LSU Geology & Geophysics 2015-16 Alumni Magazine

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Alumni Magazine


Department of Geology & Geophysics


ABOUT THIS ISSUE: CONTRIBUTORS: Rachel May Carol Wicks Megan Borel Austin McGlannan Geology & Geophysics Faculty DESIGNER: Rachel May Information is correct at press time. Check for updates. Send Alumni News and Updates to: Alumni Magazine LSU Geology & Geophysics E235 Howe Russell Kniffen Bldg Baton Rouge, LA 70803 PHONE: 225-578-3353 FAX: 225-578-2302 EMAIL:

The LSU Geology & Geophysics Alumni Magazine is published in the fall of each year and reflects news and events occurring between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. All rights reserved.







Students in GEOL 1002 examine Louisiana strata during a field trip to Clark Creek.


FROM THE CHAIR’S DESK Greetings! The fall 2016 semester has started and what an unusual start! As you might know, the Baton Rouge area received more than 2 feet of rain in mid-August. While LSU was not directly flooded, many employees were. For G&G people, Patricia Persaud, our newest faculty member, had to evacuate and Wanda LeBlanc, our geochemistry technician, was evacuated her home. LSU started classes as planned; although, there was a fair amount of scrambling in the week before classes started as all the before-the-semester-activities (orientation for new faculty, new graduate students, and for transfer students, etc.) were condensed into two or three days. Some LSU planned events were canceled – like the event designed to help our teaching assistants who teach in courses with communication skill requirements. The Department hosts a reception for new graduate students in the fall and we ended up rescheduling that event TWICE. The semester has settled down now and that is good. Patricia Persaud has joined us as an Assistant Professor. She is a geophysicist. Her recent research, which will be continued here at LSU, has been developing detailed 3D velocity models for the Salton Trough, southern California. Faculty have returned to Baton Rouge after their summer research work had them traveling to Idaho, Montana, Ireland, Bangladesh, through the Mississippi River drainage basin, Colorado, and Georgia. The problem with a list like that is that I know I will have forgotten someone’s field location. We travel the world as we advance knowledge of the geosciences. Last spring, the Department hosted an alumni reception in Houston. Turnout was excellent. I particularly thought the mix of recent graduates to more established graduates was good. Our plan to host a similar event in Houston this coming spring. Please let me know if you think the alumni in your geographic area would be interested in attending a departmentally sponsored Alumni reception. Enrollment in our degree programs (BS, MS, and PhD) is staying up. Brooks Ellwood mentioned the other day that there are 146 declared undergraduate geology majors! That translates to an expected enrollment of 40 students in Mineralogy in the spring. Our graduate programs have a combined enrollment of nearly 60 with a good balance between the number of MS students and of PhD candidates. The AAPG Student Chapter has already hosted a group of students to attend the AAPG Student Expo in Houston. Exciting news from spring 2016 – we were fortunate to have Dr. Alan Brown embedded into our Department. He taught a Reservoir Characterization class, helped with our Exploration Team, and is serving on three MS students committees. This was made possible by an agreement between Schlumberger and LSU, and I need to thank Dean Peterson for giving support to the innovative endeavor.

Carol M. Wicks Department Chair

THE DEPARTMENT AT A GLANCE 2015-16 Total Faculty


Total Undergraduate Students

Tenure or Tenure Track Faculty

18 8 2

Senior Junior Sophomore

Research & Support Staff Postdoctoral Researchers


150 47 33 20 2

Graduate Students







15 YEAR in 16 REVIEW


A’Shonte Reed at the LSU EnvironMentors Science Fair.

Ben Krogmeier and A’Shonte Reed in Washington D.C.


Over the course of the fall and spring semesters G&G graduate students Jeff Bomer, Caroline Broderick, and Ben Krogmeier have been a part of the EnvironMentors program through LSU. Through the program they helped A’Shonte Reed, a sophomore at Scotlandville Magnet High School, develop an environmentally focused research project. After some deliberation, they decided to focus on how the Mississippi River impacts the environment and surrounding communities as it evolves through time. Using access to LSU resources, they were able to find literature and other sources of information about the channel migration of the Mississippi River and how it impacts Louisiana. A’Shonte presented at LSU EnvironMentors Science Fair in April where she took 1st place out of 15 competitors. A’Shonte was invited to present her research in Washington D.C. with her classmates who took second and third place. There they competed at the national level last June. A’Shonte is a very bright student who plans to go to college in Louisiana and eventually law school. EnvironMentors is a great program open to graduate students at all levels. Mentors spend every Monday afternoon (~2-3 hours/week) helping design a project for their students and building their experiments. This program also offers field trips to various places such as the Stennis Space Center and Audubon Insectarium and Aquarium over a few weekends.

Jeff Bomer, A’Shonte Reed, and Ben Krogmeier at the LSU EnvironMentors Science Fair.

Louisiana State University

Ireland Field Trip By Peter Clift

July 2016 Dr. Amy Luther and I visited Ireland. The field trip to Ireland covered a wide variety of geology spanning rocks as old as the early Paleozoic right through until the Cenozoic. Much of the geology revolved around the closure of the Iapetus Ocean and especially the collision of an island arc with the Laurentian margin during the early Ordovician (~470 Ma). The arc itself was examined in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland where intrusive diabase and gabbros were observed, as well as sheeted dikes and massive lavas. The upper levels of the same arc complex were observed further West in County Mayo where pillow basalts and a more evolved rhyolitic volcanoclastic section were seen in juxtaposition with the suture zone. This provides an opportunity to talk about magmatic evolution in the context of arc collision and the origin of the continental crust. The deformed and metamorphosed passive margin rocks of the Dalradian group were observed in Connemara where it was possible to see strong deformation and contact metamorphism around both later granites and mafic intrusions that are related to the final stages of arc magmatism. In particular, ultramafic intrusions were seen along the coast and which can be linked to the regional metamorphism following collision. Connemara also afforded the possibility of looking at low angle thrust structures that place the metamorphosed passive margin on top of more evolved metamorphosed rhyolite rocks of the island arc. A particularly dramatic transect was seen on the Connemara coast where a spectacular array of contact metamorphic minerals were developed around a later Devonian granite associated with the final closure of the Iapetus Ocean during the early Devonian. The region also provided the opportunity to examine conglomerates and associated sandstones linked to the collision of the arc and Laurentia (Grampian Orogeny) and provides the opportunity to tell the story of the arc accretion and unroofing together with the regional scale strike slip faulting, thought to have brought the Connemara block south of the suture and into a tectonically anomalous position. The neighboring South Mayo Trough is a well exposed and preserved example of an active oceanic forearc basin with more than 5 km of sediment within it, analogous to the Tonga forearc in the modern Pacific. Other components of the forearc including a peridotite backstop and an accretionary prism are also visible. The later Paleozoic was also examined further South in County Clare where a deep-water turbidite section, the Ross Formation was examined around Loop Head. This is a classic locality for stratigraphers and petroleum geologists to examine deep water sediments. In this location it was possible to see three-dimensional exposures of turbidite sandstone channel sequences together with large mass wasting deposits, including prominent features such as mud volcanoes, sandstone dikes, and slump folds. The nearby Cliffs of Moher allow us to examine the most proximal side of the system and allowing the basin-wide stratigraphy to be appreciated. The whole sequence was itself folded by tectonic processes during the associated Hercynian Orogeny. The youngest rocks examined were Paleocene chalks and flood basalts linked to the breakup of the North Atlantic and exposed in a dramatic sequence on the coast of Antrim especially at the Giants Causeway where a series of massive columnar flows were separated by a prominent weathered paleosol. These allow discussion of vertical motions related to plume tectonics and reflect uplift to be discussed as well as the tectonic significance of the fact that the lavas are emplaced in at least two major phases rather one simple eruption. A beach near the Giants Causeway allows the eroded surface of the underlying chalks to be examined and the paleo-topography appreciated, on to which the volcanic sequences were emplaced. Close by it is also possible to examine mafic sills intruding a Jurassic marine sequence, again with some baking and contact metamorphism. The longer Mesozoic rift history of the Northwest European shelf can be discussed in the context of the sedimentary rocks into which the sill is intruded, analogous to some of the source rocks found within the North Sea basin.

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Mineralogy students obtain images and analytical data on minerals with the help of Dr. Nele Muttik (second from the left) using the LSU JEOL electron microprobe.

