The 2005-2009 Academic Years


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.

read more


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.

read more

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.”

read more


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.

read more

Alaska – Aleutians

Volcanoes of the Aleutian arc have erupted intermittently during the last three million years, and biostratigraphy indicates that the marine sediments have accumulated in a subduction zone setting since the Miocene, however, previous studies of Aleutian volcanoes have focused primarily on the main stratocones and satellite cinder cones that have erupted in the Holocene. On Unalaska Island, Makushin Volcano and its satellite vents have erupted on older lavas and pyroclastic deposits, yet these Pleistocene lavas, which cover approximately 600 km2, are virtually unstudied. We propose to map and sample the Pleistocene pre-Makushin lavas, which will facilitate subsequent lab-based investigations into the timing and development of the pre-Makushin magmatic system.

read more


This project is based in the High Cascades of central Oregon and the Deschutes Basin and integrates studies of bedrock, soil, and water chemistry. The project will focus on physical and chemical weathering of volcanic rocks and factors that can influence the weathering processes, including climate and vegetation. We will attempt to trace geochemical signatures of the bedrock as it breaks down into soil. We will also study the water geochemistry to assess the effects of the bedrock and soil composition on the fluxes from the watershed.

read more

Alaska – Kenai Peninsula

We propose to investigate Holocene high lake stands in closed basin lakes of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Preliminary dating of these relative high stands suggests an early to mid-Holocene age. This proxy for increased precipitation can serve as a test to hypotheses concerning the relative roles of the tropics and higher latitudes in moisture budgets across western North America and ultimately serve to predict moisture variability with a warming climate.

read more

Southeast Alaska

This study will use a multi-disciplinary approach to unravel the depositional history of the Kootznahoo Formation in Southeast Alaska with a specific focus on the exhumation history of the Coast Mountains batholith (CMB), and how high latitudes (~57°N) recorded overall global cooling from the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) through the Eocene-Oligocene transition to the present icehouse state.

read more



Keep in Touch!