March 2014 Department News


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.


About davewesterman

igneous petrology, granite, gabbro, laccolith, new england, appalachian tectonics, groundwater and stream chemistry, italy, tuscany, tuscan magmatic province, david scott westerman, norwich, environmental science, alden partridge
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