Page 1


Alumni Magazine


Department of Geology & Geophysics


ABOUT THIS ISSUE: CONTRIBUTORS: Rachel May Carol Wicks Nicki Button















The LSU Geology & Geophysics Alumni Magazine is published in the fall of each year and reflects news and events occurring between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.



All rights reserved.


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:


Students servicing a meteorological station on Howard Glacier in Taylor Valley in east Antarctica as part of Peter Doran’s ongoing involvement in the NSF-funded McMurdo Long term ecological research (LTER) project.





FROM THE CHAIR’S DESK  Greetings! As I write this, we are starting Fall Break in the fall 2017 semester. I invite you to explore this magazine and discover how the Department of Geology & Geophysics is tackling challenges and seizing opportunities.  Our research programs push science forward. Whether we work as single investigators or collaboratively with colleagues cross LSU and from other Universities, our mission is to advance our understanding of the earth and planetary sciences. In this magazine, you will read about our work in the Gulf, in the polar regions, and across the continents.  Our educational program prepares our graduate and undergraduate students for their chosen careers, whether that be employment in industry, government, or academe. Our BS degree is classically designed while embracing pedagogical and technological advances. For instance, take a moment to think about data collection and mapping on a laptop while at field camp and think how course-embedded undergraduate research projects in nearly all of our undergraduate courses results in enhancing the communication and critical thinking skills of all of our undergraduate students. Our graduate programs are similarly classically designed while embracing technological advances and international opportunities. We have three graduate programs: the graduate certificate in Applied Depositional Geosystems, the MS degree, and the PhD degree, allowing students to select the degree program that best fits their career aspirations.  We welcomed a new faculty member this fall – Dr. Adam Forte. He is a structural geologist and you will read about his research program in the magazine. He is settling in this semester and will kick off his teaching mission next semester when he offers Plate Tectonics, a course designed for both seniors and first-year graduate students. Drs. Luther (Assistant Professor – Professional Practice and Field Camp Director) and Forte are already discussing designing new field-based courses.  We welcome you to join us by following our Facebook page, by adding our LinkedIn site to your network, and by following our Twitter fed. We also invite you to visit campus and the department. If you are interested in being more directly involved, please send me an email and I will loop you into the G&G Alumni Council. I am sure that I can speak for the G&G Alumni Council when I say, “Join us”! The goal of the G&G Alumni Council is to support the vision and mission of the Department. We are introducing focused areas for endowed support (see next page). Your investment speaks volumes to our current students and faculty and staff.

Carol M. Wicks Department Chair and Frank W. and Patricia Harrison Family Professor

We strive to secure G&G’s position as a top geoscience department nationwide and to stake our claim as leaders in geoscience research with high-impact discoveries that pave the way for the future. Investments in students, faculty, and infrastructure will accomplish this goal.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ENDOWED SUPPORT YOUR SUPPORT WILL HELP Students are the lifeblood of any strong program and our future leaders in academia and industry. Support will aid in recruiting and retaining outstanding students and will provide the best possible student experience at LSU: •• •• •• •• ••

undergraduate scholarships superior graduate student scholarships course-embedded research experiences the Geoscience Diversity Enhancement program international field trips and experiences

Faculty seed grants will lead to two significant external measures of a successful department: an edge in national funding competitions and enhanced grant activity and citations. In addition, competitive faculty funds support the recruitment and retention of world-class faculty. Infrastructure The department currently produces impressive work and research in facilities in need of significant updates and improvement. Infrastructure grants will provide funds for top tier research and teaching laboratories.

WHY ENDOWED SUPPORT? The department has benefited from exceptional annual support from alumni and industry, but we cannot plan for the future with annual funds. Endowed support, a hallmark of top tier departments, allows the department to look toward and plan for the future.

WHY NOW? G&G is an excellent program and an integral component of LSU’s future. In the last decade, faculty research and discovery has enhanced what is known about energy, the environment, and even solving crimes. We know that philanthropy fuels excellence. For example, faculty members with the most philanthropic support, specifically endowed chairs, are also the most productive and innovative of the department. They earn more honors, increase grant productivity, and enhance publication records. With your support of G&G, together we can impact society while continuing to prepare the next generation of innovative frontrunners.


Chair and Frank W. and Patricia Harrison Family Professor Department of Geology & Geophysics,
Louisiana State University 
 office 225-578-2692 | |

Department of Geology & Geophysics

Eric Guerin, CFRE

Director of Development
 College of Science,
Louisiana State University 
 office 225-578-7602 |



Top: Sophie Warny in the CENEX palnological processing lab. Bottom: CENEX curates a large collection of pollen and dinoflagellate cyst specimens donated over the years by various oil companies or acquired by Warny and her students. These slides are key to biostratigraphic studies and paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

 Dr. Sophie Warny has been named the first AASP Endowed Chair in Paleopalynology by the Board of Regents!  AASP - The Palynological Society was founded to promote the science of palynology. Sophie has clearly established an excellent international reputation in the field of palynology and her research is advancing the science of palynology. Sophie’s research productivity is outstanding as she has published 32 refereed articles, has served as a book editor, has published three book chapters, and has published 14 articles as a member of large multi-disciplinary science teams, all since 2008. Dr. Warny has received ~$1.7M in research funding (as a PI) and has been awarded an additional ~$300K in grants (as co-PI). Dr. Warny was awarded a highly competitive NSF Career Award. Sophie has mentored numerous graduate students to successful career paths of their own. She leads the field of palynology and has a forward-looking vision for the LSU Center of Excellence of Palynology. Her vision for the Center will foster development of the new generation of palynologists and promote the science of palynology.

SAM BENTLEY NAMED STERNBERG PROFESSOR  Dr. Sam Bentley, Billy and Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology, has been named the Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professorship from the LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College. Established in 1996, the professorship is the highest award conferred to faculty by the Ogden Honors College.  Recipients of the professorship are required to have outstanding academic credentials and qualifications; an excellent teaching record; impeccable moral and ethical character; and to promote trustworthiness, leadership, patriotism, and racial and religious tolerance. In addition, the Sternberg Professor participates in teaching and the general life of the Ogden Honors College during the tenure of the award.

PETER CLIFT NAMED EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF GEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE  Dr. Peter Clift, Charles T. McCord Endowed Professor, has accepted the role of Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Geological Magazine!  Geological Magazine, established in 1864, is one of the oldest and best-known periodicals in the Earth Sciences. Its worldwide circulation, broad scope and high production values keep the journal at the forefront of the field. It publishes original papers, review articles, rapid communications and discussions about all aspects of the geosciences.


Louisiana State University

Year in Review JEFFREY HANOR INDUCTED INTO HALL OF DISTINCTION The LSU College of Science inducted four new member into its Hall of Distinction during a banquet and ceremony on Friday, March 31st. This year’s class included LSU Department of Geology & Geophysics Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Hanor! Jeffrey Hanor, LSU Alumni Professor Emeritus in LSUs Department of Geology & Geophysics, is an internationally recognized authority on the origin and geochemistry of waters in sedimentary basins. These waters range from potable groundwaters to hypersaline brines co-produced with crude oil and natural gas. Hanor has also served as an expert in groundwater contamination cases, including cases for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Louisiana Attorney General. He is the author or coauthor of over 130 published articles and book chapters and was selected by the Hydrogeology Division of the Geological Society of America to be their 1998 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer. In this role he gave presentations on his research at 32 colleges, universities, and government agencies, most during the spring 1998 semester.

