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.

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

Earth Science Day Brings Science Down to Earth

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[Some of the activities from CCSU Earth Science Day: Make a fossil, the virtual reality sandbox, polarizing microscope]

Members of the CCSU Geology and Planetary Science Club brought Earth Science down to earth for the members of the CCSU community and their families who attended our Earth Science Day celebration during CCSU’s Homecoming and Family Day. Hands-on activities and planetarium shows allowed our visitors to get up close and personal with rocks, walk a timeline of earth’s history, tour a scale model of the solar system, and control rivers and volcanoes with just a swipe of a hand with our virtual reality 3-D sandbox. This annual event is run by the students and offered to the public free of charge. Congratulations to GPS President Sara Poppa and all the other students for a job well done!

CCSU GSCI Rocks the Durham Fair Again

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Ben Bogue demonstrates the petrographic microscope to a young visitor

For the second year in a row, the Geological Sciences Department sponsored two tables at the regional Durham Fair from September 21 to 24, 2017. We estimate that over 3500 people stopped by our tables in the total of 39 hours that we were there.

Our set-up was similar to last year: We had two hands-on displays. The first was ‘What’s inside a Rock.’ For this one we had a binocular microscope where people could look at a rock under low magnification. We also had a petrographic microscope with a camera and an external computer monitor displaying a thin section of the same rock. As people looked through the microscope they saw a rainbow of colors in the thin section due to the effect of polarized light. Nearly every little kid (and most adults) went WOW! THAT’S NEAT! We told them that this is how geologists ‘look inside a rock’ to learn what minerals are present. Everyone was fascinated.

We also had a display of rocks from throughout Connecticut and especially from around Durham for ‘This is Durham 200 Million Years Ago.’ The kids were able to touch a fish fossil from Durham and we gave out samples of muscovite mica, pegmatite, and packets of the three different rock types. We gave away about 1000 bags of rocks and minerals.

For Dr. Evans, it was a pleasure talking with the hundreds of people who stopped by and asked questions about the display. Like last year, Dr. Evans also gave two talks at the Fair: The ‘Geology of Connecticut’ and ‘Climate Change in Connecticut in the Past 20,000 Years.’ Both were well attended with nearly 50 people in attendance for each.

We had seventeen (17!!) Geological Sciences majors volunteer their time to help out. We especially want to thank: Henry Abbott, Ben Bogue, Angie Colella, Emma Colucci, Joe Croze, Kelsey Duffy, Robb Evans, Brenden Hughes, Neal Hulstein, Isabelle Kisluk, Sarah Krzeminska, Chrisette Landell, Corbin MacDonald, Ian Murphy, Sara Poppa, Abbie Underwood, and Nick Zygmont. In addition, we had help from former student Melissa Luna (now working on her Master’s at Wesleyan) and Sarah Krzeminska’s friend Ken Lalli. We could not have had such a successful event without them.

We were invited back for next year’s fair, so if you did not see us there, we’ll be back in 2018. In the meantime, stop by and see us at the Bristol Gem and Mineral Show (http://bristolgem.org/annual-show/) in October!

— Mark Evans

 

Eclipse viewing is a family affair at CCSU

[Chemistry Professor Barry Westcott and family are among the CCSU community members observing the Great American Eclipse on campus]

Although the Great American Eclipse was not total at CCSU, an impromptu observing session in front of Copernicus Hall allowed members of the CCSU family to safely observe the 67% partial eclipse. Clouds occasionally obscured the view, but using a variety of telescope projection systems Geological Sciences Department staff and volunteers (under the direction of Mr. Craig Robinson of our Copernican Planetarium and faculty member Dr. Jen Piatek) helped the students, staff, and faculty (as well as some from the general public) take a break from the preparation of our Fall semester and catch a glimpse of this celestial wonder.

Elsewhere on campus, Blue Devils watched the partial eclipse on their own, using solar eclipse glasses handed out by faculty member Dr. Kristine Larsen before she left for her total solar eclipse trip to Missouri. More on that adventure will be posted on our sister blog, CCSUniverse.

Although we did not have the resources to safely host an organized public event, we hope you enjoyed your eclipse adventure, wherever you observed it from, and regardless of how much you actually witnessed.

The Next Best Thing to Being There

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[A rainbow over the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico]

Dr. Jen Piatek’s research is literally out of this world! Although she is an expert on the geology of Mars, she can’t exactly take her astronomy students there for a field trip. Similarly, when teaching regular geology classes she wishes she could bring her students to see volcanoes, mountains, or lake deposits up close and personal, but the department budget is limited. However, using a camera and special GigaPan software, Dr. Piatek and her research students have created amazing high resolution panoramic views of these geological features  and bring them into the classroom for students to have an experience that is the next best thing to being there. Many of these geological features are reasonable facsimiles to features seen on Mars, so by learning about our own planet, students can increase their understanding of our neighboring planet.

Dr. Piatek’s latest GigaPan adventure was to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Students in her classes should expect to see these amazing panoramas in the near future. Dr. Piatek is always interested in involving students in her GigaPan adventures, so if you are interested in being one of her assistants, please contact her!

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

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[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!