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Geology news and notes

December  17, 2015

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:Kellie Moore (BHGMC treasurer), Allison Patch'17, Craig Moore (BHGMC president), Prof. Michael Wolf

Local Gem and Mineral Club presents scholarship award

Allison Patch '17 was awarded the Black Hawk Gem and Mineral Club Annual Scholarship by President Craig Moore and Treasurer Kellie Moore at the March 2015 meeting held at the Fryxell Geology Museum.
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.

Geology majors in Hawaii for a spring break field trip.

Spring break in Hawaii

During spring break, Dr. Michael Wolf and 17 geology majors spent 10 days studying the geology of Hawaii.

While on the Big Island, they hiked inside Kīlauea Iki Crater and explored the underground lava tubes of Volcanoes National Park, day-tripped to Papakōlea Beach (one of the four green sand beaches in the world) and experienced the drive from sea level to 13,599 foot elevation as they ascended Mauna Kea.

Fall in East Asia, August out west

In the fall of 2013, Dr. Michael Wolf and 13 geology majors headed to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China to study the geology of Japanese earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, Japanese art, international relations of China and the modern economy of China on Augustana's Fall Term in East Asia

In August 2013, 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 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