Archive for April, 2011

To keep with the bittersweet theme, I wanted to leave a note for the entire department.  I want you all to know that I will never forget any of you.  No matter where I end up, the memories I’ve made at UPJ with both my classmates and professors will never fade.  I am so lucky to have met every single one of you, and you will all occupy a very special place in my heart for years to come.  Thank you for your friendships and the experiences we’ve made together.  You have taught me so much about myself and about life in general.  I could not have gotten through the past 4 years without you guys.  I wish you all the best of luck in the future, and I want you to know that you will truly be missed.  Please keep in touch and don’t be afraid to come see me in Yosemite!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you’ve imagined.  As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” -HDT-

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New studies show that the more diverse a streams biology is, it helps clean up pollutants in the stream quicker.  Bradley Cardinale, an ecologist from the Univeristy of Michigan did studies on algae, and how it can help remove nitrate from water.  He did many tests using many species of algae.  Bradley discovered that the water with more species in it removed nitrates more than 4.5 times faster than water with a less diverse biology. 


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Hate Goodbyes

It’s finally finals week, the end of a crazy semester and year.  I don’t think any of us would have imagined 8 months ago  we would all be such close friends today.  The stories we can tell and inside jokes we know will not be forgotten.   As much as we all may have anticipated this time of year, we dreaded it coming just as much because we are losing one of the nicest, smartest, sweetest and every other word like that, professors to ever come into our lives.  Dr. Monecke will be so deeply missed by everyone within the geology department.  We tried not to bring up this subject much because sadness sweeps over everyone.  We all wish her the best of luck and a huge thank you for everything she’s done, it won’t be the same without her.

I hope we can keep posting our geologyness on here throughout the summer so we can say things like, thrust,hardness, cleavage, put it in your mouth, and of course, that’s the biggest I’ve ever seen, without being judged too much.  With that, good luck to everyone this week, good luck to our seniors who are all grown up now and love always to the amazing Dr. Monecke.

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Just a few short days before the end of the semester and everyone is surely ready to get out and enjoy some nice weather. We pre-geologists have become quite a close-knit bunch this past semester. From the long spring break adventure to UPJ SPACE to mineral cases, we have definitely put in the time. So with all of that said, THANKS to everyone! On a side note: I am sure many in the department have many bittersweet feelings about the departure of one of our favorite teachers. She will truly be missed.

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As this year comes to an end, I am definitely breathing a sigh of relief after an exhausting nineteen credit semester. This year was my first as a geology major and math minor, and I learned quite a bit. I came into the major with an open-minded attitude, but not really sure of what to expect. Although I fell into geology for reasons different than most of my classmates, I soon grew to appreciate this field of science that was foreign to me. Specifically, Report Writing was a class with a heavy work load and a lot always going on. I enjoyed the week long spring break trip and everyone’s individual field stops. It was a great experience, and I got a lot out of the trip by learning some cool stuff in the field. However, as much as I love the weather, it can still be a bummer at times. My field trip getting canceled due to the weather was something that was out of anyone’s control, but was still a big let down for me. However, you have to look on the bright side of things. I got to research and conduct a brand new field trip in the Johnstown area. It took me awhile to finally get it just right, but when I stumbled across the Bog Path, I knew that it had a lot of potential for research. Report Writing was a lot of work, but I feel like in the end I gained more from it than I have from most classes.

And ONE DAY, I plan on hiking that 6.5 mile trail! IT WILL HAPPEN!

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I’d like to leave something behind for some of my classmates to use when I’m gone.  For those of you who have not yet had Mineralogy, I think you’re going to need all the help you can get.  That class was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.  But a few valuable books and websites helped me get through it, and I’d like to share them with you who will need them the most.  The books are in the Mineralogy Lab and they are known as the “atlases”.  There’s one for all three rock types and they’re amazing.  They will help you identify minerals in thin section with both pictures and explanations.  Two websites I found helpful were geology.com’s rock pictures and the mineralogical database.  (1) http://geology.com/rocks/ (2) http://webmineral.com/.  They will tell/show you everything the atlases don’t.  Trust me, you want to use these… I now leave you a picture of my favorite mineral, azurite.  Good luck.

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A recent study to be published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal has concluded that the Yellowstone caldera magma plume could be larger than previously thought. A seismic study was conducted in 2009 to develop a theorized image of the plume which was thought to span nearly 600 miles beneath Yellowstone. The most recent survey used electrical conductivity techniques to identify the plume and found variations in the angle in which the plume dips. This could allow for a much larger magma body to be below ground. Using conductivity has allowed researchers to identify magma and briny water that was not detected in the seismic study. The picture below is the modeled data.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13061779

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New Dinosaur Found

Recently in New Mexico at the Ghost Ranch fossil site, a new dinosaur was found.  It lived around 205 million years ago.  This was an important find because it bridges the gap between very early predators and later ones such as the t-rexes.  The Daemonosaurus chauliodus (scientific name) was thought to be about the size of a large dog and have bucktoothed-like front teeth that were very sharp.  According to scientists the skull and mouth structure of this dinosaur are unexpected for dinosaurs found at that point in time.  Another aspect that scientists found is that these earlier species of dinosaurs may have had a wider distribution than they thought because they are now found in North America and were only before found in South America.  Definitely a very interesting new find!

Photo: Artist rendering of new dinosaur species Daemonosaurus chauliodus

drawing of new dinosaur..interested?  more information can be found at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/110413-new-species-dinosaur-bucktoothed-evil-spirit-fossils-animals-science/

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National Tornado Day

I stumbled across an article that talks about the unofficial National Tornado Day. That day being June 8th, which I thought was really cool because it’s my birthday and I love tornadoes. This date was chosen because of many historic and deadly tornadoes that have touched down on this date. An example is the F5 tornado with winds up to 315mph that destroyed parts of Michigan in 1953. This was the last tornado that had a fatality count of over 100 people in the U.S.


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Meteor Craters

In Pennsylvania, we geologists do not have the luxury of having a meteor crater nearby to study. However, through Google Earth and Maps, we can zoom in and measure several aspects of the crater such as diameter, circumference, and depth. Posted below is a list of the fifty largest meteor craters on earth to get you started. Enjoy!


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