Curtin, Wheatley ’09 work in Pennsylvania lab – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Curtin, Wheatley ’09 work in Pennsylvania lab

Tara Curtin of the geoscience faculty and Gwen Wheatley '09 recently analyzed currents in Owasco Lake over the past 16,000 years.

They and Leah Joseph, an assistant professor of environmental studies at Ursinus College near Philadelphia, recovered evidence for significant changes in the strength of lake circulation over that period, perhaps reflecting a corresponding global change in temperature.

Wheatley (at left) recently worked in the Paleomagnetism Laboratory at Ursinus College under Joseph's direction, measuring the orientation of magnetic grains in sediment samples using an instrument called a KappaBridge.

Knowing that faster currents in a lake align more grains, the three determined that the deep water lake currents appear to have decreased significantly in strength over the past 16,000 years, and prevailed during the global transition from warm to cool climates around 5,600 years ago.

Curtin, a member of the faculty since 2001, holds a bachelor's degree from Colgate, a master's from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her doctorate from the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Wheatley, a geoscience major, has been named to the Dean's List and has played on the Herons soccer team. She was part of a group of students who recently accompanied Christine deDenus of the chemistry faculty to Penn State to observe the forensics program there.

Joseph taught at HWS before joining the faculty at Ursinus, where she teaches courses on environmental geology, oceanography, and global climate change.