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The Compass : Earth Science Journal of Sigma Gamma Epsilon
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0894-802X
Published by U of Kansas Homepage  [20 journals]
  • The Compass - Volume 93 Issue 1 - Complete Issue

    • Authors: Scott R. Beason
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:42:07 PDT
  • Letter to the members of SGE from your new editor

    • Authors: Scott R. Beason
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:42:03 PDT
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon student research poster session, Geological Society of
           America Annual Meeting 2022, Denver, Colorado, USA

    • Authors: Scott R. Beason
      Abstract: The Society of Sigma Gamma Epsilon sponsors an annual poster session at every Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America. The 2022 Sigma Gamma Epsilon undergraduate research poster session took place during the 2022 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA, on Monday, October 10, 2022. Ten (10) posters were presented in Exhibit Hall F at the Colorado Convention Center between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM at the poster session. Titles, authors (italics for the presenting author), affiliations, and abstracts for each poster are listed in this report.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:41:59 PDT
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon chapter and student awards for academic year 2022-2023

    • Authors: Lee S. Potter
      Abstract: The Society of Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE) encourages efforts to broaden the education and impact of its members through community outreach. In academic year 2022-2023, four awards were given at the chapter level: The Chapter Service Award to the Gamma Chi Chapter; and the James C. Walters Quality Chapter Award to the Gamma Sigma, Gamma Chi, and Epsilon Omega Chapters. Individual merit was recognized through the W. A. Tarr awards given to twenty-two members by their respective chapters. Two awards, the Austin A. Sartin and Charles J. Mankin Outstanding Poster Awards, were given to four students for merit in scientific communication at the 34th Annual SGE Student Poster Session at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, on October 10, 2022.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:41:53 PDT
  • 46th biennial convention of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, University of Tennessee
           at Martin, September 16-18, 2022

    • Authors: Richard L. Ford et al.
      Abstract: The Society of Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE), the national honorary society for the Earth sciences, held its 46th biennial convention (September 16-18, 2022) at satellite facilities of University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin) located in Selmer, Tennessee. The convention was hosted by SGE’s Eta Alpha Chapter and the Department of Agriculture, Geoscience, and Natural Resources at UT Martin. Ten (10) of SGE’s approximately 60 active chapters sent delegates to the convention. The traditional convention field trip, an outing to UT Martin’s Coon Creek Science Center, focused on collecting and preparing marine fossils from the Upper Cretaceous Coon Creek Formation. Key accomplishments of the convention include amending the Society’s constitution to reflect changes in membership categories, the adoption of a new mission statement, and broad-ranging discussions related to the revitalization of local chapters following the COVID-19 pandemic. This report provides details about the convention proceedings and provides the various reports presented by national officers, individual chapters, and student committees.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:41:47 PDT
  • Overview of the geology, paleontology, and geoscience education
           opportunities of the University of Tennessee at Martin Coon Creek Science
           Center for visitors, researchers, and docents

    • Authors: Michael A. Gibson
      Abstract: The Coon Creek Formation is an internationally recognized Upper Cretaceous (Campanian, 76 million-years-old) marine clastic lagerstätten deposit with over 500 identified species of nearly perfectly preserved invertebrates, vertebrates, plants, and trace fossils with original shell geochemistry and paleoecological fidelity preserved. The type-locality and type-section, located in rural McNairy County, Tennessee, was preserved for research and education in 1988 when the Memphis Pink Palace Museum constructed a 232-acre geoscience education facility on the site, now run as the University of Tennessee at Martin Coon Creek Science Center. Visitors to the site participate in a wide variety of geoscience education programming and citizen science research that is based upon open-ended inquiry methodology. On the occasion of the 46th Biennial Convention, hosted at the site by the Eta Alpha Chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE), this paper summarizes the overall geologic setting, general paleontology, geoscience education history, and opportunities of the site for SGE field trip participants, potential researchers, visitors, and potential interns. Additionally, this paper highlights some of the numerous geoscience education programs for docents and research opportunities available for geology students who wish to participate in ongoing research at the site.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:41:42 PDT
  • Fluvial channel path evolution – Documenting decades of change along the
           Little Wabash River, East Central Illinois, USA