CAROL WICKS RECEIVES 2017 SCIENCE AWARD  Dr. Carol Wicks, Chair and Frank W. and Patricia Harrison Family Professor, has

been awarded the 2017 Science Award from the National Speleological Society (NSS).  The Science Award annually recognizes one NSS member who, over time, has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the scientific study of caves. Names of candidates will be solicited by the Awards Committee, and the recipient will be approved by the Board of Governors upon recommendation of the Awards Committee. The recipient must have been a member in good standing of the Society for at least two years immediately prior to their name being submitted as a candidate. The National Speleological Society is the largest organization in the world working every day to further the exploration, study, and protection of caves and their environments, and foster fellowship among cavers.

WELCOME ABOARD  Over the summer, Dr. Adam Forte joined the department as a new assistant

professor. His research integrates aspects of structural geology, stratigraphy, and geomorphology to understand the evolution of orogenic systems and their associated foreland basins. While much of his work is field-based, he also incorporates landscape evolution models, remotely sensed topographic/satellite data, and various geochronologic techniques into his research.   Dr. Forte’s PhD was granted by the University of California, Davis. He has held a post-doctoral fellowship position at Arizona State University in the multidisciplinary School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Jennifer Whittington (M.S. LSU; Encana Gas), Dr. Barb Dutrow, Dr. Nancy McMillan (citationist; NMSU), and Dr. Dave Mogk (nominator, Montana St)

BARB DUTROW RECEIVES AWG OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD Dr. Barb Dutrow, Adophe G. Gueymard Professor, was the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Educator Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists, or AWG. This is AWG’s premier professional award for women geoscientists honoring well-established women college or university teachers who have played a significant role in the education and support of geoscientists within and beyond the classroom, in advancing the persistence of females and underrepresented minorities in geoscience careers and in raising the profile of the geosciences by teaching to and for the broadcast audience of students. Dutrow was cited for her contributions in all three of the areas considered for this longstanding career award: mentoring, instruction and curriculum, and outreach to the broader community. In the area of mentoring, Dutrow was cited for going well beyond the traditional responsibilities of a tenured professor at a research I institution by skillfully guiding many undergraduates through their first geologic research experiences, her mentoring of many female graduate and undergraduate students and for helping them to secure funding for their degrees and research projects. By way of outreach, she has created museum exhibits elucidating concepts related to gems and minerals to the broader public, has developed exhibits for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show that reaches tens of thousands of people, works with her local LSU GeoClub to facilitate their outreach and has given over 250 lectures around the world. Dutrow has had a dramatic impact on the teaching of mineralogy across the nation and the world. She has reorganized the course from the classic systematic mineralogy format to a format focused on the geologic environment of mineral formation: from the Earth’s core to crust. She has lead NAGT/On the Cutting Edge workshops on pedagogy as well as on specifics of subject material, published research articles on student spatial learning and visualization, and continues to share numerous teaching activities on-line through On the Cutting Edge, and has co-authored a leading and longest selling Mineralogy textbook, the 23rd ed. Manual of Mineral Sciences (Klein & Dutrow 2008), now translated into Portuguese. She also serves as the curator for the mineralogy and petrology collections of the Natural History Museum at LSU. “This award is an incredible honor, in part because many of my former students nominated me for the award together with external collaborators. It is also humbling as there are so many excellent professors around the world who have shared their insights on best educational practices and their relativity with me,” said Dutrow Her research interests span from continental-scale metamorphism to micrometer-scale crystallochemical interactions in minerals. Her research involving time transient 3-D computational modeling of heat and mass transport unifies these approaches and relates the influence of heat, fluids and fluid flow on the development and growth of minerals. Dutrow joined the faculty in the Department of Geology & Geophysics in 1992. She was presented this award at the Geological Society of America meeting recently held in Denver. Several of her former students, in addition to colleagues, joined her for the event. 8

Louisiana State University


Sam Bentley on the Scenic Point Trail, Glacier National Park, during a trip to study river morphology and engineering of the upper Missouri River and Tributaries, June 2016. Photo credit Rory Bentley.

The College of Science conducted an internal search for a new Associate Dean of Research & Administration at the start of 2017. We are pleased to announce that Sam Bentley, Professor of Geology & Geophysics and Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology, accepted this position, effective April 1, 2017. Over his career, Bentley has been highly successful in securing extramural funding to build his research program, most recently as one of the leaders of a very active interdisciplinary research group. His experience with this team and as the Director of the Coastal Studies Institute have given him a unique vision for how to foster and develop interdisciplinary research within the College and across LSU. Bentley has demonstrated his commitment to graduate education and has expressed interest in developing unique training programs that would provide students with the tools they need to be successful in the marketplace, academic or otherwise, post-graduation. Among his colleagues, Bentley is known as congenial, collaborative, and a productive and effective leader. There is no doubt that his enthusiasm and experience will be a tremendous asset to the college.

2017 AAPG ALUMNI RECEPTION     Thank you to everyone who joined us for our alumni reception held in conjunction with the 2017 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston. Approximately 90 alumni, students, faculty, and supporters came to the Petroleum Club of Houston for a fun evening catching up with old classmates and learning about current events in the department.

Department of Geology & Geophysics

Carol Wicks and G&G Alumni Council member Eric Scott at the Houston Area Alumni Reception held in conjunction with ACE 2017.


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

Adam Sturlese Memorial Scholarship:

Jeff Duxbury, Cameron Gernant

Adam Turner

Charles L. Jones Scholarship:

Jon O’Keefe Barry Scholarship:

Hunter Songy

Martial Morrison, Erin Varner, Andrew Webb

Patrick F. Taylor Scholarship:

Geology General Scholarship:

Joel Spansel

Sid & Peggy Bonner Scholarship: Michael Vetter

Harriet Belchic Memorial Scholarship: Ruby Francois, Adrienne Stephens

Devon Energy Corporation Scholarship: Krista Myers

Ben Stanley Geology Camp Scholarship: Cameron Gernant, Phoenix Harris

H.V. Andersen Endowed Scholarship:

Collin Creel, Kevin Gryger, Jade Lawrence, Chris Magliolo, Abigail Maxwell, Ryder Myers, Elizabeth Olson, Crawford White

Leo W. Hough Scholarship Fund: Augstus Bates, Samantha Hall, Andrew Jacobus

Laurice Sistrunk Scholarship: Taylor Lee, Megan Loop

Dr. & Mrs. H.V. Howe Scholarship: Abigail Heath, Evan Magette

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

Nick Guiffre, Yuting Li, Adrienne Stephens

Augustus Bates, Phoenix Harris, Elliot Judy, Evan Magette, Connor Matherne, Christopher McCarthy

George N May Memorial Scholarship:

Melissa Montz Scholarship:

Andrew Osborne

Matthew DeCesare, Brittney Gregory, Yuyang He

Chevron Energy Leaders Graduate Scholarship: Patrick Baudoin, Nathan Benton, Sarah Dailey, Matthew Danielson

New Orleans Geological Society Levee Scholarship: Adam Gostic

* New Orleans Geological Society Scholarship:

Jeff Bomer, Adam Gostic, Phoenix Harris, Heather Rayneri

*American Federation of Mineralogical Societies: Shoshauna Farnsworth-Pinkerton, Elizabeth Levy

John T. Mestayer Memorial Scholarship:

Candace Hays & Ronnie Johnson Scholarship:

Joshua Celestine, Domenic Da Ponte, Suyapa Gonzalez Rodriguez, Nicoline Good, Kate Gutterman, Angel Hernandez, Taylor Lee, Haley Thorson, Jessica Villers

Dr. Joe Hazel Memorial Scholarship: Shannon Ferguson

EnCANA Graduate Student Support Fund: Tara Jonell, Meg O’Connor

Eni Petroleum Scholarship: Tyler Murphy

Dominic Ciaccio

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


Louisiana State University

Choppin Honors Convocation The College of Science celebrated the achievements of its stellar students and faculty during the 42nd Annual Dean Arthur R. Choppin Honors Convocation April 19, 2017.

Students in the Department of Geology & Geophysics were once again honored at the College of Science Choppin Awards Ceremony. Outstanding Senior: Hunter Songy Outstanding Junior: Kate Gutterman Outstanding Sophomore: Andrew Osborne (not pictured)

Dr. Justin Hayles was awarded the Distingushed Dissertation Award at the College of Science Choppin Awards Ceremony.

GEOLOGY STUDENTS ARE ROCKSTARS Student research posters filled the Clarence Cazalot Atrium on topics ranging from Delta Evolution to Palynology to Sediment Flux. The Rockstar competition provides student’s with a formal venue to present their research in a familiar setting. Students gain valuable experience discussing their research and learning more about effective communication both during the creation of the visual aspects of the poster and the discussion of the research. The top winners in the graduate poster presentation session were: first place, Elizabeth Levy, “Povondraite: An EPMA and XANES Geochemical Analysis”; second place, Jeff Bomer, “Coupled Landscape and Channel Dynamics in the Ganges-Brahmaputra Tidal Delta Plain, Southwest Bangladesh”; and third place, Juan Carlos Guerrero, “Provenance Study of Ordovician Sandstones along the southeastern Appalachian Mountains”. Undergraduate student winners were: first place, Allison Barbato, “Intensity Variations in Cathodoluminescence and Trace Element Chemistry in Sillimanite as Evidence for Multiple Metamorphic Reactions; Examples from the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex, Idaho”; second place, Phoenix Harris, “Metasomatism in Contact Metamorphic Aureoles in Subsurface Louisiana”; and third place, Erin Varner, “Using Conodonts to Track Late Ordovician Sea Level Changes in the Eastern United States”.

Department of Geology & Geophysics

Elizabeth Levy with her winning poster: “Povondraite: An EPMA and XANES Geochemical Analysis”

Allison Barbato with her winning poster: “Intensity Variations in Cathodoluminescence and Trace Element Chemistry in Sillimanite as Evidence for Multiple Metamorphic Reactions; Examples from the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex, Idaho”

Louisiana State University


AAPG Student Chapter Visits Ireland

By Nicki Button

Last May, the Department of Geology and Geophysics provided the opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to attend a field trip led by Dr. Peter Clift and Dr. Amy Luther in Ireland to learn about the multiphase geological history of that island.

Mounds at Knowth. Left and right insets show kerbstones containing artwork. Middle inset shows a passageway in the mound.

Jeff Duxbury and Juan Carlos Guerrero observe the first geological feature of the field trip.

Allison Barbato observes the quarry walls.


Day 1:  The trip started with a cultural stop at the Knowth Neolithic Passage Tomb, part of Brú na Bóinne in central eastern Ireland. Knowth is the largest passage tomb at this complex, one of the largest in Europe and dated around 3200 B.C., similar to the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt.  The first geological stop of the trip was the Slieve Gullion Ring Complex in the Mountains of Mourne. The intrusion of dark igneous material into the light material is observed in the image. The lighter granite formed during the Devonian, while the dykes were emplaced during the Paleocene. This later magmatism is linked to the breakup of the North Atlantic. Day 2:  The second stop of the day was a quarry near Carrickmore. Almost everything observed was diabase, a fine-grained, mafic intrusive igneous rock. Sheeted dykes were also observed, with the red indicting the presence of iron oxidized

Students investigate a rock pile about 5-6 miles north of Pomeroy with a discussion led by Dr. Peter Clift and Dr. Amy Luther. The rocks were mostly gabbro and there was evidence of epitote veins and dykes.

Louisiana State University

during alteration driven by hydrothermal fluid circulation. The rocks showed variations in grain size from finegrained to coarse-grained.   The day ended with a cultural experience at Beaghmore Stone Circles, dated to the Bronze Age (approximately ~3,500 years old). These stone circles are most likely associated with burial cairns, but they could have also been used for religious or social gatherings. Day 3:  The Giant’s Causeway is a geologic feature located on the northern coast of Ireland. It is made of about 40,000 basalt columns, formed by a volcanic eruption during the Paleocene Epoch that slowly cooled as a lava lake. As the lava cooled, fractures formed, similar to the formation of cracks in drying mud cracks, creating the hexagonal (or nearly hexagonal shapes) observed in the pictures. The lava sequence was divided into two distinct sequences separated by strongly weathered paleosols. According to myths, though, a giant who wanted to visit his relatives in western Scotland built the feature.  Between, Bushmills and Portrush, the group stopped to observe the white cliffs made up of chalk with embedded chert, “nodules”. The chert formed during post-depositional diagenesis as shown by the individual nodules replacing burrows rather than the chert forming a complete layer.  In Portrush, ammonite-bearing shale and mudstone were observed, providing evidence for a marine setting during the Late Jurassic. These rocks were intruded by a mafic Paleocene sill.

Left: Students investigate a second quarry. Right: Dr. Amy Luther pointing at the fault damage zone with the gouge (claylike) on the left and quartz injected veins.

Day 4:  Throughout the trip, memorials and famine beds served as reminders for the Great Famine of 1845-1852.

Stone Circles at Beaghmore Stone Circles.

Left: Nikki Neubeck walking on the hexagonal columns at Giant’s Causeway. Right: Basalt columns at Giant’s Causeway. The hexagonal shapes are easily observed at the top of the columns.

Dr. Peter Clift stands by the cliffs. The chert is observed as individual nodules occurring in rows.

At the Clew Bay Complex, an Ordovician accretionary prism, schist was the prevalent rock type. The stonewall also contained mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks, such as gabbro and peridotite that are inferred to be tectonic slices within the prism, off scraped from the subducting Iapetus oceanic plate.  In Doolough Valley, mountains formed of Paleozoic clastic sedimentary rocks deposited in a forearc basin were observed despite erosion to sea level after the Caledonian Orogeny because of late Paleocene uplift. Low-grade metamorphism of the sedimentary rocks also occurred in this region. Day 5:  The first geological stop of the day was south of Claddaghduff to observe the Omey Granite and its metamorphic aureole in the surrounding schists. The outcrops along the beach provided the opportunity to observe a progression of metamorphic grades containing garnets, andalusite and diopside. Rocks next to the granite itself were migmatized.  The group also stopped at the Deeryveeny Conglomerate. A deposit formed approximately 460-443 million years ago and reflecting erosion of the Caledonian Orogeny, and used to constrain the unroofing of the Dalradian metamorphic complex. Day 6:  The Cliffs of Moher are composed of shale and sandstone, with the oldest deposits observed at the bottom of the cliffs. These rocks represent a delta complex draining the Carboniferous-aged Hercynian Orogeny, located to the west.  The last geology stop of the trip was at the Bridges of Ross. The clastic sedimentary rocks exposed at the Bridges of Ross were deposited in a slope environment as a submarine fan. The presence of a major mass-wasting deposit is of particular note. The sediments were supplied from the southwest and were deposited rapidly presumably reflecting fast erosion in the source regions. Tectonic folds in the sedimentary layers were also observed.

Cliffs of Moher.

Nicki Button looking out on Doolough Valley.

Jeff Duxbury observing the outcrop.

Sam Shrull observing the conglomerate and participating in a discussion led by Dr. Peter Clift and Dr. Amy Luther.

Dr. Amy Luther and Dr. Peter Clift demonstrate how to look at the bottom of a sedimentary layer to determine the direction of the fold.


Members of the Geology Club for Tiger Stadium Cleanup during the fall of 2016.

Geology Club members on their springbreak trip to the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns.

The LSU Geology Club along with professor Sophie Warny participated in BREC’s annual Rockin’ at the Swamp event held at the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. Rockin’ at the Swamp lets kids explore the exciting world of rocks, minerals, gemstones, and fossils by participating in various events. This year’s event featured a chance for kids to collect rocks and minerals, sift through gravel in a ‘quarry’ seeded with real fossils, collect iron pyrite in a ‘gold mine’, climb a rock wall, and take part in other rock-related activities.

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Guest Lecturing in Lille, France 1

By Sophie Warny, Ph.D., AASP Chair, Associate Professor and Curator, Louisiana State University This past November, I was invited to teach an advanced palynology class at the Universite de Lille 1, in northern France. My host, Professor Taniel Danelian, helped organize the exchange to promote and re-enforce the partnerships between LSU and Lille 1. Lille 1 organized my travel and lodging, and I arrived on campus (library¹) after two plane flights, a TGV train² and a subway ride. The Lille 1 campus has a brand new facility, REEFLEX³, that has as a mission to host international visitors (post-doc, faculty, etc.). Each studio⁴ is well equipped so that the faculty can arrive and immediately focus on teaching duties.




While I was there teaching, I had the chance to visit their natural history collection. One of the items they had on temporary display that week made my day. They had the original sculptures and molds made by Alcide Charles Victor Marie Dessalines d’Orbigny⁵,⁶ (9/6/1802 – 6/30/1857) to help promote the field of micropaleontology, and in this case, the foraminifera, the group of microfossils he named. Seeing the teaching collections created by this famous French naturalist was one of the highlights of the trip for me. The following day, I got to meet the sixteen students⁷ who were going to be taking my intensive lecture series... 12 hours of lectures in one week. These students are part of two advanced international degree programs offered by the Universite de Lille 1 in Micropaleontology and in Biogeochronology. All the classes are given in English by a series of home and guest professors. The students were from France, the United States, Russia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Guadeloupe, Tunisia, and Sweden. They were a pleasure to teach.


6 commons

16 5

Louisiana State University




The lectures⁸ were complemented by a series of laboratories⁷. For the labs, I focussed on teaching how to recognize various species of pollen. I was grateful my pollen slides were not confiscated at the border. For the lectures, we reviewed pollen, spores, dinoflagellate cysts, phytoliths, and how these microfossils are used in ongoing projects we have at CENEX, dealing with paleo-environmental reconstructions, forensics, and biostratigraphy. As I had the Wednesday afternoon off, I had the chance to take a short subway ride to downtown Lille and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the old town⁹, ¹⁰. The end of my lecture series coincided with the Annual General Meeting of the Micropalaeontological Society. That gave me the chance to meet up with some AASP-The Palynological Society colleagues such as Pr. Fabienne Marret, and fellow naturalists from the London Natural History Museum (NHM). Below is a picture¹¹ of Dr. John Gregory (PetroStrat and Scientific Associate at the NHM), myself, Dr. Stephen Stukins and Dr. Tom Hill, both in charge of the palynological collections at the NHM in London. The visit ended with a presentation on forensic development at CENEX at LSU¹². This was definitely a fantastic experience that I recommend to all fellow faculty members.

Department of Geology & Geophysics




12 17

The Charles Barney Geology

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

  Summer 2017 was another successful year at the Charles Barney Geology Field Camp! Each year is full of surprises and unexpected events, and I was lucky enough to have an amazing staff to help me deal with each challenge. Luckily, we only had minimal interactions with bears this time!   My teaching staff included Dr. Tara Jonell as co-instructor and Patrick Baudoin, Megan Borel, Patrick Carpenter, James Smith, Joel Spansel, and Anna Thorson as my TAs. Each is an alum of the LSU field camp and led this class with professionalism and enthusiasm. My teaching staff always needs to deal with unpredictable situations ranging from wildlife interactions, injury, vehicle trouble, and nearby fires. My staff took charge and always kept morale high. I hope to get to work with each of them again in the future.   One fun part of the summer is that we added many new projects. Dr. Tara Jonell developed and ran a new project south of Sand Dunes National Monument on the Tortuga ranch. Here, the students investigated relatively recent sediments created in the Rio Grande Rift basin and got to see very recent Quaternary deformation of young alluvial sediments. This project was also unique in that the students had the opportunity to make strip maps in teams and then worked with other groups to make larger maps. This taught them new teamwork skills along with skills involved in edge matching in geologic maps.   Additionally, we were lucky enough to have several guests visit and run projects. One new project was created by Dr. Carol Wicks.


Louisiana State University


est. 1928

Implementation was assisted by Dr. Kory Konsoer and Taylor Rowley from the Department of Geography and Anthropology. For this project, the students worked in Little Fountain Creek (the stream that runs through the property). They studied the sediments within the stream and made profiles of the channel. This was the first year of a long-term project to study Little Fountain Creek—e.g. Dr. Wicks put clasts in the stream that the students can trace each summer for the next 10 years.   Also returning this summer were Dr. Brooks and Sue Ellwood to run their correlation project in La Junta and West Pueblo State Park. After spending 4 days creating stratigraphic columns related to the Cretaceous Seaway in the region, the students were treated to a day checking out the dinosaur trackways at Picketwire State Park. The students also helped clean the tracks this summer due to some recent flooding. This experience is always enjoyed by all!   Finally, I also ran a new project at Red Rocks Canyon Open Space. Here, the students collected fracture measurements and descriptions of nearby small faults in the hanging wall of the Front Range fault zone. The students then used these data to do a paleostress analysis and understand fracture characteristics and how they might vary in different lithologies. The students were able to tie deformation to the major tectonic events that have affected the Front Range of Colorado.   I hope that I will see all of you next summer at our 90th anniversary celebration in Colorado Springs, Co!

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Faculty Digest Carol Wicks Chair and Frank W. and Patricia Harrison Family Professor  This has been a good year! I spent two weeks at the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Center working on a new research project. 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 recharge locations into 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. My group started using a seismic and GPR geophysical methods to characterize the top of the karst surface. In the photo, you can see PhD student Andrew Webb waving his arms along with MS student David Susko as they begin to lay out a GPR and seismic grid across one of the large wetlands that extends to the tree line. We also are instrumenting one of the isolated wetlands at the Jones Center.  I also spent one week at Field Camp teaching a stream hydrology-geomorphology unit. This was fun! Amy Luther and I both had new projects to pilot, so we each worked with half the students during the first half of the week and the other half of the students during the second half of the week. This made piloting two new projects easier. I have to say that I enjoyed being at camp and teaching the students – as I usually teach an elective 4000-level course, I rarely interact with all the majors – by teaching at camp for just one week – I feel like I know our students so much better.  I am not sure how I managed to accomplish this, but I have two accepted papers, three manuscripts in review, and two more manuscripts are in my coauthor hands for their final comments. Major progress on seven papers! Also I am happy to say that this past summer I was awarded the 2017 Science Award from the National Speleological Society and this fall I will be receiving the George Burke Maxey Distinguished Service Award from the Hydrogeology Division of the Geological Society of PhD student Andrew Webb waving his arms along with MS student David Susko as they begin to lay out a GPR and seismic grid across one of the large wetlands that extends to the tree line. America.


Louisiana State University

Huiming Bao Charles L. Jones Professor of Geology  My past semester year was pretty much occupied by exploring the principle and concepts of stable isotope kinetics, a field with much fewer number of peers. The intellectual satisfaction is, however, tremendous. I had invited talks at Goldschmidt Conference at Yokohama, Japan and International Symposium on Geochemistry of the Earth’s Surface (GES-11) at Guiyang, China. Dr. Yun LIU, an adjunct professor of our Department, and I organized a 4-day, advanced forum on stable isotope effect in Guiyang by assembling a group of top 25 active stable isotope geochemists in China. My China connection has also allowed me to invite Ian Fairchild (University of Birmingham, UK) and Doug Rumble III (Carnegie Institution of Washington) to work on collaborative projects and presenting talks in multiple universities and research institutions. In the meantime, my group’s collaborations with colleagues in Chile and Austria are renewed. However, my early part of the summer 2017 was consumed entirely by the task of organizing a multi-million-dollar NASA proposal that involves 20 coinvestigators from 11 different US universities. Dr. Bao smelling his boot at the end of a long  Despite the shift to more theoretical research interest and more hiking day in May 2017. professional service, I have had three field trips during the last semester year. Although none of the trips lasted longer than a week, I badly needed and looked for those getaways, including the familiar yet elusive smells in my boots by the end of a long hiking day.  On the teaching side, I have started a new course, “The Earth History”, that is tailored specifically to geology majors. We take the 13.7 billion-year long journey from the Big Bang to the emergence of Human. Students are required to know the ins and outs of at least 25 most important research problems pertinent to Earth system evolution.

Juan Lorenzo Associate Professor  In Juan Lorenzo’s group, three new graduate students commenced their seismic field data collection (Adam Gostic, Nathan Benton and Blake Odom) as part of an effort (with Dr. Peter Clift) to characterize shallow (< 30m) Mississippi Holocene Point Bars. Abah Omale (LSU-M. Sc. 2015) commenced his PhD research into flexural reactivation of faults in the Indus Fan and Gulf of Mexico. Nathan received a departmental Chevron scholarship in the fall of 2016.  Trudy Watkins (M.Sc., 2016) and Abby Maxwell (for M.Sc.) finalized their thesis research on the mechanics of hydraulic fracturing and were off to work at Occidental Petroleum Corporation and BP (Trinidad and Tobago). In 2016, Abby was 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.

Top: Seismic fieldwork at False River, Louisiana for the fall 2016 Reflection Seismology class, imaging the internal stratigraphy of Holocene Point Bars. Left-to-right are graduate students M. Al Jindan, N. Benton (hidden), A. Gostic, N. Guiffre, B. Odom, and N. Button. Bottom: N. Benton supervising seismograph and data acquisition.

For recent group publications, please see: Updates at Sand Tank Lab and the Hydraulic Fracturing Lab: Department of Geology & Geophysics


Tending to the dive hole in the Lake Bonney narrows in Taylor Valley East Antarctica. To carry out dive operations in this area, one of the biggest challenges is making a hole through the approximately 15 foot thick ice cover and keeping it open for several weeks.

Peter Doran John Franks Endowed Chair  It is hard to believe that as of June I have been at LSU for 2.5 years. Time flies. In that time G&G has grown by four faculty (newest starting in August) – I long ago stopped being the “new guy”. The direction of the department is very positive in my view. Some great new young folks have come in.  This year, our NSF Long Term Ecological Research project was funded for another 6 years giving us annual access to the Antarctic until 2023 (and over $100k per year in new funding for my research program). To get renewed we must write a telephone book of a proposal that is a long and grueling process. It is a very competitive process. We completed the final field season for the last grant between October and December 2016. My field team consisted of Krista Myers (PhD), Jade Lawrence (MS), Luke Winslow (postdoc), a colleague’s graduate student from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and myself. While my team toiled with servicing instruments, installing new equipment, downloading data, collecting samples and making manual measurements of such things as lake level, I was working with a long time New Zealand colleague doing a focused study on a narrow channel in one of our lakes. Lake Bonney was first discovered by Robert Falcon Scott in 1903. He made some measurements then that have allowed us to measure climate and lake level change over the last century. My colleague and I did a detailed hydrographic and ecological survey of the channel through several weeks of SCUBA diving.  Besides the LTER project, another proposal to NSF was funded for a new 3-year project to use helicopter and ground-based electro-magnetic measurements to further investigate groundwater beneath the McMurdo Dry Valleys.  I will have graduated my first LSU student in late summer. Jade Lawrence was awarded a Board of Regents Fellowship on arriving at LSU, and did a great job in completing her MS in just over 2 years, even though she deployed to Antarctica for several months twice in that time. I have a new grad student starting in the fall. Maddie Myers was a G&G undergrad who I convinced to come back to do her PhD with me. My other PhD student, Krista Myers (no relation) will be starting her third year and has been in Alaska this summer doing an internship with the USGS as part of her NSF Graduate Research Fellowship training. She will be back from Alaska only for a few weeks before having to turn around and lead the first assault by my team in the south for the next field season.  I enjoyed teaching my first large freshman course at LSU in the spring (GEOL 1001). It was great to get a chance to interact with and get to know some of the youth of Louisiana. We had some great discussions and exchanges covering issues of importance to Earth.  A major paper in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution synthesizing over 30 years of data from Antarctica was the highlight of my research products this past year. 22

Louisiana State University

Barb Dutrow Adolphe G. Gueymard Professor  This year brought a much-anticipated yearlong sabbatical allowing time to complete on-going projects and to begin new research efforts. The final year of our NSF funded study on the geologic evolution of the Sawtooth Metamorphic Complex (SMC), Idaho, brought a month of summer field collecting, a visit to U Mass to conduct EMP dating of monazites, a visit to U Florida to work with colleagues funded by an SEC grant, invited publication of the tectonic history based on metamorphism and deformation in calc-silicate lithologies (based on M.S. Thesis of Isis Fukai), and publication of two other SMC geochronologic and structural studies. Joel Spansel defended his UG thesis characterizing zircons in the quartzofeldspathic gneisses from a single unit collected over a 2 km distance with implications for detrital zircon geochronology. He received a GSA Rocky Mountain (RM) student grant for this work and is now in graduate school. Allison Barbato is studying the cathodoluminescence signature of SMC sillimanite as it relates to reaction history for her UG project (GSA-RM grant recipient). Hunter Songy defended his UG thesis on chemical signatures of tourmaline from a series of ore deposits in NV, now at USGS in Denver. Together with colleagues from USGS, MS student Nick Guiffre continues to investigate the provenance of silicic volcanic clasts in northern NM using a variety of analytical techniques (whole rock, trace element geochemistry; mineral chemistry; and Ar/Ar dating) to determine paleodrainage patterns. In addition, a new NSF grant was obtained to study the chemical signatures in tourmaline as they relate to host rock composition using LIBS (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy), a project in collaboration with Darrell Henry (LSU) and N. McMillan (NMSU).  A highlight during the fall was the invitation to speak at the 150th anniversary celebration of the Peabody Museum at Yale University on the occasion of opening their new mineral hall. As one of five speakers, the invitation only symposium brought together curators, mineral dealers, and collectors to the home of J.D. Dana, who wrote the original mineralogy textbook of which I am now co-author in its 23rd edition.  During the spring semester, I was in residence at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland undertaking the development of the quartz-tourmaline oxygen isotope geothermometer by in-situ methods using secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). UNIL is home to the SwissSIMS and a vibrant center for metamorphic and isotope geology. Partial funding for this project was through a Swiss National Science Foundation visiting scholars grant and the Herbette Fnd. The time allowed for relearning SIMS (having done analyses 30 yrs ago), interacting with a host of PhD students and postdocs, attending European meetings and interacting with international colleagues, investigating the geology of the Alps with significant hiking (and rock carrying), and presenting invited seminars (UNIL, ETH - Zurich, Univ. Leeds, UK). The time was punctuated by fabulous, enlightening field excursions to Thailand and Cambodia, and Namibia. The culmination of sabbatical was attending the Tourmaline 2017 conference held in the Czech Republic, presenting invited lectures and enjoying the associated field trip exploring tourmaline localities and cultural sites in the CR.  Professional service includes being a member of the Executive Committee for Elements magazine, the Geological Society of American Foundation; a Board of Governors for the Gemological Institute of America; an Assoc. Editor for the Am. Journal of Science, and as a reviewer for numerous journals and granting agencies.

Dutrow in front of the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau massif, Switzerland, prior to topping out.

Department of Geology & Geophysics

Hunter Songy, UG, presenting his UG thesis research at the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver.

Joel Spansel defending his UG thesis, May 2017.


Karen Luttrell Assistant Professor  It has been a productive year for Prof. Karen Luttrell and the LSU Crustal Deformation group, which continues to grow. We had three active research students this year, and recruited three more set to start in fall 2017. In the classroom, GEOL 4060 Solid Earth Geophysics was formally established as an LSU course for undergraduates and graduates in fall 2016. Spring brought a one-semester teaching sabbatical for Luttrell, who welcomed the opportunity to focus more intently on the research output of the Crustal Deformation group.  In summer 2016, BS student Phoenix Harris conducted research on stress state in southern California, building off of the work of several previous LSU undergraduates in the crustal deformation group. MS student Kevin Gryger continued his research investigating the magma chamber of Yellowstone Volcano, conducting field research in summer 2016 and presenting this research at the 2016 Fall AGU meeting in San Francisco. Kevin successfully defended his MS thesis in spring 2017, and officially became the first Crustal Deformation group Graduate!  Louis Garcia joined the group in fall 2017 as a PhD student, supported by a Louisiana Board of Regents Graduate Fellowship. Louis has a background in Medical Physics but has plunged into Geophysics research, starting intensive summer fieldwork in Yellowstone ahead of beginning his studies. Louis is studying seasonal glacial dynamics in Switzerland, particularly the stress and strain associated with crevassing and ice flow, using a combination of geodetic and seismic observations. He was also awarded a SEED grant from the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, which provides funds to collect airborne LIDAR and hyper-spectral imagery from hydrothermally active areas near Yellowstone Lake. This mission will be flown later in 2017 and will provide data for the bulk of Louis’s dissertation work.  The Hydrothermal Dynamics of Yellowstone Lake project is now in full force! This interdisciplinary NSFfunded project is bringing deep-sea technology to study hydrothermally active regions in Yellowstone Lake. Summer 2016 was our first full field season, and we have already pushed the limit of what is known about this system. Our website has lots of incredible photos and blog posts, and is a great way to follow our fieldwork adventures: check it out at! Luttrell has also continued her broad research into the southern California stress field, and its impact on Earthquake Hazards. The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) funds this ongoing research, and Luttrell was invited as a Keynote Speaker to the SCEC Annual Meeting in fall 2016. As the Crustal Deformation group at LSU continues to expand, Luttrell is excited for what lies ahead for this year with G&G! 24

Garcia and Luttrell deploy a pressure sensor in Yellowstone Lake from on board the R/V Annie.

Garcia downloads data from a lake level sensor on the Yellowstone Lake shoreline.

Gryger explains his research to colleagues at the Fall AGU Meeting in San Francisco.

Louisiana State University

Jianwei Wang Associate Professor  Over the last year, a new research grant was awarded to Dr. Wang on a project to understand crystal chemistry and dissolution of minerals and crystalline ceramic phases in the environment of geological formations for nuclear energy application. The project is part of the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) - Center for Performance and Design of Nuclear Waste Forms and Containers (WastePD) with 9 institutions and 13 investigators, funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the U.S. Dr. Wang speaking at the newly created Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC), funded by U.S. Department of Energy’s Office Department of Energy during the kickoff meeting in December, 2016. PhD student Zelong Zhang of Science. The center joined and LSU graduate Michael Vetter have since joined the center with over 40 researchers from other 35 EFRC Centers in 34 states institutions to conduct research on corrosion and dissolution of materials for energy and environmental applications. across the nation to tackle the defining challenges on energy and and crystal structure characteristics that are environment. LSU’s effort is to design nuclear waste appropriate to incorporate radionuclides in mineral forms for problematic radionuclides such as cesium, analogues materials. The results of the understanding strontium, and iodine with optimized performance will lead to predictions of new compositions of the using principles of geochemistry. The grant allows materials. He has been focused on minerals hollandite, Wang to support up to two PhD graduate students for pyrochlore, and perovskite among others. Michael will studies in geochemistry of energy and environmental present his research in the upcoming annual all hands materials. meeting at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in  Dr. Wang’s research group welcomed a new group Washington State. member, Michael Vetter, a graduate of LSU. He has  In the past year, Dr. Wang continued to serve the been working on a project funded by the EFRC Center profession by being an Associate Editor for a journal, with a focus on development of nuclear waste forms Frontiers in Earth and Planetary Material, and being for fission products by using artificial neural network a reviewer of proposals for federal agencies and modeling and geochemical approaches. Artificial manuscripts submitted for peer-reviewed publication. neural network approach is inspired from biological neuron assemblies and their way of encoding and solving problems. The philosophy of the approach is to abstract some key ingredients from biology and out of those to construct simple mathematical models. He has been using this technique to understand nonlinear relationships between chemical compositions Department of Geology & Geophysics


Patricia Persaud Assistant Professor

 One of the most rewarding accomplishments in Patricia Persaud’s first year at LSU has been establishing the Node Lab and her research group, which has grown to currently two PhD, one MS and two undergraduate students. The Node Lab houses 50 modern self-contained seismometers called “nodes” that allow for quick, short-term deployments with continuous data recording. In spring 2017, Persaud assembled an enthusiastic group of four LSU undergraduates with diverse backgrounds who worked with collaborators at Caltech and JPL in Southern California on setting up and deploying the nodes in the Los Angeles area to collect data for an earthquake hazard project. The project was presented at LSU Discover Day by Jessica Le and Arlen Burson and forms a template for future work in this region. Guibao Liu, a new PhD student is applying the receiver function technique to this non-standard dataset to map basin structure, a critical component of ground shaking calculations. Gus Bates, a G&G BS student involved in the deployment humorously noted, “The process for deployment was not complicated, we (but most of the time just me) dug a hole that was about a foot deep, and we aligned the seismometer to true north, and then buried it and marked the location with a flag.”  Persaud presented her research at meetings and invited lectures, e.g., the GeoPRISMS Theoretical and Experimental Institute on Rift Initiation and Evolution Meeting, the Earthscope Synthesis Workshop Southern Exposure: Structural and Tectonic Evolution of the Southern Margin of North America, at Southern University’s LS-LAMP/Timbuktu seminar, and the University of Houston including the UH Geosociety. Persaud had the privilege of also being the discussion leader for STEM Magnet Academy of Pointe Coupee in LSU’s Hidden Figures Revealed: Realizing the Dream screening of the 20th Century Fox movie, “Hidden Figures” for over 400 Baton Rouge high school girls. In addition, she attended the ICDP Workshop on Scientific Exploration of Induced SeisMicity and Stress (SEISMS) at Columbia University and was a coconvener of the special AGU session “Insights on the Tectonic Evolution of the Salton Trough and Northern Gulf of California from Recent Multidisciplinary Studies.”  Persaud continues her research focused on tectonics and seismology in the earthquake-prone region of Southern California here at LSU, and has published two first-author papers in the last year. She continues to integrate her research into her teaching, evident in the creative debate title, “The 26

Faults of Earthquake Prediction” chosen by students in her senior-graduate level Seismology course. With established research expertise in continental rifts, she was funded by the IODP and participated in Expedition 368: South China Sea Rifted Margin, April-June 2017 aimed at understanding the mechanisms of lithosphere extension during continental breakup at a non-volcanic rifted margin. She also extended her research to subduction zones and was funded by NSF to image the IndoBurma oblique subduction zone located north of the devastating 2004 Sumatra Earthquake that took over 225,000 lives. The broadband seismic deployment in Myanmar is set for spring 2018, and will involve Persaud and Rasheed Ajala, a new PhD student who will analyze the data to identify the major plate boundary features.

Phoenix Harris, a G&G BS student taking a photo to document the location of a deployed node (white object) in an L.A. resident’s frontyard.

LSU undergraduate student, Jessica Le and Persaud at LSU Discover Day presenting their Los Angeles area earthquake hazard project.

Louisiana State University

Sam Bentley Billy & Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology

The Night Watch on the R/V Point Sur in June 2017, with a 9-meter piston core collected in 200 m of water off South Pass of the Mississippi River. L-R: Andrew Courtois (LSU Geology MS student), Jeff Obelcz (LSU Oceanography PhD student), Gauvain Wiemer (University of Bremen Postdoc, Germany), Suyapa Gonzalez (LSU Geology MS student) Ryan Clarke (LSU Geology MS student), Ioannis Georgiou (UNO Professor), Sam Bentley (LSU Geology Professor), and Tara Jocum (UNO technician).

MS students Suyapa Gonzalez and Ryan Clarke opening (top) and rigging the piston corer on the R/V Point Sur.

 Sam Bentley and his research group have had an exciting and active year. Three students completed their degrees: PhD student Jill Banks (fall 16), MS student Meg O’Connor (spring 17), and BS Honors student Suyapa Gonzalez (fall 16). Crawford White successfully defended his dissertation in summer 2017. New students on the team include MS students Andrew Courtois, Ryan Clarke, and Suyapa Gonzalez (she is carrying on for an MS in our department), and PhD student James Smith. Andrew and James are working on a study of submarine landslides off the Mississippi River Delta funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Suyapa is developing a facies model for a Pleistocene-age drowned cypress forest that we are studying, exposed on the Alabama inner continental shelf! That study is also funded by BOEM, and was the subject of a National Public Broadcasting television documentary shown earlier this year. Ryan is studying the history of storm sedimentation in salt marshes of Jamaica Bay National Recreation Area, near New York City, funded by the US Geological Survey.  Sam Bentley and his research group have had an exciting and active year. Three students completed their degrees: PhD student Jill Banks (fall 16), MS student Meg O’Connor (spring 17), and BS Honors student Suyapa Gonzalez (fall 16). Crawford White successfully defended his dissertation in summer 2017. New students on the team include MS students Andrew Courtois, Ryan Clarke, and Suyapa Gonzalez (she is carrying on for an MS in our department), and PhD student James Smith. Andrew and James are working on a study of submarine landslides off the Mississippi River Delta funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Suyapa is developing a facies model for a Pleistocene-age drowned cypress forest that we are studying, exposed on the Alabama inner continental shelf! That study is also funded by BOEM, and was the subject of a National Public Broadcasting television documentary shown earlier this year. Ryan is studying the history of storm sedimentation in salt marshes of Jamaica Bay National Recreation Area, near New York City, funded by the US Geological Survey.  While all of this was going on, Dr. Bentley’s administrative responsibilities changed as well. Since 2012, he has been director of the newly reorganized LSU Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the largest and oldest interdisciplinary research unit at LSU. In April 2016, Dean Cynthia Peterson appointed Dr. Bentley as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Science, and in summer 2016, Dr. Bentley turned the reins of CSI over to Dr. Kevin Xu (a marine geologist in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences), who is now Interim Director of CSI. Dr. Bentley will now serve CSI as Associate Director.

Left: On the R/V Point Sur, Chief Scientist Sam Bentley supervises recovery of a piston core from the Mississippi River Delta Front.

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Mitch Gregory, Patrick Baudoin, Sam Shrull, Jeff Duxbury, Peter Clift, Brianna Crenshaw, JC Guerrero, Madison Wayt, Nicki Button, Brittney Gregory, Allison Barbato, Sophie Vincent, and Nikki Neubeck on the basalts of the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Peter Clift Charles T. McCord Chair of Petroleum Geology  In summer 2016, I undertook a month of fieldwork in Northern China sampling modern and ancient sediment related to the development of the Yellow River and its links to the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau, extending the work I had previously done in central China looking at the Yangtze River. As part of a visiting fellowship I have at Nanjing Normal University, I also did a speaking tour of a number of universities in China and Korea. After attending a meeting in Dallas, TX about the geology of the SE USA, undergrad Andrew Jacobus and I dated some granite xenoliths from a volcanic pipe in Arkansas and provided the first age dates to the Sabine Block, which is the crust that underlies much of the northern Gulf of Mexico, including most of Louisiana. The result was quite surprising at 1.6-1.7 Ga suggesting that the Sabine Block was actually an extension of the Mazatal block of the western USA not an exotic block as had been suggested.  After giving a presentation at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, I had a busy AGU meeting in San Francisco giving presentations and running sessions on climate, erosion, and mountain building in Asia, especially based on the results of the work I have been doing with Peng Zhou, PhD student following my leadership of IODP Expedition 355 in 2015. I also did a similar array of presentations at the EGU in Vienna in the spring 2017.  In January 2017, my student Yuting Li and I went to present on our work on deep-water sedimentation in the Indus submarine canyon and fan at the geological society of London at a special industry-linked meeting on deep-water sediment systems. Late in March, my entire research group went to the GSA South Central meeting in San Antonio, TX to talk and present. Yuting won the prize for best graduate student poster at the meeting. Further presentations were made my Liz Olson, Brittney Gregory, and I at the AAPG meeting in Houston and by myself as a guest lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin. The academic year ended with the graduation of my first LSU PhD student, Tara Jonell, now an assistant professor at UL, Lafayette.  Amy Luther and I ran a field trip for a mixed graduate student/undergraduate group to Ireland in May at the start of the summer break. The trip was a mixed bag of tectonic, volcanic, structural, and sedimentary geology that took us all around the island in one week. The photo shows us all on the basalts of the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Northern Ireland but we finished the trip looking at spectacular turbidite systems in the Shannon Estuary in the SW, a Mecca for industrial and academic researchers on deep-water research.


Louisiana State University

Darrell Henry Campanile Charities Professor of Geology   My research efforts have focused on a mixture of

tourmaline studies and investigations the Archean rocks of the Beartooth Mtns, MT-WY. The tourmaline studies have been relatively wide reaching. Three tourmaline-related papers were published in 2016 one in which a new high-pressure tourmaline species was defined that contains diamonds, one that dealt with fibrous tourmalines as fluid probes and one that defined a new fluorine-bearing tourmaline species. The tourmaline studies were expanded to include the use of laser induced breakdown spectroscopy of tourmaline to establish a new provenance tool. This is an NSF-funded collaborative effort that includes Barb Dutrow (LSU) and Nancy McMillan (New Mexico State Univ.). This LIBS-based tourmaline study has generated thesis projects involving two new graduate students one working with me and one with Barb Dutrow. I also have had the opportunity to help organize Tourmaline 2017 in the Czech Republic and presented a keynote talk on the progress of 20 years of tourmaline studies in the geosciences. This meeting was not a culmination of tourmaline studies, but an assessment of the explosion of new studies and directions taken by the latest generation of scientists. The investigations of the ancient (>2.8 billion years old) rocks of the Beartooth Mtns, MT-WY has continued to produce new discoveries including the determination of a continuous section of 2.8 billion year rocks that represent a cross-section of the continental crust at that time. These studies have contributed to the understanding of when and how plate tectonics developed in the early Earth history. In addition, investigations of Ba and Cl in minerals of this age are yielding evidence of how fluids behave Tourmaline 2017 conference, Czech Republic - Darrell Henry with a poster on ‘darrellhenryite’ - a tourmaline which has been named after him. in the lower to middle crust. Research with six different undergraduate students are helping to extend each of these research efforts.  In terms of educational efforts, I 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, I participated in the Earth Educator’s Rendezvous at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and shared my perspectives after 20 years of the benefits of the Pet-Rock Project that has been a long-term hallmark in my Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology class. This year Geology 3041 was particularly challenging because this is a communications-intensive course with 44 students enrolled in the class – the largest in over 25 years. The Pet Rock Project has been adapted in geoscience education throughout the world. I have also been actively involved with undergraduate research as an educational vehicle. In 2016, I had nine Geology 3909 (Undergraduate Research) sections in which undergraduate students each did separate research projects. Most 3909 students presented their results in some venue - either an in-house poster session and/or a poster at a national professional meeting. One student completed an undergraduate thesis and presented his research at a national meeting.

Department of Geology & Geophysics


Brooks Ellwood Robey Clark Distinguished Professor in Geology  Brooks Ellwood had a very exciting and busy year. Brooks continued his role as the department’s Undergraduate Advisor. He successfully met with and advised all of our undergraduate geology students on which courses they need to take and when they need to take them.  During the spring semester, Dr. Ellwood went back to Vietnam. There he collected two Permo-Triassic limestone sections and evaluated a section as a potential type locality for the DevonianCarboniferous global boundary stratotype. The rocks that were collected were all within about five miles of China. Dr. Ellwood and his peers have to get special permits from the Vietnamese Army to go within the Frontier for rock collection. In past years, they have had soliders with them to guard against attacks.  Brooks and Sue Ellwood continued their tradition of teaching their correlation project for a week at the LSU Geology Field Camp in Colorado Springs, CO. While there, students examined the Cretaceous stratigraphy exposed from La Junta to West Pueblo State Park After spending 4 days creating stratigraphic columns related to the Cretaceous Seaway in the region, the students were treated to a day checking out the dinosaur trackways at Picketwire State Park. The students also helped clean the tracks this summer due to some recent flooding. This experience was enjoyed by all!

Top: Ellwood cutting rocks with a cement saw at the Lung Cam section in what they call the frontier with China. These are limestone beds lying just below the Permo-Triassic boundary exposed here in Vietnam. Bottom: LSU field camp students and faculty excavating a new, big dinosaur footprint along Purgatoire River - person at left foregroung is Dr. Bruce Schumacher of the US Forest Service, a dinosaur expert.

Jeff Hanor Professor Emeritus  I was honored to have been one of four individuals inducted into the LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction in March 2017. My wife Leslie and I were delighted that we could have with us our son John from Richmond, Virginia and our daughter Stephanie and her husband Jeremy from Oakland, California. The Hanor family is so spread out that we do not have the opportunity to together all that often. Other guests of honor included former and present faculty colleagues Jeff Nunn, Darrell Henry, and Carol Wicks, and long-time family friend Melba Weiss. Melba was one of the people who told us when we first moved to Baton Rouge in 1970 to locate on high ground. That we did, and we escaped the devastating flood of 2016 as a result. Stephanie Welch and Jeff Hanor at the LSU  I wish I had been given the opportunity to invite all of my former College of Science Hall of Distinction Ceremony, PhD, MS, and Honors BS students to the event, but they were well March 31, 2017. represented by Stephanie Welch (H-52), who is an Instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University. All of the literally thousands of students I have taught in lecture courses here at LSU were in turn represented by Stephanie’s husband, Vann Smith, who is currently a PhD candidate in the department. I was very pleasantly surprised by the appearance at the ceremony of two more of my former students, Marielle Ausburn (H-59), who was there as a guest of Barbara Lowery-Yilmaz, and Gina Bagnetto Waters (H-34), who was a guest of Angela LaGrange Scott. It was good to see all of these LSU alums again!  Jeff Nunn, Marielle, Barbara, Gina, and Angela are all residents of Houston, and I was happy to learn that all of them and their respective families escaped the flooding produced by hurricane Harvey in August 2017. I think geologists instinctively locate on higher ground, as Leslie and I did here in Baton Rouge many years ago. 30

Louisiana State University


$100,000 AND ABOVE: Scott & Susan Brodie

$50,000 - $99,999: Chevron

$25,000 - $49,999: Jim & Debra Anderson Shell Oil Company

James & Linda Painter

Armour C. Winslow

Fred & Misty Meendsen, Jr. David J. Clark

Campanile Charities, Inc. Candace Hays & Ronnie Johnson

Barbara Lower-Yilmaz & Recep 窶ズilmaz Greater Houston Community 窶ェoundation Dana & Barbara Hutchison Edward Picou, Jr. & Dan 窶アrmstrong

Helen R. Richards Stewart & Lauren Henry George Belchic, Jr. Sally M. Murray Jeff & Leslie Hanor

Joseph & Kim Reid Charles E. Brown, Sr. Bob & Barbara Danos Scott & Laurie Comegys Bob & Paula Gerdes Arthur & Susan Joerger William & Renee McAlister, Jr. John & Nancy Bair Richard & Dawn Denne Frank G. Cornish Jonathan & Emily Marcantel

Jim & Janet Parks Rodney Barlow & Patricia Fithian Harold & Kimberly Voss, Jr. George K. Pratt Muson, Jr. Andrew & Jennifer Steen John & Terri Havens Jack & Anna Lea Woods Dixon & Rosalind Millican David & Diane Sibley, Jr. Dan & Mary Carleton

Clyde Moore, Jr. & Lani Vigil Laura & Robert Conger Sherry L. Decker

Roy & Mary Walther Faye E. Schubert

$10,000 - $24,999: The Jack Webster Grigsby 窶ェoundation Art & Julia Saller

$1,000 - $9,999: The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Stuart & Kim Oden ExxonMobil Gail L. Worrell Kathleen M. McManus Stacy & Kelly Smith Laura & Jay Moffitt

$100 - $999: Hess Corporation Michael & Rosemarie Eger Erik & Angela Scott Gary Byerly & Maud Walsh John & Ann Rives, II Shelley Starr & David Martin Alan & Marjorie Cheetham Wayne & Anne Simpson Kathy Vail Patti Phillips & Kenneth Hilfiker Lawrence & Peggy Stanley

UP TO $99: Charles & Gloria Slocum Robert & Yvonne Bates Heidi & James & Lloyd

*The individuals and organizations listed reflect donations made to the Department of Geology & Geophysics through the LSU Foundation between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 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

LSU Geology & Geophysics 2016-17 Alumni Magazine  
LSU Geology & Geophysics 2016-17 Alumni Magazine  

The Department of Geology & Geophysics at Louisiana State University publishes our annual Alumni Magazine in the fall of each year to recap...