I've been busy this past year continuing to run the Summer Field School program in Colorado, as well as returning full time to the class room and teaching. The Economic Geology class was offered two consecutive years for the first time since Gilles retired, because of high student demand, reflecting an abundance of job opportunities in the exploration field. I've begun a project at the Haile gold mine in South Carolina, where former student Berkley Tracy works as a geologist. We're not sure what the focus will be quite yet, but with 400,000+ feet of drill cuttings and core, we should be able to get the first high resolution look at what likely will be a significant gold mine soon.
On the home front, Matt is finishing up his freshman year at University of Kentucky. No major yet, but he's pretty sure it won't be geology. Kira is a freshman in high school. She finally had to give up gymnastics due to injuries and is now pole vaulting and running on the track team. Corinne is talking up a storm, still likes the color purple, and loves going to her school right here on campus. Julie still works too many hours a week, working full time at a pediatric practice, as well as the St. Mary's emergency room stitching up people who fall down. We'd love to hear from you!
It was another busy year of teaching and research. Several projects were continued at the Agricultural Research Service in Watkinsville while Jason Thomas finished his thesis conducted there in December. I spent January in Plymouth, England, continuing my long-term collaboration with Andrew Williams of the University of Plymouth. An exciting new research initiative I started this year involves collaboration with Jake Peters (USGS) at Panola Mountain Research Watershed near Atlanta. Richard Cary is using 20+ years of data to examine flow paths using a combination of flow and chemistry data. Most recently, Dave Wenner and I spent a week in the Mojave Preserve (south of Las Vegas in California) looking at springs in the Granite Mountains. We had a great time, made a good contact with the Park Service hydrologist, and I look forward to continued work there â€“ maybe with a student or two!
2009 was spent completing analysis and reassembly of the sub-fossil gray whale mandible excavated at J-Y Reef in the summer of 2008. The Conservation Laboratory at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, carried out the reassembly and conservation of the gray whale discovery under agreement with the University of Georgia. NOAA funded a consultant recommended by the laboratory and this facilitated the project significantly.
In late 2009, Dr. Scott Noakes, a co-principal on the gray whale fossil recovery, was able to negotiate a no-cost casting of the mandible by the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Noakes and Mr. Greg McFall (NOAA) drove the gray whale mandible to Washington to avoid any damage that would have been incurred by having to ship the fossil. The Smithsonian will cast one copy for that museum and make two additional copies. The UGA copies will be used for permanent/temporary museum displays so the original discovery can remain safely in curation. It is anticipated the casts will be completed in mid-2010.
Some resurvey of the sites previously studied at GRNMS was done in 2009. In particular, dives were made, on separate occasions in the sanctuary. One trip was made to the area called "the Terraces" and another trip visited Station #16. The latter is where a significant amount of study was done up to 2006. After 2006, our research efforts were directed at the recovery of the gray whale discovery. The dives at the Terraces were made to assess the presence or absence of the fossil shell beds found at other locations in GRNMS and J-Y Reef. The results were positive and samples of the fossil scallops were recovered at the Terraces site. Resurvey of Station #16 was done to assess the location for any new fossil or artefact finds. None were found but water conditions were not optimal for survey activity. Nonetheless, the trip was considered a good idea and new outcrops at #16 were examined in greater detail than in previous years.
Research, in 2010, will be directed at this location in GRNMS as well as continued monitoring of the J-Y Reef whale recovery site. A new direction, in 2010, will be the survey of deeper, live-bottom areas, seaward of the 20 meter isobath. The objective is to assess these areas for geological, paleontological and archaeological materials that can be compared to those already discovered in GRNMS.
Two publications for referred scientific journals have been submitted for review based on the research done at GRNMS and J-Y Reefs.
