2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM


RYAN, Jeffrey G., Geology, University of South Florida, SCA 528, 4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620, ryan@chuma.cas.usf.edu

In the petrologic/geochemical activities of the second month of the WCU-USF Blue Ridge REU Site, participants consistently exceeded project targets for rock sample chemical analyses by up to 50%. Many of the successful post-Summer student research efforts also focused on geochemical topics (rare-earth element analyses, mineral chemistry studies, bulk chemical analyses of related samples from outside the Summer field areas). In our Site, geochemical analysis activities were approached much as were field activities: groups of 3-4 participants identified a subset of the samples collected for geochemical work, and carried the effort from rock powdering through analysis and interpretation of results. The team approach facilitated technical instruction on sample preparation and analysis methods, as more “sets of ears” and teamwork resulted in greater retention and quicker mastery of technical methodologies. Encouraging teams to take ownership of their samples and data frequently led to additional rocks being analyzed during the summer, and to many of the post-Summer efforts, as students pursued questions they identified from their original datasets. The investigative zeal and comfort with geochemical inquiry developed during the Site carried forward as participants pursued graduate careers, as several chose geochemical or petrologic foci for their MS/PhD. research.

I have adapted our REU team approach to conducting geochemical research with undergraduates within an NSF-EAR supported project to examine the light element systematics of lavas from monogenetic volcanic centers in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. A team of three student participants was recruited based on aptitude and interest in my Mineralogy/Petrology course, and a Spring term Directed Research section got them conversant with the literature of the region. Students identified and acquired the necessary samples based on their literature review from the Smithsonian and other sources, and analytical work was conducted during a ten week summer term. The project culminated in a poster presentation at the Fall AGU meeting that was submitted and produced by the students.