    • Authors: Diane M. Burns et al.
      Abstract: As highly dynamic landforms, rivers etch their channels into the surrounding and underlying strata over time, continuously reshaping the landscapes they traverse. This study examines geomorphological changes of the Little Wabash River in East Central Illinois between 1938 and 2011. The Little Wabash River is a meandering river sourced in southwestern Coles County, Illinois, and flows southward approximately 390 km to its confluence with the Wabash River. The historical location of the Little Wabash River was delineated to establish a baseline survey using archival aerial photography acquired in 1938. To understand how the channel evolved, investigations were conducted in each county along the Little Wabash River. Among other findings, this work suggests chute cutoffs occur more frequently than neck cutoffs and in smaller amounts of areal extent. Information garnered from these investigations can be used by geomorphologists, engineers, and planners to better understand anthropogenic impacts on riverine systems.
      PubDate: Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:41:33 PDT
  • Sand Microtextures as Indicators of Depositional Environment – a
           Comparison of Fluvial, Marine and Aeolian Sediments

    • Authors: Brian Hanson et al.
      Abstract: The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) has been used to examine sediment surfaces since the late 1960’s. More recently, results of SEM analyses of grains have been used to link depositional environments and modes of transport for sediments and sandstones (Krinsely and Trusty, 1986; Mahaney and Kalm 2000; Mahaney et al., 2001). This technique has been considered to be a viable, though time consuming, option for researchers interpreting depositional environments. V-pits are a microfeature which is claimed to indicate a littoral deposition environment (Krinsley and Trusty, 1986; Middleton and Kassera, 1987), while others claim it is a result of fluvial processes and deposition (Mahaney and Kalm, 2000; Mahaney et al., 2001; Mahaney, 2002; Strand et al., 2003; Itamiya et al., 2019). The focus of this study was to determine if there was statistical support for the claims that V-pits are indicative of specific depositional environments. To evaluate this claim, sediment samples from differing contemporary environments (littoral, fluvial and aeolian) were taken and subjected to analyses. The results indicated that neither littoral nor fluvial environments effectively produced V-pits. Aeolian deposits, however, showed more V-pits than any other sample.
      PubDate: Tue, 14 Jun 2022 06:56:33 PDT
  • Gigapan® Photogrammetry For Outcrop Description, 3d Modeling, And 3d

    • Authors: Preston Liles et al.
      Abstract: The collection of 3D information on geological media is fundamental for field geology, however it can be both time consuming and expensive. This report proposes a new method for the collection of 3D information of outcrops using simple to use and inexpensive technology. GigaPan® systems can be used to take high resolution images of outcrops and these images then be either left in 2D for additional description of the outcrop in the lab, or they can be processed in Autodesk 3ds Max® to create realistic 3D models of the outcrops which can then be 3D printed. The collection of this data can allow for maximization of field time and may allow for additional analysis and descriptions in the lab. The ability to visit or revisit an outcrop without physically going there has implications for facilitating collaborative research projects and improving the learning outcomes of students.
      PubDate: Tue, 14 Jun 2022 06:56:28 PDT
  • Bathymetry Based Modeling of Subaxial Magma Flows Under the Mid-Atlantic
           Ridge, 0 to 30° N

    • Authors: Adam R. Tjoelker et al.
      Abstract: Fracture patterns of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) provide evidence of tectonic forces related to divergence and magma upwelling at the ridge axis. In this study, we focus on the MAR from 0 to 30° N, where the N-S ridge exhibits slow spreading rates (2-4 cm/yr) and pronounced axial topography. Ridge segments and transform faults identified in bathymetry data were analyzed for strike orientation and axial depth profiles. Azimuths of transform faults and ridge segments exhibit increasing clockwise rotation with latitude, and all have left lateral displacement. Bathymetric sampling along ridge segments occurred at 9 km intervals with 20 km sampling radii, producing axial lithostatic pressure gradients. One-dimensional magma flows parallel to the ridge axis at 10 and 50 km depths were modeled using Darcy’s law based on published parameters and calculated gradients. Subaxial magma velocities of up to 4 cm/yr were predicted for horizontal flow at depth and are comparable in magnitude to upwelling rates in published literature. Average flow magnitudes (n = 422) within the melt generation region are predicted at 0.8 and 0.2 cm/yr for 10 and 50 km depths respectively. Flow velocities up to five times higher are expected with this model in the high-porosity boundary layer below the solidus. The Coriolis parameter would affect the movement of the flows predicted by our model and may be linked to rotational patterns observed at the MAR. Future research of magma migration below divergent margins would benefit from incorporating axial lithostatic load variations as a driver of flow.
      PubDate: Tue, 14 Jun 2022 06:56:19 PDT
  • Evaluation Of Measurement Data Across Eight GIS Basemaps Using Drumlins:
           Combining Basemaps Is Optimal

