Students Prepare for Geological Society of America Presentations (Part 1)


Maxwell Meadows, a senior student in the Department of Geological Sciences, began a study of trace elements enrichment within agricultural farmland of Lebanon, CT under the supervision of Dr. Oyewumi.  He is seen here collecting soil within agricultural farmland with the overall goal of examining trace element enrichment and possible impact on the hydrologic systems. Results of his research will be presented at the forthcoming Northeast Conference of the Geological Society of America in Pittsburgh, PA. You can read Max’s abstract here.

Future El Ed Teachers Make the Grade in Science With the Help of GSCI Faculty


One of the most important jobs of the Geological Sciences Department is to make sure that ALL students accepted into the Professional Program in Elementary Education at CCSU make the grade in terms of their preparation to teach science to the children of our state. With the recent adoption of NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), this task is more important than ever. Shown above is a poster created by students in Dr. Bednarski’s SCI 412 (Elementary Science Methods) class explaining their work on forces and motion. They created an experiment to test out the various forces involved in playing billiards. They then tested their questions using chop sticks and ping pong balls. Next week they will be creating models of their investigations.

Are YOU Ready for the August 2017 Solar Eclipse?

[Partial phases from the 2006 Total Solar Eclipse in Egypt. Pictures by K. Larsen, using a proper solar filter]

Dubbed “The Great American Eclipse,” this amazing celestial event will be visible from Connecticut as a partial, not total, eclipse. This means that you need proper preparation to view it safely. CCSU astronomy professor Dr. Kristine Larsen is available to speak on this important topic at libraries, schools, and other public venues within 20 miles of CCSU between now and mid-August, free of charge, schedule permitting. Please send email to with the subject line “SOLAR ECLIPSE TALK.” At least two week’s notice is required for any talk. The venue needs to provide a projection screen and a projector that can be hooked up to a laptop (or equivalent facilities).

Connecticut Science Teachers Go to SCI Camp!


On Saturday December 3 we had our first SCI Camp at CCSU! Over thirty teachers and science education faculty from all over Connecticut attended. We had a wonderful morning session on developing and using models in the classroom. Our phenomenon was to see what happens when you put two balloons of the same size together with an open / close valve, with one blown up with 1 breath and the other with 3 breaths: what will happen if you open up the valve between them?

You’ll just have to do it yourself to see! Our next SCI Camp will be open to all teachers and administrators in Connecticut and will be held at CCSU in March 2017. More details to follow!

– Marsha Bednarski, Professor of Science Education


Students Offer Free Crash Course in the Night Sky

Have you ever wanted to look through a telescope at the moon or another galaxy? If so, now’s your chance!

Join us for a free public Crash Course on the Night Sky, Monday through Thursday, December 5-8, 6:30 – 8 PM if skies are clear

Hosted by the students of AST 278 Observational Astronomy

Take the elevators to the 5th floor of Copernicus Hall at CCSU and follow the signs. For more information, see


AAPG Distinguished Speaker to visit CCSU

Central Connecticut State University Department of Geological Sciences will host

 AAPG Distinguished Lecturer Per Kent Pedersen
Associate Professor, Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada



When:                   Friday November 11, 2016

Time:                   2:00 PM

Where:                 Central Connecticut State University,  211 Copernicus Hall (Planetarium)

Where to park:     Copernicus Garage (see map at                       

Food and Refreshments will be provided

For the abstract of this talk see

For more information on the speaker, see


A Teachable Moment: Geological Sciences Now Has a Monitoring Well Field!

[Upper left: Students examining core samples; Lower left: Students braving the cold to participate in hands-on learning; Right: a well being drilled]

We did it! We had a successful drilling day with great thanks to Michael Ainsworth and Kaitlyn Weider and staff at HRP Associates in Farmington, Mark Schock and staff at Glacier Drilling in Durham, Seth Molofsky at the Environmental Professionals of Connecticut (EPOC), and Jim Grupp at CCSU Facilities. We also thank Jim Mulrooney and Dean Malhas for providing coffee, pastries and lunch for the day.

