• Hiking dunes in Death Valley, California.
  • Sampling an active lava flow, Hawaii.
  • Exploring volcanic features in Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii.
  • Thesis research in the Mojave Desert, California.

Archived News

January 2009 - Aloha from the Islands. Drs. Eric Johnson and David Griffing led a group of 20 students to he Hawaiian Islands, for the off-campus J-Term course Geology and Natural History of Hawaii. Although the 3+ week field course kept most of the well-loved destinations and activities of previous course trips, we added a chance to see coastal dune carbonates, a group luau, and a boat tour of a lava ocean entry. For a photographic tour of the January 2009 course trip, click here. For more information about GEOL 275 - Geology and Natural History of Hawaii, click here.

October 2008 - Everything is bigger in Texas. Drs. Balogh-Brunstad, Griffing and Johnson led 7 students to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Houston, Texas. During the meeting all three faculty presented, and the students networked with graduate schools and attended presntations. We were joined by Josh Valder '05 (who was presenting his graduate research) and by Kat Plourde '06 (who was presenting and interviewing for jobs). At the end of the meeting, we toured NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab and Johnson Space Center, and then took a short field trip to the Llano Uplift, west of Austin. Click here for pictures and details.

September 2008 - Rocks and Minerals in the White Mountains. Just a few short weeks before the GSA Meeting in Houston, Drs. Griffing and Johnson took 19 students from the Mineralogy and Petrology courses to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This very Colorado-like portion of the Northeast is home to relatively young (Jurassic-aged) and well-preserved volcanics and related coarse-grained igneous rocks. Mineral collecting from several unusual ultra-coarse-grained deposits called pegmatites provided the Mineralogy students with ample unknowns for identification and analysis in lab. A day-long base-to-summit rock examination and sampling hike up Kearsarge Mountain provided spectacular views and data for geochemical analysis in Petrology class. The Balogh-Brunstads came along to enjoy the rocks and to become more familiar with Northeast geology.

August 2008 - A New Face in the Department. The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences welcomes Dr. Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad to the faculty. Zsu (Dr. Z) comes to Hartwick from Washington State University and will be teaching Hydrogeology, Geochemistry, Physical and Environmental Geology, in addition to courses in the Chemistry Department. Her research specialties include aqueous geochemistry, forest hydrology and geobiochemistry. Her husband Keith is a volcanologist (born in Hawaii). Welcome!

June 2008 - Student Research in the Bahamas! Alexandre Fowler '09 and Dr. David Griffing braved hot temperatures and plenty of biting insects to attend the 14th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and Other Carbonate Regions, held on the island of San Salvador. Following the conference, they conducted a submarine survey of Telephone Pole Reef to evaluate the current health of this rapidly declining coral reef. The completed photographic survey will be compared to identical surveys conducted in 1993 and 1998. Lexy will also compare modern dead coral skeleton samples with 125,ooo year-old coral fossils in order to document the changes that are occurring to the dead reef skeletons and potentially recognize similar die-off events in the "ancient record."

Lexy's conference and research expenses were paid using scholarship money. Ms. Fowler was one of only five winners of the Angelo Tagliacozzo Memorial Geological Scholarship sponsored by the Northeast Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists. These competitive awards are designed to support junior and senior undergraduate geology students attending college in the eight-state Northeast Region. Lexy will use the remaining scholarship money to fund an upcoming J Term course to Egypt. Congratulations Lexy! Click here for a brief travelogue of the research trip.

April 2008 - Return to the Big Squirrel. Hartwick students returned to Lake Dunmore Kamperville Campground, Vermont, to commune with the giant androgynous squirrel statue and experience the region's spectacular folds and faults as part of Structural Geology course. As in past years, we visited such noted Ordovician features as the outcrops in Lessor's Quarry, the Beam roadcut, the cliffs at Lone Rock Point, and the Scotch Hill Syncline. Students took compass orientations for later lab analysis. Drs. Johnson and Griffing were joined by Hartwick alum and Earth Science teacher Becky Minster Shuman '04.

October 2007 - Rocky Mountain High! With another GSA Meeting in Denver, Colorado, a new group of Hartwick students got to experience the "Mile High City" and the geologic wonders near Colorado Springs. Eleven current Hartwick students were joined by Denver resident Stephanie Carr '06, as well as new westerners Margaret Snyder '07 and Bobby Henry '07. Everyone thrilled to the heights of Pikes Peak summit (14,110 feet above SL), Garden of the Gods Park, and Dinosaur Ridge. At the meeting, Dr. Griffing presented a poster co-authored by Martha Flower '07 and based on her senior thesis project! Click here for pictures and details.

September 2007 - The field geology class stole away to the Adirondack Lowlands during a beautiful late September weekend to get data collecting experience with igneous and metamorphic rocks. We were joined by a petrology class from Binghamton University led by Juan Carlos Corona '02. Students mapped an outcrop of Dana Hill Metagabbro, identified and recorded cross-cutting relationships and took loads of fracture and fold data with brunton compasses. Click here for pictures and details.

March 2007 - Since GSA was held in the Northeast, the department arranged a separate trip to Death Valley National Park (California) over Spring Break. Professor Emeritus David Hutchison joined the group for the 6-day trip. Before departing for Death Valley from Las Vegas, the group met Dr. Michael Young '83, DHS Deputy Director of the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas and Hartwick alumnus, for breakfast and discussion about the DRI. Some of the Death Valley highlights included the 300-year-old(?) Ubehebe volcanic crater, the faulted strata of Titus Canyon, as well as modern alluvial fans and salt pans. Click here for pictures and details.