I started a new three-year funded project last summer on dispersal in benthic foraminifera. As part of this, I spent most of fall semester at Woods Hole working with Joan Bernhard. We started the fall with a research cruise in September that took us to some sites just south of Cape Cod, and Eleanor Gardiner and Andrew Zaffos (UGA geology grad students) joined us. Unfortunately, the weather was horrible, and the 12 to 18-foot seas kept us rocking and rolling for most of the cruise. We had just one day of decent weather and worked very long hours boxcoring at two fairly shallow sites (80 and 120-meters). We have a make-up cruise scheduled for mid-May, and we're hoping for better weather! Two UGA students will join us on that cruise as well. After processing samples from the cruise we focused on a couple of marsh sites, one on the south side of the Cape and the other, the famous Barnstable marsh, on the north. These marshes are quite different from those of Sapelo and the rest of the Georgia coast. I enjoyed working in Joan's lab and my time on Cape Cod â€“ a nice break from my usual routine! While I was gone, Physical Plant renovated the space formerly occupied by Cartographic Services into labs for Steve Holland and me, and a new office for me. The new digs are wonderful, and for the first time in my career, I have an office and lab in the same building. And â€“ both have windows! I spent a lot of time packing the lab at Riverbend and moving to the GG Building. Once that was done, I moved my office as well. In addition to moving, I'm teaching a couple of sections of GEOL 1122. Ellen Brouillette, who examined the effects of selected heavy metals on common coastal foraminiferra, completed her M.S. with me last summer and started a new position at the EPA. Deniz Altin Ballero is continuing her work on the phylogenetics of Clade E allogromiids for her Ph.D. and teaches full time at Georgia Perimeter College.
This has been a fun and rewarding year. Graduate student Horry Parker has been using seismic surface waves to image karst features near Albany, Georgia. This spring, he received an award for the best graduate student poster at the Southeastern GSA meeting in Baltimore and will defend his M.S. thesis in May. He plans to stay at UGA to work on a Ph.D. He'll be working on earthquake data to image the Paleozoic suture between North American and African lithosphere beneath south Georgia. That's the other bit of good news â€“ we've received funding from the NSF for a four and a half year project to investigate the structure of the crust and uppermost mantle beneath a portion of the southern Appalachians. This is a collaborative project with investigators at Brown University and UNC Chapel Hill. Over the next two years we'll be installing seismic stations along two profiles that will run from Florida to the Carolinas. This is an offshoot of the USArray project that is currently rolling across the country. All of you hardcore field people who enjoy swinging a pickaxe are welcome to join us over the next three summers!
I've also been very lucky to work with Sandra Wyld as an undergraduate advisor. Over the past few years, the number of undergraduate majors has grown significantly and more and more of our students are doing undergraduate thesis projects.
On the home front, Barbara is still enjoying her work at Barnett Shoals Elementary School and her performances with the Athens Symphony and various chamber groups. Our daughter, Elizabeth, is a supervisor of investigators with the Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services, and our son, Peter, an amateur photographer, will be displaying some of his work at the Botanical Gardens this October and November.
This past year was a busy one. I taught a few days at our field school in CaÃ±on City, and showed the students how to measure section on Skyline Drive and map on the Dakota hogback. The students were great, even despite the unusually early arrival of the monsoon, which brought heavy rains in the afternoon like clockwork. In June, I headed to Cincinnati for the Ninth North American Paleontological Convention, where I gave a talk with Andrew Zaffos (my senior M.S. student) and led a mid-meeting field trip with Mark Patzkowsky (Penn State) to those stunningly fossiliferous Upper Ordovician rocks around Cincinnati. I then spent a couple of fantastic weeks in Wyoming with Mark, where we're studying the sequence stratigraphy of the Upper Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite and the response of equatorial faunas and carbonate sedimentation to climate change. Mark and I published our first paper on the Bighorn last year in Palaios. I ended the year by giving an invited talk for the Palaeontological Association in Birmingham, England in December. It was great to be in England at Christmastime, with the added bonus that I got to see one of the four known articulated specimens of Astraspis and meet Ivan Samson, who's studied these primitive Ordovician fish. Ivan says that Jessica Allen's (M.S. 2003) sequence stratigraphic study of the Harding Formation in Colorado is invaluable for understanding the habitats of a wide suite of Ordovician vertebrates.
