paul Magness (ES’95). Their trip looked at geological and environmental sites from west of the WV Valley and Ridge, across the Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces to the Coastal Plain, before heading north. But instead of starting classes immediately, the full faculty of the department, along with four students and a recent graduate, spent two days in Breton Woods, NH at the annual meeting of the Northeast Section of the Geological Society of America where they collectively presented eleven papers and posters.
March DGES images

CLIFT, Anne E., SPRINGSTON, George E. and BECKER, Laurence, 2013, USE OF LIDAR IN A LANDSLIDE INVENTORY PROTOCOL IN VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 111.

HAY, Jeffrey K.*, CONLEY, Matthew J.*, WATERS, Kevin*, KOTEAS, G. Christopher, DUNN, Richard K., SPRINGSTON, George E., and GRIGG, Laurie D., 2013, A PRE- AND POST- TROPICAL STORM IRENE COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF CHANNEL GEOMORPHOLOGY ALONG THE DOG RIVER, CENTRAL VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 118.

HERMANSON, T.M.* and DUNN, R.K., 2013, A PROBABLE LATE WISCONSINAN GLACIAL READVANCE SITE, HONEY BROOK, CENTRAL VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 94.

KIM, Jonathan J., SPRINGSTON, George E. and BECKER, Laurence R., 2013, ANALYSIS OF GROUNDWATER RESOURCES IN THE TOWN OF EAST MONTPELIER, CENTRAL VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 81.

KOTEAS, G. Christopher, WILLIAMS, Michael L., SEAMAN, Sheila J., and DUMOND, Gregory, 2013, THE ROLE OF MELT-ENHANCED SHORTENING AND SHEARING AT GRANULITE GRADE: EVIDENCE FOR LOCALLY VARIABLE STRENGTH OF THE DEEP CRUST FROM THE ATHABASCA GRANULITE TERRANE, NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 87.

LENS, John E., DEWOOLKAR, Mandar M., SPRINGSTON, George E., and BECKER, Laurence R., 2013, SEISMIC HAZARD ASSESSMENT OF THE BURLINGTON AND COLCHESTER QUADRANGLES, NORTHWESTERN VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 51

SPRINGSTON, George E., UNDERWOOD, Kristen L., ROBINSON, Keith and SWANBERG, Ned, 2013, RAINFALL, FLOOD MAGNITUDE, AND GEOMORPHIC IMPACTS OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE ON THE WHITE RIVER WATERSHED, EAST-CENTRAL VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 83.

THOMAS, Ethan** and DUNN, Richard K., 2013, ANALYSIS OF FAULT BLOCK MOTION RELEVANT TO HARBOR RECONSTRUCTION AT THE MYCENAEAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF KALAMIANOS, GREECE: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 54.

WATERS, Kevin*, LE, Dan*, GRIGG, Laurie D., and DUNN, Richard K., 2013, SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIATIONS IN SEDIMENTATION AT TWIN PONDS, CENTRAL VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p.92.

WEBB, Laura E., WESTERMAN, David S., SPRINGSTON, George E., KIM, Jonathan, KLEPEIS, Keith, KOTEAS, G. Christopher, RUKSZNIS, Abigail, MEHRTENS, Charlotte, BECKER, Laurence R., and GALE, Marjorie, 2013, FIELD-BASED UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM AND RESEARCH EXPLORING GEOPHYSICAL METHODS, WITH APPLICATIONS TO THE STATE OF VERMONT: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 118.

WESTERMAN, David S., RONI, Emanuele, ROCCHI, Sergio, DINI, Andrea, and STEVENSON, Carl T., 2013, USING DETAILED AMS AND MEGACRYST FABRIC ANALYSES TO UNDERSTAND MAGMA FLOW WITHIN THE SAN MARTINO MULTILAYER LACCOLITH SYSTEM, ELBA ISLAND, ITALY: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 1, p . 88.

*student author; **recent graduate

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Welcome

GeoEnvironmental Field/Research Fund Campaign Progress

Updated April 2015

 

David S. Westerman
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Norwich University
158 Harmon Drive
Northfield, VT 05663

westy@norwich.edu
802 485-2337

Olivier Galland and me, yukking it up along the road in South Africa – amazing trip at LASI 5.

A YouTube video is out on my Connecticut River course – check it out!

The Norwich website also video dealing with our longitudinal study of a local lake, known as both Sunset Lake and Brookfield Pond.

Check that one out too!

Core extraction on Sunset Lake – 2012

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