Professor Barb Dutrow secured CURE funds to cover the analytical costs for use of the new electron microprobe (EMP) in G&G at LSU. The EMP provides highly precise and accurate in-situ chemical data on solid materials and permits a variety of images to be obtained (backscattered electrons, secondary electrons, and elemental maps). Each of the 65 students in GEOL 2081: Mineralogy had the opportunity to experience this state-of-the-art instrumentation that allowed viewing multiple images of minerals at the micrometer scale, mapping different depictions of the same object, collecting quantitative chemical data, and demonstrating fundamental mineralogical concepts. Using a series of thin sections of rocks, each of the 22 groups of three students each had 1.5 hours in the EMP lab to image and quantitatively analyze an assigned mineral. After a brief overview of the instrumentation, they viewed a portion of their sample in secondary electrons (SE) and collected images using backscattered electrons (BSE in gray scales) that provide information on the surface features and mean atomic numbers, respectively. Students used their knowledge of chemical elements in different minerals to hypothesize, which minerals were represented by the various gray scales. They collected energy dispersive spectra (EDS), that provides information on all elements in the mineral, to test their hypotheses. Additionally, they viewed chemical zoning in minerals - underscoring the importance of solid solution as a mineralogically important concept. After they found their assigned region and mineral in their sample, they collected images and set the positions for the collection of analytical data. Each group obtained chemistry from between five to ten points. Minerals included in this experience were: plagioclase feldspar, garnet, and amphiboles from three different samples. They then used this data in calculations to determine mineral stoichiometry, zoning patterns, mineral species, solid solution compositions, and other concepts previously covered. It was a fabulous experience - with the help of Dr. Muttik (EMP operator) - with four long days devoted to the student! Most every student enjoyed the experience immensely.


Completed renovations in room 130 Howe-Russell.

This year marked the 7th annual LSU Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) held on November 6, 2015. The URC is an annual conference that promotes undergraduate research at universities and community colleges. The Oral & Poster Competitions, which are open to undergraduate students who currently conduct research in STEM disciplines and the social sciences, were a huge success for Geology & Geophysics students. Suyapa Gonzalez Rodriguez won first place in the Division I Life Science Poster Presentation for her poster “Geologic Setting and Preservation of a Late Pleistocene Bald Cypress Forest Discovered on the Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf.” Megan Borel won first place in the Math & Physical Science Poster Presentation Division I for her poster “Petrogenetic Significance of Tertiary Granite Trace-Element Contents in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho, USA”, and Abigail Heath won second place for her poster titled “A Slice of History in the Breton Sound Estuary.”

CLASSROOM RENOVATIONS IN HOWE-RUSSELL The Department of Geology & Geophysics would like to thank the LSU Department of Athletics for renovating room 130 Howe-Russell. This general purpose classroom is used to teach courses by departments across campus. Now students who are lucky enough to have a class scheduled in the newly renovated room will benefit from the state of the art updates. Thank you again!

Louisiana State University

Meet our students. Scholarship Recipients: Billy & Ann Harrison Field Camp Scholarship:

John T. Mestayer Memorial Scholarship:

Mark Brown, Matthew Darland, Hannah Schorr, Madison Wayt

Madeline Myers, Suyapa Gonzalez Rodriguez, Joel P. Spansel

W.A. Van Den Bold Memorial Scholarship:

Ryan Riggs, Suyapa Gonzalez Rodriguez, Joel P. Spansel, Spencer Stelly

BP Doctorate Scholarship:

Charles L. Jones Scholarship:

BP Masters Scholarship:

Daniel Babin

Jillian Banks Jeff Bomer

Patrick F. Taylor Scholarship:

Adam Sturlese Memorial Scholarship:

Jennifer Kenyon

Derek Goff, Catherine Hudson

Sid & Peggy Bonner Scholarship:

Jon O’Keefe Barry Scholarship:

Michael Vetter

Collin Creel, Andrew Webb

Harriet Belchic Memorial Scholarship:

Geology General Scholarship:

Rachel Oliphant

Devon Energy Corporation Scholarship:

Jillian Banks, Tara Jonell, Krista Myers, Hannah Schorr, Joel P. Spansel

Catherine Hudson, Adam Turner

Leo W. Hough Scholarship Fund:

Ben Stanley Geology Camp Scholarship:

William Aertker, Ryan Clarke, Andrew Jacobus, Wesley Leonard

Dominic A. Ciaccio, Collin Creel, Andrew Jacobus, Madeline Myers

Laurice Sistrunk Scholarship:

H.V. Andersen Endowed Scholarship:

Samuel, Brewton, Charles Everhardt, Justin Kain

Suyapa Gonzalez Rodriguez, Hunter Songy

H.V. Howe Scholarship:

George N May Memorial Scholarship:

Tara Jonell

Jessica Villers

Dr. A.E. “Sandy” Sandberg Scholarship:

Marathon Oil Geology Scholarship:

Cindy Colon, Yuting Li, Jie Shen, Andrew Webb, Crawford White

Marathon Oil Geophysics Scholarship: Dominic A. Ciaccio, Abigail Heath

* New Orleans Geological Society Scholarship:

Brianna Crenshaw, Don Hood, Austin McGlannan, Ryan Riggs

* Shreveport Geological Society Scholarship:

Agathe Carrier, Abigail Heath, Madeline Myers, Robert Narmour, Ryan Riggs

Monica Donellan Memorial Scholarship: Sarah Decoteau

* SURE Scholarship: Shelby Richard

Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Millican Scholarship: Heather Rayneri

Chang Liu

* Scholarships are not awarded by the Department of Geology & Geophysics

Department of Geology & Geophysics


SEMESTER AT SEA LSU Department of Geology & Geophysics student Jennifer Kenyon set sail last fall on an oceanographic research vessel across the Atlantic Ocean to investigate one of today’s foremost scientific challenges: global climate change. As part of a selective six-week study abroad program, Kenyon and her classmates in the SEA Semester: Oceans & Climate Program, became working crew members of a 134-foot research vessel, the SSV Corwith Cramer and used advanced oceanographic instruments to research diverse marine ecosystems as they sailed from the Canary Islands to St. Croix. They examined first-hand the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle and climate dynamics in Top: Jennifer Kenyon aboard the SSV order to apply their knowledge Corwith Cramer. to pressing public policy Below: Kenyon and her classmates working questions. with the sails aboard the SSV Corwith Prior to their six-week Cramer. voyage, Kenyon and her classmates from universities around the U.S. spent six weeks engaged in intensive scientific and policy coursework in the oceanographic research


community of Woods Holes, Mass. With ocean science and policy experts including SEA Semester faculty, they tackled complex questions on climate, sustainability, policy, and designed their own research projects that were conducted at sea. Kenyon describes SEA Semester as the most challenging experience of her life. She explains “Students had to quickly learn to balance sleep, education, and handling a sailboat. However, it is surprising how quickly you can become accustomed to having such an intensive and demanding lifestyle.” While her journey was demanding and at times frightening (Kenyon will never forget seeing her first 15 foot wave), Kenyon said, “These challenges were starkly contrasted by the wonder and beauty that can be found only in the open ocean. Life at sea also makes you realize that you are part of a team, and to always think about others before yourself.” Kenyon achieved all that she had hoped and more during her SEA Semester. She explains “I achieved things that I did not know I was capable of. I learned how to sail, I learned how to think independently and creatively, and I learned how to apply the knowledge I learned at LSU in a real and rigorous setting.” She goes to describe her journey as an adventure of a lifetime and highly recommends this experience to other students (especially those interested in marine science).

Louisiana State University

ExxonMobil Field Course Each year, ExxonMobil organizes a field trip as part of their Geoscience Recruiting Program for the top 10 percent of the graduating undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students that they have interviewed for jobs during the previous fall interview period. The trip is taught by the company’s top experts and exposes the students to modern methods of petroleum exploration. This year three G&G graduate students and one undergraduate student were invited to participate in the week-long course. Daniel Babin, Kevin Gryger, Ben Krogmeier, and Liz Olsen flew to El Paso, TX where they had two days of lectures. Once the lecture portion of the course was complete, the group headed north into New Mexico where they explored Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park near Carlsbad, NM. At each field stop, the students participated in different exercises mostly focused on sequence stratigraphy. The exercises ranged from looking at well logs to interpreting panoramic photos of the site. Other exercises that were not performed in the field included group exercises such as carbonate IDs, a lease bid auction, a maturity analysis map, and cross section interpretation. Once the students were back in El Paso, they spent their remaining time focusing on their final project. For the final project, each group was given a play. They then had to create a charge map, genetic chart, and x-section. Upon their return, I caught up with Liz Olsen and asked her what she found particularly useful about the course? She responded “The course was focused on sequence stratigraphy and petroleum system elements. We found the course very useful for our Imperial Barrel Awards presentation that happened the week after the field course. We all were amazed at how much we learned in eight days!” Liz also noted that out of the 25 students that attended the field course, LSU by far had the largest percentage of four students in attendance compared to two students max for any other school.

