Department News Greetings from the Chair: Department Faculty Char Mehrtens, Professor

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The Champlain Thrust

News from the

Department of Geology, UVM


Department News
Greetings from the Chair: delehanty_color

Department Faculty

Char Mehrtens, Professor (Stratigraphy, Sedimentation, Carbonate Petrology):

Hi all! It’s a good thing that Jack agrees to do the newsletter every year as it forces me to sit down and think about what has gone on in the past year. It always makes me feel better to remember what happened (and it’s my annual check on my memory health!). Work things: Along with new grad student Steven Gohlke (from UT Austin) I accompanied Hamilton College colleague Barb Tewksbury and others to southern Egypt to help Barb on a structure project she’s doing involving Cretaceous and Tertiary limestones. Barb needed to confirm that the stratigraphy in the geologic structures she can see on satellite imagery. We spent a week in the western desert at an oasis (Farafra) and rented the locals 4 wheel drive vehicles to take us “off roading” to outcrops of chalk and marl. I got to see (and measure and collect) the K/T boundary there. After a quick return to Cairo we headed south along the Nile to Aswan, to Steven’s field area south of there. Steven is studying the deformation bands associated with the Seiyal Fault, and using the burial history to help constrain their timing of formation.

The entire experience was unbelievably awesome, from spending time in the Sahara Desert, to working in Cretaceous stratigraphy to meeting and getting to know Egyptians and their culture. A second field season in Egypt is planned for this winter, and this time I’ll be going with two undergrads, Tony Haigh and Jacob Vincent. Things are still a bit dicey in terms of unrest over there, so send positive vibes for political calm! Some abstracts of this work in progress appear somewhere in this newsletter.
New grad student Ryan Brink (SUNY Potsdam) is working with me on a comparison between the newly identified Altona Formation in upstate NY and our local Monkton. Recent fossil finds have identified that a portion of the sandstone below the Potsdam SS is actually much older and partially age equivalent to the Monkton. Ryan is measuring section and doing petrography to see how similar these units are.

Fun things: Jack and Ruthie Drake continue to be good golf buddies. Occasionally, I torment Barry Doolan with my golf game (Jack can hang in there with “almost a golf pro” Doolan, but not me!). I spent some time at my cabin in the Adirondacks but the summer’s big adventure was a week long paddle in Quetico Provincial Park (north of the Boundary Waters in MN). This was an awesome trip with unbelievably beautiful paddling. The 18 portages, not so much fun.

Please keep sending news of your activities. It is ALWAYS great to hear from everyone.

Steven, Dr. Assiz and Char at work
k-t boundary.jpg

Char meets the sphinx
char meets sphinx.jpg
John M. Hughes, Professor (Mineralogy, Crystallography, Crystal Chemistry):jhughes1x1

It has been a wonderful and productive year. First and foremost, Susan and I celebrated the birth of our first grandchild on October 15. Belle Halladay Hughes is a beautiful, curious and active child, and the apple of her Papa’s eye. Belle Halladay is named after the schooner her great, great grandfather captained off Cape Cod in the 1800s, the Belle Halladay. Belle Halladay lives in Brooklyn, so it is easy to get to see her.

The rest of the family is doing well, and we get to see them often as Gareth. Amy and Belle Halladay, as well as Rebecca, all live in Brooklyn. Rebecca continues in her work as a developmental economist working for an NGO out of Yale, and gets to travel the world a lot; we are really proud of the work she is doing. Gareth continues at CBS Sports, and the documentary he worked on about the Army-Navy game, A Game of Honor, aired on Showtime in December, and he won Emmies #2, 3, and 4 for the show, including Best Documentary; quite the haul! Apparently the custom is to give your parents your first Emmy Award, so it now graces our home in Essex Junction. The entire family got together for almost two weeks this summer at our home in Charleston, SC, and it was delightful to see Belle Hallady take to the beach; never knew sand tasted so good!
My research using the new diffractometer continues, and numerous papers have come out in Canadian Mineralogist, American Mineralogist, and European Journal of Mineralogy. The work continues with new graduate student Jacob Menken, and a lot of exciting experiments are underway. I take over as President of the Mineralogical Society of America in November, which is a humbling and time-consuming task, but one I look forward to greatly. I submitted probably the last proposal of my career this summer, and look forward to even more experiments on apatite. So it has been a busy and extremely rewarding year… stay tuned.

