National Geological Society Features Hobart and William Smith Research – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

National Geological Society Features Hobart and William Smith Research

April 21, 2000 Geneva, NY – Seven Hobart and William Smith students and Professors John Halfman and Don Woodrow, of the HWS Geoscience Department, attended the Annual Northeastern Sectional Meeting of the Geological Society of America in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in March. Each student presented a facet of their research that they have worked on and continue to work on at the Colleges.

Research projects include research on atrazine in Seneca Lake, the hydrogeochemistry of Zurich Bog, the development and use of the HWS Data Logger, the pH of local rainfall, the dolomitization of carbonates, and the origin of sand-filled fractures. In addition, Halfman presented two invited posters on the sediment stratigraphy and paleoclimatic interpretations gleaned from the sediment stratigraphy of two Finger Lakes.

The Hobart and William Smith geoscience department encourages students to involve themselves in research projects and paper presentations beyond the HWS campus. Many class and independent study projects result in presentations at national meetings and/or publications in national and international journals. The department prides itself in providing the opportunity for students to become part of the international geological community and for them to experience possible career paths.

The following is a list of the projects, including authors and titles, featured at the meeting.

John D. Halfman, assistant professor of geoscience, wrote “An abrupt climatic transition during the mid-Holocene: Evidence from high-resolution seismic profiles and sediment cores in Seneca Lake, New York,” and “High-resolution seismic reflection evidence for mid-Holocene climate change: Owasco Lake, New York.”

Mark A. Flusche, a Hobart senior, of Syracuse, N.Y., and Halfman, wrote “Hydrogeochemistry of the northern sedge mat at Zurich Bog, Lyons, NY.” The research attempted to determine the direction of the groundwater flow and its hydrochemistry by measuring the heights and chemistries of the water in various well clusters.

Jon P. Rumpf, a Hobart senior of Horseheads, N.Y.; Halfman; and D. Brooks McKinney, associate dean, wrote “Development and testing of an inexpensive data logger and its application to hydrological studies.” The laboratory tests are designed to test the accuracy and precision of a versatile logger system in addition to testing the effects of different environmental stimuli such as temperature and moisture.

Sandra M. Baldwin, a William Smith sophomore of Stanley, N.Y.; J.C. McSweeney, a 1999 William Smith graduate of West Granby, Connecticut; and Halfman, wrote “The concentration and sources of atrazine in Seneca Lake, New York.” Research and field testing has found that the concentrations of atrazine does not exceed set maximum levels despite the significant amount of runoff from farmlands within the watershed region of Seneca Lake.

Jay W. Freeman, a Hobart senior of Elmira Heights, N.Y.; and Donald Woodrow, professor of geoscience; and Halfman, delivered “Areal variation in acid precipitation: Central New York and Northern Pennsylvania.” In this study rainfall was collected for analysis at eight stations from Wellsboro, Pa., to Wolcott, N.Y., and determination of pH was tested using a Piccolo ATC pH-meter.

David Willard, a Hobart senior of Grand Isle, Vt., and Woodrow, presented a paper on the “Origin of sandstone-filled fractures and irregular sandstone bodies in strata immediately below a pre-Onondaga erosional surface at Oaks Corners, NY.” This discussion focused on the peculiar nature of the quartz sand as a constituent of the coral-rich stratum at the base of the Onondaga and quartz arenite that forms sheets and masses in the Akron.

Elizabeth R. Leslie, a William Smith senior of Fairfield, Conn., and Woodrow, presented, “Origin of dolomite in the Lockport Group based on interpretations of outcrop and cores from a new quarry at Butler, NY.” The research examined a recently opened quarry in the mid-Silurian Lockport Group at Butler, New York, which provided access through outcrop and cores to approximately 20 meters of the Lockport rock sequence otherwise unavailable in this region of small and scattered outcrops.

Hobart for men and William Smith for women-private, liberal arts and science institutions with a combined enrollment of 1,800-have an ambitious geology curriculum which is designed for students with a wide variety of interests and needs, ranging from an introduction to a strong preparation for a career in geology. Hobart and William Smith are located in Geneva, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

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