I've got two graduate students and two undergraduates working with me. Andrew Zaffos is finishing his master's thesis on the relationship between abundance and extinction selectivity during the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Max Christie is just starting his master's thesis, and he study whether taxonomic measures of extinction intensity are a good predictor of ecological changes at three extinction events of varying magnitudes, including the M4-M5 Ordovician extinction (Karen Layou, Ph.D., 2007, studied this event), the end-Ordovician extinction, and the Late Devonian extinction. Joshua Miller is finishing his undergraduate thesis on well-log correlations of the Bighorn Dolomite across Wyoming, and Kirk Fraley is completing his undergraduate thesis on the depositional environments of Pennsylvanian cliff-forming sandstone in northwest Georgia. This fall, Andrew heads to Cincinnati to start his Ph.D., Joshua will start his masterâ€™s at University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and Kirk begins his masterâ€™s studies here at UGA. We've all enjoyed working in the new labs that were built in the old cartographics space for Susan Goldstein and me.
My family is doing well. Tish has had extraordinary funding success this past year and is now the chief scientist for three projects on climate change. The first is to the Southern Ocean along the edge of Antarctica, the second is in the Amazon River and adjacent areas in the Atlantic, and the third is off the north coast of Alaska. She's going to earn a lot of frequent flyer miles this year! Our sons, Zack and Alex, are doing great. We've added camping to our repertoire and are looking forward to a summer of adventure.
After completing a one year faculty development assignment in summer 2009, I have been mostly away from the Geology Department during spring 2010 on a leave of absence. The leave of absence has enabled me to continue to collaborate with the Department of Army Headquarters and the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (UGARF) in the development of a UGA invention that neutralizes human and environmental threats from explosive compounds in soils and groundwater, and stockpiled munitions. This new and innovative remediation technology called MuniRem was developed in my laboratory and UGARF has filed national and international patent applications. MuniRem provides an effective in-situ treatment approach for explosive munitions constituents, both in residue and high (bulk) concentrations on land. It also has applications for neutralization of explosive residues in groundwater and decontamination of buildings used in munitions manufacture and processing, and potentially address underwater military munitions either in place or after recovery.
The Better World Report committee of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) has selected MuniRem to feature in its 2010 publication of the Better World Report. Our goal is to develop and provide the United States government and other governments around the world with a cost-effective "green" technology for demilitarization applications and for cleanup of explosives residue from munitions related activities â€“ production, demilitarization, live-fire training and testing.
Despite this apparent distraction, my research program continues to focus on our core research areas, including phytoremediation technologies (for example floating wetlands and rhizoremediation), microbial mats aquatic treatment system, and filtration and biodegradation of perchlorate. Working in collaboration with an 11th grade student and faculty at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, we are using an independent scientific research project to study the efficacy of growing photosynthetic microbial mats on nutrient rich wastewater from a farm. The goal is to cleanup the wastewater and produce biomass for bioenergy.
I have resorted to playing catch up on some of Kagho's high school soccer by reading the "The Oconee Leader" newspaper where his attacking skills on the Oconee Warriors team have been featured multiple times. Kagho is having a great high school soccer season as the Oconee Warriors remain undefeated. To make up for missing that many games he and I will spend part of the summer visiting all five universities he has expressed interest in applying to during his junior year. Our two girls are sharpening their agriculture skills by assisting Florence and I in the spring garden behind the house. We are looking forward to a hectic summer.
Alberto PatiÃ±o Douce
It is hard to believe that a year has gone by. When I signed on to write a book I did not know what I was getting into. It has been a tremendously positive experience, but at the same time it is a lot more complicated than what one thinks from the outside. I am not willing to compromise on content or quality though, and I am quite happy with the way it is coming together, but I will be even happier once I deliver the manuscript. The date has now been pushed back to the end of the summer, and for the first time since I began this project I am absolutely certain that I will meet the (new) deadline. What this means is that I have very little to report on, as every waking moment has been occupied with either writing or thinking about the book. The one newsworthy even is that Christian Schrader successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation in September, and I hooded him during fall commencement in December. He is now a postdoctoral student with NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center. From the "non-book" part of the year, here is a picture of me at the summit of Haleakala (August of 2009). See you next year!