Just getting ready to identify another new mineral

Paul Bierman, Professor (Geomorphology, Geohydrology, Isotope Geology Applied to Landscape Change): It's been a busy year in the lab, in the field, and writing.  In May, I travelled to Brazil with Veronica-Sosa Gonzalez (UVM MS, 2012) and Josh Farley (RSENR) to study the effect of agriculture on erosion.  Then, soon after went to Greenland with UVM MS Candidate Alice Nelson to collect samples of stream sediment as part of our NSF grant to understand the evolution of the Greenland Ice sheet over the last 5 million years.  Soon after returning, I taught for my 17th year in the Governor's Institute, a program for talented  Vermont High School youth.  Then, in August I travelled to the International Geologic Conference in Brisbane, Australia.  In September, I was back in Greenland finish up some survey work that we couldn't get done in June because thick fog grounded our plane.  One more trip abroad, to France finished up the fall.  These I presented work we did on the basal silty ice of the GISP 2 ice core - we found soil that likely predates ice sheet formation more than 2 million years ago.  In terms of publications, there were several on a variety of topics.  The most wide ranging was led by Eric Portenga - a summary and critical evaluation of all extant 10Be data in GSA Today.  The data set quantifies the effect of tectonics, climate, and topography on rates of erosion worldwide.  I spent many long weekends revising my chapters for the Pipkin et al. Environmental Geology textbook; it should be published by the time you read this.  The fun of this revisions was the photos; we were given access to the National Geographic photo archive; they are some truly phenomenal images.  I am finally in the home stretch of our new Geomorphology textbook.  Dave and I have the first 8 chapters done and with the publisher after an average of a dozen reviews for each chapter.  The last 6 chapters are on my desk and should be gone to the publisher by New Years!paul_color
Below are some websites related to my activities and recent publications.

Paul in Kulusuk, East Greenland, skiing to out crop to collect sample for dating post glacial uplift.

Veronica Sosa-Gonzalez and Brazilian colleagues sampling a stream in Brazil heavily impacted by both debris flows and agriculture.

Marika, Quincy and Christine

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

Andrea Lini, Associate Professor (Stable isotopes, Limnology and Climate Change):andrealini_color

Keith Klepeis, Professor (Structural Geology and Tectonics) keith1x1

This past year has been a great one for me personally and for Vermont geology. It represents the 12th consecutive year I’ve supervised student research projects on geological problems in Vermont with colleagues at UVM, the Vermont Geological Survey (VGS), and Middlebury. This year seemed as busy as ever. Undergraduate Abigail Ruksznis (class of 2013) presented the results of her research project relating the bedrock geology of the Plainfield, Vermont to various groundwater problems at Northeast GSA in Hartford. Abi also worked closely with Jon Kim and Marjorie Gale from VGS, and Laura Webb. At the end of the meeting she decided she wanted to pursue similar topics in graduate school, so we thought the meeting was a success! At the moment I am helping her work on her Honor’s thesis for the 2012-13 academic year. While working with Marjorie, Abi discovered a fantastic new outcrop near Route 2 in Essex Junction that promises to reveal how certain types of foliations are related faulting and folding events. She’s using some great new methods to study the fabrics, including a GigapanTM, which allows her to analyze stitched field photographs using deep zoom techniques.

Another student Eric Weber (class of 2013) also began a new summer a project with the VGS and I on the structure of the southern end of the Hinesburg thrust fault near Bristol. Eric is already making great headway and is cutting up samples and mapping out microstructures. Two other undergraduate students (Doug MacLeod and Jeff Tinklepaugh) also are working with me on Vermont geology theses and two graduate students I’ve been engaged with are almost finished (Christine McNiff and Megan Scott).
In addition to mentoring students, we ran a field trip from Lake Champlain across the Champlain and Hinesburg thrusts in August. Larry Becker, Marjorie Gale and Jon Kim (VGS) and Peter Ryan (Middlebury) and I ran a trip for people who work in various state agencies around New England, including the EPA, Health Department, and Water Department (see photo). Unlike last year, we finally had superb weather!
I’m also proud to report that one of my graduate students, Jeff Webber, completed a superb Masters thesis on fabric analysis in igneous rocks from coastal Chile. Jeff has just started working on his PhD with Mike Williams at Umass, Amherst. His field area is in a remote part of Canada (the Athabasca granulite terrane of the Canadian Shield), which is perfect for Jeff! I also accepted three more graduate students who are just getting started. With the new State geology map, running field trips, and all the student interest in doing field geology, it’s been a great year for geological research in Vermont.

With best wishes,



(802) 656-0247

Group photograph on a field trip stop at the famous “oven” outcrop in North Ferrisburgh. Photo by Marjorie Gale.