Kevin Gryger, Liz Olsen, Daniel Babin, and Ben Krogmeier near the Slaughter Canyon Trailhead where they completed an interpretation exercise using a panoramic photo of the canyon walls.

Students from the ExxonMobil Guadalupe Mountains Field School discussing their visual observations of El Capitan and the sandstone and siltstone beds below the prominent reef.

LSU students Ben Krogmeier, Daniel Babin, Liz Olson, and Kevin Gryger pose for a picture during a stop at Sitting Bull Falls, New Mexico.

Department of Geology & Geophysics



Left: Havasu Creek Right: Little Colorado River just above confluence with the Colorado River.

Tigers in the Grand Canyon??? There will be in 2017! Join your fellow LSU Geology Alumni and their families for a trip of a lifetime! Hatch River Expeditions will take us through some of the most spectacular geology, whitewater, and scenery on Earth. No camping or rafting experience required. Two large inflatable, motorized rafts will take us from Lee’s Ferry down river 188 miles to Whitmore Wash. You’ll get an up-close look at the geology, from the Precambrian, to the Paleozoic section, and modern lava flows. Hiking and swimming are encouraged. Geology guides are Alison Jones (LSU BS 1979) and Gary Byerly (LSU professor 1977-2015). Call Alison (520-270-2825) or email her (ajones@ for more information.


Graduate students (left to right): Elly Smith, Ruth Pichler, and Meg O’Connor

The students of the Department of Geology & Geophysics showcased a wide range of research being done in the department during our annual Rock Star Poster Competition organized by Professors Dutrow, Doran, and Henry. The top winners in the graduate poster presentation session were: tied for first place, Ruth Pichler, MS candidate with Dr. Henry, Peak Metamorphic Conditions of Migmatitic Alumnious and Mafic Gneisses from the Eastern Beartooth Mountains, Montana, USA; Elly Smith, MS candidate with Dr. Dutrow, Metamorphic Conditions of Aluminous Gneisses from the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex, ID: Insights into the Middle Lower Crust; and third place, Meg O’Connor, MS candidate with Dr. Bentley, Sediment Infilling of Continental-Shelf Dredge Pits: A Record of Shelf Sedimentary Processes: Louisiana, USA, Northern Gulf of Mexico. Undergraduate student winners were: first place, Megan Borel (senior), Pressure-Temperature Conditions of Granite Formation in Sawtooth Range, Idaho USA; second place, Jessica Villers (junior), The Bolivian Tin Belt: Tourmaline as a Petrogenetic Indicator for Tin Ores; and third place, Hunter Songy (junior), Tourmalines as Petrogenetic Indicators of Ore Deposits: Implications for Identification and Exploration.

Undergraduate students (left to right): Ryan Clarke, Jessica Villers, Megan Borel, and Hunter Songy


Louisiana State University

Choppin Honors Convocation

The Department of Geology & Geophysics is proud to present to you our most Outstanding Students! Congratulations to Kate Gutterman, G&G’s outstanding sophomore! Kate is from Mandeville, Louisiana and attended St. Scholastica Academy before coming to LSU. As a sophomore, she is beginning her core curriculum courses in geology and will finish near the top of the class. She is exploring options for undergraduate research. Outside of the classroom, Kate excels Kate Gutterman at soccer and plays on the LSU intramural team where she has been part of three championship teams. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. After receiving her BS, she plans to attend graduate school and work in the oil and gas industry, despite wanting to be close to the mountains. As our outstanding junior, congratulations go to Hunter Songy. Hunter is from LaPlace, LA. He has won a number of scholarships, including Hunter Songy the prestigious New Orleans Geological Society scholarship, and is the recipient of LSU academic scholars’ resident award since 2013. He is conducting undergraduate research with Dr. Dutrow on the mineral tourmaline and its potential utility to target economically valuable Au deposits. He will continue this work for his undergraduate honors thesis next year. Outside of classroom activities, he is active in the LSU Geoclub and their many outreach events. He loves to play the piano and cook (not at the same time) - because Cooking is both an art and a science. But beware, he also performs magic. He looks forward to graduate school and working in the oil industry or a related sector. This year we are pleased to present two outstanding senior awards. Congratulations to Daniel Babin and Jennifer Kenyon! Daniel Babin is a native of Baton Rouge, LA. He has won several scholarships, including one from the Society Of Petroleum and Well Log Analysts and been on the Chancellor’s list every semester since the fall of 2012. He has undertaken a range of undergraduate research Jennifer Kenyon and Daniel experiences at LSU and elsewhere Babin

participating in two student exchanges, one at Montana State University and the other at the University of Calgary where he enjoyed mountain climbing, skiing, and swing dancing. He likes going the distance not only academically but on his feet and has completed a 350-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and a 100 mi hike on the CO trail. He is also a singer-songwriter. He volunteers for LSU: Change Break, the LSU schola Cantatorum Choir and Geology club where he mentors Daniel Babin students to experience the great outdoors. His undergraduate research is culminating with his thesis on the incorporation of Ti in the mineral biotite and its effects on geothermobarometry (PT calculations) with Dr. Darrell Henry, which he successfully defended. After recently interviewing with ExxonMobil, he hopes to intern with them this year before heading off to a PhD program in 2017. Jennifer Kenyon is from Marrero, LA. Jennifer is an LA-STEM Research Scholar, a member of the LSU honors college, and is a CxC distinguished communicator, to name a few of her academic achievements. She was selected to participate in an NSF- REU program at the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Mineral Science in 2013. She Jennifer Kenyon recently presented this work at the international Goldschmidt Geochemistry conference held last summer in Prague (having received full conference funding to attend). She is completing her undergraduate honors thesis Reinterpreting the stratigraphy of the Florissant Fossils Beds National Monument, CO using magnetic susceptibility, geochemical comparison, and gamma ray spectroscopy with Dr. Brooks Ellwood. Last fall she spent the Semester at SEA, in a program dedicated to learning about environmental problems by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean (from Africa to the Caribbean in 40 days). She is an avid soccer player and is active in the LSU geology club participating in many outreach events for K-12 kids. She is the recipient of an NSF graduate fellowship and will be attending MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute to peruse her PhD in Environmental Geochemistry. Congratulations to all of our G&G students!


GEOLOGY CLUB By Megan Borel 2015-16 President The academic year of 2015-2016 was a great and event-filled year at LSU for the Geology Club. Being an academically- and outreach- focused club at LSU, we’ve provided our members with geology based research discussions and ample opportunities to give back to our community. Some volunteer events included Ocean Commotion, Super Science Saturday, Rockin’ at the Swamp, and Science Olympiad where our members and officers set up booths with informative posters, activities, and mineral and rock exhibits teaching children and students about basic and local geology. GeoClub hosted events including a tailgate for an LSU football game and a club social, both which were great successes. This year, members of the Geology Club that have attended at least two volunteer events were eligible to attend Geo Club trips. Our trips are brainstormed by the GeoClub officers and then voted on by the members of the club. We pick areas that are relatively close to Louisiana, affordable, and that offer great geology. The winter break trip was to Austin and the surrounding areas, while the spring break trip was to Big Bend National Park. In Austin, students traveled to Hamilton Pool, Barton Springs in Zilker Park, McKinney Falls, and more. Big Bend National Park is located in the deserts of southwest Texas, and on this trip, students trekked up to Emory Peak, took a dip in the natural hot spring along the Rio Grande, and camped out for a week. With the downturn in the industry recently, we weren’t able to receive funding from outside of GeoClub. Our main fundraiser this year, which often funds our biannual trips, was a Geology Club sweatshirt order. We had a fantastic outcome and even had requests for a second order! In addition to the sweatshirt fundraiser, we also had the opportunity to participate in Tiger Stadium clean-ups after two football games. Our sweatshirt fundraiser and stadium clean-ups allowed us the funds to host monthly club meetings, trips, socials, and tailgates; we will likely be continuing the sweatshirt fundraisers in semesters to come. Geaux Tigers and Geaux LSU Geology!


Geology Club winter break trip to Austin, TX and surrounding areas.

