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News from Geology

News from the Augustana Department of Geology about field trips, internships, student publications and honors. Students and alumni who would like to share news are invited to email

Caribbean field trip

Students excited to explore the geology of the northern side of the Caribbean island of Bonaire at Boka Chikitu in Washington Slagbaai National Park during January-Term courses. Jan. 2020


udden geology club

Udden Geology Club, in its 87th year, and one of the oldest organizations at Augustana College "didn't miss a beat" during the Spring Term 2020 COVID crisis, continuing to gather virtually for presentations. Presentations were as important as culminating senior inquiry research talks; to an alumna talk by Camie Jensen Knollenberg '90 Chief of Regional Plan Formulation Branch for the Army Corps of Engineers; to Earth Day celebrations complete with morale-boosting group sing-a-longs of  "Lean on Me" and  "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with accompaniment by Dr. Kelsey Arkle on the ukulele and geology major Joel Padgett '21 on the keyboard. Geology alumni tuned in each week and shared with current students what their geology career paths look like. Attendance was in the 40s with as many as 12 alumni each week from the '70s, '80s, '90s and 2000s joining from as far away as Vermont, California and Sweden. Dr. Mark Johnson '76 stayed awake until after midnight to join us live from Gothenburg, and the mother and sister of geology senior Shah Ali mustered the energy to stay awake until 3:30am to join from Pakistan and Germany to be able to hear Ali give his Senior Inquiry presentation. Poignantly, Dr. Eileen Anderson Herrstrom '77 joined in on the Udden Geology Club Earth Day gathering and told the group that the 50th anniversary of Earth Day would have marked her father's 90th birthday. Her dad was Augustana geology professor  Dr. Richard Anderson who passed away in 2009.



caribbean field trip
carribean field trip

Geology Students travel to the Caribbean island of Bonaire for January-Term 2020 to survey coral ecology along the modern marinescapes to compare to the fossil corals of the ancient marine terraces on land.

baraboo wi devil's lake



Sitting on the 1.6 billion-year-old bluffs of Devil’s Lake, in the Baraboo Range, Wisconsin during the Fall 2019 field trip.

lake macbride state park



Exploring the stratigraphy of an old quarry in Lake Macbride State Park, Iowa. Fall 2019.

allied quarry rock island



Udden Geology Club, learning about economic geology at Allied Quarry, Rock Island. Fall 2019

2018 geology graduates  

2018 Geology Graduates

Left to right: Prof. Jenny Arkle, Dr. Kelsey Arkle, Sarah Oswald ’18, Allison Pease ‘18, Caitlin Lebel ’18, Mark Lundine ’18, Dr. Jeff Strasser, Jack Malone ’18, Dr. Mike Wolf

Second row: Joe Cross ’18, Joey Teresi ’18 

Not pictured: Evan Grassmann ’18, Ryan Maher ’18, Philip Tunnicliff ’18

2018 Grand Canyon trip



Backpacking the Grand Canyon February 2018

Left to right: Caitlin Lebel ’18, Bets Hobart '19 , Allison Pease ‘18, Lauren Judge '19, Joey Teresi ’18 , Sierra Kindley '19, Mark Lundine ’18, Jack Malone ’18, Dr. Kelsey Arkle,  Jill Reale '19, David Hundrieser '19, Dr. Mike Wolf


Pittsburgh or bust! Geology majors and faculty head to the Geological Society of America Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA March, 2017


Geology Majors Present Research at National Meeting March, 2017

Fourteen geology majors headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the Geological Society of America North Eastern/North Central Joint Meeting where students gave poster presentations of their senior and summer research.



Geology majors "run" from an active, red-hot surface flow after a 12-mile hike across lava fields where lava flows from the Pu'u O'o vent and enters the sea at Kamokuna, Hawaii.  


2017 Spring Break Field Trip to Hawaii

Over spring break, Dr. Wolf led a field trip for 20 geology majors to the Big Island of Hawaii as the culmination of a 1-credit course taught during winter term. No need for PowerPoint presentations when the students can present their final course research papers on the formation of lava tubes...inside a lava tube! Crystallization of basaltic flows becomes crystal clear when you can smell, hear, see, and feel the process occurring in an active surface flow a foot away.


Allison Pease '18 presented her research on the North American East Coast Sea Level Budget at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, CA in December , 2016. 


Junior Geology Major, Allison Pease Presents Research at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco, California.-

Allison was selected for a National Science Foundation Student Research program last summer at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York. Working with professors at Columbia and the Cambridge Climate Institute, Allison calculated the sea level rate and acceleration budgets for the East Coast of North America. She headed to San Francisco this week to present her research at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders.

