Mongolia occupies a key position for unraveling the complex geologic history of central Asia, which formed through the accretion of “exotic” crustal fragments in the late Paleozoic-early Mesozoic. Students involved in this project will contribute new geologic data about the Gobi-Altai terrane in southern Mongolia – its sedimentary history, evolution of its invertebrate communities, and paleogeographic setting.


Modern climate is changing rapidly in the Arctic. To better understand future climate, we need to understand how the climate has changed in the past. Participants in this project will do field work on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard to collect samples and data from a glacier-river-lake system. We seek to better understand how modern climate influences glacier melt, sediment transport, and lacustrine sedimentation in order to better calibrate the late Holocene climate record archived in the layered sediments. In the field we will collect samples and download data loggers on the Linne’ Glacier, in the meltwater stream and in the lake. In the lab we will process and analyze the samples and data we collect.

Colorado – Front Range, Year 2

The Keck Colorado Project will work with a large interdisciplinary study directed by Suzanne Anderson, Institute for Arctic and Alpine Studies, University of Colorado. The Keck Project focus is measurement and sampling of geologic deposits and processes in the critical zone, “the heterogeneous carapace of rock in various stages of decay, overlying soil, and the ecosystems they support… fundamental characteristics of the critical zone, such as its thickness, the character of the weathered rock and soil layers and the biological activity within them, together control the passage of water, the chemical processes operating, the material strength, and the function of subsurface ecosystems.”


The Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin is home to thousands of springs that help to support the region’s world-class trout streams and sustain critical habitat for endangered and threatened species. Springs provide evidence of heterogeneity of permeability in the subsurface. As such, spring occurrence and geochemistry can provide important insights into local influences on groundwater flow and aquifer contamination susceptibility. Students on this project will work together to better understand geological controls on the distribution of springs in the region and the contributions of springs to stream ecology.