Marta PatiÃ±o Douce
Another year has gone by! Alberto and I spent some days in Maui during the summer and enjoyed the incredible sunsets from the top of Haleakala. In the spring, another volcano, albeit an older, eroded one in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park, was the setting for incredible sunsets. Taking geologic pictures for class is always a great way to spend free time. Here at UGA, besides my regular teaching load of GEOL 1121, GEOL 1122 and the Maymester Gems class, I devoted a big portion of the fall semester to revamp the Explore Earth in Argentina program web site. With the skilled touches of Robert Phares, our web master, and the creative eye of Lizzy Nephew, our public relations intern, we launched one of the most beautiful study abroad program web sites by the end of the fall.
Despite our efforts to cut down the program's price and with the new website, again this year we were unable to attract enough students to make the Argentina program run this summer. It might have been the hard economic times, it might have been the fierce competition with the other ninety-plus study abroad programs offered at UGA that tap on the same pool of students. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that the program needs to be reevaluated. Everyone agrees with the benefits of learning about geologic processes in the field, and if the learning happens abroad, the experience is even more valuable. It enriches significantly our students' formation not only academically but also as self-confident individuals and as citizens of the world. So, I am not ready to give up the study abroad option for our students, but I recognize the need to explore other viable avenues for next summer. I am working towards that end.
I also taught three geology distance education courses, two of them for Independent and Distance Learning of the University System of Georgia and the third one for eCore, sponsored by the Board of Regents. My online and distance education students keep making progress towards the goal of getting a degree. The group is nontraditional, highly dedicated and strong willed. I have taught students from different states, students serving in the military abroad, parents with young children, older people returning to college and even inmates who submit lessons by mail. Contrary to what many of you may think, the relationship between instructor and student is very fluid, in spite of the fact that we never meet face to face. On the online side, the eCore group this semester is a very vocal bunch. They will share pictures of their rock collections, "geologic" family outings and stories of their everyday lives. You may want to check some of their stories in this issue as well. As you see, teaching continues to be very rewarding and I am looking forward to the next year. Stay well.
The 2009-2010 academic year has been a linguistic and speleological adventure with the presence of Visiting Scholar Guglielmo Angelo Caddeo, whom we've called "Angelo" after concluding that none of us can say "Guglielmo" correctly. Angelo would be "Dottor Caddeo" in his native Italy but is now working on a Ph.D. at the University of Cagliari in Sardinia, the cave rich island from which he comes. I have learned much about strange speleothem morphologies and mineralogies from him, while he has learned some geochemistry, some lab techniques, and some English.
My research has increasingly moved toward paleoclimate studies using stalagmites and other earth-surface carbonates. This is partly work on materials collected by George Brook in southern Africa (and India) ( . . . and China), and it now includes Graduate Student Hillary Sletten's work on a spectacular 1.5-meter tall stalagmite from Namibia. It also includes my work on a small but spectacular stalagmite (see picture) from northwestern Spain that was sent to me by research colleagues at the University of CoruÃ±a. The stalagmite is only 8 cm tall but spans the entire Holocene, with erosion surfaces generated during wet periods and surfaces of nondeposition recording dry periods. Funding to George and the folks in CoruÃ±a keeps the bills paid for all of this.
I continue to teach Earth's History of Global Change, with the disturbing message that we are descendents of slimy organisms and that we have done some less-than-ideal things to our planet. There's also Elementary Oceanography, which remains lots of fun, and in fall 2009 there was Earth-Surface Geochemistry, bits of which continue to emerge for the world's amusement on my Some Fundamentals of Mineralogy and Geochemistry website at www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/FundamentalsIndex.html. Meanwhile, The Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions continues its own life, having recently been translated into Spanish by Professor Juan-Pablo Bernal of the Universidad Nacional AutÃ³noma de MÃ©xico. That means it's now available in English, Chinese, and now Spanish, with perhaps another translation on the way. FantÃ¡stico!
