Augustana College printing logo

Student Research

Geology majors are required to complete a senior research project under the direction of one of the faculty members, completing GEOL4501 (Introduction to Research) and GEOL451 (Senior Research). Completion of GEOL451 requires a written senior thesis and public presentation of results, typically at a Geological Society of America professional meeting. Student research projects vary with interest and funding.

Recent projects have included research in experimental petrology, paleontology, geomorphology, hydrogeology, geophysics, planetary geology, and glacial geology. Many students participate in National Science Foundation funded REU programs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) during the summer between junior and senior year. Recent students have traveled to Alaska, Mongolia, Brazil, Iceland, and the Canary Islands with such programs.

Recent senior projects presented at national meetings of the Geological Society of America

Laura Ames, 2016
Environmental Geochemistry of Sediments and Soils in Rock Island County: Heavy Metals in the Dirt

Laura Behymer, 2016
Heat Treatment and Irradiation of Yellow Tournmaline from East Africa

Danny Fulton, 2016
Geochemical Characteristics of the Castle Rock Conglomerate with Implications for Provenance

Kati Ponder, 2016
Environmental Geochemistry of Soils from a Former Industrial Site on Sylvan Island, Moline, IL

Luc Ratzer, 2016
Postcranial Remains of a Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic of Antarctica

Students can now earn a departmental distinction upon successful completion of both a superior senior research thesis, GEOL 451 (Senior Research), and the geology degree with a GPA >3.5 for all geology courses and the supporting science and mathematics courses that are required for the major. Their efforts are recognized, in part, by a plaque stating the following:

For excellence in scientific coursework and successful completion of a superior research project, Augustana College's Department of Geology has conferred the Departmental Distinction in Geology upon the following students: Anders E. Carlson, 2000; Melissa J. Stafford, 2000; Jessica P. Allewalt, 2001; Beth A. Johnson, 2001; Veronica E. McCann, 2001; Jessica J. Terrien, 2001; Stephanie R. Bluemle, 2002; Meghan M. O'Hearn, 2002; Monica Z. Bruckner, 2005; Erica L. Emry, 2005; John A. Mischler, 2005; Michael R. Sheehan, 2005; Adam Cosentino, 2006; Nicolo Casarta, 2008; Daniel Hadley, 2008; Rebecca Saunders, 2008, Brandon Melton, 2010; Henry Stauffenberg, IV 2010; Jeremy Hoffman, 2011; Spencer Hellert, 2012; Maren Mathisen, 2012; Diana Boudreau, 2014; Jordan Carey, 2014; Alexis McAdams, 2014; Matt Osman, 2014; Ryan Plath, 2015; Joey Romero, 2015;

Grant Bell '15

Grant Bell, 2015
Textural Analysis of Halite under Accelerated Growth: A Proxy for Evaporite Formation

Evan Blodgett '15

Evan Blodgett, 2015
Analysis of Color and Clarity Change in Heat Treated Gem Spinel

Kevin Gosiewski '15

Kevin Gosiewski, 2015
LIDAR Detection of Unstable Slopes in Rock Island County, Illinois

Cody Johnson '15

Cody Johnson, 2015
Determining Weathering Processes of the Great Unconformity in the Northern Rocky Mountains

Luke Lampo '15

Luke Lampo, 2015
Water Quality, Chemistry, and Hydrology of Salt Creek in Northeastern Illinois

Will Lardner '15

Will Lardner, 2015
The Relationships between Mean Bed Load Diameter, Channel Morphology, and Drainable Basin Area at Knickpoints of Mill Creek, Illinois

Brandon Metoyer '15

Brandon Metoyer, 2015
Variety and Identification of Theropod Teeth from the Early Jurassic Hanson Formation of the Central Transantarctic Mountains

Fallon Meyer '15

Fallon Meyer, 2015
Mercury Contamination in Arctic Seabird Eggs from Northwestern Greenland

Stephanie Pedersen '15

Stephanie Pedersen, 2015
Osteohistology of a New Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from Antarctica