LSU AAPG STUDENT CHAPTER UPDATE By Austin McGlannan 2015-16 President The Louisiana State University (LSU) American Association of Petroleum Geologist (AAPG) student chapter completed another successful year by hosting guest speakers and short courses, providing travel assistance, participating in volunteer opportunities, and a variety of social events. Our chapter seeks to serve as an organization which provides students the opportunity to expand their knowledge base and grow as professionals. We accomplish this goal through student attendance at professional meetings, student expos, in-house short courses and field trips. During the 2015–2016 academic year, we were fortunate to continue our ability to provide travel funds and transportation to assist our members to attend the AAPG student expos in Laramie, Wyoming and Houston, Texas. Five students attended the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous in Laramie, Wyoming while numerous members attended the student expo in Houston, Texas. Providing travel and financial assistance to these student expos is one of our chapter’s highest priorities and commitment to its members as these Expos foster the opportunity for our members to receive internships, network, and participate in a variety of short courses and field trips. Providing short course opportunities for students is another high priority for the LSU AAPG student chapter. Our first short course was an introduction to geosteering presented by BHL Borsesight Consulting. During this course, students familiarized themselves with the fundamentals of directional drilling, collecting drilling data, and how the data is used in steering wells. After the lectures, we obtained hands-on experience through a simulation of steering actual wells to practice this skill and become further acquainted with the discipline. Our second short course was taught by Dr. Erik Scott on 3D seismic Stratigraphic interpretation. This course delivered the fundamentals behind interpreting deposystems in 3D seismic data and how to build a stratigraphic framework both in lecture and hands-on format. During the spring semester, we hosted three more short courses which were generously presented by our department’s alumni. The first was presented by Dr. Alan Brown, Schlumberger NExT on Subsurface Gridding Algorithms. This course was an excellent introduction for our members to become familiar with the various gridding algorithms which can be used to generate a variety of maps. Our next course was presented by Chester Young from Baker Hughes. Mr. Young presented to our chapter members the fundamentals of Logging While Drilling (LWD). We discussed concepts from how the various tools work to reading and analyzing the data. The final course of the year presented by Dr. Alan Brown, provided an introductory short course on petrophysics presenting the

Department of Geology & Geophysics

fundamental principles of petrophysical analysis followed by a brief exercise in analyzing data. Our chapter hosted seven guest speakers, three during the fall semester and four during the spring semester, throughout the academic year. Following our first meeting, our faculty advisor Dr. Juan Lorenzo spoke to the group about fracture mechanics. Members toured his laboratory facility to learn more about his research and the applicability to the petroleum industry. William Vollenwider an LSU alumnus, petroleum geologist consultant, and New Orleans Geological Society member, was our first non-departmental guest speaker. Mr. Vollenwider spoke one on one with our members and in a group setting regarding his 60-year career experience in the petroleum industry. Our next guest speaker was David Paddock, Worldwide Geophysical technical advisor for Schlumberger. Mr. Paddock’s presentation on “Core, Log, and Seismic Integration Techniques” was an exceptional learning opportunity for our members. Tom Bergeon from Upstream Exploration kicked off the spring semester with his exciting talk titled, “40 Years of Evolution in Gulf of Mexico Exploration Geology – Play Concepts, Prospecting Tools, and Risk Assessment through Time.” Since many of our members are pursuing a career in the petroleum industry, our next guest speaker dedicated a presentation to making that goal successful. Richard Provensal, CEO of Apex Geophysical, spoke to our students about getting and keeping a job in the industry while providing tips when presenting prospects to management, partners, and investors. During the latter portion of the spring 2016 semester, alumnus James Painter, Executive Vice President of Cobalt Energy, presented an excellent talk titled “Unlocking of the Pre-Salt Play in the Deepwater Kwanza Basin of Offshore Angola”. Mr. Painter’s talk shared with us an excellent blend of petroleum geoscience and business. Our final guest speaker was alumnus Kirk Barrell, President of Amelia Resources, who spoke to our members about careers as a petroleum geologist. Social events within the AAPG chapter included alumni football tailgates, holiday parties, and Friday seminar gatherings. We ended the school year with our annual crawfish boil. By adhering to our values and goals to provide our members with educational and professional development opportunities, our 2015 – 2016 academic year for the LSU AAPG student chapter was a success!


IELD CAMP F By Dr. Amy Luther Assistant Professor and Field Camp Director

Field camp 2016 was very successful and exciting! We had 39 students from LSU and one join us from ULL. The teaching staff included 6 teaching assistants and a co-instructor from Tulane. As usual, we spent two weeks doing projects on the LSU property and added a component by digging a few trenches to examine the Laramie faults a bit more closely. We also had an unofficial 4th of July outing to Morrison, Co to check out the dinosaur footprints and the Red Rocks Amphitheater. This was, of course, followed by our annual hot dog eating contest, where one of the TAs became the first of the teaching staff to win the contest. The also class traveled to Dixon, New Mexico and the Buena Vista, Co area to study metamorphic and igneous terranes. Dr. Brooks Ellwood, Sue Ellwood, and LSU alum Dr. Jacob Grosskopf spent a week with the students again this summer doing a correlation exercise from units that include the Cenomanian-Turonian GSSP boundary. The highlight of this trip is always the chance to check out the dinosaur trackways in the Picketwire Canyon of east-central Colorado. The students get the chance to walk on brontosaurus and allosaurus footprints exposed along the Purgatoire River.


Louisiana State University

est. 1928 Field campers dubbed this summer “the summer of the bear.” We had at least two black bears sharing the property with us and they commonly made their presence known. For at least 2 weeks, we had a small (150-200 lbs.), likely juvenile bear (shown in the photo), hanging out near the dining hall. This was a very wise little bear who created a lot of ruckus! The first appearance was while the students were out in the field and the cooks were taking a break near the dining hall. He actually sniffed the toes of one of the cooks while she was napping in a hammock. He continued to hang around and get into the outdoor cooler several times to take food. Once we were able to mitigate that issue, he figured he’d just come inside, so one evening he opened a window to the dining hall, climbed in and rummaged through one of the refrigerators. The teaching staff was also able to spot where the bear was bedding down—directly across the stream from the TA cabin (BOQ). We finally had to have the bear removed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers. Once our bear friend left the property, the next day our second bear came to join us. This was a very large black bear, but luckily he spent most of his time on the road to upper camp. He did knock over a grill, but after that, we only saw him occasionally near the meadow. A lot of other wildlife was also spotted this summer—the Porter family saw a mountain lion in upper camp, a ringtail cat was seen a few times, and we had bighorn sheep on the road cut! The neighbors say this was the first sighting of bighorn sheep on the property in 20 years. All-around, this was a very successful field camp summer. The students performed well academically, had excellent attitudes and dealt with the bear issue like pros. As always, I am looking forward to summer 2017.

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Faculty Digest Darrell Henry Campanile Charities Professor of Geology After almost 4 years of working as the director of LSU SACSCOC Reaffirmation of Accreditation and a successful reaffirmation in 2014, another accreditation task became necessary. With the realignment of LSU and the LSU Law Center, SACSCOC required a substantive change report (July 2015) that covered about 50 of the Principles of Accreditation. Darrell Henry directed this effort, and it culminated in the successful SACSCOC reaffirmation (again) with the next LSU compliance report moved to 2024. Another important event this last year was the acquisition and installation of the new JEOL 8230 electron microprobe (EPMA), the employment of a full-time lab manager (Nele Muttik) and the successful installation and operation of the new instrument in the Chevron Geomaterials Characterization Lab in Howe-Russell. The instrument was financially underwritten from a kind gift by Chevron. The LSU Office of Research and Economic Development provided funds for the renovation of the lab space (the old microprobe lab) prior to the installation of the new instrument. Dr. Nele Muttik, a meteorite expert, joined the department as the manager of the EPMA lab and is jointly supported by the Department of Geology and Geophysics and the LSU Shared Instrumentation Facility. This instrumentation will open many research possibilities across LSU and beyond. Henry’s research continues to be split between tourmalines and the Archean rocks of the Beartooth Mountains in Montana/ Wyoming. He was co-author on two different papers that defined two new tourmaline species – fluor-schorl (the fluorine equivalent of the iron-species schorl) and maruyamaite. The maruyamaite is particularly interesting because it is a rare potassium tourmaline species that includes diamonds in the type material found in an ultra-high pressure metamorphic area in Kazakhstan. Fibrous tourmaline (some as gray and flexible as Henry’s beard) and its applicability as a fluid composition monitor was the topic of another paper that was recently published. Henry along with Professor Barb Dutrow were funded by NSF to do a research project using a Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrum (LIBS) for provenance using tourmaline chemistry. In addition, he published a paper with Celina Wills (LSU MS student) on Ba-rich feldspars in the Beartooth Mountains and what it means for the development of plate tectonics in the Archean. Over the last year, Henry has presented or been a co-author on 17 abstracts at meetings with colleagues as well as LSU undergraduate and graduate students. In terms of educational efforts, Henry was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Communications across the Curriculum (CxC) effort at LSU. After 11 years, CxC continues to evolve and energize the wider LSU community. Over the summer, he participated in the Earth Educator’s Rendezvous at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and shared his perspectives after 20 years of the benefits of the “Pet-Rock” Project that has been a long-term focus in his Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology class. Darrell Henry (white hat, upper right) at the New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference explaining the petrologic relations in the metamorphic rocks near Rangeley, Maine.


