Geologist studies rock wall

Undergraduate Research in Geology

Western geology students visit Australia's Ayers Rock

Geology students involved in research or other special opportunities make oral or poster presentations during the last week of class each semester. All geology majors must conduct and present research as part of their capstone requirement. Many research projects were also presented at professional meetings, such as at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.


Spring 2011

  • Research Project: Groundwater Flow Through Fractures in Crystalline Rock in the Coweeta Group at
    Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, North Carolina
    Lily Savitsky [Waters-Tormey, Kinner] {GSA Abstract}
  • M.S. Thesis: Effects of Water Quality on Appalachian Elktoe Mussels in the Little Tennessee River
    Jason Jarvis [Miller] {GSA Abstract}
  • Course Research Project: Analysis of Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction in a Headwaters Stream System
     in the Southern Appalachians, Cullowhee, NC. Part A: Physical Setting in Different Hydrogeomorphic
    Reaches.
    Chad Hiatt, Matthew Burnette, and Blake Roberts [Lord, Kinner] {GSA Abstract}
  • Course Research Project: Analysis of Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction in a Headwaters Stream System
     in the Southern Appalachians, Cullowhee, NC. Part B: Hydrology in Different Hydrogeomorphic Settings
    Liz Allen, Ashley MacIntyre, Jason Dobyne, and Mark Padgett [Lord, Kinner] {GSA Abstract}
  • Senior Thesis: Measurment of Shallow Hydraulic Conductivity Profiles in Potential Lansdslide Initiation
    Zones of the Mountains of Western North
    Matthew Burnette [Kinner]
  • Senior Thesis: Using geospatial tools to assess mineral grain spacing in two dimensions.
    Michael Stillwagon [Waters-Tormey] {AGU Abstract}

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FALL 2010

  • Senior Thesis: Measurment of Shallow Hydraulic Conductivity Profiles in Potential Lansdslide Initiation
    Zones of the Mountains of Western North
    Matthew Burnette [Kinner]
  • M.S. Thesis: Determination of Trace Element Provenance in the Rio Loa Basin,
    Leslie Wilson, Graduate Student, Chemistry [Miller] {GSA Abstract}
  • Senior Thesis: Carbon Sequestration Rates in a constructed Wetland in Jackson County Park, North Carolina
    Harrison Carter [Tanner]

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SPRING 2010

  • Senior Thesis: Reflected Light Image Analysis Method: Application to Magnetic Mineral SPO Measurements
    Tiffany Liner [Waters-Tormey]
  • Senior Thesis: Carbon Sequestration Rates of Different Marsh Zones in the Schoodic Marsh of Acadia
    National Park, Maine
    Lee Sorrell [Tanner] {GSA Abstract}
  • Research Project: Development, Mass Movement and Weathering Profiles: A Slow Moving Weathered Rock
    Slide in Western North
    Preston Jacobsen [Kinner & Waters-Tormey] {GSA Abstract}
  • Senior Thesis: Reflected Light Image Analysis Method: Application to Magnetic Mineral SPO Measurements
    Tiffany Liner [Waters-Tormey]
  • Research Project: Do Reach-Scale Geomorphically Defined Process Zones Predict Sensitivity of Channel
    Systems and Hydrologic Processes in the Mountains of the Central Great Basin?
    Rachael Tury and Danvey Walsh, ]Lord, Miller] {GSA Abstract} 
  • Senior Research Seminar: Hydrologic, geomorphic, and geologic setting characteristics of a Small southern
    Appalachian stream System, Cullowhee Creek, NC
    Andrew Allen, Jesse Buchanan, Steven Evans, Seth Goad, John Hayes, Jennifer McKibben, Kurt Remington,
    Cory Sills, David Stainback, Rachael Tury, Danvey Walsh [Lord and Yurkovich] {GSA Abstract 1} {GSA Abstract 2}       

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SPRING 2008

  • Senior Thesis: Infiltration and Moisture Movement in Native River Cane Stands, Western North Carolina
    Andrew Moore {GSA Abstract}   
  • Research Project Participants: Paleo-Environmental Investigation of Panthertown Bog, Western North Carolina
    Alex Causey, Travis Daniels, Heather Gregory, & Katelyn Sutcliffe [Kinner & Tanner]
  • Senior Thesis: Finding a Fingerprint for Salt Pool Depostis in Maine Salt Marshes, U.S.A.
    Evan Allen [Tanner] {GSA Abstract}
  • Senior Thesis: Differentiation between The Cartoogechaye and Dahlonega Gold Belt Terranes using Petrologic and Geochemical Analysis of the Mafic Blocks, Western North Carolina                                                                                                             Chad Harrold [Yurkovich]

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SPRING 2007

  • Senior Thesis: Strain marker shape preferred orientation changes across a strain gradient in a granulite facies shear zone, Capricorn ridge, Mt. Hay block, central Australia.
    Kim Wepasnick [Waters-Tormey] {GSA Abstract}
  • Senior Thesis: Analysis of the effect of storm events on suspended sediment and turbidity in Allens Creek, Town of Waynesville Watershed, North Carolina
    Chris Tennant [Miller & Lord] {GSA Abstract} 
  • Senior Thesis: Determining Physical and Chemical Properties of Canebrakes in western North Carolina
    Katie McDowell [Tanner, Young, Kinner] {GSA Abstract 1} {GSA Abstract 2}
  • Senior Research Seminar Class: Geological assessment of a creeping slope: Hunters Crossing, Waynesville, NC
    Ryan Byas, Heather Gregory, & Adam Hunter (Non-senior participants: Evan Allen, Alex Causey) [Waters-Tormey, Kinner]
  • Senior Thesis: Evidence of Rapid Climate Change in Eolianites of the Last Interglacial: San Salvador Island, Bahamas
    Laura Duncan [Tormey] {GSA Abstract}
  • Senior Thesis: Sea-level History of the Last Interglacial from Nearshore Facies on San Salvador Island, Bahamas
    Ryan LeBlanc [Tormey] {GSA Abstract}