    • Authors: Gretchen A. Wambach et al.
      Abstract: Choosing the best basemap for landform data collection and analysis is fundamental for accurate measurements and usability. Different types of basemaps may affect how we perceive relief through a map (Phillips et al., 1975); thereby, affecting the precision of data collected. This project collected length and azimuth data of 60 drumlins in Western, NY from four different, ArcGIS online (AGOL)-provided basemaps, as well as two parallel-to-strike and two perpendicular-to-strike hillshades (n=4). Testing the mean length (1,662m, ±529) and azimuth (171°, ±0.3) data for uniformity across basemaps determined if any basemap is more or less reliable for data collection. The Terrain map and 351° hillshade showed the lowest statistic values (t(59) = 1.84, p = .007, R2 = 0.4116). This was due to a poor direction of shading that caused visual loss of the drumlin tails. The least number of difference occurred between the USGS Topographic map and the USA Topographic map (t(59) = -0.01, p = .992, R2 = 0.9412), maps married in creation. The more traditional USGS/USA Topographic map is better for measurements of length and orientation due to the more established outline of landforms and less visual variability. Combining hillshade and topographic maps, however, can create an optimal representation of landforms for remote data collection. Choosing, or better yet, creating the correct basemap for an intended result can ensure readability and useability. It is essential that the creation of useful basemaps can keep up with the data being collected from advancing remote-sensing technologies.
      PubDate: Tue, 14 Jun 2022 06:56:11 PDT
           EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY April 10, 2021

    • Authors: James Walters et al.
      Abstract: The 45th Biennial Convention of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the national honor society in the Earth Sciences, was originally scheduled for April 3 – 5, 2020 at The University of Tennessee at Martin, but it was postponed until April 10, 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Since COVID-19 was still a serious issue this spring, the SGE National Council decided to conduct this meeting in a virtual format using the Zoom platform. The meeting was hosted by SGE Gamma Chi Chapter in the Department of Geology/Geography at Eastern Illinois University and presided over by Dr. Diane Burns, Chair of the Department and Gamma Chi Chapter Advisor. This report summarizes the Convention and includes information on the deliberations and actions of the attendees.
      PubDate: Sat, 02 Oct 2021 15:01:17 PDT
  • Geology in and around Charleston, IL: Rocky Branch Conservation area &
           Charleston Quarry Field Trip

    • Authors: Diane M. Burns
      Abstract: A field trip guide for Rocky Branch Conservation area and Charleston Quarry, in and around Charleston, Illinois. This field trip occurred during the 44th Biennial Convention at Charleston, IL on September 23rd, 2017.
      PubDate: Sat, 02 Oct 2021 15:01:12 PDT
           UNIVERSITY: CHARLESTON, ILLINOIS September 22 – 24, 2017

    • Authors: James Walters et al.
      Abstract: The 44th Biennial Convention of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the national honor society in the Earth Sciences, was held September 22 through 24, 2017 on the campus of Eastern Illinois University (EIU). The meeting was hosted by Gamma Chi Chapter of SGE in the Department of Geology/Geography. As part of the meeting, a local field trip to investigate the area’s geology was led by Dr. Diane Burns, Chair of the Geology/Geography Department at EIU. This report summarizes the Convention and includes information on the deliberations and actions of the attendees.
      PubDate: Sat, 02 Oct 2021 15:01:06 PDT
  • Resolving a One-Year Ecesis Interval for Alaska Paper Birch: Dating a
           Rockfall Event, Wishbone Hill, Southcentral Alaska

    • Authors: Riley E. Whitney et al.
      Abstract: Numerous large boulders at the base of Wishbone Hill, northeast of Anchorage, Alaska, suggest a historic rockfall event and potential for future surface instability, putting lives and property at risk. The source of the rockfall-boulders is an exposed syncline with a cliff face composed of conglomerate. The age of trees growing atop boulders provides a minimum exposure-age of those boulders and, thus, the rockfall event. To determine when the rockfall occurred, we dated trees growing atop the boulders using tree-ring samples collected from 30 Alaska paper birch trees. After mounting and polishing, each tree-ring sample was dot-counted, and tree-ring widths were measured using Measure J2X software to generate a master chronology (1938-2017). To estimate the youngest age for the rockfall event, we recorded pith-year for each sample. For samples lacking a pith (n=21), we used pith indicators to match existing rings to diagrams of corresponding ring widths, projecting approximate pith for each sample. All samples we corrected for sampling height (mean=0.8m) using a low estimate growth rate (0.6m/yr). The oldest birch tree sampled included pith and, with height correction, we estimate a germination year of 1936. When using first-year growth as an event’s temporal marker, accounting for the ecesis interval, the time between the availability of a new surface (i.e., boulders) and germination provides a more representative date of the event than using the pith/germination date alone. Considering birch ecesis and primary observations recorded in 1935, we propose that the rockfall event most likely occurred in 1934-1935. This finding suggests an ecesis interval as low as one year for Alaska paper birch in fresh rockfall areas. The risk of another destabilizing event may prompt those utilizing this area for recreational and residential purposes to reconsider future use.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 08:02:13 PDT
  • Characterization of Surface Geology and Hydrogeology in the Upper Ulua
           River Basin, Honduras

