CCSU Students Rock the Anthracite Belt

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[Students Ben Bogue, Ryan McMahon, Allie Kovaleski, Kelsey Duffy, and Alex Muntz take time out from their field research atop the whale-back anticline at the Bear Valley Strip Mine]

As part of his continuing research into the structural geologic history of the Valley and Ridge province of central Pennsylvania, Dr. Mark Evans took five students on a five-day field trip to the Anthracite Belt. They packed up the huge Ford Expedition on Sunday morning and drove to just east of Wikes-Barre, PA where they started their field work. The work involved collecting structural data from fractures and faults in the rocks and mineral samples form the fractures. It took a while for everyone to recall how to use a Brunton compass from Field Methods class, but by the second day, they were all pros. They then spent the next several days driving across backroads in an area that was once the largest coal mining region on earth.

A special type of coal called anthracite (hard coal) was mined here since the early 1800s and is still being mined. The evidence for the mining is everywhere in the form of mine tailing piles hundreds of feet high, extending for miles and miles. Unfortunately, outcrops that were safe to stop at were relatively uncommon, and they only had 42 stops to collect samples and data. Most of the good outcrops were along narrow highways with a constant stream of coal trucks. The highlight of the trip was a stop at the world-class geologic locality known as the Bear Valley Strip Mine. The mine was stripped of its coal and the miners left behind huge perfectly-exposed anticlines (check it out on Google and GoogleEarth). The students will now choose research projects to analyze the samples collected to determine the pressure and temperature conditions of the rock deformation. Hopefully everyone will have a poster at the next NE GSA in Portland, ME.

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CCSU Alum to Study Space Rocks for Ph.D.

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Jessica presenting meteorite research done during her undergraduate NASA Summer Internship

Department alumna Jessica Johnson will be defending her Masters thesis at the University of New Mexico next month and has been accepted into their Doctoral Program in Planetary Science. A geological sciences major, with dual minors in astronomy and math, Jessica has turned her love for all these fields towards her research projects in meteorites.

Jessica is clearly a Superstar!

Remembering Our Friend Frank Scalia

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[Our friend Frank Scalia (1941-2018) among his classmates, top row on the left, smiling as always]

There are those remarkable individuals who leave the world a better place than they found it. Our friend Frank Scalia was one of those rare individuals. Visitors to a classroom the Geological Sciences Department might have mistaken Frank for the professor, based on his infectious enthusiasm for the material, depth of life experience, and the fact that he was a bit older than most of the other students in the class. While Frank actually was a professor at CCSU (adjuncting in the School of Business for many years), on the 5th floor of Copernicus he was a student, learning more about the natural world for the sheer joy of it. Frank was the quintessential poster child for the value of life-long learning, as demonstrated by his impressive resume. He was also an amazingly wonderful human being. Self effacing and unassuming, many who shared the classroom with him never had the slightest inkling that he was actually “Dr. Scalia”, having earned a Ph.D in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University. To us he was simply Frank, the man with the permanent smile and the earnest and enthusiastic “hello”,  and a valuable role model to those a third his age.

We will miss you dearly, Frank. The 5th floor of Copernicus Hall will not be the same without you. Many thanks to you for allowing us to share your journey of learning and discovery.

– The Members of the CCSU Geological Sciences Department

Alum “Masters” Antarctica Research

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On April 30, Melissa Luna (CCSU Geological Sciences ’16) successfully defended her MA thesis at Wesleyan University.  The title of her thesis is: Changing Climate During the Pliocene: Sediment Interpretations from Site 697, the Jane Basin, Weddell Sea, Antarctica.  Here is Melissa in a celebratory mood after her defense, joined by her parents, her thesis supervisor Suzanne O’Connell, and Michael Wizevich, who was her undergraduate research supervisor at CCSU and served on her MA committee.

Congratulations to Melissa!

Is it 2021 yet? CCSU to host Northeast GSA Meeting

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Neal Hulstein presenting his research at the 2018 Northeast Region GSA meeting

CCSU has the honor of once again hosting the Northeast Regional Geological Society of American meeting in March 2021 (dates TBA). The last time we helped host the event was in 2012, and it was a great success. GSCI majors of the classes of 2021-2024 will be fortunate to play an important role in this event. So mark your calendars – it will be here before you know it!

