Castleton geology students are making maps of the Adirondacks, but these maps won’t help you if you’re lost on the woods. As geology students spend the day in the woods for natural science professor Tim Grover’s geology class, they aren’t looking at the scenic Vermont landscape or the wildlife that inhabit it, but rather, rocks.
Students are roaming the Adirondacks in search from exposed bedrock. Samples of these rocks are collected and later analyzed to better understand what are in the rocks, the rock’s history and how mountain ranges formed in that region, according to Grover.
Senior geology major Kimberly French said there
are older maps available, but they are essentially a bunch of pieces and parts in one.
“What we’re doing is we are double-checking that map,” said French. “We have more advance technology and we have more people mapping now, so we can getting more collaboration and get a better idea of what’s actually there.”
For Castleton, collaboration came in 2014 in the form of the University of Massachusetts.
Grover and Mike Williams,
a UMass professor, presented the national science foundation with a collaborative research proposal to start geological mapping. Now, working with UMass undergraduate and graduate students, classes can accurately date rock exposures to more than 1.3 billion years ago using a $1,000,000 analytical tool called a microprobe, according to Grover.
Knowing how to obtain
and analyze research is one of the most important skills to possess when leaving Castleton, added Grover
“It’s very important to an undergraduate’s education, particularly in the sciences, if students want to go to graduate school or professional school. It’s really required these days that they have some research
experience,” said Grover.So how’s this different from textbook learning?
Both Grover and senior geology major Sam Nun
nikhoven agreed they are very different.
“It was very hands on, especially getting to go down to UMass and getting to work with those people at the same time,” said Nunnikhoven.
“It allows them to go out and apply what they’ve learned in the class, to a project, it expands they’re thinking, it’s great for developing
ritical thinking skills and problem solving skills because it’s not straight forward, it’s pretty complicated,” Grover said.
Hard work and research aside, French said the geology department is as close as can be.
“They’re like my second family. I love the geology department. They’re all like my
brothers and sisters and then Tim and Helen Mango are the mom and dad.”