Stephen Wright, Senior Lecturer (Glacial geology, Geomorphology, Environmental Geology) : steve_color

pictures: Geology Department Newsletter, October 2012

Stephen Wright
I’ve been on sabbatical this fall and have spent many nice September field days working in the Killington area trying to better understand ice flow patterns across this part of the Green Mountains. I’m also planning on using the fall to finish several other field projects in northern Vermont as well as to investigate some areas that are normally too far away to work on during the school year.
I spent the first part of the summer mapping the northern half of the Pico Peak quadrangle, a continuation of the mapping in the southern half of the quadrangle I completed last summer. Part of this work involved following an esker system up the Ottauquechee River valley and then down the Tweed River valley. An outgrowth of this mapping was to outline the extent of a small glacial lake that occupied the Tweed River valley between Pittsfield and the Killington golf course. This relatively high-elevation lake (1,350 ft above sea level) was relatively short-lived, but its catastrophic drainage into those parts of Glacial Lake Hitchcock that occupied the northwestern branches of the White River may be responsible for a huge influx of sediment into that part of the lake over the course of several years. I will be leading a Vermont Geological Society field trip to this area during the summer or fall of 2013.
I brought another group of nine students out to Colorado during the first three weeks of August with the help of graduate student Ben DeJong. We had an excellent group that was both academically curious and a great joy to work with and camp with for 3 weeks. We took advantage of the warmer weather and lack of high-elevation snow (I’m usually out there with students in late May through mid-June) to visit areas well above tree line that are normally inaccessible. Our last long hike was into one of the small Front Range glaciers. Several of the students had been in my glacial geology class the previous spring semester and it was exciting to see, albeit on a small scale, evidence of some of the glacial processes we’d worked on in class and labs.
I’ll be at the Northeast GSA meeting at the Mount Washington Hotel this coming March and will hope to see at least some of you there. The trails at the Bretton Woods Nordic ski center are wonderful, so bring your skis!


Students descend a large snowfield on their way back to camp

Ollie Olliver, Ryan Stredny, Abi Ruksnis, Hank Ainley and Doug MacLeod relax on lower Plaeozoic rocks after ascending a very steep cirque headwall

Laura Webb, Assistant Professor (Igneous petrology and Geochronology) webb1x1

Hello UVM Geology alumni and friends:

It’s been a busy year and we’re now rocketing through another semester. Since our last newsletter, I completed the inaugural run of a new course in our curriculum, Field Methods in Geophysics. With funding from NSF-DUE, we acquired ground penetrating radar and electromagnetic induction profiling equipment. Students in the class focused on using this instrumentation to investigate the bedrock geology and hydrogeology of the Christiansen farm in East Montpelier. We had glorious weather, beautiful fall foliage, and a great time. The project was designed in collaboration with the Vermont Geological Survey and Abi Ruknzis (Geology BS student) went on to work in more detail with the class data set and present those findings at the NEGSA meeting.

Last year I also participated in the 2012 UVM Sustainability Faculty Fellows Program. While my research focus is hard rock oriented, I’ve had growing interests in infusing sustainability concepts in my teaching. I also participated in the Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences Workshop at Carleton College over the summer. This workshop is part the InTeGrate project, a five-year, NSF-funded STEP Center grant. I had a great time participating in both programs and hope to remain active in collaborative, interdisciplinary curriculum development efforts.

The 40Ar/39Ar geochronology laboratory is coming along. In the last year we completed construction of the noble gas extraction line and are now under ultrahigh vacuum. We now have a diode laser system built by UVM alumnus Jeremy Hourigan (Assistant Professor, UC Santa Cruz; Santa Cruz Laser Microfurnace). Over the summer we finally took delivery of the Nu Noblesse noble gas mass spectrometer, which was no small feat to get it safely in the building. We’re still in the process of commissioning the mass spec, but hope to soon be on our way playing the dating game.

Two of my students defended their MS theses in the last year. Merril Stypula is now off working for the oil and gas industry and Christine McNiff is pursuing her PhD at University of South Florida. Patrick Dyess is in his second year working with me on the titanium-in-quartz thermobarometer project. He may win my prize for largest number of analytical techniques (and abbreviations) combined into one MS thesis (EMP, CL, SIMS, EBSD, XRF...). I’m still active in research in on the tectonics of Papua New Guinea and Mongolia. Both are the focus of current writing efforts and targets for new research grant proposals in the coming year.

Best regards,


Collage of photos from the 2011 Field Methods in Geophysics class. From left to right across the top and then the bottom: Emily Siegel collects an electromagnetic induction profile. Abi Ruksznis takes location data with the Trimble GeoExplorer. Doug MacLeod pulls the 400 MHz antenna while Abi monitors the ground-penetrating radar data collection. Parker Richmond pulls the antenna while Doug monitors the GPR field computer, and Eric Webber records survey data. Students relieve tension by taking turns being the seismic source for refraction experiments.

Delivery of the noble gas mass spectrometer through the second floor window of Delehanty. Not pictured: Laura Webb breathing into a paper bag.

Laura breathing a huge sigh of relief!!