    • Authors: C. Renee Sparks et al.
      Abstract: This research includes a hydrogeologic assessment in and around La Union, Honduras to determine the contribution of groundwater to the surface water system and understand the geological control of groundwater storage and movement. Field methods were employed and focused on spring characterization, geochemical signatures, and structural data. Field data was gathered, and locations determined using cellular-integrated GPS signal and the Fulcrum mapping software mobile application. During the summer of 2017, data on 111 geologic points and 34 water points were collected to understand the hydrogeology of the region. Streams and springs were monitored for pH, flow characteristics and conductance as a measure of total-dissolved-solids (TDS). TDS ranged from 22.6 to 485 mg/L with higher values indicating groundwater influx into the surface system. In comparison, lower TDS values are attributed to runoff. Structural information was collected using a Brunton transit compass for strike and dip of lithologic contacts. Structural trends include strikes around 240 degrees, dip direction and approximate magnitudes at 330 and 40 degrees, respectively. Geologic data indicate significant structural deformation, supportive of tectonic activity in the region. For many of the springs in this area, the data can be used to interpret that water is stored in the Jaitique Formation as a perched aquifer controlled by stratigraphy and structure. The groundwater moves down dip through secondary porosity in the Jaitique Formation until it comes into contact with the Lower Valle de Angeles. This Lower Valle de Angeles unit acts as an aquiclude preventing percolation into the ground and resulting in springs at the surface.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 08:02:06 PDT
  • Using GIS to Create Hazard Maps and Assess Evacuation Routes around “The
           Gate to Hell”; Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua

    • Authors: Rebecca Hedges et al.
      Abstract: Volcán Masaya in Nicaragua is made of a series of calderas and craters that lies 7 km from the city of Masaya with a population of over 100,000. Masaya is part of the Central American Volcanic Arc (CAVA) which contains hundreds of volcanoes. While many of the volcanoes of the arc produce small, quiescent eruptions, some are capable of large explosive events. The recent cycle of volcanism at Masaya began 7000 years ago. Initial eruptions were primarily lava, small ash flows, ashfalls, and degassing events which eventually gave way to climactic Vulcanian eruptions. The hazards presented from this system affect not only larger cities, but many underdeveloped communities surrounding Volcán Masaya. These communities require a simple map and action plan to use during an evacuation. While government-issued routes are in place, there are no known secondary options. The communities surrounding Masaya lack the education they need for having such a fierce geologic feature right in their backyard to base their own opinions on when and if to evacuate the area on their own accord. We visited the study area to gather data for the creation of an evacuation route and hazard map to help prepare the surrounding communities. By consolidating our research and field data, the maps we created give the communities surrounding Masaya more insight as to the behavior of the eruptions. This research gives the local population options for evacuation and more knowledge about their environment.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 08:01:58 PDT
  • Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Tracks from the Iron Springs Formation, Iron
           County, Utah

    • Authors: Jennifer K. Crowell et al.
      Abstract: Located in Iron County, Utah, the Parowan Gap dinosaur track site contains over one hundred natural casts of non-avian dinosaur tracks preserved in sandstones and siltstones of the Late Cretaceous (≈83 Ma) Iron Springs Formation. For this study, the authors returned to the area to survey for and describe previously unidentified tracks. Many tracks from this new study occur as in situ casts found on the basal surfaces of sandstones deposited by braided and meandering rivers on the coastal plain of the Western Interior Seaway, with some specimens from fallen talus blocks. Over the course of two years, the research team identified and recorded a total of 31 specimens. The results comprise tracks that resemble a minimum of at least five ichnotaxa including Caririchnium, Amblydactylus, Ceratopsipes, Magnoavipes, and Dromaeosauripus. The most common and well-recognized ichnogenus recorded in the Iron Springs Formation is Caririchnium, which likely represents ornithopod dinosaurs. We also identified two Ceratopsipes tracks in a fallen sandstone block. The pair of tracks are significant because they are the second set from the ichnotaxa found at Parowan Gap. