Paper No. 25-4
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM
INTRODUCING MICRO-ANALYTICAL TOOLS TO THE UNDERGRADUATES AS PART OF THE GEOSCIENCE CURRICULUM ENHANCEMENT ACTIVITY
Geoscience students often lack an exposure to state-of-the art micro-analytical tools to further their undergraduate educational experience and therefore miss out on a core learning tool called ‘experiential learning opportunity’ (ELO). Classroom knowledge becomes understandable, relevant, and meaningful through field-and-data-based information obtained through the infusion of technology, in particular, as related to sediment composition, texture, discrete mineral phase, micro-fabric, cementation, and alteration, as needed to determine provenance, identify steps in diagenesis, post burial alteration, Eh-pH, expulsion of pore fluid, overall change in porosity in response to post burial compaction, etc. These features are measureable to a certain degree with a combination of X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectroscopy, X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Fourier Transformed Infrared (FTIR) analysis, routine microscopic investigations with Optical, Raman and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Acquisition of chemical data through these instruments can easily become the impetus or cornerstone of applied knowledge to many undergraduates pursuing degrees in the geosciences or environmental sciences. It is also a win win situation considering many employers are now looking for individuals having such prior experience for even an entry-level position. It is well known that prior field and research experience can often substitute for this requirement and give students an advantage. Students should be encouraged to take at least one Independent or Undergraduate Research or Techniques course in the Geological Sciences during their degree program and also receive critical information about ethics in research, research protocols, systematic data acquisition, basic statistical analysis of the obtained data, and finally completing a sound geological report. Collaboration between institutions or departments presently capable of offering microanalytical experience to the interested students should be established prior to the resumption of the work and respective collaborators should provide stipends to the selected students as an incentive to pursuing independent research task involving microanalytical tools.
NASA MUREP Aerospace Academy Provided Partial Funding