Andrew Schroth, Research Assistant Professor (Low Temperature Geochemistry, Limnology and Oceanography) Hello! I am a new Research Assistant Professor, and I am excited to be a part of UVM and the Department of Geology in particular. I come to the department after 5 years at U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole, MA, where I was a postdoctoral scholar and then a research geologist. Since I began working within the department this past July, I have felt immediately at home due to the friendly faculty, staff and students here at UVM. My primary area of expertise is in low temperature geochemistry and environmental mineralogy, but I also have teaching and research interests in soil science, hydrology and hydrogeology. I am particularly interested in the transport, fate and speciation of metals in surface waters, soils and sediments. I have come to UVM to lead a team of Vermont-based scientists and students in an NSF EPSCoR-funded research effort that aims to better understand nutrient dynamics and algal blooms in Lake Champlain and its watershed, generally in the context of climate change and adaptive management. Our team has been extremely busy this summer establishing an exciting network of sites for time series sample collection (water, sediment and biomass) and sensor deployment on Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Bay and at select sites within the Missisquoi and Winooski watersheds. Over the next few months, we will be conducting laboratory analyses of these samples as well as processing and interpreting data collected over the field season, while also establishing a winter sampling plan. We will continue to collect data from these sites over the next 4 years in an effort to better characterize and quantify inter and intra annual variability within the system and, more importantly, understand the environmental parameters that control nutrient/algal dynamics within the system. I also have active projects in Alaska studying trace metal speciation and cycling in watersheds, dusts and coastal marine waters that I hope to involve UVM undergraduate and graduate students as soon as possible. In the future, I look forward to developing new projects in the montane watersheds and soils of the nearby Green and Adirondack ranges, as these were the systems that I studied as a graduate and undergraduate student of geochemistry. I am also looking forward to teaching coursework in geochemistry and possibly other subjects through the Department of Geology. I am always keen to meet geologically-inclined alumni and current students! Please do not hesitate to shoot me an e-mail or stop by my office to chat!

Missisquoi Bay Microbiological Sampling Platform

Kasey Kahan , Lecturer (Palaeolimnology, Environmental Geology)

I’m very pleased to be joining the department for this coming year and to be teaching Environmental Geology and Geology 001. I’m sure we all remember the introductory course that ‘hooked’ us on geology, captured and engaged us and ultimately developed our passion. It is this inspirational moment that I hope to share with at least a few of the students here at UVM. So far, the fall term Environmental Geology class is an enthusiastic and keen group of students who have been blessed with nothing but beautiful fall weather on each of our field trips as we explore the region together.  

I am coming to the department, most recently, from Queen’s University in Ontario where I am completing my PhD. My research interests lie in interpreting sediment archives for climate and hydrologic reconstructions of the recent past. It is only possible to understand the current status of our natural systems if we have some historical context to place them in. I am particularly interested in understanding the linkages between the hydrological system and sediment delivery in the High Arctic. This sensitive environment is known to be changing rapidly in response to climate variability, yet we still need to determine the range in sensitivity on the landscape. My work specifically uses lake and marine sediment cores to perform high resolution geochemistry and sedimentological interpretation over the last several centuries. The ultimate goal is to link my observations in the sedimentary archive to the modern process studies completed during active summer field work programs in the region. My work has ranged across the north from Alaska, Norway and the Canadian High Arctic. This work is inherently interdisciplinary and I look forward to discussing it with the UVM community.  

Graduate Students

Ben DeJong: I'm a student employee with the USGS working on a doctorate here in beautiful Vermont.  My research is focused around the very flat Eastern Shore of Maryland, where a complex stratigraphy awaits.  This area presents many challenges to field mapping, the worst of which being the utter lack of exposure.  So I spend my time in the field drilling sequences and grabbing samples  for multiple analyses, one of which being cosmogenic nuclide dating, which I will begin this year in Paul Bierman's lab.   We'll figure it out; it's just like the drillers say, "if it were easy, everyone would be doing this".  ben1x1


Angel Garcia: Hola! Greetings! I come from the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.  I did my undergraduate major in Environmental Science and a minor in Marine Biology at the Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I’m in my first year of a Master’s program. I participated in four national and international summer research internships in places like South Carolina, Arizona, Costa Rica, and Vermont.  Actually, I’m part of the Vermont EPSCoR Fellowship for graduate studies.  I really enjoy hiking and scuba diving across the world. I’m working with geochemistry in Yellowstone National Park. Email: agarcia2@uvm.eduangel1x1

Alice Nelson: Hi, I graduated from Williams College in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Geology.  I spent a year split between Switzerland and Montana before coming to UVM last fall.  In my first year at UVM, I took classes, learned the ways of cosmogenic sample processing, read up on Greenland Ice Sheet history - and also found time to coach young ski racers with the Mansfield Nordic Club.  I had an amazing field season in Greenland this past June and I have been busy processing samples ever since.  I'm looking forward to another winter in Vermont, and hopefully this year we will get some more snow!    Alice

