By the end of summer 1997, seven incoming seniors in our department completed field studies entitling them to commence work for formal credit either as honors thesis students or as independent studies students. Andrew D. Fagenholz, Stephanie K. Kamf, and Catherine Riihimaki (under a Summer Undergraduate Research fellowship awarded by the Council on Undergraduate Research) worked with Professor David Dethier in New Mexico. Katherine M. Wearn completed field work on a Keck project working with Professor R.A. Wobus in Colorado. Eliza S. Nemser worked locally on the Greylock massif under the supervision of Professor Paul Karabinos. Matthew S. Jeffers went to Madagascar with Assistant Professor Ronadh Cox. John Hall investigated local ground-water issues with Instructor David DeSimone.
During the fall term and following Winter Study Period, a new and
significant pedagogical turn was taken in our department with the
linkage of a tutorial course and a January travel course. Assistant
Professor R--nadh Cox taught a new tutorial course, The Carbonate
Factory , GEOS 251T, which provided nine students with the
prerequisite background for a WSP field course on Geology in the
Virgin Islands, GEOS 025. The department is poised to continue
this experiment under the supervision of Professor Johnson with a
fall 1998 tutorial, Baja California Geology and Ecology , GEOS
243T tied to a January 1999 WSP course, Baja California Field
Geology, GEOS 20.
Prof. David Dethier with his GEOS 201 Geomorphology class on their annual field trip to the White Mountains, N. H. The later part of the fall term brought with it the usual activities related to national professional meetings. October 20-23, 1997, three faculty members (Dethier, Karabinos, and Wobus) attended the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Salt Lake City, Utah. A dozen Williams alumni also attended this conference and presented the results of their active research. December 8-12, 1997, saw another 14 recent alumni present their research at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, California, where Professor Wobus acted as the Williams host and was co-author of a poster with Martha Folley `97 now studying volcanology at the University of Oregon.
In addition to student involvement with the Virgin Islands trip during the January Winter Study Period, sophomores Cordelia Ransom `00 and Peter Stein `00 accompanied Professor Johnson on a research trip to Baja California Sur, Mexico.
March, April, and May were, again, especially busy times for the department as various faculty-student groups prepared for conferences where their research was afforded a public forum. Martin Wong `99 co-authored a poster at the 29th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held March 16-20 at the Johnson Space Center and the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. His research was undertaken last summer in connection with one of the Keck projects reserved for sophomores at Washington and Lee University. Eliza Nemser `98 co-authored a presentation with Professor Karabinos on March 19, 1998, at the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Maine. Catherine Riihimaki `98 joined Professor Dethier to present a poster at the same conference. Three students from the Williams Geosciences Department joined Professor Wobus in attending the 11th annual research symposium sponsored by the national Keck-Geology Consortium, held this year April 24-26, 1998, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Katherine Wearn `98, made an oral presentation and posters were presented by Ethan Gutmann `99 and Martin Wong `99. June 26-29, Prof. Wobus led a delegation of seniors including Andrew Fagenholz, Lauren Interess, Brett Macleod, Eliza Nemser, and Katherine Wearn to the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Boston, Massachusetts. At that meeting, Kate Wearn and Prof. Wobus presented a poster.
Several juniors will initiate field work this summer in readiness for the senior honors program. Jana Comstock `99 and Martin Wong `99 will take part in a new Keck project on "Sedimentology and Tectonics of the Mazatzal Group, Arizona" led by Assistant Professor R--nadh Cox. Professor Paul Karabinos will also take part in this project. Jen Newton `99 and Erik Klemetti `99 will participate in a new Keck project in Maine devoted to the "Igneous Geology of Vinalhaven Island: A Silurian (?) Magmatic Complex," co-directed by Professor Wobus. Ethan Gutmann `99 is expected to begin summer research in Arizona and Vermont on "Diagenetic Evolution of Quartz-Pebble Conglomerates" with support of Bronfman funds under the supervision of Asst. Professor Cox.