Louisiana State University

Huiming Bao Charles L. Jones Professor of Geology This year started with a terrible accident for one of Bao’s students in the field. Lesson learned: geologist is a high-risk profession; we explore unknown mountainous terrains frequently and we should bring with us adequate protective gears and anticipate the worst. The experience gave Dr. Bao an excuse to move his research to more experimental and theoretical fields. “First, the greatest satisfaction always comes from the students. Bryan Killingsworth got his Marie Curie Individual Fellowship in France and Justin Hayles finished his PhD and has moved to Rice University for his postdoctoral position. Second, fighting to publish an anti-establishment story, led by my postdoc Dr. Xiaobin Cao, has consumed a large chunk of our time over the last semester year. The fight ended up with a heartbreaking failure. However, the fight also brought us joy and excitement; we have found it comforting to accept that, occasionally, we scientists should write papers that are to be fully appreciated by the next generation. Third, Dr. Yongbo Peng’s exceptional expertise in running our NSF-funded, well-equipped stable isotope laboratory has allowed me much time to think deep in choosing the right science problems and think loud in our operation scale. Our group has been publishing 5-7 high-impact papers per year. Hopefully, we could achieve a grander ambition in the years to come.”

Research Associate Dr. Xiaobin Cao (left) and Prof. Huiming Bao (right) in the lab. Each year, Bao group will design a lab T-shirt/coats with a logo highlighting the intellectual focus or contribution of that academic year. For the year 2015-2016, it is “Kill λ”, which is one of the key recommendations we put out to cure many confusions currently permeating the triple-isotope community in an invited paper published in Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Carol Wicks Chair and Frank W. and Patricia Harrison Family Professor This has been an interesting year for Dr. Carol Wicks! During the summer, she spent two weeks at the HERS Institute in Denver. A two-week-long immersion in leadership focused on women in Higher Education. The HERS workshop was an opportunity to network and to explore career opportunities. It was also an opportunity to recharge. The timing was perfect for her because most of the graduate students in her research group graduated during the previous academic year. The two weeks in Denver allowed her to consider new research directions, in addition, to career opportunities. The new research directions for Wicks are linked to my new interactions with fellow researchers based at the Joseph E Jones Ecological Research Center in southwestern Georgia. The entire ~30k acre research center is located on the Dougherty Plain, a mantled karst plain that is pockmarked with subtle sinkholes that periodically and episodically fill with water. These features are hotspots of biodiversity and of recharge to the Floridan aquifer. That is the new project – recharge to Floridan through these isolated, yet numerous, features. A necessary part of this new project is to characterize the interface between the sandy soil and top of the carbonate. Wicks group will be using a variety of geophysical methods to characterize the top of the karst surface. Then they will progress to developing a numerical model of recharge to the Floridan from the

Department of Geology & Geophysics

Boardwalk into an isolated wetland and area of recharge into the Floridan Aquifer

Dougherty plain with calibration/validation of the modeling results at a instrumented isolated wetland at the Jones Center. Dr. Wicks is also pleased that the preliminary research her group carried out at Field Camp is moving into a project for a graduate student in Geography and possibly a week-long experience either embedded into the field camp course or offered as a stand-alone course at field camp. It was a good year, and she is looking forward to new directions and new students.


Sophie Warny Associate Professor and Curator 2015 was a fruitful year for the CENEX! The group published over 10 results in peer-reviewed journals. The lab also welcomed new student Patrick Baudoin (MS). Patrick is the final student funded by Dr. Warny’s NSF CAREER grant, a grant that funded a total of seven graduate students with fellowships and research funds. Patrick is focusing on reconstructing Antarctic Cenozoic paleoenvironments from organic Patrick Baudoin microfossils that he is recovering from subglacial lakes and ice streams in Western Antarctica. The palynological analyses he is conducting are on subglacial till, shallow subsurface sediments, and grounding zone wedge sediments acquired by the recent drilling campaign WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) project. Shannon Ferguson, CENEX doctoral student, spent her second summer in Houston for a unique internship that is making a major difference for homeland security! Last summer when toddler Bella Bond was found murdered in a trash bag on shore of Deer Island beach, Shannon Ferguson just outside of Boston, the police had their work cut out for them in order to figure out where the girl came from along with her identity. With the successful identification of a rare localized pollen by Homeland Security’s only forensic palynologist and Shannon’s internship mentor Andy Laurence, the nationwide search was narrowed. Thanks to palynology, the little girl had her identity back before burial, and her mother and the mother’s boyfriend are now in jail to await trial. Homeland Security has since then been receiving an overwhelming influx of requests for pollen analysis from state and local police and other agencies where forensic geographic attribution could help crack a case, not to mention the routine casework and high-security clearance level cases. This is in that context that Shannon started her second internship this past summer with the Department of Homeland Security. This year, it was interesting for Shannon to see the vast number of samples that had been sent to Dr. Laurence for pollen analysis compared to the much lower amount they had processed the summer before and during the Bella Bond case. The media attention Homeland Security’s forensic pollen program received from the tragic case has lead to many other 18

similarly successful case developments across the country and internationally within the past year. Andy and Shannon are hopeful for the expansion of Homeland’s forensic palynology program in the near future. Shannon indicated that thanks to her funding by the LSU MNS curatorial assistantship, she had the great opportunity to begin the curation and digitization of CENEX’s hefty pollen collection using the SPECIFY software. With the recent completion of digitizing Shell’s modern pollen collection of nearly 1000 different species (over 13,000 microphotographs) and the current digitalization of UNOCAL’s pollen collection, her skills as a palynologist have been sharpened. Although these collections were originally developed for biosteering wells for the oil and gas industry, they are now helping CENEX students and collaborators in a multitude of ways, from biostratigraphy to environmental reconstruction, to forensic. For these donations of collections, CENEX is extremely grateful. CENEX was selected to conduct the palynological analyses of the last two International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) campaigns in the South China Sea and Mitch Gregory off India, in the Arabian Sea. The palynological lab at LSU (CENEX) has been selected to conduct the palynological analysis of a series of cores acquired by IODP in the from March to May 2015. The research is being conducted by MS student Mitch Gregory and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yunfa Miao. Their task is to extract the pollen and spores deposited during the past 23 Ma within the cored sediments: identify them, reconstruct the ancient vegetation that produced the pollen and spores, and (from the vegetation) infer the climatic conditions that existed at the time of sediment deposition. This investigation should provide evidence Dr. Yunfa Miao for the inception of the monsoonal system, and highlight potential strengthening or weakening of the monsoonal system over the geological time period sampled from the cores.

