Bookmark and Share

Undergraduate Research

 There are many exciting opportunities for undergraduate research within the Geology Program at Kutztown University.  This page shows a small sampling of the studies recently undertaken by our undergraduates.  For a full summary of past projects, visit our Geology Undergraduate Research page.  

Recent Worldwide Geology Research

Deep-sea AUV Magnetic and Seismic Study of the Hawaiian Jurassic Crust Beneath the Pacific Ocean Floor
Kutztown students 21 days into the journeyDr. Adrienne Oakley traveled with five Kutztown University undergraduate students this fall on a six-week deep oceanographic research cruise to study the properties of the ocean floor in the southwest Pacific. 
Please visit the expedition's website with blogs written by Dr. Oakley and her students, plus pictures to see how they fared!
(Image at right:  Kutztown students 21 days into their journey.)


Jewels Wilk and Dr. Kurt Friehauf in NamibiaNamibia Copper Deposits
Kutztown University geology student Jewels Wilk spent a month in the Namibian desert with Dr. Kurt Friehauf studying one of the oldest intrusion-related copper deposits in the world.  Remarkably, the two billion year old deposit is almost completely untouched by subsequent metamorphism.  Studying this deposit will help us understand how copper mineralizing processes may have differed in the ancient geologic past compared to processes that formed more recent deposits. 
(Image at left: Jewels Wilk (far right) and Dr. Kurt Friehauf (far left) in Namibia.)


Wallops Island Coastal Zone, VirginiaWallops Research
In collaboration with NASA Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, and Shippensburg University, Dr. Adrienne Oakley established a coastal zone mapping project to investigate changes in the sedimentology, hydrology, and morphology of Wallops Island with an emphasis on monitoring its response to storm events and sea-level rise.  This project has involved several Kutztown Geology and Marine Science students and has resulted in numerous presentations at professional science meetings. 
(Image at right: Jackie Chariw (left) and Matt Sabetta (right) use a total station and GPS to measure beach morphology on Wallops Island.)


Pennsylvania resistivity surveyPennsylvania Acid Mine Drainage
 Dr. Laura Sherrod, working with Kutztown Geology students Jarred Swiontek and Jeff Kadegis, used electrical resistivity geophysics to track water flow into abandoned coal mines from river channels in Pennsylvania.  Once the source of water entering the coal mines is discovered, steps can be taken to redirect the water, keeping our streams running clear and free of contaminants.  This is novel approach to groundwater monitoring is a way to use geophysics to peer beneath the Earth's surface and study subterranean processes.  (Image at left: Jeff Kadegis laying out cable for a resistivity survey.)


New York Landslide ProjectNew York Adirondacks- The Biggest Landslide in New York History
Dr. Laura Sherrod, working with Kutztown Geology students Ken Schlosser and Jarred Swiontek, in cooperation with geologists Andrew Kozlowski and Brian Bird of the NY State Geological Survey, used Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to map and characterize an actively-moving massive landslide in upstate New York.  This landslide is the largest in the state's history.  Ken presented the some of the results of this project at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco in December 2011.  Please click here to read his abstract.
(Image at right: Andrew Kozlowski (left), Ken Schlosser (center), and Jarred Swiontek (right) performing a GPR survey.) 


Salton Sea, CaliforniaSalton Sea Sedimentology and Geomorphological Processes
Dr. Erin Kraal and Dr. Edward Simpson worked with Kutztown Geology students Liz Heness and Jewels Wilk along the shores of the Salton Sea on a multi-disciplinary project studying the interplay between sedimentological and geomorphological processes.  The site is unusual because the beach sand is composed almost entirely of fish bones!
(Image at left: Dr. Edward Simpson (left) and Dr. Erin Kraal (right) studying the beach at Salton Sea.)


Geology students in AlaskaAlaskan Volcanic Complex
Kutztown University geology students Melania Tkach, Dan Ruth, and Ken Schlosser spent a month in the interior of Alaska with Dr. Kurt Friehauf where they geologically mapped a Tertiary volcanic complex.  Parts of the mountain were hydrothermally-altered, a characteristic of many gold deposits.  The students also quantitatively analyzed drill core to assess the potential of a prospect of metamorphic rocks for zinc mineralization. 
(Image at right: Dan Ruth (left), Ken Schlosser (center), and Melania Tkach (right) on Alaska's Mount Fairplay.)


GPR survey in BethlehemSearch for a Historic Mass Grave in Pennsylvania
 Dr. Laura Sherrod and Dr. James Higgins, working with Kutztown Geology student Connor Messler, used Ground Penetrating Radar to assess whether or not a historic cemetery in eastern Pennsylvania is the site of a mass burial related to the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide in just two years.  They presented their findings at the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems in Charleston, South Carolina (10-14 April 2011).
(Image at left: Dr Higgins (left) and Connor Messler (right) performing a GPR survey.)