As in past years, the Yellowstone-Bighorn Research Association's summer field camp at Red Lodge, Montana, (operated by the University of Pennsylvania) is in popular demand as a training center for Williams geosciences students learning field methods. Two juniors (Taylor Schildgen `00 and Shannon Mark `00) and three seniors (Blake Bear `99, Martin Wong `99 and Ben Warner `99) will attend one of two 1998 summer sessions. All were awarded partial scholarships from the David Major Fund in support of this activity.
The department is proud to announce that graduating senior Stephanie Kampf `98 will spend a year studying in Chile as the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship. Katherine Wearn `98 was the winner of the Mineralogical Society of America award this year for her outstanding scholastic record in the Williams mineralogy and petrology courses. Over the commencement weekend, Stephanie Kampf, Eliza Nemser, Catherine Riihimaki, and Katherine Wearn were inducted into Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. Catherine received the Freeman Foote Award for the outstanding oral presentation of her senior thesis, and Kate was the recipient of the David Major Award for her exemplary career as a geology major.
Andrew D. Fagenholz, Stephanie K. Kampf, Catherine A. Riihimaki, Lauren B. Interess, Eliza S. Nemser, Katherine M. Wearn
Research Associate Gudveig Baarli visited the Black Hills of South Dakota during July 1997 for reconnaissance work with Markes Johnson on a Cambrian rocky shoreline. A stop at the Research Institute of the Black Hills in Hill City was especially interesting with respect to recent discoveries of Cretaceous dinosaurs. At the end of the year 1997, her paper in collaboration with Markes Johnson and Russian geologists Yuri Tesakov and Nikolai Predtetchensky on "Comparison of Lower Silurian Shores and Shelves in North America and Siberia" was published as a contribution to the Geological Society of America Special Paper 321. During the January 1998 Winter Study Period, Gudveig supervised Dinosaur Science, a course organized with the cooperation of the Williamstown Public Schools to involve Williams College students in teaching science on the 6th-grade level. During the spring term 1998, Gudveig upgraded computerized data on ancient rocky-shore biotas and co-authored with Markes Johnson an abstract on the "Diversification of Rocky-Shore Biotas through Geologic Time" for the international symposium "Paleodiversifications - Land and Sea Compared," scheduled to take place July 6-8, 1998, in Lyon, France. In May, Gudveig's paper entitled "Silurian Cycles, Tempestite Deposits, and Proximality Analysis" was published in the New York State Museum Bulletin 491 on "Silurian Cycles - Linkages of Dynamic Stratigraphy with Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Tectonic Changes."
Research Associate David Backus received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle, this spring. He continues to work on correlating Upper Cretaceous (70-75 my) rocks from along the west coast of North America using both fossils and Sr isotopic data. In addition to teaching a winter study course unrelated to geology, he also taught the geology portion of the Summer Science Program at Williams College.
Research Associate Mark Brandriss will spend part of his summer serving as site geologist during continuing excavations of the remains of a medieval monastery near Aigues-Mortes in southern France. From the 15th to 25th of June, he will be joining the archaeological crew directed by Whit Stoddard, Professor Emeritus of Art, who has spent many field seasons working at the ruins over the past quarter century. Mark's goal is to help develop a chronology of construction for the monastic buildings by studying the distribution of different types of building stones.
Mark will be spending July and August as a faculty member in the Juneau Icefield Research Program, a research and education program directed by the Foundation for Glacier and Environmental Research. Mark will be studying the genesis of igneous rocks of the Coast Batholith. Accompanying him will be two Williams students, Kristine Taylor and Katherine Birnie, both of whom prepared for the trip by taking David Dethier's spring tutorial The Ice Age Unmasked. Upon his return from Alaska, Mark will take up a visiting faculty position in the Department of Geology at Union College in Schenectady, New York.
Assistant Professor R--nadh Cox spent the summer of 1997 doing field research in Madagascar. In addition to supervising work by Matt Jeffers `98, she was co-convener and field leader for the IGCP-UNESCO International Symposium and Field Workshop on the Proterozoic Geology of Madagascar. She also presented a paper at the meeting, titled "The Geology of the Itremo Group, Central Madagascar: Deformed Remnant of a Proterozoic Continental Shelf Sequence."
