Regional geology professional association conference features RU presentations

Geological Society of America art

Radford University geology students and faculty will present talks or poster sessions of original research at the 68th annual conference of the Southeast Section of the Geological Society of America (GSA) April 10-11 at Virginia Tech. More than 40 RU students and faculty will also attend the regional meeting of the professional society for geology and earth sciences.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to showcase their research through presentations and published abstracts, as well as to network with colleagues, potential graduate schools and employers," said Elizabeth McClellan, associate professor of geology.

In the New Directions in Southern Appalachian Geologic Research symposium, Melissa Brett, Raymundo Balderas and David Sublett will join McClellan for a talk on their research project, titled "Provenance of Conglomerates in the Mount Rogers Formation, SW VA, and Implications for the Neoproterozoic Geologic History in the Blue Ridge."

The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 17 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. RU students making other oral presentations will be:

  • Adam Szyikowski '13 on research done with Brian Havens, titled "Application of 3D Photogrammetry to Rock Slope Stability Analysis" in the Geohazards: Methods for Mapping, Monitoring, and Mitigating session. Their faculty mentor was Professor of Geology Skip Watts.
  • Sarah Montgomery on research, co-authored with Rhett Herman, professor of physics, Robert Whisonant, professor of geology, and Charles Boyd, professor of anthropological sciences, titled "Geophysical and Archaeological Investigations of Civil War Sites near Radford, Virginia" in the Geohazards: Methods for Mapping, Monitoring, and Mitigating session.

Poster presentations will be made by:

  • Nick Aitcheson and William Wilson on their research titled "Application of Terrestrial-based LIDAR for the Collection of Discontinuity Orientation Data and its Validity Compared to Traditional Methods" in the Geohazards: Methods for Mapping, Monitoring, and Mitigating session. Their faculty mentor was Watts. 
  • Brett, Balderas and Sublett on their research titled "Redefining Boundaries in the Neoproterozoic Lower Mount Rogers Formation through Detailed Mapping of Rhyolite Contacts" in the Geologic Maps, Geophysical Maps, Digital Geologic Maps, and Derivatives from Geologic and Geophysical Maps session. Their faculty mentor was McClellan.
  • Sublett, Balderas, and Brett on their project titled "Characterization of the Bearpen Rhyolite, a Previously Undescribed Unit in the Mount Rogers Formation" during the Undergraduate Research in the Southeastern Section session. Again, the project was produced under the faculty mentorship of McClellan.
  • Kelsey McGee, Emily Luketic and George Ritter on their research titled "Simple Direct Shear Testing Techniques for Rock Slope Stability Analysis" in the Geohazards: Methods for Mapping, Monitoring, and Mitigating session. Their faculty mentor was Watts.
  • Tess Rogers, on her research, co-authored with Geology Professor Parvinder Sethi, titled "Micro-cultural and Socio-economic Analysis of the Introduction of Hydraulic Fracturing within the Triassic Cow Branch Formation within the Dan River Basin, North Carolina, U.S.A." in the Hydrocarbon Recovery using Fracking Technologies session.

Oral presentations by RU faculty will be made by:

  • Jonathan Tso, chair of the department of geology, on “Revising the Geology of Virginia CD-ROM Series from the Web” in the Geospatial Visualizations in Teaching, Research, and Societal Applications sessions.
  • Sethi on research with fellow faculty members George Stephenson, Ken Dunker, and Christopher Bolgiano and Watts on “Solving the ‘Mountain Lake’ Puzzle: Application of Scuba-Assisted Videography, Side-Scan Sonar and High-Resolution, Acoustic Doppler, Current Metering for Determining Bottom Flows" in the Geohazards: Methods for Mapping, Monitoring, and Mitigating session.
  • McClellan on research with Esteban Gazel of Virginia Tech on "The Cryogenian Intra-Continental Rifting of Rodinia: Evidence from the Laurentian Margin of Eastern North America” in the Volcanology, Magmatism, Geochemistry session.

Tso pointed out that students from two classes – GEO 312 and 441 - will be attending the two-day conference with support from the Scholar-Citizen Initiative.

"I don’t know of another university that has made this level of commitment to introducing its students to a professional society experience," he said. Tso also acknowledged additional support from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

The theme of the conference, produced cooperatively by RU's Department of Geology and those from Virginia Tech, William and Mary, James Madison and the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is "Elevating Geosciences in the Southeastern U.S.: New Ideas about Old Terranes." The Geological Society of America provides access to elements that are essential to the professional growth of earth scientists at all levels of expertise and from all sectors: academic, government, business, and industry. GSA membership includes thousands of international earth scientists in a common purpose to study the mysteries of our planet and share scientific findings.

Apr 2, 2014