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Research by ten Lafayette geology majors and faculty members will be featured in three presentations at the national meeting of Geological Society of America Oct. 27-30 in Denver, Colo.

Sarah Gately ’03 of Mount Bethel, Pa., will join Larry Malinconico, associate professor of geology and environmental geosciences, and John Wilson, geology laboratory coordinator, will present their research on geological data revealed by magnetic testing in East-Central Pennsylvania.

Dru Germanoski, professor and head of geology and environmental geosciences, will present National Science Foundation-funded research that he has conducted with Daniel Latham ’03 of Islip Terrace, N.Y., and Western Carolina University professor Jerry R. Miller, on the impact of wildfire in the Central Great Basin of Nevada.

Guy Hovis, John H. Markle Professor of Geology, will present work conducted with Becky Dreibelbis ’02, James Crelling ’00, Meghan Keohane ’98, Andrea Dennison ’96, and Shannon Brennan ’95 on the thermal (heat-based) expansion of specific crystalline solutions.

Gately’s research with Malinconico and two other Lafayette students was published earlier this year in Abstracts: 2002 Geological Society of America Northeastern Section Meeting. In a project partially supported by Pennsylvania Geological Survey, she spent 25 to 30 hours each week in the field for over a year, collecting gravity and magnetic data to interpret subsurface structures in the Newark Basin.

’’Working under Dr. Malinconico is very rewarding in itself,’’ says Gately, who also is majoring in art and is undertaking an honors thesis and independent study course this semester. ‘’He is a professor who cares a great deal about students and the value of their education. The research that he has given us the opportunity to do requires you to be self-driven and independent, but at the same time the equipment we have used and the techniques we have learned are not even encountered by some professional geologists.”

Gately spent the past January interim session between semesters taking Geologic Evolution of the Hawaiian Islands, an on-site class led by Malinconico and Germanoski. “It was a great experience to be out in the field studying geology in such a beautiful setting,” she says.

She is a winner of Lafayette’s James L. Dyson Geology Award, presented annually to geology majors who, by academic achievements and character, exemplify the ideals by which James L. Dyson lived and worked.

In June, Germanoski and Latham traveled to Nevada to investigate the controlled burn in Underdown Canyon and collect data in Wall Canyon, a drainage basin burned by a lightning-generated wildfire in 2000. Latham’s work was funded by Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students assist faculty with research while earning a stipend.

“Professor Germanoski is a brilliant thinker,” says Latham, whose coauthored paper with Germanoski, “The Importance of Event Sequencing on the Geomorphic Impact of Wildfire in the Central Great Basin,” was published in GSA Abstracts with Programs last month.

The student determined the percentage composition of pebbles, clays, and sands in soil samples. He and Germanoski spent three weeks in Nevada with a group of students and professors from around the country conducting academic research. Their headquarters was a house owned by the U.S. Forest Service in Austin, Nev.

Latham is continuing his EXCEL Scholars work this semester. He has made the dean’s list for the past two semesters and is a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Wattles was one of several EXCEL Scholars to work with Hovis in research that included trips to England to use a position-sensitive detector at the Cambridge University Department of Earth Services. He found Hovis to be ‘’helpful and encouraging’’ and ‘’really enjoyed getting the chance to do scientific research at a higher level.’’

Hovis’ work was supported by a three-year NSF grant totaling more than $157,000.

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