Email: ahnelson@uvm

Megan Scott: Hi, I came out to Vermont to work with Char Mehrtens on a project
involving some Ordovician carbonates near Middlebury. This past summer was filled to the brim with fun experiences including a productive field season in Middlebury Vermont. My fieldwork involved studying the structural and sedimentological features present in the Middlebury Formation, a Middle Ordovician limestone. The goal of the project is to examine the lithofacies and determine what environment the sediments composing the Middlebury limestone were deposited in. When I wasn't in the field or in the rock room, I was most likely spending time in my garden or on a bike ride. In the garden this year I planted tomatoes, beans, peas, peppers, eggplants, summer squash, carrots and a handful of other vegetables. As fall is now upon us and the semester is in full swing I have added class and a teaching assistantship to my schedule but continue to work on the Middlebury limestone project. Most recently I attended The New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference, which was a great opportunity to go on numerous field trips in Vermont. Despite the rainy weather we had fun and were able to see some beautiful outcrops!megan1x1

Ana Vang: : I am a second year graduate student at UVM, and I am working with Paul Bierman on the Landscape Change Project ( and more specifically on the Vermont Interstate System. I spent the majority of this summer exploring and photographing all over Vermont to try and determine how both the cultural and physical landscape has changed since interstate construction.

Steven Gohlke : I am a second-year graduate student from Texas (Hook ‘em!) supervised by Dr. Char Mehrtens. We are working on a collaborative project called "Desert Eyes," and its goal is to determine the origin of large-scale structures located in remote regions of Egypt’s western desert. These can be studied using the latest satellite imagery, which has 1m/pixel resolution. My role in the project involves combining field data (macroscale observations) and SEM data (microscale observations) in order to develop a relative timing sequence for my study area along the Seiyal Fault near Aswan. Ultimately, this model will be applied to other areas that cannot be easily studied. My main areas of interest are sedimentology/stratigraphy, structural geology, and petroleum systems. Email:


Patrick Dyess: Hello! I am a new Master’s candidate working with Laura Webb. I am working with the TITANIQ method of thermobarometry; looking at how the percentage of TITANium In Quartz and how that relates to temperature. Specifically, I am working on refining how it works or where it needs to be modified to work in the medium high temperatures of biotite grade rocks in the Eastern Green Mountains.  I finished up my B.S. in Earth Sciences at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. I’m looking forward to a great change in pace here out east.  Any time I’m not working on things here in Delehanty, I can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, and just plain old enjoying being outside in the beautiful New England woods!


Veronica Sosa-Gonzalez: Hi. I grew up in Puerto Rico, where I got my B.S. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico. I came to the University of Vermont in 2010 to work on my M.S. in Natural Resources at the Rubenstein School. My M.S. thesis was on the determination of long-term erosion rates in Panama using 10Be, under the advice of Dr. Paul Bierman. I started my PhD in the Fall of 2012, working in a project to understand the connections between land management, soil erosion and sediment yield in large river basins. Field work will take place in Western China.

Working thesis title: Deciphering connections between land management, soil erosion and sediment yield in large river basins. (NOTE: this is the NSF proposal title).

Ryan Brink: Hello. I am  first year graduate student working with Char Mehrtens. We are looking at the newly identified latest early/ middle Cambrian Altona Formation in Northern New York and the role of local tectonics in producing multiple depositional basins along the Laurentian margin of Iapetus at this time. I am coming from Colorado where I ran a Leadership Development program for the Southwest Conservation Corps. I received my BS from SUNY Potsdam in the winter of 2010. While there I was involved in sedimentary research along the coast of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. I am looking forward to the next couple of years here at UVM and where this experience will bring me in the future.
Kathryn Dianiska: Blurb: Howdy, ya'll! I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.Sc. degree in general geology. This is where I found my research interests in structural geology, tectonics and petrography. Originally hailing from Sugar Land, Texas, I have

come to brave the winters of Vermont and work with Dr. Keith Klepeis. Along with my fellow graduate students, Alice Newman and Mike Ingram, our team is working in Fiordland, New Zealand to understand the complex processes of lower crustal ductile deformation. I am greatly anticipating our field season in January and working on the project. Other than school, I keep busy by taking dance classes, reading, and enjoying Vermont's scenery! 

Tentative thesis title: Title: Structural evolution and deformation of the lower crust: Insights from microstructural analysis and geochronology of Vancouver Arm and Crooked Arm in Fiordland, New Zealand

Michael Ingram: Hello! I am a current graduate student working under Dr. Keith Klepeis on a exciting project in Fiordland, New Zealand.  My project is exploring the role of heterogeneity in the lower crust and its implications to strain partitioning and fabric development during post orogenic extension.  I completed my undergrad here at UVM after gaining interest to geology from my stone mason experience.  After a little time in the consulting industry I decided to pursue my masters.  I grew up in the NEK (Northeast Kingdom) of Vermont where the pace of life is pleasantly relaxing.  During my free time I like to golf during the summer (Jay Peak is my favorite course even though I have only played it once), play racquetball year round, and float my Polaris 500 through fresh powder in the winter. 
My working thesis title is: "The effects of heterogeneity in the lower crust on strain partitioning and fabric development during post orogenic extension, Doubtful Sound, New Zealand"
Ashliegh Kollmer: I graduated in 2012 from State University of New York at New Paltz with a bachelor’s of science in Geology. I’m originally from Long Island, New York, and so far I like Vermont much, much more! I’m currently working on my master’s degree under my advisor Andrea Lini. Our research consists of limnology of Lake Champlain and the transition between the Champlain Sea and Lake Champlain. My hobbies are knitting, crocheting, and tea. I also love adventures, hiking, taking road trips to new places, playing with rocks, and growing a fruitful garden.

