Meet CCSU Geologists at the Meriden Mineral Show This Weekend

[CCSU Geological Sciences faculty and students volunteering at previous local mineral shows]

Have you ever wanted to look inside a rock? Do you want to jump start your private collection with free samples of Connecticut rocks and minerals? Are you interested in learning more about educational and career opportunities in the geological sciences?

Join members of the CCSU Geological Sciences Department at the Meriden Mineral and Gem show this weekend to learn more.

Where/When: Maloney High School, Saturday, March 3rd 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, March 4th 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM


Troy Schinkel: Tour Guide to the Environment


One of our talented adjunct faculty, Troy Schinkel, is also part of the Master Naturalist Program at Goodwin Forest. He not only shares his broad knowledge of the natural environment in his classes at CCSU, but through public talks. Here are some of his outreach events coming up in the near future.

Talks at Goodwin State Forest in Hampton, CT

  1. September 8th, 10 – 11:00 AM. Goodwin Topography

Topography is the shape of the land. During this talk we’ll take a look at topographic maps of the area and learn how to read them. We will also take a short walk to compare what we see on the map to what we see in nature.

2. September 8th, 11:00 – 12:00 AM. Phragmites – Invasive Species

Phragmites has been invading the state of Connecticut. Learn about this invasive species and what the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has done to decrease the growth of the plant.

3. September 8th and 29th, 10 – 10:30 AM. Today’s Weather at Goodwin

This talk will focus on the weather that is occurring today. Topics may include: temperature, dew point, humidity, pressure, cloud type, wind, etc. We will then discuss the relationship between the weather variables. We will also use the weather variables to try and predict future weather.

4. September 29th, 10:30 – 11:30 AM. Mosquitoes

Nobody likes them! The buzz around us and then leave these itchy bumps! Well, let’s learn a thing or two about these insects. During this talk we’ll learn about some of the different types of mosquitoes, where they breed, and some of diseases they carry.

Troy is also giving public talks at Indian Rock Nature Preserve – Bristol, CT

September 30th & October 22nd, 11:00 AM. Climate Change: 2 Part Series

Earth: The only livable planet that we know of is heating up. Learn about the process behind the heating and what’s causing it. We’ll focus on the deadly trio within our oceans: warming, acidification, and anoxia, and how this trio impacts our oceans. We’ll also take a look at the differences between natural and human induced heating.

Please contact the hosting facilities directly for more information. Read more about Troy here, and please join us in thanking Troy for his service to the general public. Troy Rocks!


CCSU now has the coolest sandbox (and it’s not just for playing in!)


[Introducing the new Augmented Reality Sandbox]

CCSU is now the only university in Connecticut with an Augmented Reality Sandbox. Part computer, part sand pile, this 100% educational (and fun!) set-up demonstrates a variety of geological phenomenon in real-time, including floods, volcanic eruptions, and glacier melts. Read about this new addition to the Geological Sciences Department here, and expect to get your time in the sandbox at the next university open house event!

Rocking Ireland for A Good Cause


[Dr. Piatek at Meteor Crater in Arizona during the 2016 field project]

Dr. Jen Piatek, our planetary geology specialist, is part of a project (funded through NSF’s IUSE: GEOPATHS program) titled “Engaging Students in Inclusive Geoscience Field Experiences via Onsite-Remote Partnerships”. This week, she joins a team of researchers from multiple universities [including Steven J. Whitmeyer and Eric Pyle (James Madison University), Christopher L. Atchison (University of Cincinnati), and Helen Crompton (Old Dominion)] and students for a week of field geology in western Ireland. The project’s goal is to identify techniques and technologies that can provide access to remote field sites for geoscience students with mobility limitations. The first field season took place this past May in northern Arizona (see above picture) with the same students – a video describing the project and the first season is also “live” this week as part of the “STEM for All” Video showcase. The video can be found at – please come by to leave comments, ask questions, and perhaps give the project a vote.

CCSU Once Again Rocks the Northeast Geological Society of America Conference!

[Corbin MacDonald and Nick Zygmont present their research this morning in Pittsburgh]

March brings with it not only Spring Break, but the Northeast regional conference of the Geological Society of America. Once again, CCSU is a dominant player, with 16 students and 3 faculty members in attendance. On the first morning of presentations, Corbin MacDonald and Nick Zygmont present research done on the geology of Pennsylvania (under the mentorship of department chairman Dr. Mark Evans). Read about Corbin’s research here and Nick’s research here. Dr. Evans is also presenting in this same session. His research is described here.



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).

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