Ryan Plath '15

Ryan Plath, 2015
Geochemical Analysis of Surface Materials Surrounding a Mine Superfund Site near Galena Illinois

Joey Romero '15

Joey Romero, 2015
The Effects of Clay on Glycerol/Carboxylic Acid Polymerization: Implications of Mineral Controls on Prebiotic Chemistry

Brian Trausch '15

Brian Trausch, 2015
Grain Mineralogy, Provenance, and Environmental Issues of Lake Michigan Sands

Ryan Urbanski '15

Ryan Urbanski, 2015
Spatial Analysis of Lead Concentrations in Soil around the Historic Broadway District of Rock Island, Illinois

Past senior projects presented at national meetings of the Geological Society of America

Diana Boudreau, 2014
Osteohistology of Cryolophosaurus Ellioti: Tempo and Mode of Growth in a  Large-Bodied Polar Dinosaur 

Jordan Carey, 2014
Effects of Basin Subsidence on Experimental Delta Sedimentation Patterns and Surface Morphology

Lauren Kirik, 2014
Characterizing Hydrothermal Fluid Flow of Post-Variscan Ore Deposits in Nebida, SW Sardinia 

Brian Konecke, 2014
Solubility and Stability of Beryllium-Silicates in Haplogranitic Melts


Cesar Lira, 2014
Nutrient Slug on a Declining Transect of a Gravel-Hill Prairie, Winnebago County


Alexis McAdams, 2014
Exploring the Relationship Between Megathrust Earthquakes and Intraplate Stress Fields in Japanese Subduction Zones


Darrick McCarthy, 2014
Geochemical Analyses of the Heavy Metal Content in the Clay/Silt Sediment of a Small Stream System that has been Subject to Overflowfrom a Sewage Treatment Plant 

Matt Osman, 2014
Employing Passive Acoustics as a Temporally Precise Monologue for Constraining Ebullitive Methane Fluxes in Warming Subarctic Lakes 

Michael Spehlmann, 2014
Lead Uptake in Lemna Minor (Duckweed) at Different Acidities

Steven Trent, 2014
Hydrothermal Alteration of the Butler Hill Granite, St. Francois Mountains, SE Missouri

Grant Wick, 2014
A Forensic Geoscience Approach of Comparing Evidence and Field Samples in Connection with a 23-year-old Missing Persons/Murder Cold Case 

Elizabeth Fisher, 2013
Character Analysis of Theropoda: A Brief Study Confined to Braincase Characters And Focusing on Basal Taxa

Randy Lightfoot, 2013
Analyzing the Structural Properties, Geologic Conditions, and Friability of Garnet Sands From Four Mine Sources Around the World: Implications for the Dry-Air Abrasive Sand Blast-Cleaning Industry

Vernon Meidlinger-Chin, 2013
Braincase and Endocranial Anatomy of Cryolophosaurus Ellioti (Dinosauria: Theropoda) From the Early Jurassic of Antarctica

Matt Osman, 2014
δ18O and δD Fractionation Trends in Surface Snow Across The Matthes-Llewellyn Divide, Juneau Icefield, Alaska And British Columbia

Carl Peters, 2013
Geochemical Analysis of Heavy Metals in Sediments Surrounding the Bautsch-Gray Mine Superfund Site, Jo Daviess County, Illinois 

Nate White, 2013
Significance of Late Triassic Charcoal, and Late Triassic and Late Jurassic Wood Petrification Processes and Mineralogy, South-Central Utah

Lindsey Yeider, 2013
A New Method of Age Determination of Mammuthus Columbi

Jake Crandall, 2012
Vertebral Anatomy of Cryolophosaurus Ellioti, a Theropod Dinosaur From the Early Jurassic of Antarctica


Marge Cook, 2012
Investigation of Crustal Contamination in the Palisades Intrusive Sheet, Fort Lee, New Jersey

Austin Emmer, 2012
Quality and Chemistry of Surface Water in the Illinois Quad Cities

Spencer Hellert, 2012
A New Basal Sauropodomorph From the Early Jurassic Hanson Formation of Antarctica

