Liza Moore '21
Keck Geology Consortium Gateway Project
This summer I was given the opportunity to be apart of the Keck Gateway program. Our group took lake core samples in Glacier National Park, Montana. This program allowed me to learn how labs run and work with professionals in the field. Kelly MacGregor, a professor at Macalester College, and Amy Myrbo, an associate researcher at LACCore lab at the University of Minnesota, were the directors of our month-long project. We used the cores from both Fishercap and Swiftcurrent Lake to look at the glacial history of the park. We also collected total suspended solids (TSS) samples from the delta leading into Swiftcurrent Lake from Lake Josephine to try and understand sediment transport and deposition within the Grinnell Valley. This fall, team Glacier is presenting our findings at the GSA conference in Indianapolis.
During our time in Glacier National Park, team Glacier camped at Many Glacier campground. We went into the trip thinking we would spend all of our time coring Fishercap Lake in the Swiftcurrent Valley, but, after the first day, we were stopped by a thick gravel layer and therefore we moved our equipment to Swiftcurrent Lake near the delta coming from Josephine Lake. In all three of the Swiftcurrent Lake cores, we collected the Mazama ash (7.7 ka), and the longest core contained the Glacier Peak G ash (13.55 ka) and Mount St. Helens J ash (13.87 ka).
Once back at the LACCore lab, we sent the cores through the Geotek scanner. Then we began splitting the cores and taking images of the sediment layers. After collecting all the images, we were able to combine the original core images with its composite images so we had a clear picture of the geologic story of each core location. We then took smear slides from different layers within the cores to gain a closer look at the components of the sediment. We also collected the dry weight of the TSS samples to try and understand the transportation and depositional environment of both Grinnell and Swiftcurrent Valley.
Working with other undergraduate students from across the country was an amazing experience. The Glacier National Park Keck Gateway Program gave me the opportunity to do both field and lab work early in my academic career, which was extremely helpful in guiding my future career path.