Alice Newman: I am a first year graduate student working with Keith Klepeis on understanding the structure and deformational history of an expanse of lower crustal rocks exposed in Fiordland, New Zealand. This coming January, our team (which includes graduate students Michael Ingram, Kathryn Dianiska, myself, and Keith) will be exploring the remote fiords of Fiordland by boat in search of good outcrops from which to measure and sample. Although born and raised in Taiwan, I completed my undergraduate degree in geology in 2011 at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where I learned to enjoy cold and snowy winters. I am looking forward to our field season in New Zealand as well as enjoying Vermont through all its seasons. Email:

Thomas Neilson: I grew up in Maine, and attended Colorado College as an undergraduate majoring in geology. After graduating in 2010 I took a year to travel and pursue whitewater kayaking on rivers across the country and throughout the world, before moving to Portland, Oregon to teaching whitewater kayaking. During this time I also worked as an Assistant Scientist teaching oceanographic science, sampling techniques and seamanship aboard sailing research vessels for an undergraduate study abroad program called SEA. My research interests include marine geology and oceanographic sciences and landscape evolution and river systems.
Working thesis title: Determining impacts of land use on sediment yield in Southwestern Chinese Rivers using 10Be and short lived isotopes.

Jacob Menken: I am from Westchester, New York and moved to Vermont in 2008 to attend the University of Vermont where I earned a B.A. in Geology and a B.S. in Environmental Science. I have continued my studies and research here at the University of Vermont under the guidance of Dr. John Hughes with whom I study mineralogy and x-ray crystallography; I am particularly interested in the mineral Tourmaline and its variable chemistry and structure. When not teaching or in the laboratory, I can be found filling my time by volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician and on the ski slops. I look forward to continuing my research with Dr. Hughes and spending another two years in the Burlington community.


Robin Hopps: UVM Geology is a great department in which to work with outstanding students, staff andfaculty. At present, the Department has 13 graduate students, 2 PhD students, 42 majors, and 17 minors. Stop in to Delehanty Hall, to visit, or re-visit staff and faculty, as well as the Perkins Museum. Feel free to stay in touch by sending an email to  You can also see the list of lectures for the Geology Seminar Series on the UVM Geology website at “News and Events.” I enjoy my ten-month position in the office, as well as being out of the office from mid-June to mid-August for my landscaping business. 

Srebrenka Sehovic: Since May 16th 2008 I have worked as department administrative coordinator in the Geology Department, and I love working here. It is a real pleasure to work with every single person in the Department. Being around young, educated people and watching them develop makes me feel good. I am always glad to assist them when they need help. My husband and I are fortunate to have four daughters; two of them graduated from UVM and the younger twins are second-year students at UVM so I am happy to see them on campus now. Also, I am a grandmother, my four-year old grandson brings me joy on a daily basis.

Gabriela Mora-Klepeis, Senior Research Technician: 2012 has been a busy year, full of personal and professional activities. Since late last year I’ve had the chance to interact with colleagues that were affected by the tropical storm Irene as the department was trying to accommodate their research needs. In April I was happy to attend the unveiling ceremony of the most recent edition of the State’s bedrock map. The event took place at the State House in Montpellier and Gov. Shumlin presented the map. During the summer I finished a biathlon and I also competed in my first Colchester triathlon. It was a great experience that I was happy to share with Jack Drake! The Fall semester has been equally busy and bringing new opportunities. I have been appointed to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women at UVM. This year I also had the chance to meet with some Australian colleagues and friends. If you are in the area, please stop by for a building tour, I’ll be happy to show you around!
:::::pictures:kayak2.jpg :::::pictures:finishline.jpg

The kayak leg, Colchester Triatholon, July 2012

Finish Line – Colchester Triatholon, July 2012

Emeriti Faculty
Barry Doolan: Greetings to all Geology Alums.barrydoolan_color
Hello to all alums and friends. 2011 has been a great year in, golf and bit of geology. Sandy and I spent some time in Charleston, SC enjoying sun, surf and golf. Char and I ran an interesting field trip for the UVM OLLIE program earlier this summer visiting field stops in the Champlain Valley for very interested adult learners. Heard from a few alums. Congratulations to Jeremy Hourigan on the birth of his first daughter this year; Hello from Laura Mallard who is doing well at Appalachian State in Boone NC. Watch out Laura we're back to NC next
Older daughter Kristan (UVM Geology ’92) is doing well in nearby Bakersfield running Does Leap Farm (organic goat cheese and kiefer and more recently pork and goat sausage) with her family. Grandkids Zoe and Peter continue to be a source of joy and inspiration for us. We are fortunate to have them close by.
We still live in Fletcher Vermont (since 1981) and welcome any visits you may make to Vermont. Just put in 27 Cambridge Road, Fletcher Vermont in your GPS. Looking forward to hearing from past grads. Drop an email or visit us in Fletcher when you’re in the area.
Best wishes to all