Departmental administration consumed much of my time, so the past year my research has largely been vicarious through the work of grad students Jeff Chaumba (petrology and geochemistry of ultramafic rocks in the Piedmont), Steve Clark (petrology and geochemistry of diabase dikes in the Piedmont), and Heath McGregor (petrology and geochemistry of dikes at Spanish Peaks). I'm pleased to note that Steve and Jeff graduated last spring, and Heath graduates this spring. Alberto and I continue to work closely on apatite geochemistry and we are combining data obtained on the microprobe with a model for Cl-F-OH partitioning between fluid and apatite that Alberto developed. Cl in particular is a fascinating element, which is largely concentrated in the oceans but significant Cl occurs in the mantle-much of it recycled through subduction zones but there is intriguing evidence in diamonds and apatite for a primitive reservoir. Once again I taught field school but a highlight of the summer was a busman's holiday in southern France viewing c. 20,000 year old cave art while canoeing the Dordogne and other rivers.
The biggest news item since last year is our acquisition of a new x-ray diffraction system. The Geology Department is now the proud owner of a Bruker D8 Advance XRD. The large sighs of relief you might have heard emanating from the Geography-Geology Building are from the students who have been patiently waiting to verify sample mineralogy for their thesis work. Thanks to NSF, your stimulus dollars at work. Otherwise, Jay Austin has submitted a paper that places new constraints on the use of paleosol proxies for estimating past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. His modeling results suggest that current paleo-PCO2 estimates derived from paleosols may be too high by a factor of 10. My collaborations over the past year have resulted in a newly edited book on Clays of Yellowstone. Also some new book chapters will appear with Amber Jarrad on "Inquiry-based pedagogy for learning about clays of Yellowstone" and with Chris Fleisher and Glenn Stracher on "Identification of Coal Fire Mineral Assemblages". I've also published two articles on "Natural occurrence of elevated arsenic and selenium in Georgia regolith" and another on "Far infrared study of synthetic phlogopites" with colleagues in France. This coming year will likely be busy, as I take the reigns as President of the Clay Minerals Society. My new student Katrina Ostrowicki has been extremely proactive by securing an internship with the USGS and we are embarking on a mineralogical study of the Floridan Aquifer using drill core that was just taken from a well completed at Fort Pulaski National Park near Savannah. Liaisons with the kaolin industry are doing well. New graduate student Ken Nelson is looking at crystal chemical variations of the clays within a stratigraphic context and I led a freshman seminar to the kaolin district. My work directing the CAUR in Barrow Hall continues, with the new addition of a CCD camera for the TEM and the submission of a proposal for a new field-emission SEM being major accomplishments. Last, but not least, is our resumption of the summer Interdisciplinary Field Program (IFP). The IFP is back on track and we are entering our 21st year. It's been great seeing alumni at places like Southeastern GSA meetings, so please stay in touch.
It is a busy time as we try to end the academic year. Sam is reading the final drafts of theses from his students (Kristen Longfellow, M.S. candidate thesis topic: skeletal tourmaline, undercooling and crystallization history of the Stone Mountain granite; Cynthia Hotujec, M.S. Candidate thesis topic: mineralogical and compositional analysis of turquoise artifacts linked to prehistoric mines in New Mexico; Will Stephens, senior thesis topic: a provenance study of Etowah palette stones found at Etowah Mounds site near Cartersville, Georgia; and Dana Susina, senior thesis topic: a petrologic examination of mines in the Minpro pluton of the Spruce Pine Plutonic Suite, western North Carolina). Mike Bonomo, (M.S. candidate studying muscovite artifacts), Joelle Freeman (M.S. candidate studying radon in Georgia), and Nick Radko (M.S. candidate studying soapstone artifacts from Georgia and South Carolina) all started with Sam last fall.
Students from Sam's Earth Materials class (GEOL 3010) again volunteered work on a research project. The idea is for students to apply what they are learning in class to a real research project. This year the project was on the mineralogy of the Delhi syenite in east-central Georgia. Students made a map of the syenite body during the winter and early spring. Laboratory work on petrography and microprobe analysis of minerals completed the study. Results of their work were presented at the Southeast-Northeast GSA meeting in Baltimore this spring. Several of the students went to Baltimore to present their poster. This was impressive considering the meeting came during UGAâ€™s spring break. Students enjoyed seeing a professional meeting and meeting some UGA geology alums.