Geology majors working in the geochemistry lab

From left to right: geology lab technician Sallie Heine, geology seniors Laura Behymer, Laura Ames and Kati Ponder 


2016 Augie Geology Seniors Conducting Original Scientific Research

All geology majors conduct original scientific research on topics of their own choosing for their Senior Inquiry Projects. Here, senior geology majors, Laura Behymer, Laura Ames and Kati Ponder work with geology lab technician Sallie Heine in the Lucken Geochemistry Laboratory. Laura, Kati and Laura use the Rigaku SuperMini x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, the Katanax fusion fluxer and the hydraulic pellet press to conduct compositional analyses of their water, soil and mineral samples on their projects involving ravine water quality, soil contamination from an abandoned steel facility and heat-treatment of tourmaline gemstones.


Geology majors in Death Valley for a spring break field trip.

Front row, l-r: Ali Patch' 17, Jessa Rizzo '17 Nick Torres '18, Kati Ponder '16 Amanda Livingston '17, Laura Ames '16 ,  Chad Populorum '18

Back row, l-r: Allison Pease '18, Sierra Kindley '19, Robert Martin '17, Jacob Piske '17, Daniel Vitkus '18, Joey Teresi  '18, Zach Cook '18,  Mark Lundine '18, Joseph Cross '18, Dr. Mike Wolf, Laura Behymer '16, Sara Tilp '16, Caitlin Lebel '18 -Dr. Jeff Strasser (shadow taking the photo)


2016 Spring break in Death Valley, California

During spring break, Dr. Jeff Strasser and Dr. Michael Wolf and 19 geology students​ traveled to Death Valley, California as the culmination to a 1-credit course on the geology of the area. The students hiked for 6 days into the canyons, volcanic craters, sand dunes, and salt flats, and gave geologic research presentations of the features while on the outcrops.

From left, seniors Lauren Kirik, Brian Konecke, Diana Boudreau and Matt Osman (not pictured) took top prizes at the Geological Society of America North-Central Section meeting with Best Undergraduate Poster Presentations. 


Geology majors sweep poster presentation prizes

Four senior geology majors were awarded Best Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation at the North-Central Geological Society of America Annual Meeting held in Lincoln, Nebraska April 24-25, 2014.

Augie geology students competed with students from many Midwest colleges and universities.

• Diana Boudreau won first place for her research on "Osteohistology of Cryolophosaurus Ellioti: Tempo and Mode of Growth in a  Large-Bodied Polar Dinosaur."

• Matt Osman won first place from the Society for Sedimentary Geology for his research on Employing Passive Acoustics as a Temporally Precise Monologue for Constraining Ebullitive Methane Fluxes in Warming Subarctic Lakes 

• Brian Konecke won second place for his research on Solubility and Stability of Beryllium-Silicates in Haplogranitic Melts."

• Lauren Kirik won fourth place for her research on Characterizing Hydrothermal Fluid Flow of Post-Variscan Ore Deposits in Nebida, SW Sardinia."See photos of all of the senior majors in front of their posters at the meeting.




Fall in East Asia, August out west

In the fall of 2016, Dr. Michael Wolf and 12 geology majors (among 80 Augustana students total) headed to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China to study the geology of Japanese earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, Japanese art and literature, and ancient Chinese medicine on Augustana's Fall Term in East Asia.

In August 2016, incoming first-year students spent more than two weeks studying geology in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. They also earned three credits in the lab science course GEOL105: Introductory Physical Geology in the Rocky Mountains specifically offered every summer to all incoming Augustana first-year students only.

This rigorous course begins and ends on campus, but in between students get to hike the mountains and camp with friends.They were taught by Dr. Jeffrey Strasser and Dr. Michael Wolf, and learned about earth materials, structures, composition, and a variety of dynamic processes

Students inventorying local streams

Grant boosts community impact of two Augustana College centers

A $100,000 grant from Augustana College Trustee Christopher Coulter '94 and his wife, Melanie Berna Coulter '94, will mobilize Augustana students, faculty and staff as they partner with communities to solve the social, economic and environmental challenges facing the Quad-Cities region. 

Red Rocks, Nevada

How J-term classes impact the student experience

During January term, students take a break from their 15-week semester schedule to engage in a month-long period of intensive learning. Here are four students' J-term stories and photos from several classes.

Paige Lundborg

Academic opportunities in the lab, the marsh and on the beach

Three Augustana science students — Paige Lundborg, Bobby Nwachukwu and Audrey Zettler — made the most of their summer by taking advantage of opportunities on campus, in the Quad Cities and in another country.

Maquoketa Caves Excursion

Explore the Maquoketa Caves with the Augustana Sierra Club from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Lunch provided.

Planetarium open house

Augustana College's John Deere Planetarium will be open to the public from 8:30-10 p.m. for an evening of stargazing and planet viewing.