Louisiana State University

Barb Dutrow Adolphe G. Gueymard Professor Dr. Dutrow’s group continues to focus on three primary areas for research and discovery: deciphering the metamorphic history and age of the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex (SMC), Idaho, as it relates to the building of the No. American continent; crystal chemistry of rock-forming minerals to elucidate fluidrock interactions; and 4-D heat and mass transport modeling coupled with kinetic models of mineral nucleation and growth to understand the development of rock textures. Uncovering the metamorphic evolution though mineral chemical analyses and modeling to interpret the tectonic history of the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex, Idaho engages several students in highelevation field work (virtual and real; and an escape from LA summers!) funded by NSF. In May, Eleanor W. Smith defended her M.S. Thesis entitled “Metamorphic conditions of aluminous gneisses in the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex, Idaho, USA: Implications for the middle-to-lower crust”. She is the first student in the department to complete the accelerated M.S. degree program and if off to a Ph.D. program at McGill University, Canada. She presented results of this work at the South Central GSA meeting where she won first place in the graduate student poster competition. In June, Anna (Tasha) Hoffman defended her M.S. thesis “Plagioclase coronas around garnet: Implications for decompression of the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex, ID” . Undergraduates also participated in SMC research: Megan Borel completed a study of granite formation conditions and is off to graduate school and Joel Spansel characterized zircon-containing quartzofeldspathic gneisses which he will continue for his UG thesis. The SMC detrital zircon geochronology was published in Geosphere. The second focus area addresses the large amount of geological information contained in the chemistry of minerals. M.S. student Nick Guiffre began his work using whole rock and chemistry of minerals in volcanic clasts of northern Department of Geology & Geophysics

NM to determine paleodrainage patterns and landscape evolution. This research is conducted in collaboration with the USGS Cenozoic Landscape Evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains Project, funded by the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. Another study of crystal chemistry highlights the information contained in the tourmaline (tur) supergroup minerals. Publications resulting from this work demonstrate that fibrous tourmaline retains compositional signatures of dynamic fluid-rock interactions and chemical fractionation trends in pegmatites. Undergraduate Hunter Songy is characterizing tourmalines related to a series of ore deposits in Nevada for his UG thesis. A third area of focus is computational modeling to understand heat and fluid flow during metamorphism and the effects on mineral nucleation and growth. These studies utilize 3-D visualization to decipher the complex non-linear feedbacks in the system. An associated NSF-funded research project relates to how students see (or do not see) 3-D representations of 2-D objects. Together with colleagues from Cognitive Sciences at Temple Univ. and Geosciences at the Univ. of Wisconsin, we have developed a spatial thinking workbook to facilitate and improve spatial and penetrative thinking for students. All of the students, both undergraduate and graduate, presented their research results in the Departmental Rock Star Poster contest (Fig. ). Dutrow gave research presentations at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry meeting held in Prague, GSA and AGU. In addition, Barb presented an Am. Women in Geosciences Distinguished Lecture at the Univ. of Kansas on “Gems as guides to the earth’s evolution”. Spring 2016 was a challenging teaching semester. A record 65 students were enrolled in Geol 2081: Mineralogy. It was exciting, though, as students learned to visualize in 3-D, in part through the use of modeling software for mineral structures and in learning optical

Top: Dutrow’s research group presented posters at the 2016 Rock Star Poster contest. Left to right: Nick Guiffre, Elly Smith, Joel Spansel, Dutrow, Hunter Songy, Megan Borel. Not pictured Tasha Hoffmann. Bottom: Thompson Peak mirrored in Diopside Lake, Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex, Idaho. (Photo: B. Dutrow).

microscopy and linking microscopic to macroscopic properties. Most exciting was having all 65 students participate in a high-end research experience using the new Electron Microprobe in the Chevron Geomaterials Characterization Lab in the G&G Department. Teams of three students experienced using our $1 million dollar instrument to identify minerals, determine their chemical composition, and image materials at the micrometer scale. Barb continues professional service including being a member of the Executive Committee for Elements magazine, a joint venture of 17 international mineralogical, petrological and geochemical societies around the world; the Geological Society of American Foundation; and on the Policy Committee of IEDA (Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance). She serves as an Assoc. Editor for the Am. Journal of Science and as a reviewer for numerous journals and granting agencies. 19

Patricia Persaud Assistant Professor Patricia Persaud joined the department as an assistant professor in August 2016. She completed her PhD in Geophysics at California Institute of Technology. There her research focused on unraveling crustal deformation beneath the Gulf of California rift using both onshore and offshore recordings of earthquakes and explosions, as well as geodynamic models. The Gulf of California is one of the two MARGINS focus sites for studying the rupture of the continental lithosphere and birth of a young ocean basin. However, based on the proximity of this active plate boundary to the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona, Patricia also became a scientific resource expert to help develop an updated seismic source characterization for the power plant. She was a Postdoctoral Science Fellow at Columbia University, NY, where she worked with colleagues in Astronomy, Ecology, and Climate Change to develop a new multidisciplinary course, Frontiers of Science, which has now become a standard part of Columbia University’s core curriculum. Patricia was also a research scientist at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, where she was involved in seismometer deployments and seismic data collection and analysis in Southern Italy. Persaud’s recent research, which will be continued here at LSU, has been developing detailed 3D velocity models for the Salton Trough, southern California, the anticipated epicenter of the next “Big One,” a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. This long overdue earthquake has the potential to impact the lives of millions of people and will produce the worst ground shaking in the Salton Trough. The 3D models and the identification of buried unmapped faults from Patricia’s research will help improve earthquake hazard assessments for the region. Patricia will present these results in the 2016 AGU Fall meeting special session, “Insights on the tectonic evolution of the Salton Trough and northern Gulf of California from recent multidisciplinary studies” organized by herself and colleagues. Patricia is also updating the Southern California Earthquake Center Community Stress Model with direct measurements of in-situ stress. The existing Community Stress Model has a range of

Patricia in her field area in the Mecca Hills, southern California, just north of the predicted future rupture of the next “Big One” on the San Andreas fault.

potential uses, including seismic hazard estimates, crustal seismicity studies, and dynamic earthquake rupture models, but still lacks observational constraints on the stress field. Patricia’s research involves using well logs provided by oil companies in the Los Angeles basin to determine borehole breakouts and provides a useful complement to the various scales of models being derived from seismicity and geodynamics. As part of this project, Harris Pritchard, a new MS student in the department will be analyzing a unique data set of offshore well logs in the Santa Barbara Channel for his thesis research.

Yanxia Ma Instructor This passing academic year has been exciting to Yanxia Ma. She taught historical geology (GEOL1003) and earth materials for petroleum engineering (GEOL3200), and supervised multiple Historical Geology Lab sessions. Dr. Ma was dedicated to improving the teaching materials so that the courses were more corresponded to students’ background and major. When taught course GEOL3200, specifically designed for petroleum engineering, Dr. Ma put great effort into petroleum geoscience, such as the processes influencing reservoir quality; the potential depositional environments of producing and preserving petroleum. Dr. Ma was always ready to answer students’ questions and help students achieve academic success. Besides 20

teaching, Ma also collaborated with colleagues at East China Normal University on a project funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, entitled “Sediment transport processes in muddy delta coasts during storm events: A case study”.

Dr. Ma in her office after teaching GEOL 1003.

Louisiana State University

Jianwei Wang Associate Professor The past year has been exciting for Dr. Wang and his research group. On the teaching front, Dr. Wang has developed a new course “Computer Programming and Statistical Data Analysis in Earth Sciences”. The course was designed with balanced materials of lectures on statistical methods for data analysis and computer labs on programming and hands-on excises. The course emphasizes statistical data analysis include data modeling, error analysis, hypothesis test, regression, time series, and spatial statistics. Topics in computer programming include computer programming basics, shell script, and high-level programming. This course was taught at 4000 level in fall 2015 with both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled, and was proposed for geology major by the faculty in spring 2016. Graduate student, Zelong Zhang, supervised by Dr. Wang, was awarded Goldschmidt Student Travel Grant from Goldschmidt Conference in 2016, due to his research on interactions of geological fluids with porous medium and dissolution of a mineral analogue nuclear waste form. On research, Dr. Wang has been awarded two grants from US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and National Science Foundation (NSF). The NRC grant was awarded to the “LSU Fellowships Program in Nuclear Science and Engineering” with faculty involved from the College of Science and College of Engineering. The program will train graduate students in nuclear-related science and engineering field in the Department of Geology & Geophysics and Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at LSU. This grant allows Dr. Wang to recruit graduate students to continue the research in nuclear waste forms development. The NSF grant is a research grant to fund a research project on iron-nickel liquid with light elements under the Earth’s outer core conditions. With a collaboration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where the experiment will be done at lower pressure, the research at LSU will employ first-principles simulations using high-performance computers including SuperMIC, a recent installed petascale supercomputer, funded by NSF and hosted at LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology. The experimental data will provide a benchmark and validate results from theoretical calculations at low-pressure, and the higher-pressure calculation results will be used to estimate and predict liquid properties under the core conditions. Such a methodology largely eliminates errors often induced in long extrapolations from low-pressure to core pressures and identifies prospective biases in theoretical calculations. This grant allows him to support a graduate student for studies of the Earth’s deep interior in mineral physics. Dr. Wang served the profession by being an Associate Editor for a journal “Frontiers in Earth and Planetary Materials”, and being a reviewer of proposals for federal agencies and manuscripts submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

Juan Lorenzo Associate Professor Juan Lorenzo and his graduate students remained busy (1) working on the in New Orleans, investigating the physical properties of soils beneath levees with the mobile seismic laboratory known as the “Seismeauxbile”, (2) conducting microseismic experiments in crack-fault interaction (LSU-PE Hydraulic Fracturing Lab) and most recently (3) conducting seismic experiments in a new Sand Tank Physical Seismic Facility, funded through Sandia National Labs. Jie Shen (PhD) and Abah Omale (MS.) graduated in fall 2015 and Derek Goff (MS.) in spring 2016. Their work was published in the journals Geophysics, GCAGS Journal, and Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics. Shen and Goff have moved to work in the oil and gas sector while Omale has stayed on to continue on for his PhD. Trudy Watkins and Abby Maxwell (both for MS) presented their work on the mechanics of fracturing at the national GSA meeting. Maxwell is the winner of a GSA Grant and Geophysics Student Research Award by the Geophysics Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA) a Shreveport Geological Society Scholarship and a Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Delta Section Scholarship.

