Northeastern Section - 48th Annual Meeting (18–20 March 2013)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM


WEBB, Laura E.1, WESTERMAN, David S.2, SPRINGSTON, George E.3, KIM, Jonathan4, KLEPEIS, Keith A.5, KOTEAS, G. Christopher3, RUKSZNIS, Abigail6, MEHRTENS, Charlotte7, BECKER, Laurence R.8 and GALE, Marjorie4, (1)Dept. of Geology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, (2)Department of Geology and Environmental Science, Norwich University, 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663, (3)Earth and Environmental Sciences, Norwich University, 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663, (4)Vermont Geological Survey, 103 South Main Street, Logue Cottage, Waterbury, VT 05671-2420, (5)Geology, University of Vermont, Trinity Campus, Burlington, VT 05405, (6)John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, National Park Service, 32651 Hwy 19, Kimberly, OR 97848, (7)Geology, University of Vermont, 180 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401, (8)Vermont Geological Survey, 1 National Life Drive, Montpelier, VT 05602-3920,

This presentation highlights a collaborative approach to the development of field-based curricula and undergraduate research opportunities in the application of geophysical methods to geological and environmental studies. The University of Vermont (UVM) and Norwich University (NU) have a tradition of successful undergraduate research in collaboration with the Vermont Geological Survey (VGS) upon which we build with new opportunities afforded by the recent acquisition of ground-penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction, seismic refraction, and sub-meter Global Positioning Satellite technology. The instrumentation was acquired through collaborative research grants to both institutions funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education. Because the main field-based courses using this equipment are offered alternating years at UVM and NU, the cooperative sharing of key equipment maximizes its impact and use.

The geophysical instruments have facilitated new curricular and research opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in inquiry-based investigations of bedrock geology, surficial deposits, and groundwater resources in Vermont. Class and independent research projects are conceived in collaboration with VGS to compliment ongoing studies by state geologists. Students are involved in experimental design, and data collection, reduction and interpretation. Some of the challenges, but also some of the significant benefits, relate to the necessity of students learning to use a variety of software required to process data and integrate geophysical and geological data sets. In many cases, these projects serve to introduce students to geographic information systems and data management. Assessment efforts associated with this project include gauging improvement in students’ 3D visualization capabilities. The results of the student projects have direct applications to local environmental issues and, thus, provide a powerful mechanism for student engagement in STEM-related educational outreach to the public.