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Geoscience Department News

Up-to-date news from the Geoscience Department! If you have any news you would like us to share, just e-mail it to and we will get it up. Check back often (or subscribe to our RSS feed!) for updates.

Geoscience Students Named 2014 Provost Scholars

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The Geoscience Department congratulates our majors on being named as IUP Provost Scholars for 2014. To be named a Provost Scholar, students must have earned a minimum of 45 semester hours at IUP with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Provost Scholar recognition is given only once during a student’s time of study at IUP.

Congratulations go to the following students on their accomplishments:

  • Savannah Jain Irwin
  • Wesley Taylor Kamerer
  • Alyssa Marie Lerda
  • Joshua Thomas Master
  • Jared Wayne Trout

Geoscience Students on Fall 2014 Dean’s List

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The Geoscience Department congratulates its majors on being named to the Dean’s List for fall 2014.

Congratulations go to the following students on their accomplishments:

  • Tyler Joseph Allen
  • Travis Scott Anderson
  • Cameron Michael Baillie
  • Megan Luna Barlow
  • Troy Allen Berkey
  • Nicholas Wade Bradley
  • James Mitchell Burt
  • Adam John Caligiuri
  • Charles James Cavallotti
  • Kyle T. Eldridge
  • Brennan Matthew Ferguson
  • Cyrielle Fanny Marie Humbert
  • Savannah Jain Irwin
  • Alisha Marie Johnson
  • Melissa Lynne Jones
  • Wesley Taylor Kamerer
  • Brock Lane Kennedy
  • Jonathan Dennis King
  • Nathan D. Knepp
  • Rachel Eve Krueger
  • Mason Phillip Luster
  • Caleb Douglas McCombie
  • Leslie Hipp McConnell
  • Erick Michael Meade
  • Nicholas D. Santoro
  • Aaron Davis Seidel
  • Zachary David Spangler
  • Courtney Marie Sullivan
  • Lucas George Tatarko
  • Mark Anthony Tressler
  • Drew Joseph Yetter

Coles Recruits Amateurs to Measure Asteroids

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Ken Coles volunteered as an exhibitor at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in Suffern, N.Y., the largest astronomy show in the U.S., in April 2015. He worked with a group seeking observers to measure asteroids.

The International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) uses amateur observers to measure the size of asteroids as they block, or occult, stars. Mobile, relatively inexpensive equipment records the timing and duration of the occultation. Observations are coordinated and reported through the Internet.

Each year, IOTA produces dozens of detailed asteroid profiles accurate to a few km, which are used by researchers to verify telescope measurements of asteroid brightness and size.

Department of Geoscience

Mount Presents Research Findings from Everglades Study

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Gregory Mount, Department of Geoscience, recently co-authored three research posters presented at the 2015 Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) Conference. The posters focused on work covering the application of hydrogeophysical techniques to aquifer characterization and carbon cycling in the Everglades.

The Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference provide a valuable forum for scientists and engineers to showcase and communicate the latest scientific developments and to facilitate information exchange that builds shared understanding among federal, state, local, and tribal scientists and decision-makers, academia, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and private citizens.

The complete citations for these works are as follows:

  1. Mount, G.J., Comas, X, Wright, W., and McClellan, M. D. Using Ground penetrating radar (GPR) to image spatial variability of porosity in the Miami Limestone. Poster presented at Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) 2015. Coral Springs, Florida. 21-23 April 2015.
  2. McClellan, M. D., Wright, W., Shahan, T., Sharpe, N., Mount, G.J., Comas, X. Spatial Variability in Biogenic Gas Releases from Subtropical Peat Monoliths is Revealed from High Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Poster presented at Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) 2015. Coral Springs, Florida. 21-23 April 2015.
  3. Wright, W., Mount, G.J., McClellan, M. D., Comas, X., Seasonal biogenic gas dynamics in the Florida Everglades are revealed using hydrogeophysical methods. Poster presented at Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) 2015. Coral Springs, Florida. 21-23 April 2015.

