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Geology News

Department of Geology: Achievements June 2011 – April 2012

Posted May. 8, 2012

Recent research activity conducted by Department of Geology faculty members between June 2011 and April 2012 includes five new grants, five articles, one book chapter, and one invited presentation. 

Rodney Feldmann (Kent) and Carrie Schweitzer (Stark)

Feldmann, Rodney (PI) and Schweitzer, C. (CoPI). NSF OISE, "Catalyzing New International Collaborations: Decapod Crustaceans in a Triassic Lagenstatten in China," $12,380.

  • This NSF grant will enable the researchers to return to China in May 2012 to continue working with scientists from the Chengdu Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources studying an exceptionally well-preserved, very diverse fauna of Middle Triassic fossils, including previously unknown fossil lobsters, shrimp, and isopods.  The researchers have also applied for a National Geographic Society grant to return in the summer of 2013 and to bring their Chinese colleagues to Kent.  This work cast new light on the evolution of important groups of lobsters at a very early period of their history.

Feldmann, R. and Schweitzer, C. (in press). Macrurous Decapoda from the luoping Biota (Middle Triassic) of China, Journal of Paleontology.

  • Three new genera and three new species of lobsters are named in this paper.

Elizabeth Griffith

Griffith, E. (PI). NSF Division of Earth Sciences Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry, "Collaborative Research: Stable strontium isotope ratios (88/86Sr) in abiotic and microbially mediated barite," $142,200 + NSF REU Supplement for summer 2012, $2900.

  • The controls on a new isotope system, specifically stable strontium isotope partitioning in the mineral barite will be determined from laboratory experiments and samples collected from modern continental settings in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Utah.  Barite may be an ideal mineral to address critical questions in the earth sciences, including early earth biogeochemistry and evidence of life in geological samples.  Work began in the summer of 2011 and supports one PhD student and a summer research experience for an undergraduate student (REU) this summer (2012).

Griffith, E. (PI); Dees, Ortiz, Jefferson (CoPIs). NSF Division of Undergraduate Education, Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, "Bridging the conceptual divide between theoretical and applied environmental chemistry," $198k pending.

Griffith, E. (PI); KSU University Teaching Council, "Developing inquiry-based learning activities for Oceanography, a Kent Core Science Class, in a large classroom setting." KSU UTC Summer 2012 Teaching Development Grant.

  • The goal of the project is to broaden the learning environment in the GEOL 21080 Oceanography course to engage students within the traditional lecture format by developing in-class activities that enhance learning for both the traditionally successful student and the 'average' student who can struggle in college-level science class.  I will modify and expand in-class activities and add an optional field trip to Lake Erie and the newly-opened Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

Griffith, E. (2011, October). The dynamic marine calcium cycle: An isotopic approach. Invited presentation, Department of Geology and Planetary Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Griffith, E. (2011). Interpreting the geological past using novel stable isotope systems. Co-convener of special session in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology at the 2011 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Joseph Ortiz

Ortiz, J.D. (2011). Application of Visible/near Infrared derivative spectroscopy to Artic paleoceanography. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 14(1).

  • This paper grew out of a lecture presented last year at the IODP Summer School on the use of physical properties as proxies in Arctic sediment.

Nelson, D.B., Abbot, M.B., Steinman, B., Polissar, P.J., Stansell, N.D., Ortiz, J.D., Rosenmeier, M.F., Finney, B.P., Riedel, J. (2011). Drought variability in the Pacific Northwest from a 6,000-yr lake sediment record. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(10), 3870-3875.

  • This work presented a 6,000-year long drought record for the Pacific NW, and explored the linkages between decadal scale climate there and tropical forcing.

Nof, D., Zharkov, V., Ortiz, J., Paldor, N., Arruda, W., Chassignet, E. (2011). The arrested Agulhas retroflection. Journal of Marine Research, 69(4-6), 659-691.

  • This research which was conducted in collaboration with Doron Nof, a physical oceanographer from Florida State University, presented an analytical model of the Agulhas Retroflexion, the looping western boundary current that connects the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans.  The results of this work suggest that during the last glacial maximum, stronger winds may have contributed to the decrease in heat flux from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

Yi, L., Yu, H-J., Ortiz, J., Xu, X-Y., Chen, S-L., Ge, J-Y., Shi, X-F., Peng, S-Z. (2012) Late Quaternary linkage of sedimentary records to three astronomical rhythms and the Asian monsoon, inferred from a coastal borderhole in the south Bohai Sea, China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 329-330, 101-117. 

  • This research was conducted with post doc, Liang Yi, from the People's Republic of China.  Liang is researching Milankovitch-scale climate change in the Bohai Sea using grain size spectra and VNIR derivative spectroscopy.  A second paper on this topic has been accepted pending revision in Boreas.

Abdul Shakoor

Shakoor, Abdul. Subaward Ohio Department of Transportation- Ohio State University, "ARRA: Probabilistic Use of LiDAR Data to Detect and Characterize Landslides."

  • This 2011 grant supports collaborative research with Ohio State University on developing a model using LiDAR data for landslide identification.  This initial project is expected to eventually expand into a state-wide application.

Admassu, Y. and Shakoor, A. (2012). Evaluating selected factors affecting the depth of undercutting in rocks subject to differential weathering. Engineering Geology, 124, 1-11.

Alison Smith

Smith, Alison J. NSF Office of International Science & Engineering (OISE), "Two Symposia for US/European Collaborative Initiatives in Freshwater Ostracode Research," $59,631 over two years.

  • The first of two Research Initiatives Workshops took place in Graz, Austria in 2011.  Thirty-six ostracod researchers from eight countries attended.  The second workshop will take place in Charlotte, NC in fall 2012.

Currently Active Extramural Grant:
Smith, Alison J. Subaward Illinois State Museum Society/National Science Foundation, "Geoinformatics: Collaborative Research: Neotoma Paleoecology Database, Pilocene-Qauternary."

  • Five year grant, continuing through 2015.  This year the NANODe (North American Nonmarine Ostracode Database ) was uploaded to Neotoma ( a public access community database of multi-proxy biological data.  M.S. student Katie Wells was funded on this grant, and she graduated in December, 2011.  
Smith, Alison J. (2012). Evidence of environmental change from terrestrial and freshwater palaeoecology, Vol 1, Chapter 12. IN (Matthews, J., et al., Eds.) Handbook of Environmental Change, Sage Publishing.

Smith, Alison J. and Palmer, D.F. (in press).  The versatility of Quaternary ostracods as paleoclimate proxies. IN (Horne, D.J., et al. Eds.) Ostracoda as Proxies for Quaternary Climate Change, Elsevier Science Publishing.  

Curry, B.B., Smith, A.J., Delorme, L.D., Palmer, D.F., Stiff, B. (in press).  The biogeography and hydrochemistry of freshwater ostracodes in Canada and the United States. IN (Horne, D.J., et al.,Eds.) Ostracoda as Proxies for Quaternary Climate Change, Elsevier Science Publishing.