 

CCSU Rocks Northeastern Region Geological Society of America Meeting

[Left: Group shot; not shown Dr. Oluyinka Oyewumi and Dr. Michael Wizevich; Right: Henry Abbott, Kelsey Duffy, Sara Poppa, and Rachael Kurtz decide on morning talks to attend]

Sixteen students, one recent graduate, and five faculty members from the CCSU Geological Sciences Department are attending the Northeastern Region Geological Society of America Conference in Burlington, VT. Their combined research resulted in thirteen poster presentations at this conference. Read about their exciting original work below. CCSU student authors are in italics; recent graduates are in bold:

Neal Hulstein and Mark Evans, THE FRACTURE AND FLUID HISTORY OF THE BIG ELK ANTICLINE IN THE IDAHO PORTION OF THE NORTHERN WYOMING SALIENT

Ian Murphy and Mark Evans, THE FRACTURE AND FLUID HISTORY OF TWO ANTICLINES IN THE NORTHERN WYOMING SALIENT

Mark Evans,  THE EFFECTS OF SYNTECTONIC LOADING ON THE STRUCTURAL GEOMETRY AND DEVELOPMENT OF VALLEY & RIDGE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA SALIENT

Brendan Hughes, Chrisette Landell, and Mark Evans, AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MECHANICAL STRATIGRAPHY OF A PORTION OF THE TRIASSIC NEW HAVEN ARKOSE, SIMSBURY, CONNECTICUT

Isabelle Kisluk, Abigail Underwood, Willow Reichard-Flynn, Michael Wizevich, and Edward Simpson, CHARACTERIZATION AND INTERPRETATION OF A LACUSTRINE MICROBIALITE UNIT IN THE EARLY CRETACEOUS YELLOW CAT MEMBER, CEDAR MOUNTAIN FORMATION, EAST-CENTRAL UTAH 

Willow Reichard-Flynn, Shannon Evans, Isabelle KislukAbigail Underwood, Edward Simpson, and Michael Wizevich, A PROBABLE EARLY CRETACEOUS PARACOPID DUNG BEETLE NEST, UPPER YELLOW CAT MEMBER, CEDAR MOUNTAIN FORMATION, EAST-CENTRAL UTAH

Abigail Underwood, Michael Wizevich, Isabelle Kisluk, Edward Simpson, and Willow Reichard-Flynn, SEDIMENTARY FACIES ANALYSIS OF THE EARLY CRETACEOUS POISON STRIP AND RUBY RANCH MEMBERS OF THE CEDAR MOUNTAIN FORMATION, EAST-CENTRAL UTAH

Joseph Croze, Steven Kennedy, Sourav Chakraborty, and Oluyinka Oyewumi, GEOCHEMICAL ASSESSMENT OF POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYL (PCBS) AND OTHER TRACE ELEMENTS WITHIN THE LOWER SEGMENT OF THE HOUSATONIC RIVER, CONNECTICUT

Oluyinka Oyewumi, Maxwell Meadows, Emma Colucci, and Allison Weinsteiger (Charney), EVALUATING MOBILIZATION AND TRANSPORT OF TRACE ELEMENTS WITHIN PREDOMINANTLY AGRICULTURAL SOILS OF LEBANON, CT

Emma Colucci and Oluyinka Oyewumi, SOURCES, DISTRIBUTION, AND TRANSPORT OF MERCURY AND OTHER TRACE ELEMENTS WITHIN FARMINGTON RIVER SEDIMENTS, HARTFORD COUNTY, CT 

Steven Kennedy, Joseph Croze, Sourav Chakraborty, and Oluyinka Oyewumi, ASSESSING RELEASE OF POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBS) AND OTHER CHEMICAL ELEMENTS ALONG THE UPPER SEGMENT OF HOUSATONIC RIVER, MASSACHUSETTS 

Allison Charney, Randolph Steinen, and Margaret Thomas, MESOZOIC DIABASE DIKE NOMENCLATURE IN CONNECTICUT

Kristine Larsen, LADY GRACE ANNE PRESTWICH (1832-99) AND THE POPULARIZATION OF GEOLOGY

Students Shine at Local Mineral Show

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Ben Bogue demonstrates the polarizing microscope

Once again, CCSU Geological Sciences students were rock stars at the annual Meriden Mineral and Gem Show. Students aided Department Chair Dr. Mark Evans in explaining the geology of Connecticut, helping children of all ages look “inside” a rock with the help of a polarizing microscope, and giving out samples of local rocks. Read about the show here.

Community Collaboration Brings the Past to Life

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Mastodon skeleton drawn by Delia W. Godding

Recently department professor Kristine Larsen presented copies of her new book, The Women Who Popularized Geology in the 19th Century, to Bill Uricchio, Historian of St. John’s Episcopal Church, and church rector Susan Pinkerton, in appreciation of the church’s help in researching the life and work of Delia W. Godding. Miss Godding taught at St. John’s school in the 18oos while residing in Hartford and was one of the few women in New England to write geology books for children and the general public in the mid-1800s. This collaboration brought to light the significant contributions of this previously anonymous woman, and Uricchio and Larsen plan to continue working together to discover more about this trailblazing woman.