Maren Mathisen, 2012
Calcite Twinning Strain Analysis of the Allochthonous Jurassic Sundance, South Fork Detachment, Northwest Wyoming 

John Oostenryk, 2012 
Mapping and Description of the Moline Chert, Rock Island Co., Illinois

Denny Wind, 2012
Slope Stability of Peoria Loess on the Moline Uplands, Quad Cities

Beth Asbury, 2011
Paleoecology of the Upper Hell Creek Formation Ascertained From Flora Associated With a Triceratops Site Near Marmarth, North Dakota

Sam Blazey, 2011
Paleoflow Velocites of Catastrophic Flooding On the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River, Northwestern Wyoming

Lara Cacciatore, 2011
Willemite Nucleation and Growth in Crystalline Glazes

Jake Gottlieb, 2011
Pneumatic Fossae of Apatosaurus From the Morrison Formation

Patrick Hoefle, 2011
Chemistry of Drinking Water of Northern Thailand

Jeremy Hoffman, 2011
Identifying Laurentide Ice Sheet Freshwater Discharge in the Western Labrador Sea During the 8.2 Ka Cold Event


Amanda Lindoo, 2011
High Pressure Crystal Chemistry of Norbergite

Katie Pauls, 2011
An Analysis Of Two Late Paleozoic Sandstones of the ParanÁ Basin In Southern Brazil

Alec Rizzo, 2011
Experimental Formation of Igneous Orbicular Textures

Adam Slaker, 2011
Micro-Structural Research for Heart Mountain Movement in the Madison, Dinwoody, and Chugwater Formations, Northwestern Wyoming

Brandon Melton's senior research

Brandon Melton, 2010
Depositional Timing and Paleoclimatic Implications of Sand Dunes in the Meredosia Bottoms, Northwestern Illinois

Henry Stauffenberg's senior research

Henry Stauffenberg, IV 2010
Another Step Toward Answering the Dolomite Question

Kelsey Thornton's senior research

Kelsey Thornton, 2010
Magnetic Susceptibility and Fabric Analysis for Glacial Till Deformation in the
Coal Creek Section, Coal Valley, IL

Katie Pauls National Science Foundation research

Kathryn Pauls, 2011
A Grain-Count Analysis of the Late Paleozoic Glacial Deposits of the
Paraná Basin in Southern Brazil

Stephanie Jiles

Stephanie Jiles, 2009
Visualizing the Relationship between the Bedrock and Surface Topography
of the Rock River Valley near the Quad Cities, IL with ArcGIS

Andrew Olivi

Andrew Olivi, 2009
Lithologic Composition of Three Study Sites in the Upper Mississippi River Valley:
Sediment Provenance, Characteristics and Correlation

Toph Orton

Kristopher Orton, 2009
Petrology and Geochemistry of Montana Guaza; Assimilation and Fractional
Crystallization of the Magma Chamber, Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Annette Zapolis

Annette Zapolis, 2009
Geochemistry and Petrology of Scoria Cones Montana Amarilla and Montana del Malpasito,
Bandas del Sur Formation, Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Allison Bormet, 2008
Mineralogy and Sedimentology of the Nebraskan Brule Formation and
Implications Regarding Biostratigraphy

Dan Hadley, '2008
Silicic Volcanism at Reykjarfjordur, Northwestern Iceland

Katie Giambeluca, '2008
Assessment of Heavy Metal Concentration in Surface Water from a Possible Landfill Containment Source at Giant Goose Conservation Education Workshop, Atkinson, Illinois

Kristi Lyles, '2008
Sediment Analysis of Bedload Grain Lithologies of the Wisconsin River, Baraboo, Wisconsin to the Mississippi River

Lindsey Koper, '2008
Taphonomy of the White River Badlands near Shalimar Ranch, Nebraska

Elizabeth Ford, '2008
Mapping Bedrock and Landslide Susceptibility along Duck Creek in Bettendorf, Iowa

Nicolo Casarta, '2008
Geochemical Analysis of Crude Oils in Cook Inlet Basin, Alaska

Rebecca Saunders, '2008
Granites of Damariscove Island, Maine: A Microscale Characterization