A tutorial course in carbonate sedimentation in the fall was followed by a Winter Study field course in the U.S. Virgin Islands. R--nadh Cox, Mark Brandriss, and nine students spent two weeks examining the geology and marine sedimentology of St. John. During this time they mapped a reef complex that had been previously mapped by a group from Amherst in 1968. The group was able to document large-scale changes in the reef environment, and on return to Williams the students and faculty joined efforts to draft figures, review literature, and write up the results for publication.
R--nadh is beginning two new projects this summer. The first is a new research program in the southwestern U.S., for which initial funding has been provided by the Keck Consortium. A group of nine students, including Williams geoscience majors Jana Comstock `99 and Martin Wong `99, will investigate the sedimentology, petrology, and structural geology of Precambrian rocks of the Mazatzal Group in central Arizona under the supervision of R--nadh Cox, Paul Karabinos, and an additional professor from Carleton College. In addition, R--nadh and Ethan Gutmann `99 will start looking at quartz pebble conglomerates from a wide range of locations, mainly in Arizona and Vermont, to see whether their compositions can be attributed to post-depositional processes. If results of this study are positive, it will fundamentally alter the way in which this very common rock type is interpreted. Initial funding for the conglomerate study will come from R--nadh's startup account and from Division III discretionary funds.
Professor David Dethier continued his field work on late Cenozoic deposits and climate change along the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico, focusing northeast of Los Alamos on the Puye quadrangle. He worked with three senior honors students (Andrew Fagenholz `98, Stephanie Kampf '98 and Catherine Riihimaki `98) mapping portions of the quadrangle in a project funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Council on Undergraduate Research. Catherine Riihimaki and Dethier presented a poster summarizing some of this work at the Geological Society of America (GSA) Northeastern Section Meeting in Portland in March 1998. Dethier continued mapping of late Pleistocene deposits in the San Juan Islands and northern Puget lowland of Washington as part of his research about the climatic, sea-level, and isostatic processes that resulted in rapid retreat of continental ice from the area about 13,100 years ago. This work was supported by a grant from the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society.
Dethier continued to serve as Director of Research for Hopkins Memorial Forest, helping to coordinate ongoing collection of weather, streamflow, precipitation chemistry, and other environmental data from the Forest and their analysis in the Bronfman Science Center.
Professor Markes Johnson attended the June 11, 1997, memorial conference in Troy, NY, on "The Sidney Powers Legacy" organized by Gerald M. Friedman and sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Sidney Powers (1890-1932) was a member of the Williams College graduating class of 1911 who went on to a distinguished career in petroleum geology. The highest award of the AAPG is the Sidney Powers Medal. Professor Johnson presented a paper at the conference on "Sidney Powers' Undergraduate Education," published in the December 1997 issue of Northeastern Geology and Environmental Sciences. From June 25 to July 9, Markes was the Williamstown host of Dr. Rong Jia-yu of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology. Together they completed a research paper "Enigmatic Fossil Encrusting an Upper Ordovician Rocky Shore on Hudson Bay, Canada." The paper was subsequently accepted for publication in the Journal of Paleontology. The pair also laid plans for a joint research project in 1999 on an Upper Silurian rocky shore in Inner Mongolia. Funding is being sought from the National Geographic Society (proposal submitted in November 1997). The rest of July was spent on a reconnaissance trip with Research Associate Gudveig Baarli to the Black Hills of South Dakota to examine a Cambrian rocky shoreline and other geological points of interest.
An abstract entitled "Pliocene-Pleistocene Rocky Shorelines Trace Tectonic Development of Bah'a Concepti--n, Gulf Coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico" was accepted for the Oct. 20-23, 1997, annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, due to a sudden illness, Professor Johnson was unable to attend that meeting. In December 1997, his paper in collaboration with Research Associate Gudveig Baarli and Russian geologists Yuri Tesakov and Nikolai Predtetchensky on "Comparison of Lower Silurian Shores and Shelves in North America and Siberia" was published as a contribution to Geological Society of America Special Paper 321. During the January 1998 Winter Study Period, Markes was accompanied by sophomores Cordelia Ransom `00 and Peter Stein `00 on a research trip to Baja California Sur, Mexico. There they were joined by Prof. Jorge Ledesma-V[daggerdbl]zquez (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California) for field work on Pliocene and Pleistocene rocky shorelines. A joint paper entitled "Origin of and Biological Zonation on a Rocky-Shore Boulder Deposit: Upper Pleistocene Bah'a San Antonio (Baja California Sur Mexico)" was completed in March and submitted to Palaios. The paper documents the only known example of intertidal zonation preserved in the fossil record. Alumnus Patrick Russell `97 visited the Department from Germany shortly before Spring Break and helped lay the ground work for submission of a research paper together with Markes based on their previous field work in Baja California. A manuscript on the "Influence of Seasonal Winds on Coastal Carbonate Dunes from the Recent and Plio-Pleistocene at Punta Chivato (Baja California Sur, Mexico)" was submitted to the Journal of Coastal Research in mid-April. Based mostly on this work, a Bronfman lunch talk entitled "Tracking Modern and Ancient Wind Fields in the Gulf of California" was presented on May 5, 1998. During the 1998 spring term, Prof. Johnson taught a new tutorial course, Paleoecology GEOS 304T, worked on the reorganization of GEOS 101 as a lecture course refocused on Biodiversity in Geologic Time, and organized a new tutorial GEOS 254T, Baja California Geology and Ecology. Together with Research Associate Gudveig Baarli, he prepared an abstract and a manuscript on "Diversification of Rocky-Shore Biotas Through Geologic Time" for the International Symposium on "Paleodiversifications - Land and Sea Compared" scheduled to take place July 6-8, 1998, in Lyon, France.
In May 1998, the first volume of research papers from the 1996 International Symposium on the Silurian System (Rochester, NY) was published as New York State Museum Bulletin 491 on Silurian Cycles - Linkages of Dynamic Stratigraphy with Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Tectonic Changes. The 319-page volume, co-edited by Markes Johnson and Ed Landing (New York Geological Survey), includes 21 research articles by participants of the 1996 symposium. Markes is the senior author of a paper, therein, entitled "Calibrating Silurian Eustasy by Erosion and Burial of Coastal Paleotopography" and he is a junior author of two other articles in the volume. A second symposium volume on Silurian paleogeography is under preparation by the same co-editors.
Professor Paul Karabinos worked with Eliza Nemser (`98) during the summer of 1997 on Mount Greylock studying fault geometry and kinematics. During the course of their field work, they began to doubt the very existence of one of the major mapped units on the mountain, the Walloomsac Formation. The Walloomsac Formation has always been distinguished from the Greylock Schist based on the high graphite content of the former and low graphite content of the latter. Karabinos and Nemser have been working on a new geochemical model to explain the high graphite content of some rocks as the product of fluid mixing and graphite precipitation in the Greylock Schist along fault zones where schist and marble are in contact. This work is the subject of Nemser's senior thesis. Karabinos continued his research on the development of the Appalachians, especially during the spring semester while he was on sabbatical leave. Specifically, he is interested in the tectonic history along the ancient North American margin during the time interval between the Taconian and Acadian orogenies.
Karabinos attended the New England Intercollegiate Geologic Conference in September 1997 and led a field trip with James B. Thompson, Jr. on basement-cover relationships in southern Vermont. He traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to attend the national meeting of the Geological Society of America and presented a paper with J.C. Hepburn on the history of the Iapetus ocean. He also went to the northeastern section meeting of the Geological Society of America and presented a paper co-authored by J.N. Aleinikoff on single-grain detrital zircon dating of rocks from Vermont. He was also a co-author on two other papers, including one presented by Eliza Nemser on their research on Mount Greylock. In April, Karabinos gave a lecture at Colgate University in their Science Colloquium Series on the development of the Appalachians.