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FALL 2006

  • Research Project Participants: River Cane characterization
    Katie McDowell, Adam Griffin (grad), Michael Yow, Megan Arrington  [Young, Tanner, Kinner]
  • Research Project Participants: Evaluation of Stream Restoration Projects, North Carolina
    Nate Irwin (grad.), Jessica Jaynes (grad.), Pat Jarrett, Ben Jackson, Michelle Peterson, Adam Hunter, & Heather Gould [Miller & Lord]
  • Independent Research: Oxygen Isotope Record of Tropical Cyclone Activity for Coastal North Carolina
    Ed Gonzales (grad.), Aaron Watkins [Tanner]
  • Research Project Participants: Geomorphology and Hydrogeology of incising stream in upland riparian meadows, Nevada
    Amy Kunst, Ben Jackson [Lord & Miller]
  • Coastal Field Trip: Sapelo Island, Georgia
    Michael Yow for class [Tanner]
  • Hydrogeology Class: Hydrogeologic characterization and Groundwater Model for WCU
    Matt Wenke for class [Lord]
  • Petrology class and Structural Geology class: Cross course project: Structural and Petrologic analysis of two geologic terranes: are they really two terranes? [Yurkovich & Waters-Tormey]
  • Senior Thesis: Determining the relationship between storm surge intensity along the Mississippi coast and the location of barrier islands.
    Andrew Hooper [Young]

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SPRING 2006

  • Senior Thesis: Meadow Fork and Rector Branch mylonite zones, southwest of the Hot Springs window, western NC
    Karen Watrous [Waters-Tormey] {GSA Abstract}
  • Independent Research: Hydrogeologic characterization of riparian wetland, central Nevada
    Chris Tennant, Vince Morgan, Chris Means [Lord & Miller] {GSA Abstract}
  • Independent Research: River Cane Restoration and Characterization Project
    Katie McDowell & Adam Griffith  [Young, Tanner]

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FALL 2005

  • Senior Research Seminar Class: A monitoring proposal for the removal of the Dillsboro dam
    Ben Jackson, Chris Means, Vincent Morgan, Phillip Perkinson, Tim Sheehan, and Chris Tennant [Lord] {GSA Abstract}
  • Independent Research: Identification of Rock Deformation Mechanisms in Thin Section 
    Karen Watrous [Waters-Tormey]
  • Coastal Field Trip: Outerbanks, NC
    Laura Duncan for class [Waters-Tormey, Allmendinger]
  • Independent Research: Hydrogeologic characterization of riparian wetland, central Nevada
    Chris Tennant [Lord & Miller]

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FALL 2004

  • Independent Research: Hydrogeologic characterization of riparian wetland, central Nevada
    Vincent Morgan [Lord]
  • Hydrogeology Class: A Preliminary Groundwater Model for WCU
    James Bolick, Nick Bozdog, Jon Collins, Chris Means, Vincent Morgan, Phillip Perkinson, Katie Stewart, John Taylor, & Lionel Villarroel [Lord]
  • Geophysics Class: Resistivity ‘Drilling’ of new WCU Groundwater well site
    Nick Bozdog & Katie Stewart [Waters-Tormey]
  • Independent Research: Sediment Transport in Cullowhee Creek: baseline data for stream restoration
    Amanda Barnes, John Wetzel, & Keith Tyburski [Almendinger]

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FALL 2003

  • Senior Thesis: Hydrogeologic conditions causing erosion of trench systems in riparian wetlands, central Nevada
    Reed Johnson [Lord & Miller]
  • Senior Thesis Proposal: Appalachian heath balds as paleoecologic indicators
    Chris Bochicchio [Young] {GSA Abstract}
  • Independent Research: Understanding & restoring riparian meadow systems, central Nevada: a collaborative project of  WCU, the U.S. EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, and Lafayette College
    Bryan Lowder [Miller & Lord]
  • Geology Blue Ridge Field Trip: Overview of Geol 491 Field Trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Katie Stewart & Chris Means for class [Yurkovich & Lord]

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SPRING 2003

  • Senior Research Seminar: Using amphibolite petrology to fingerprint tectonic elements in the Blue Ridge, NC
    Kurtis Beshers, Erin Greene, Chris Hanley [Peterson]
  • Senior Thesis: Analysis of geomorphic response of a stream impacted by Golf Course development, Waynesville, NC
    Wesley Craver (with research assistant, Lukus Garland) [Miller]
  • Senior Thesis Proposal: Channel entrenchment driven by groundwater sapping, central Great Basin, Nevada
    Reed Johnson [Lord, Miller]
  • Independent Research: Instrumentation and Analysis of Cullowhee Creek water quality during storms
    Katie Stewart [Lord]
  • Independent Research: Monitoring wetland hydroperiod for southern Appalachian wetlands in Great Smoky Mtn. N.P.
    Christopher Bochicchio [Young]
  • Small Group Research: Downstream sedimentation effects from a partial dam failure, Highlands, NC
    Christopher Bochicchio, Kurtis Beshers, Bryan Allison, Tom Hutson, & Ronnie Dilbeck [Lord & Miller] {GSA Abstract}
  • Independent Research: Enka and Weaverville Digital Geologic Map production
    Christopher Bochicchio and Michael Cole [Peterson]

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Geology students gives presentation to class

 

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