Barry and crew near Oaxaca Mexico, Spring 2010

Jack Drake: Life continues to smile on us. We enjoy our camp on Lake Champlain (east shore of South Hero) during the summer with many related aquatic and biking activities. During the fall semester Ruthie and I continue auditing courses here at UVM. This year it is “Political Parties and Elections” (very relevant!!!) plus another Spanish course for me and an “Historical Preservation/Architecture” course for Ruthie. In the past several years we have audited “History of the Muslim world to 1453”, “The History of Egypt, Iran and Turkey” and “Modern History of the Middle East”. jackdrake_color
This winter we are again heading to California for 4 months, visiting our sons and granddaughters (ages 5 and 7) along the way. We have some good friends in California so it is almost like a second home now. This past summer a couple from CA came to visit us here in VT and we did some serious bicycling around Lake Champlain. We also got to entertain our grand daughters for a week here in VT, trying to introduce them to Green Mountain State life. So, for us, life is good. We just have to keep reminding ourselves how lucky we are considering all the trials, tribulations and problems that exist in the world today.

Best to you all, you have provided many fond memories of my years here at UVM.

Email: john.drake@uvm or

David Bucke: The past year at the Bucke household has been eventful, fortunately in a positive way. The homestead at Sleepy Hollow Road has experienced both downsizing and upsizing.  A significant 2-story addition has been added and some interior reworking has created a reasonably spacious "apartment".  Why all this?  Our youngest daughter, Katherine, along with her husband and 2 daughters (3 and 4 years old) are now sharing the living space.  We have the option to "retreat" to our downsized area or just be one big family.   This arrangement is working very well and allows us to remain secure at our home for the future rather than searching for "antiquity quarters" somewhere else.

We continue to do RV traveling, primarily in September and October. This year we logged about 8,000 miles heading across the north concentrating on North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, and especially Utah.  We thought of Jack Drake's Regional Geology as we watched rafters going through the Grand Canyon.  The return east included the Gulf Coast barrier islands at North Padre Island (Texas) and Ft. Pickens across the sound from Pensacola (Florida panhandle). Donna and I continue to enjoy paleoenvironmental analyses of all the sedimentary rocks of the Colorado Plateau, the phenomenal topography, and evidence of recent (<1000 yr bp) volcanic hiccups.  Ahh, great memories of Regional Trips with Allen Hunt!  We enjoy visiting the National Parks but much of our time is spent "boondocking" in undeveloped National Forest and BLM land.  Staying on federal land plus an occasional Walmart keeps our camping costs minimal -- about $2.60/night.  Gasoline is another story!  In late February we enjoyed some decadent vacationing in Jamaica as a break from the Vermont winter.

We hope all is well with the UVM family!

Dave Buckedpb

Donna & I extend our warm best wishes to all of you

Our new email address is:  .  

I think my UVM mail still

works & flips into the gmail box -- but maybe not.
Allen Hunt: Greetings from Bakersfield where we still live on Prospect Hill Farm. Last Spring we sold our herd of registered Angus cattle to reduce our responsibilities. Our three sons are scattered across the country. Edwin, our eldest, is single and lives in Nevada. Harry, our middle son, is an architect and lives in Stowe with his wife and two children – a girl and boy. Jesse continues to live in Park City, Utah, with his wife and three children – two girls and a boy. We no longer have an excuse for not traveling except that we love our farm in Vermont. Other that an occasional family trip west or to our cottage in Maine, we are home and enjoy visitors who may be traveling in our area. allenhunt_color

Telephone: 802-827-441

Recent Publications

(faculty in bold)

Portenga, E.W., Bierman, P. R., Rizzo, D M., Rood, D. H. (in press). Low rates of bedrock outcrop erosion in the central Appalachian Mountains inferred from in situ 10Be. Geological Society of America Bulletin.

Reusser, L. J., Corbett, L. B., and P. R. Bierman (2012), Incorporating concept sketching into teaching undergraduate geomorphology. Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 60, p 3-9.
Bacon, A. R., Richter, D., Bierman, P. R., and Rood, D. H., (2012) Coupling meteoric 10Be with pedogenic losses of 9Be to improve soil residence time estimates on an ancient North American interfluve.  Geology, v. 40; no. 9; p. 1–4; doi:10.1130/G33449.1
West, N., Kirby, E., Bierman, P. R., Rood, D. (2011) Preliminary estimates of regolith generation and mobility in the Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory, Pennsylvania, using meteoric 10Be. Applied Geochemistry. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.03.053

Portenga, E. and Bierman, P. R. (2011).  Understanding Earth’s eroding surface with 10Be.  GSA Today, v. 21, n.  8, p. 4-10.

