Geology professional association gathering features RU research
Radford University geology students and faculty presented talks and poster sessions of original research at the 2015 annual conference of the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America (GSA) March 19-20 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Radford University Associate Professor of Geology Elizabeth McClellan was also installed as Chair of the Southeastern Section as part of the event's proceedings.
"GSA is one of the world's largest international geological organizations, and the Southeastern Section is a traditionally strong and vibrant community. I am honored to be chosen as the Chair of the Southeastern Section for 2015-16," said McClellan, a GSA member since 1985.
The GSA 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 international earth scientists in a common purpose to study the mysteries of our planet and share scientific findings.
"The end result of research is to disseminate science," said Department of Geology Chair Jonathan Tso. "The students worked in the field and lab, created posters on that work and then shared their ideas, hypotheses and techniques with peers and professionals - a very important part of the scientific process."
Allison Murrie, a senior geology major from North Copper Hill, Virginia, reflected on the value of the professional experience.
"I really enjoyed being able to attend presentations on Appalachian geology that went more in-depth into topics than we've covered in my classes," said Murrie. "Based on what I learned at the conference, it has encouraged me to look forward to future research opportunities and graduate school."
The scientific program was composed of oral and poster presentations organized into themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. RU students making poster presentations were:
- Elise Brown and Murrie on their research titled "Geochemistry of rhyolite clasts from the Lower Mount Rogers Formation, SW Virginia." Their faculty mentor was Professor Elizabeth McClellan.
- Dylan Dwyer and Kent Weidlich on their research titled "Potential water sources for Mountain Lake, Giles County, Virginia." Their faculty mentor was Professor Skip Watts.
- David Imburg and Dwyer on their research, titled "Effects of terrain modification on surface water runoff from the Blueberry Cottages Watershed at Mountain Lake, Giles County, Virginia." Their faculty mentor was Watts.
- Derek Stokes with Patrick Trout on research titled "Testing age relationships in the Mount Rogers Formation, SW Virginia through provenance analysis of conglomerates." Their faculty mentor was McClellan.
- Trout and Stokes on research titled "Assessing volcanism in the Mount Rogers Formation, SW Virginia: Stratigraphic placement of the Bearpen rhyolite." Their faculty mentor was McClellan.
Oral presentations by RU faculty were:
- Skip Watts, professor of geology, on "Water loss at Mountain Lake, Giles County, Virginia: Likely effects of a leaky colluvial dam in conjunction with drainage basin modification on the water budget."
Robert Whisonant, emeritus professor of geology, presented a tour of southwest Virginia mineral-producing sites.
Whisonant's new book, "Arming the Confederacy: How Virginia's Minerals Forged the Rebel War Machine" by Springer Press, was also released at the conference.