Besides the NEIGC field trip guide co-authored with Jim Thompson, Karabinos published two journal articles. A comparison of the single-grain evaporation technique and isotope dilution method for dating zircon was published in Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta. A paper with three co-authors, including Heather Stoll (`94), on the Shelburne Falls arc and its connection with the Taconian orogeny in western New England was published in Geology.
Professor R. A. (Bud) Wobus continued his close association again this year with the Twelve-College Keck Geology Consortium. He has served as the Williams representative to the consortium's governing board since its founding twelve years ago, attending both the fall and spring meetings of the representatives in Salt Lake City, UT, and Amherst, MA, respectively. This year he was again in charge of departmental recruitment for participants in new Keck projects and served as advisor or campus sponsor for three year-long projects, one at the senior level and two at the junior level. He and Kate Wearn `98 spent a month in the field with a Keck project in central Colorado last summer studying the petrology and geochemistry of Proterozoic metavolcanic rocks of the Arkansas River Canyon upstream from the Royal Gorge. This project was the focus of Kate's senior thesis, on which she reported at the 11th annual Keck Research Symposium at Amherst College in April. She and Prof. Wobus also presented their results at the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Boston May 26-29, in a co-authored poster entitled "Early Proterozoic Metavolcanics of the Arkansas River Canyon, Howard to Royal Gorge, Central Colorado." Wobus also served as campus sponsor for Ethan Gutmann `99 and Martin Wong `99 in their Keck projects at the junior level.
Last October Prof. Wobus presented a Geosciences departmental faculty seminar, "Tectonic Assembly and Consolidation of the Southwestern U.S. during the Early Proterozoic." Later that month at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Salt Lake City he was co-author, with Prof. J.B. Noblett of Colorado College, Martha Folley `97, and others, of a Keck project report, "Proterozoic Geology of the Northeastern Wet Mountains, CO." In November he spoke at a Bronfman bag lunch on the topic "Tracking Ancient Volcanic Rocks by Their Geochemical Footprints." In December at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Martha Folley `97 and he presented a poster, "Tectonic Signatures of Early Proterozoic Amphibolites from Central Colorado." Late in 1997 he was co-author with R.A. Wiebe of Franklin & Marshall and several students (including Michelle Coombs, `94) of a paper, "The Cadillac Mountain Intrusive Complex, Maine: the Role of Shallow-Level Magma Chamber Processes in the Generation of A-type Granites" published in Geological Society of America Memoir 191 (The Nature of Magmatism in the Appalachian Orogen).
Among his "extra-mural" activities, he continues as a member of the national Committee on Membership of the Geological Society of America and attended their annual weekend meeting in Boulder, CO, in early March. He was also an outside reviewer for grant proposals from other colleges. During the summer of 1997, he led a week-long Williams alumni trip to Yellowstone and the Beartooths in Montana and a weekend workshop for the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado. This summer (1998) he will be the faculty leader of a 10-day alumni trip to Iceland and will do a month's field work with a Keck research group including Erik Klemetti `99 and Jen Newton `99 on Vinalhaven Island in Penobscot Bay, coastal Maine.
Dr. Kevin Burke
Dr. Karl Karlstrom
Dr. Louis Derry
Dr. Gregor Eberli
Dr. Edward Belt `55
Dr. Karen Culver
Dr. Mark Green
Dr. James H. McKenna
Dr. John Grotzinger
Dr. James O'Neil
Dr. Daniel Britt
Dr. John Southard
Stephanie K. Kampf `98
Eliza S. Nemser `98
Catherine A. Riihimaki `98
Katherine M. Wearn `98
Ethan Gutmann `99
Eliza Nemser `98 and Paul Karabinos
Catherine Riihimaki `98 and David Dethier
Katherine Wearn `98
Katherine Wearn `98 and Reinhard Wobus
Martin Wong `99