Northeastern Section - 36th Annual Meeting (March 12-14, 2001)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM


PECK, Kristine, Geology Department, State Univ of New York College at Potsdam, Potsdam, NY 13676 and REVETTA, Frank, Geology Department, State Univ of New York College at Potsdam, 44 Pierrepont Avenue, Potsdam, NY 13676,

Geophysical methods of prospecting are useful, effective and economical in solving many geologic and environmental problems. Environmental geophysics is also an excellent means of developing an appreciation of science and engaging students in projects to which students respond enthusiastically. This case study involves a project to locate a water well site for a local community in collaboration with HydroSource Associates, specialists in groundwater exploration. The students were presented with the problem to locate a new municipal water well site because present wells do not provide sufficient water during dry seasons and are also in danger of contamination from their location near railroad tracks. Areas were selected to conduct seismic refraction and electrical resistivity surveys to locate possible troughs in the bedrock that would yield sufficient water needed by the village. The project included the use of a StrataView Exploration Seismograph, ABEM Terrameter and a Total Field Station to conduct the surveys.

The response of the students to work on a real problem was one of enthusiasm and excitement. They appreciated the relevance of tackling a real problem. Working along side of a specialist, as an intern, developed an appreciation of the usefulness of their learning. The effect of introducing cooperative learning in the exploration geophysics course was exceedingly positive. Their learning experiences included the acquisition of geophysical data in the field, computer analysis and interpretation of the data. Class discussion of the results and a written report also resulted from the experience. The location of the water-well site was of course a company decision but the learning gained by the students from the experience was extraordinary. The role of experiences like this in undergraduate education into the classroom will certainly lead to an improvement in science teaching.