Geoscience Students Win Research Awards

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Geoscience students presented their research during Research Appreciation Week 2015 at IUP as well as at the Pittsburgh Geological Society student night. 

Two of the main IUP events during this time were the Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Program (WMST) and the Undergraduate Scholars Forum (USF). Eighteen Geoscience students presented their independent research, with four students winning awards.

  • Megan Barlow won third place for Best Presentation at the WMST Program for her work with Nick Deardorff titled “Crystal Size Distribution on Submarine Lava Flows at NW Rota-1, Mariana Arc.”
  • Leslie McConnell won the WMST Program Best Computational Science Poster for her work with Karen Rose Cercone titled “A Comparative Study of Brine-Injection Induced Earthquakes.”
  • Danielle Lewis (geoscience minor) won first place Dean’s Award for Excellence at the USF for her work with Steve Hovan titled “Silent Seas: Exploration of Land Usage along Mississippi River and the Correlation to Growing Hypoxic Areas in the Gulf of Mexico.”
  • Jeremiah Thomas won second place Dean’s Award for Excellence at the USF for his work with John Taylor titled “Paleontology and Geology of the Ore Hill Member of the Upper Cambrian Gatesburg Formation in Centre County, Pennsylvania.”

There was a video produced about the IUP Undergraduate Scholars Forum, and Geoscience student Troy Berkey can be seen talking about his research on lava flow mapping in Oregon. Check him out at minute 3:38!

Graduating senior Matthew Magill also won second place for his poster presentation research titled “Kinematic Indicators of Shear and the Role of Volcanic Pressurization at the Heart Mountain Detachment” at the Pittsburgh Geological Society Student Night.

Congratulation to all of our students that presented at these events—you represented our department extremely well.

Geoscience Major King Awarded NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Fellowship

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Jon King, a junior in the BS in Geology program at IUP, has been accepted into a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program titled “Multidisciplinary Training for Students in Environmental and Social Sciences through Archaeological Research.” This fellowship includes a $4,000 stipend for the eight weeks of the project, the housing costs in the field and at Indiana University, a $300 travel allowance to the research site(s), and a $500 allowance to attend and present at the Midwest Archaeological Conference in fall 2015.

This eight-week summer program sponsored by Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) will examine how warfare and demographic change affected Mississippian-era settlements in the Ohio and Illinois River Valleys. This summer’s field and lab investigations will focus on a fortified, late Mississippian (AD 1250–1400) village near the Sangamon River in the southern half of the central Illinois River valley. The goals of this research are to understand how this community coped with climate change, persistent threats from neighbors, and resource shortfalls by constructing fortifications and ceremonial mounds.

The REU student fellows will document the timing and potential relationships between population, settlement and landscape changes related both to climatic factors (i.e., Medieval Climate Anomaly and Little Ice Age) and human-related land-use practices by combining lake sediment core records of climate, soil geochemistry, and landscape nutrient status (for human impact factors) with archeological records from major pre-Columbian settlements in the Illinois and Ohio River valleys.

Artist's rendering of a Mississippian mound site courtesy of Yu Shan, Eastern Decor and Art

(Artist’s rendering of a Mississippian mound site, courtesy of Yu Shan, Eastern Decor and Art)

Department of Geoscience

Students Gear Up for 41st Annual Geoscience Day

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The 41st annual Geoscience Day will be April 24, 2015. Seventeen senior Geoscience students will present their independent research during the Geoscience Day Symposium. This will be followed by a talk by alumnus Rich Parrish (’75) on his career in the oil and gas industry.

All are welcome to come for some or all of the talks. The symposium starts at 8:20 a.m. and continues until 3:30 in the afternoon (full schedule), and will be in the Weyandt Hall Planetarium.

  • Geoscience Department
  • Walsh Hall, Room 111
    302 East Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2379
  • Fax: 724-357-6208
  • Office Hours
  • Every Day: 8:00 a.m.–noon
  • Mon: 1:00–4:30 p.m.
  • Tues: 1:00–3:15 p.m.
  • Thurs: 2:00–4:00 p.m.
  • Fri: 1:00–4:30 p.m.