Events of Interest to Earth and Environmental Geoscience Folks

Guest speakers, department events, or events on campus that we think might be of interest to you.

Keep checking back for updates and additional entries! Let Sarah Wilson know if you have questions -- wilsons@wlu.edu or 540-458-8800.

FALL 2022

Wednesday, September 14, 5:30pm in Parmly 307, Science Center
Clare Wilkinson '17
Clare Wilkinson is a graduate from the University of Canterbury. Inspired by the rivers and people of Aotearoa New Zealand, her doctoral research aimed to weave geomorphology and mātauranga Māori to better understand landscape change through time. She now works as a fluvial geomorphologist for Tonkin & Taylor, an environmental and engineering consultancy in New Zealand.

Both physical and cultural landscapes can be altered significantly by geological processes. Earth scientists in Aotearoa New Zealand have both the obligation and opportunity to consider these landscapes and processes through the lenses of science and Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview). Mātauranga Māori (the knowledge, worldview, values, culture and practices of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa) has, to date, been poorly represented within geomorphological investigations despite clear linkages between scientific and traditional knowledge of Earth surface processes. In this talk, Clare will share excerpts from her doctoral research that used a bicultural research approach to highlight how mātauranga Māori and geomorphology can be woven together to gain a broader perspective on landscape research.

Thursday, September 15, 12:15pm in A218, Science Center
Lunch chat with Michael Cuilik '18 and Javier Peralta '21, geophysics graduate students
Find out about graduate school in geophysics and about geophysics research -- and more -- over lunch with Michael and Javier. 
RSVP to Sarah before the 15th so she can get your lunch order.

Michael Cuilik '18

  • Summer internship with Welder Exploration and Production Inc. (Ray Welder '91)
  • Worked with Welder Exploration and Production Inc. as a geologist
  • Started University of Georgia master's degree in geophysics in 2020, finished in 2022
  • Earth Scientist summer internship with Chevron in Bakersfield, CA
    My research focused on the use of P-waves to generate seismic reflection profiles of deep earth structures like the Moho and Lithosphere-Asthenosphere boundary. I processed data to generate profiles covering North-South from NY to Central VA and east-west from the Atlantic coast into the central Great Plains. This was the first effort to map these structures in detail using P-wave reflection, and we discovered an increase in reflectivity at LAB depths that we interpreted to be a result of drag-induced flow within the uppermost asthenosphere.

Javier Peralta '21

  • Summer internship with GSI Environmental Inc (Kenneth Walker '04)
  • Started studying at Stanford University toward an MS degree in geophysics (in progress)
  • Summer internship with GEI Consultants Inc.
    My research focuses on sustainable groundwater management in California using near-surface geophysical techniques at the field scale. Specifically, I use the electromagnetic method to map out the resistivity structure of the near surface (100 meters) and correlate these models to sediment texture. We do this using a towed transient electromagnetic (tTEM) system developed by collaborators at Aarhus University. Once we have generated recovered models of a site, we can then determine the existence of preferential pathways for surface water to infiltrate the subsurface. If we identify optimal locations for recharge, excess water from flooding or irrigation canals can artificially recharge heavily strained aquifer systems. This practice is referred to as managed aquifer recharge (MAR). MAR will be a key strategy in California's future, as excessive pumping of groundwater systems has cost the state millions of dollars of damage from land subsidence and other undesired consequences.

Friday-Saturday, September 16-17 Geology Alumni Reunion
Majors and those interested in the major have the opportunity to attend the department's alumni Reunion. About every 5 years we invite department alums back for a weekend to go on a field trip, hear panels about the department and geosciences, and do a lot of eating and chatting. There will be plenty of time for current students to mingle with alums, all of whom like talking to students. This, like going to a conference, is a highlight for those who can attend. Contact Sarah for more information.

Tuesday, September 20, 5:30pm in Parmly 307, Science Center
Kenta Sayama '19: Climate Change and Human Migration out of Africa: Scientific and Heritage Value of Quaternary Geoheritage Sites in Southeast Asia
Kenta Sayama, D.Phil. student, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford (Academic Profile). Kenta currently works on documentation and conservation of geological heritage sites in the Middle East that provide data about past regional climate. The Middle East is currently a region with hyper-arid, desert landscapes, but there were multiple phases when this region had lakes, rivers, and abundant vegetation. Ancient human settlement in this region corresponds well with these wet and green phases, demonstrating the impact of climate change on human society. At the same time, the presence of a few anomalies to this general trend demonstrate the resilience of our ancestors living in periods of aridification. Therefore, these paleo-environmental sites are important for three academic fields: geology, archaeology, and environmental education. Yet, with economic development in the region, they are being destroyed without any consideration of their value as heritage sites. His project aims to provide data and tools to communicate the importance of these sites and provide a blueprint for their conservation.

Monday, September 26, 5:30-6:30pm in University Chapel
William McKibben will give a public lecture sponsored by the Center for International Education
Check here for more information

Thursday, November 10, 5:30-7:00pm in University Chapel
Kim Stanley Robinson will give a public lecture sponsored by the Center for International Education
Check here for more information

Appalachian Trail Becomes Interdisciplinary Classroom

On March 2, 2019, a group of about 40 students, faculty, and staff went out to Brown Mountain Creek to learn about a freedmen community and the geology of the area -- and to hike and meet new people. It was a great success. Photos and story by Shelby Mack, April 12, 2019. (Chrome may not work for this slideshow.)