January 2007 - Humuhumunukunuku apua'a! Perhaps you recognize the name of the state fish of Hawaii. Eighteen Hartwick students now are able to recognize this and many other distinctive natural features of the Hawaiian Islands after participating in GEOL 275 - Geology and Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands J Term course. Drs. Newman and Griffing revised this long-running course from 4 weeks into a "lean-mean" 23-day adventure for 4 credits. Fear not! All of the most memorable events and destinations are still part of the program as we travel from Oahu to Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. This trip was just months after a large earthquake centered of the west coast of the Big Island severely shook the eastern islands. Evidence of damage was readily observed on the road to the Seven Sacred Pools (Maui) and the Pololu Valley (Hawai'i). In addition, we had a brief tsunami scare while staying on Maui, as a magnitude 7.4 quake hit offshore of Japan. Although it added to the general excitement of the trip, tsunami effects on Maui were limited to 10-20 cm tall waves that created very odd tidal movements in the following 12 hours. As all Hawaii trips, we hiked out to the closest possible lava flow. Unfortunately, the nearest flow bypassed the coastal flats through a lava tube before entering the ocean. However, eating a picnic lunch above an active lava tube was a very new experience for everybody and the glow from the ocean entry was a bit like watching fireworks! New for 2009: Dr. Johnson will aid Dr. Griffing with his vast knowledge of igneous petrology and the group will all participate in a Luau! Stay tuned.

October 2006 -  Drs. Johnson and Griffing drove eight current Hartwick students to participate in the Annual Geological Society of America Meeting in Philadelphia. There we met up with recent alums Jake Castro '04, Levi Langevin '04, Dave Chapman '05, Jason Stouffer '05, Josh Valder '05, Kat Plourde '06, and Amanda Stone '06 for four days of science and socializing in the "city of brotherly love." Most gathered to see talks by Drs. J and G, as well as talks by Josh Valder and a poster by Kat. Many also walked down to tour the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall historic sites.

September 2006 - Sudbury or Bust! Students in Mineralogy and Petrology courses braved the long drive in Hartwick vans to thee Lake Superior province to the giant 1.85 billion-year-old Sudbury Impact Structure. Petrology students collected a suite of igneous rock samples from the impact structure for optical and geochemical analysis. On the way to Sudbury, we collected mineral assemblages near Bancroft, Ontario, the "mineral capital of Canada." Click here for pictures and details.

August 2006 - Our most recent graduates, Kat Plourde '06 and Amanda Stone '06, have accepted offers to attend graduate school in the Fall with full funding, at University of Massachusetts & Duke University, respectively. Kat will be presenting her Senior Thesis research at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, in Philadelphia, this October 2006. Both Amanda and Kat will join the current Hartwick students and faculty attending the meeting. Rumor has it that Josh Valder '05 will take time away from graduate study at South Dakota School of Mines and his part-time job at the United States Geological Survey to attend the meeting as well!

May 2006 - The department culminated a busy year (that included trips to Utah and west Texas/New Mexico) with a late-spring trip to western Vermont (a combined trip for Structural Geology and Tectonic Seminar students). Click here for pictures and details.

January 2006 - West Texas J Term Yee-Haw ! Click here for pictures and details.

October 2005 - Utah. The department and Delta Delta G sponsored trip to the Salt Lake City GSA Meeting and Moab, Utah was an unqualified success. As usual, Drs. Johnson and Griffing accompanied 11 Hartwick students to the 4-day meeting. A Hartwick highlight of the meeting was an invited presentation by Amanda Stone '06, who not only presented her Senior Thesis work, but was asked to co-chair the session! Dr. J also presented a paper co-authored by Dave Chapman '05 and Josh Valder '05. After the meeting, everyone piled into vans for visits to the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and hiking on Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail. Click here for pictures and details.

October 2004 - Denver. Drs. Johnson and Griffing led a group of nine students to Denver, Colorado, for the annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America. Eric presented a paper co-authored by Jake Castro '04 on evidence of Himalayan style tectonics in the Grenville Province. Griffing was a co-author on a paper dealing with the subsurface sequence stratigraphy of the Manzanita Limestone in West Texas and New Mexico. The group also engaged in a excellent field trip to the Colorado Springs area; traveling to the top of Pikes Peak, visiting Garden of the Gods, Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks.

November 2003 - Seattle. The Hartwick trip to the annual Geological Society of America Meeting in Seattle became a harbringer of things to come, as Dr. Johnson met up with fellow Binghamton University PhD David Griffing (then teaching at University of North Carolina-Charlotte) to lead a field trip to Mount St. Helens and the Olympic Peninsula. Twelve students visited the Toutle River Valley and the north flank of Mt. St. Helens to see the effects of the most active Cascade composite volcano in modern times. The group then attempted to explore the Pacific Coast of the Olympic Peninsula to see rocks of an accretionary prism complex. After returning to Seattle, the group attended sessions, but made time for a visit to the Space Needle, where they met up with Phil Martin '03 and Melissa LaMark '03, who also attended the meeting. Click here for pictures and details.