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Geology student research

Geology majors are required to complete a senior research project under the direction of one of the faculty members, completing GEOL4501 (Introduction to Research) and GEOL451 (Senior Research). Completion of GEOL451 requires a written senior thesis and public presentation of results, typically at a Geological Society of America professional meeting. Student research projects vary with interest and funding.

Recent projects have included research in experimental petrology, paleontology, geomorphology, hydrogeology, geophysics, planetary geology, and glacial geology. Many students participate in National Science Foundation funded REU programs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) during the summer between junior and senior year. Recent students have traveled to Thailand, Sardinia, Alaska, Mongolia, Brazil, Iceland, and the Canary Islands with such programs.

Shah Ali 2020

Detrital Zircon Geochronology of the Cambrian Flathead and Deadwood Sandstone of Wyoming and South Dakota: An Analysis of Provenance and Sediment Dispersal Patterns


Lukas Karuza 2020

Geochemical Analysis and Heat-Treatment of Natural Sapphires from Mozambique and Tanzania in Oxidizing and Reducing Conditions


Joshua Malone 2020

Late Jurassic Dinosaurs on the Move: Gastroliths and Long-Distance Migration


Michael Sell 2020

Heavy Mineralogy of Bedload Sediment in the Upper Mississippi River and the Influence of Tributaries


Adam Borgetti, 2019

Detrital Zircon Geochronology of Late Wisconsin Glacial Erratics from Western Indiana: Implications for Provenance and Lobe Advance

Paige Gerhart, 2019

Spectroscopic Fingerprinting of Fluorescent Gems

Matthew Harrington, 2019

Identifying Dietary and Migratory Patterns of Illinois Mammuthus Primigenius Populations Using Isotope Analysis of Carbon, Oxygen, and Strontium

Bethany Hobart, 2019

Scanning Electron Microscopy of Lithophysae and 3-D Visualization of the Internal Structure of Banded Agate Nodules

Lauren Judge, 2019

Genetic Sequencing for Measuring Biodiversity in Recent and Ancient Marine Sediments

Sierra Kindley, 2019

Identifying Spatial Variance in the Geochemistry of Shallow Marine Sediments: A Study of Grand Cayman

Katherine Ludwig, 2019

Geochronology of the Chinchín Formation in Southern Ecuador

Joshua Pearson, 2019

Holocene Paleoclimate Record of Northern Iowa Recorded in Flowstone

Jill Reale, 2019

Effects of Heat Treatment on Spinels as Determined by VIS/NIR and Raman Spectroscopy and XRD

Students can now earn a departmental distinction upon successful completion of both a superior senior research thesis, GEOL 451 (Senior Research), and the geology degree with a GPA >3.5 for all geology courses and the supporting science and mathematics courses that are required for the major. Their efforts are recognized, in part, by a plaque stating the following:

For excellence in scientific coursework and successful completion of a superior research project, Augustana College's Department of Geology has conferred the Departmental Distinction in Geology upon the following students: Anders E. Carlson, 2000; Melissa J. Stafford, 2000; Jessica P. Allewalt, 2001; Beth A. Johnson, 2001; Veronica E. McCann, 2001; Jessica J. Terrien, 2001; Stephanie R. Bluemle, 2002; Meghan M. O'Hearn, 2002; Monica Z. Bruckner, 2005; Erica L. Emry, 2005; John A. Mischler, 2005; Michael R. Sheehan, 2005; Adam Cosentino, 2006; Nicolo Casarta, 2008; Daniel Hadley, 2008; Rebecca Saunders, 2008, Brandon Melton, 2010; Henry Stauffenberg, IV 2010; Jeremy Hoffman, 2011; Spencer Hellert, 2012; Maren Mathisen, 2012; Diana Boudreau, 2014; Jordan Carey, 2014; Alexis McAdams, 2014; Matt Osman, 2014; Ryan Plath, 2015; Joey Romero, 2015; Mark Lundine, 2018; John E. Malone, 2018; Allison Pease, 2018; Joseph Teresi, 2018; Bethany Hobart, 2019, Matthew Harrington, 2019.


Seriously good work by seniors shows they’re ready

Proud professors share examples of excellent Senior Inquiry projects, from computer science to art to public health. 

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Poust ’06 makes dinosaur headlines

Dr. Ashley Poust '06 made worldwide headlines for contributing to the discovery of a new species of feathered dinosaur in China.

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Graduates tell how Augie Choice—$2,000 for a big learning experience—influenced who they are today.