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Geology news and notes

September  09, 2016

News from the Augustana Department of Geology about field trips, internships, student publications and honors. Students and alumni who would like to share news are invited to email

Geology majors working in the geochemistry lab

From left to right: geology lab technician Sallie Heine, geology seniors Laura Behymer, Laura Ames and Kati Ponder 

2016 Augie Geology Seniors Conducting Original Scientific Research 

All geology majors conduct original scientific research on topics of their own choosing for their Senior Inquiry Projects. Here, senior geology majors, Laura Behymer, Laura Ames and Kati Ponder work with geology lab technician Sallie Heine in the Lucken Geochemistry Laboratory. Laura, Kati and Laura use the Rigaku SuperMini x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, the Katanax fusion fluxer and the hydraulic pellet press to conduct compositional analyses of their water, soil and mineral samples on their projects involving ravine water quality, soil contamination from an abandoned steel facility and heat-treatment of tourmaline gemstones.

From left:Prof. Michael Wolf, Craig Moore (BHGMC president), Mark Lundine'18, John Oostenryk, Prof. Jeff Strasser

Local Gem and Mineral Club presents scholarship award

Mark Lundine '18 was awarded the Black Hawk Gem and Mineral Club Annual Scholarship by President Craig Moore at the March 2016 meeting held at the Fryxell Geology Museum.

Geology majors in Death Valley for a spring break field trip.

Front row, l-r: Ali Patch' 17, Jessa Rizzo '17 Nick Torres '18, Kati Ponder '16 Amanda Livingston '17, Laura Ames '16 ,  Chad Populorum '18

Back row, l-r: Allison Pease '18, Sierra Kindley '19, Robert Martin '17, Jacob Piske '17, Daniel Vitkus '18, Joey Teresi  '18, Zach Cook '18,  Mark Lundine '18, Joseph Cross '18, Dr. Mike Wolf, Laura Behymer '16, Sara Tilp '16, Caitlin Lebel '18 -Dr. Jeff Strasser (shadow taking the photo) 

2016 Spring break in
Death Valley, California

During spring break, Dr. Jeff Strasser and Dr. Michael Wolf and 19 geology students​ traveled to Death Valley, California as the culmination to a 1-credit course on the geology of the area. The students hiked for 6 days into the canyons, volcanic craters, sand dunes, and salt flats, and gave geologic research presentations of the features while on the outcrops.

From left, seniors Lauren Kirik, Brian Konecke, Diana Boudreau and Matt Osman (not pictured) took top prizes at the Geological Society of America North-Central Section meeting with Best Undergraduate Poster Presentations. 

Geology majors sweep poster presentation prizes

Four senior geology majors were awarded Best Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation at the North-Central Geological Society of America Annual Meeting held in Lincoln, Nebraska April 24-25, 2014.

Augie geology students competed with students from many Midwest colleges and universities. 

• Diana Boudreau won first place for her research on "Osteohistology of Cryolophosaurus Ellioti: Tempo and Mode of Growth in a  Large-Bodied Polar Dinosaur."

• Matt Osman won first place from the Society for Sedimentary Geology for his research on Employing Passive Acoustics as a Temporally Precise Monologue for Constraining Ebullitive Methane Fluxes in Warming Subarctic Lakes 

• Brian Konecke won second place for his research on Solubility and Stability of Beryllium-Silicates in Haplogranitic Melts."

• Lauren Kirik won fourth place for her research on Characterizing Hydrothermal Fluid Flow of Post-Variscan Ore Deposits in Nebida, SW Sardinia."See photos of all of the senior majors in front of their posters at the meeting.

Fall in East Asia, August out west

In the fall of 2016, Dr. Michael Wolf and 12 geology majors (among 80 Augustana students total) headed to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China to study the geology of Japanese earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, Japanese art and literature, and ancient Chinese medicine on Augustana's Fall Term in East Asia

In August 2016, incoming first-year students spent more than two weeks studying geology in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. They also earned three credits in the lab science course GEOL105: Introductory Physical Geology in the Rocky Mountains specifically offered every summer to all incoming Augustana first-year students only.

This rigorous course begins and ends on campus, but in between students get to hike the mountains and camp with friends.They were taught by Dr. Jeffrey Strasser and Dr. Michael Wolf, and learned about earth materials, structures, composition, and a variety of dynamic processes