Corbett, L. B., Young, N.E., Bierman, P. R., Briner, J. P., Neumann, T.A., Graly, J.A, and Rood, D. H. (2011) Paired bedrock and boulder 10Be concentrations resulting from early Holocene ice retreat near Jakobshavn Isfjord, western Greenland Quaternary Science Reviews, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.04.001.

Graly, J., Reusser, L., and Bierman, P. R., (2011). Short and long-term delivery rates of meteoric 10Be to terrestrial soils.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 302, Issues 3-4, p. 329-336, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.12.02

Leech, M.L., and Webb, L.E., 2012, Is the HP-UHP Hong'an-Dabie-Sulu orogen a piercing point for offset on the Tan-Lu fault? Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, DOI: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2012.08.005.

Spear, F., Ashley, K.T., Webb, L.E., and Thomas, J., 2012, Ti diffusion in quartz inclusions: implications for metamorphic time scales, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, DOI: 10.1007/s00410-012-0783-z.

Baldwin, S.L., Fitzgerald, P.G., and Webb, L.E., 2012, Tectonics of the New Guinea region, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, v. 40, p. 495-520, doi: 10.1146/annurev-earth-040809-15254.

Heumann, M.J., Johnson, C.L., Webb, L.E., Taylor, J.P., Jalbaa, U., and Minjin, C., 2012, Paleogeographic reconstruction of a late Paleozoic arc collision zone, southern Mongolia, Geological Society of America Bulletin, doi:10.1130/B30510.1.

Kampf, A.R., Hughes, J.M., Marty, J., and Nash, B. (2012) Postite, Mg(H2O)6Al2(OH)2(H2O)8(V10O28)•13H2O, a new mineral species from the La Sal Mining District, Utah: Crystal structure and descriptive mineralogy. Canadian Mineralogist 50 45-53.

Ertl, A., Schuster, R., Hughes, J.M., Ludwig, T., Meyer, H.-P., Finger, F., Dyar, M.D., Ruschel, K., Rossman, G.R., Klotzli, U., Brandstatter, F., Lengauer, C.L., and Tillmanns, E. (2012) Li-bearing tourmalines in Variscan granitic pegmatites from the Moldanubian nappes, Lower Austria. European Journal of Mineralogy, 24, 695-715.

Ertl, A., Kolitsch, U., Dyar, M.D., Hughes, J.M., Rossman, G.R., Pieczka, A., Henry, D., Pezzotta, F., Prowatke, S., Lengauer, C., Körner, W., Brandstätter, F., Francis, C.F., Prem, M., and Tillmanns, E. (2012) Limitations of Fe2+ and Mn2+ site occupancy in tourmaline: evidence from Fe2+- and Mn2+-rich tourmaline. American Mineralogist, 97, 1402-1416.

Kampf, A.R., Hughes, J.M., Marty, J., and Nash, B. (2011) Gunterite, Na4(H2O)16(H2V10O28)·6H2O, A new mineral with a doubly-protonated decavanadate polyanion: Crystal structure and descriptive mineralogy. Canadian Mineralogist, 49, 1243-1251.

Hughes, J.M., Derr, R.S., Cureton, F., Campana, C.F., and Druschel, G. (2011) The crystal structure of cavansite: Location of the water molecules and hydrogen atoms in Ca(VO)(Si4O10).4H2O. Canadian Mineralogist, 49, 1023-1027.

Kampf, A.R., Hughes, J.M., Marty, J., Gunter, M.E., and Nash, B. (2011) Rakovanite, Na3{H3[V10O28]}∙ 15H2O, a new pascoite family mineral with a protonated decavanadate polyanion: Crystal structure and descriptive mineralogy. Canadian Mineralogist, 49, 889-898.

Hughes, J.M., Rakovan, J., Ertl, A., Rossman, G.R., Baksheev, I., and Bernhardt, H.-J. (2011) Dissymmetrization in tourmaline: The atomic arrangement of optically sectoral-zoned triclinic Ni-bearing Mg-rich tourmaline. Invited paper, Canadian Mineralogist, 49, 29-40.

Luo*, Y., Rakovan, J. Tang*, Y., Lupulescu, M., Hughes, J.M. and Pan, Y. (2011) Crystal chemistry of Th in fluorapatite. American Mineralogist, 96(1), 23-33.

Presentations at Recent Meetings (2011 GSA Meeting, Denver, Colorado,

references in Geologic Society of America 2011 Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado

Program and Abstracts) (UVM faculty and staff in bold and students in bold)

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