A paper with a former student (Brian Veal, M.S. 2004) on the mineralogy of Spruce Pine pegmatites was just published. Several other papers (â€œAppalachian ultramafic rocksâ€, â€œEtowah Mounds artifactsâ€, â€œStone Mountain tourmalineâ€) are in the Ain-press@ stage. Sam purchased a new petrographic microscope projection system for the department using student technology fee monies. Now we will be able to project images of thin sections from a petrographic microscope directly to screens using the same projection equipment we use for computers. This will make teaching optical mineralogy and petrography much more interactive.
This past year Mariela Noguera completed her masterâ€™s degree. She investigated the provenance of the Venezuelan passive margin and some allocthonous Paleocene/Eocene flysch units by determining U-Pb ages of detrital zircons contained within the sedimentary rocks. Her thesis chapter on the passive margin has just been accepted for publication in a special volume of Geologica Acta. Chris Humphrey just gave me a draft of his masterâ€™s thesis. He is applying a new method using the Cameca ion probe at UCLA to acquire U-Pb micro zircon and micro baddeleyite ages from thin sections in order to assess the duration of magmatism of the Caribbean large igneous province. He should defend at the end of this semester and then officially receive his degree next fall. Sandra Wyld and I just received NSF funding to continue our research on Cordilleran tectonics. I will have two new students arriving next fall, one from Venezuela and the other from the University of South Carolina. This summer I will be doing field work in Nevada, California and Venezuela. On the bicycling front I did complete the official 3-gap ride last September: 60 miles of cycling including climbing Neels, Wolfpen and Woody gaps in the north Georgia mountains (cumulative climbing around 4000'). I was considering the 100 mile 6-gap ride but that may be out of reach now at the age of 61. I did finish 7th in my age group for the 3-gap ride. Of course, I am not going to divulge how many riders there were in the over 60 group. Looking forward to another year of research, teaching and riding my bike in the north Georgia mountains.
The Nevada tectonics group continues to map its way across the state. Last summer, M.S. student James Nutaitis (see photo) mapped part of the East Range, located just south of Winnemucca, for those who know where that is. This is an interesting place, with a long and still current history of small-scale gold mining. James learned a bit about gold panning from one of the locals and after much tedious work at it, he finally came up with a speck of gold - which promptly blew away in the wind. James presented his work at the National GSA meeting in Portland last fall, and is aiming to finish his thesis early this summer. Meanwhile, a new student, Amanda Peters, is about to embark on another tectonics study, either a mapping/structure project in the northern East Range or a detrital zircon geochronology study in Utah and Nevada. And, finally, Meg Kinsella is defending her M.S. thesis work in the Fox Range, north of Pyramid Lake. Meg has been working for the last two years at a great job with an oil company in Oklahoma, and may move soon with her family to Uraguay for further opportunities.
Jim and I managed to get new funding from the National Science Foundation this year, for the project in Nevada. So we now have good support for the next three years. We are also continuing to work in the southern Caribbean, and finally got our big paper (think 25 figures) written from the early part of that work. And we have our very first published geologic map now, with co-author Joe Colgan, on the geology of the Vicksburg quadrangle in northwest Nevada. I feel like a real geologist now.
I'm still teaching classes in structural geology and tectonics, and I'm still one of the undergraduate advisors. It's been amazing over the last year to see the increase in enrollments - I hope the trend continues. I'm also now in my second year as Science Editor for the GSA journal Geology. It was a steep learning curve last year, plunging into the handling of almost 300 submissions, and there were times when I felt pretty overwhelmed, but it's getting better now. It's actually a very interesting job.
On other fronts, Jim and I are still working on renovation projects in our old Victorian house. You can expect to hear updates on this for the next 10 years at least, I imagine, at the rate we're going. And the work started 10 years ago.
Cheers to all.