Five 20-foot-deep monitoring wells were put in on campus near Copernicus Hall. With a pre-existing well, that makes a six-monitoring-well field. Dr. Oyewumi is thrilled that he will now be able to teach students work-force ready skills such as determining groundwater flow, pumping tests, aquifer characterization, and water chemistry.

Drilling day started at 7 am when Katie arrived to set up the safety perimeter around the drill sites. By 8 am, the driller was there and had started the first hole. About four feet down, the drill started making a really bad sound and virtually stopped. This was not good. It turned out to be a couple of chucks of steel that we had no idea as to the origin of. Jim Grupp said that it was not a pipe (good) and gave the go-ahead to continue to drill. After that, all went smoothly and by 4:30, five wells were drilled, cleaned, lined, and capped. Mark Schock even brought in a smaller rig called a Geoprobe that basically drilled 5 feet in about one minute to show how it was done.

From 8 am to noon, Field Methods class observed the drilling and sampling process. Katie and Mike explained every step. Mark even took time out from the drilling to explain the entire drilling process. The students learned an incredible amount. We look forward to incorporating this well field into our Hydrogeology and Environmental Geochemistry as well as Field Methods and introductory labs.

Again we thank all involved for donating their time and effort for all of the planning involved and especially on drilling day. Thanks to EPOC for contributing $3000 to the cost of the drilling. For an extended photo gallery as well as a complete list of “thank yous,” please see our Department website:


– Mark Evans



CCSU Geological Sciences Department Shines in Recent Public Outreach Events

[Left: GSCI majors Angie Colella and Sara Poppa have fun staffing the department table at the Bristol Gem and Mineral Show. Right: Faculty member Dr. Kristine Larsen rocks some eclipse glasses at a safe solar observing station for Earth Science Day]

The faculty, staff, and students of the CCSU Geological Sciences Department “rocked it” in serving the greater community in three recent public outreach events. On Saturday, October 15, students, faculty and staff held a suite of free public events – including planetarium shows, safe solar observing, cratering, make your own starfinder, and exploring rocks and fossils of Connecticut – to celebrate Earth Science Day (which happened to coincide with CCSU Family Day/Homecoming). At the same time (and continued on Sunday October 16), other faculty and students hosted a table at the Bristol Gem and Mineral show, where the public could “look inside a rock” using a variety of microscopes. On Monday, October 17, Dr. Kristine Larsen gave a presentation on 400 years of exploring the planet Jupiter to a packed house at the Simsbury Public Library.

If you are interested in learning about future outreach activities, like our Facebook page

Faculty and Students Entertain and Educate YOU This Weekend!

[Observe sunspots at CCSU or look inside a rock at the Bristol Gem and Mineral Show this weekend!]

The CCSU Geological Sciences Department has a weekend jam-packed with fun and education and we invite YOU to participate!

First, at 12:15 PM on Friday, October 14, Connecticut geologist and mineral specimen collector and photographer Harold “Fritz” Moritz will be speaking on “Quarry Hill and Chrysoberyl Knoll: The Minerals and Quarries of Haddam. Connecticut.” This talk is free and open to the public. Join us in room 517 of Copernicus Hall.

On Saturday, October 15, we celebrate Earth Science Day with two free planetarium shows (11:30 AM and 2:00 PM) as well as hands-on activities from 11:00 AM until 2:30 PM, including sunspot observations (weather permitting), make your own Star Finder, make a model of the sun to take home, and much more! Again, these events are free and open to the public. The planetarium is Room 211 in Copernicus Hall. Earth Science Day events will be down the hall, in the North side (Library side) foyer of Copernicus Hall.

Finally, on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 we will have an exhibit at the Bristol Gem and Mineral Show. The show is open 9:30-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. Admission is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors, and free for kids under 12 with a paid adult. Come “Look inside a rock” at our microscope booth! For more information, see

Geology and Astronomy ROCK at CCSU!