New graduate students Blake Odom (left) and Nathan Benton (right) finish installation of experimental seismic sand-tank.

Department of Geology & Geophysics

Terrance DeLisser (for BS at Penn State), summer IRIS intern (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) while conducting surface waveseismic survey at the site of the Lower-Ninth Ward, New Orleans levee break caused by Hurrican Katrina storm surge of 2005.


Suniti Karunatillake Assistant Professor The planetary science lab (PSL), led by Dr. Suniti Karunatillake, pursued several research themes during 07/01/2015 – 06/30/2016. These ranged across the nature of water in the bulk soil of Mars; chemical signatures of igneous processes underlying the plains of Thaumasia, Syria, and Solis; magmatic differentiation in the southeastern lava flows of Elysium; photoanalytical insight of soil at Gale Crater; and geochemistry of paterae in the Arabia region, each rivaling the scale of the Yellowstone Caldera on Earth (Figure 1). The explorative effort divided broadly across graduate and undergraduate research. Undergraduate work advanced compositional models of the martian regolith, consisting of soil and rock, for comparisons across rover and satellite observations. Ms. Allison Barbato contributed to this work, including detailed analyses across Gale, Phoenix, and Gusev landing sites. Allison aided a PSL project led by David on what variations in the spatial association of K and Th in terrestrial planetary crusts reveals of chemical weathering, availability of water, and magmatic processes. With support from the LSU Discover program, Allison presented this work with David at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), the premier international venue in the planetary community. Undergraduates Lorraine and Anthony were both funded by NASA’s Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program (PGGURP). Lorrie explored Yellowstone-scale paterae in the Arabia highland area, close to the elevation boundary on the planet. She revealed that the surrounding area is enriched in most major elements compared to the martian crust, as well as compared to other known effusive volcanoes. At Gale Crater, Tony led not only the exhaustive effort to collocate chemical and imaging data of soil archived by the Curiosity Mission, but also the challenge of semi-automatically segmenting soil images into grain size classes. They will present their work at upcoming LPSC and AGU meetings. Graduate research yielded several achievements. Don’s characterization of Greater Thaumasia suggested that magmatic processes, such as mantle evolution over geological time, may impart a unique Si-enriched signature. David characterized how eruptions of a single martian volcanic province may evolve compositionally over geologic time scales. Projects proposed by Don on automatically characterizing boulder distributions in the Arctic latitudes of Mars, and by David on the geomorphology of martian super-volcanoes were funded by the Louisiana Space Grant. Beyond the overall supervision of PSL projects, Suniti published on the association of hydrogen with sulfur on Mars across latitudes, longitudes, and compositional extremes with graduate student Ms. Nicole Button. He co-authored another paper on lunar polar rover science mission architecture from the Mojave Volatiles Prospector (MVP) terrestrial field campaign. Future research will be strengthened internationally by


Figure 1. PSL’s martian exploration, outlined black in an equirectangular map of Mars from 60° North to South, with the Prime Meridian centered. The map is colorized with stoichiometric water derived from satellite gamma spectroscopy (i.e., low values in purple and high values in red, up to ~8% mass fraction), and underlain by shaded elevation. Counterclockwise from top left show the overlap between chemically distinct regions and the Arabia Paterae (green and pink outlines) by undergraduate Ms. Lorraine Carnes; perspective view of greater Thaumasia plains investigated by PhD student Mr. Donald Hood; a soil sample at Gale Crater, before and after automated segmentation by undergraduate Mr. Anthony Maue; and the Elysium volcanic region investigated by graduate student Mr. David Susko.

Figure 2. David and Allison beside their co-presented poster at the 47th LPSC. The Earth map shows the various terrane from which Allison and David located terrestrial public data of K and Th concentrations. Dr. Jeff Taylor from the University of Hawaii helped to identify sources of Earth data, while Dr. David Lawrence, Johns Hopkins University, provided lunar data.

emerging collaborations between PSL and colleagues at the China University of Geoscience, Wuhan – led by Dr. Long Xiao and at the Center for Lunar & Planetary Sciences, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Science, in Guiyang led by Dr. Yuyan Sara Zhao. Suniti was invited to both locations for this purpose during the summer, accompanied by Don.

Louisiana State University

Sam Bentley Billy & Ann Harrison Chair of Sedimentology Over the last year, Sam Bentley’s research group has been busy, focused on better understanding of how the Mississippi River Delta evolves geologically, to help with conservation of the Mississippi River delta, and other large deltas worldwide. Funding for this work comes from the National Science Foundation (the Coastal SEES program), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and Louisiana state agencies, as well as the Sam Bentley (second from left) and colleagues K Sajan, Kenneth Rose (LSU Oceanography and endowment of the Billy and Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology. Undergraduates Coastal Sciences), and A.N. Balchand pose for Suyapa Gonzalez, Brianna Crenshaw, Rodney Stieffel, and Ryan Clarke all gave conference a photograph after signing a memorandum of understanding between CUSAT, and LSU. presentations on their research projects. MS candidates Meg O’Connor and Chris Magliolo Professors Sajan and Balchand are both marine (supported by BOEM and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority) scientists in the CUSAT School of Marine conducted extensive field work on their coastal projects, and are now writing their theses. Sciences. Crawford White and Giancarlo Restreppo, both PhD students, are studying how river floods and hurricanes distribute sediment and shape the delta, and both gave presentations at international conferences. PhD students Brian Vosburg and Mitch Andrus both work full-time jobs in the coastal restoration field and are also making progress towards their degrees, focused on river sedimentation and delta growth. 2015 BS graduate James Smith, now in graduate school at the Colorado School of Mines, led the publication of his senior thesis on hurricane sedimentation in coastal wetlands, published in the journal “Scientific Reports.” Recent MS graduates Greg Keller, Jeff Bomer, and Ethan Hughes all successfully defended their theses and gave conference presentations on different aspects of delta evolution, and are moving forward with new stages of their geoscience careers. Kathryn Denommee completed her PhD in December 2015; she is now at Exxon-Mobil Upstream Research Corporation. The second journal article of her dissertation (studying fine-sediment transport on the Louisiana coast) was recently accepted for publication in the journal “Marine Geology.” When Sam is not working with his super group of undergraduate and graduate students, he has his own projects. This year, they included completion of a major review paper on the Mississippi River system, from headwaters to the deep Gulf of Mexico, published in Earth Science Reviews (February 2016), and also a lecture tour in Kerala India (September 2015), supported by the Kerala Government Erudite Scholars Program, and the Cochin University of Science and Technology, in Kochin, India, located in the south Indian state of Kerala. From this, Sam hopes to develop strong connections in international studies of coastal sedimentary and deltaic processes.

Peter Clift Charles T. McCord Chair of Petroleum Geology Much of Peter Clift’s time over the past year has been spent managing and working with the students in his ever-expanding group totaling now seven graduate students and four undergraduate researchers, the largest group he’s ever worked with. Dr. Clift has been continuing his fieldwork on Asian river systems including visiting a small monsoonal catchment in Vietnam during the summer of 2015. After which he completed a paper with PhD student Tara Jonell, her first first-author paper, which came out earlier this year. A proud moment for both of them. In the summer 2016, Clift was busy in China looking for the first time at the Yellow River and doing a long field trip around North China sampling some of the sources of sediment into this major but generally neglected river whose history likely reflects the uplift of the northern half of the Tibetan plateau. His work on the Yellow River represents the start of a new three-year program Brittney Gregory inspecting Late he has with colleagues at Nanjing Normal University where he has been appointed a visiting Holocene alluvial fanglomerate of professor for this period. Back in the United States, he has been working with graduate student Alpine, Texas. Brittany Gregory focusing on the recent evolution of the Mississippi River. They made a field trip upstream as far as St. Louis, Missouri sampling all the major tributaries that feed sediment into the system. They are trying to find out where the sediment in the modern river comes from and whether this is been stable over the last 1000 years with the idea of assessing the impact of human settlement on the basin. Dr. Clift was very busy last year organizing conferences. He was involved with the convening of the Society of Exploration Geophysics in New Orleans in the fall of 2015, and in the spring of this year, he was the chief convener of the south-central GSA conference held here in Baton Rouge. This meeting attracted around 300 people despite the floods which blocked I-10 for several days before the meeting started. Clift’s involvement with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) has continued and now plans are being made for future expeditions in the medium term.

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Karen Luttrell Assistant Professor It has been a productive year for Prof. Karen Luttrell and the crustal deformation group, with four undergraduates and an MS student joining the lab to work on several different research projects. Luttrell was awarded grants from the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Louisiana Board of Regents (LABoR) to support the ongoing crustal deformation research at LSU. The NSF Integrated Earth Systems grant supports a new multi-institutional multi-million dollar collaboration to study the Hydrothermal Dynamics of Yellowstone Lake in unprecedented detail. (You can follow our ongoing adventures at!). The SCEC award supports ongoing research by Luttrell and students to investigate the crustal stress field around the San Andreas Fault plate boundary, while the collaborative LABoR award enabled the LSU Center for Geoinformatics to acquire a new state of the art absolute gravimeter for use in teaching and research. In addition to these projects, Luttrell has continued her work modeling the interaction between climate and tectonics and has recently published two papers on the effect of sea level rise on fault reactivation in Portugal. In summer 2015, BS student Joel Spansel analyzed crustal stress orientations indicated by both shallow borehole observations and earthquake focal mechanisms. His work was subsequently presented at the SCEC Annual Meeting in Palm Springs, CA. In fall 2015, BS student Erin Schwartz continued the analysis of borehole stress data, while BS student Spencer Aertker examined remote sensing data from Southern Louisiana that could be used to monitor coastal subsidence, uplift, and erosion. MS student Kevin Gryger joined the lab in fall 2015 as a research assistant, studying seiche waves in Yellowstone Lake and the subtle deformation they produce around the supervolcano caldera. Kevin is using this information to identify the presence of shallow magma in Yellowstone and presented his early findings in spring 2016 at the South Central GSA meeting. He was also awarded a student research 24

Top: LSU graduate student Kevin Gryger enjoys a morning on Yellowstone Lake en route to one of his field sites. Bottom: LSU undergraduate student Patrick Carpenter puts the new pressure/temperature gauges through their paces.

grant from the Geological Society of America, which funded his summer fieldwork in Yellowstone. Finally, in spring 2016, BS student Patrick Carpenter tested a suite of new instruments for monitoring pressure and temperature in Yellowstone Lake and helped design the deployment apparatus for these instruments’ year-long deployment on the lake bottom beginning summer 2016. Luttrell’s teaching portfolio continues to expand. She taught three courses this year, including an honors section of physical

geology, a senior-level course on plate tectonics, and a graduate seminar survey of ongoing geology and geophysics research of interest to LSU G&G. Additionally, her research was presented at several conferences and invited lectures around the country, including the Annual Meeting of the Seismological Society of America and the Harvard Earth and Planetary Sciences Colloquium. As the Crustal Deformation group at LSU continues to expand, Luttrell is excited for what lies ahead for this year with G&G! Louisiana State University

Carol Wilson Assistant Professor Carol Wilson has had an exciting first year at LSU setting up her lab and conducting field work in the GangesBrahmaputra delta (Bangladesh) and closer to home in Louisiana. Field work in Bangladesh included investigations of sediment delivery to the natural Sundarbans mangrove forest, and how anthropogenic modification disrupts these fluxes in poldered (leveed) areas. In particular, we found the use of sluice gates to control water exchange between polder islands restricts tidal exchange, facilitating sediment deposition within channels. Over the past 50 years, more than 600 km of major tidal channels have silted in, resulting in an enormous amount of new land (>90 km2) that is rapidly reclaimed for agriculture or aquaculture, equivalent to 25% that produced naturally at the river mouth >100 km away (recently submitted to the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Undergraduates Erin Swartz and Ross Harrison (both class of 2016) helped set up the Wilson lab and started a new study in Louisiana, investigating how sediments delivered to Lake Pontchartrain during the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway (opened Jan/ Feb 2016) support adjacent wetland elevation dynamics. These investigations will be critical for wetland restoration and sediment diversion projects in Louisiana. During the past year, Dr. Wilson also attended the second International Workshop on Coastal Subsidence held in Venice, Italy (May 2016), which shed light on coastal subsidence issues worldwide. In addition to beholding one of the most

Top: Undergraduate Ross Harrison (class of 2016) participates in core extraction near the Bonnet Carre spillway in February 2016. Bottom: Sluice gates like the one shown here restrict tidal channel exchange in southwest Bangladesh

beautiful ‘sinking cities of the world’, participants had a behind-the-scenes tour of the newly constructed Venice Lagoon tidal surge Control Center and engineered hydraulic gates, which are designed to be lifted from the bed of the inlets during ‘Aqua Alta’ events to prevent flooding in Venice.

Finally, Carol is excited to welcome new graduate students Jeff Bomer (PhD) and Sam Schrull (MS) to the lab fall 2016. Jeff will be joining her studies in Bangladesh as a new NSF-funded Coastal SEES project takes shape, and Sam will be investigating sediment accretion patterns in Barataria Bay.

Jeff Hanor Professor Emeritus In 2015, Emeritus Professor Jeff Hanor was co-author on a paper entitled “Dispersive Thermohaline Convection near Salt Domes: a case at Napoleonville Dome, Southeast Louisiana, USA”, that was published in the Hydrogeology Journal, August 2015, vol. 23, pp. 983-998. The two lead authors were Zahra Jamshidzadeh, a visiting researcher working with Frank Tsai in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at LSU, and Frank himself. The article was one of only five from about 150 articles published in 2015 to be designated as an “Editor’s Choice” article by the Hydrogeology Journal editorial board. These special articles are highlighted on the website of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH).

Department of Geology & Geophysics



Louisiana State University


$50,000 AND ABOVE: Chevron

$25,000 - $49,999: Laura & Jay Moffitt

Shell Oil Company

$10,000 - $24,999: David J. Clark Art & Julia Saller

Armour Winslow

Ronnie Johnson & Candace Hays

The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation ExxonMobil Edward Picou & Dan Armstrong Robert & Paula Gerdes COG Operating LLC

James H. Anderson Fred & Misty Meendsen Philip A. Sandberg Jack W. Grigsby

Charles A. O’Niell III Richard P. Zingula Harold & Kim Voss Gail L. Worrell Kathleen M. McManus Burton W. Bordine Robert & Barbara Danos Billy & Ann Harrison

Anita Bourgeois & Helen Tidwell Rowdy & Donna Lemoine Jonathan & Emily Marcantel Stacy & Kelly Smith

$1,000 - $9,999: George Belchic, Jr. Sally M. Murray Erik & Angela Scott Julie Hill Barbara Lowery-Yilmaz & Recep Yilmaz

$100 - $999: Hess Corporation Gary Byerly & Maud Walsh John & Kathleen Susko Scott & Laurie Comegys Jack & Anna Woods Edward A. Weisblatt Stewart & Lauren Henry Lawrence & Peggy Stanley

Sybil Callaway & Elias Bou-Waked

Charles E. Brown Paul & Eileen Stanley

UP TO $99: Hillary & David Kinchen William E. Schramm Roland D. Pool Dan & Mary Carleton

Frederick E. Beck Kathryn R. Chastant William J. Donnaway, Jr. John & Susan Exnicios

William & Renee McAlister Robert & Yvonne Bates Jim & Janet Parks Charles & Ruth Horne

*The individuals and organizations listed reflect donations made to the Department of Geology & Geophysics through the LSU Foundation between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. Every effort is made to be as accurate as possible in reporting gifts to the department. If there is an error, please let us know.

E235 Howe Russell Kniffen Geoscience Complex Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Thank you from the faculty, students, and staff in the Department of Geology & Geophysics. We hope that you found this edition of the Alumni Magazine enjoyable and informative. We could not do what we do without your help. As you re-read this alumni magazine, remember that your support helped fund the field trips, course embedded research projects, student club activities, and scholarships for G&G students throughout the academic year and field camp.





Group: LSU Geology & Geophysics Alumni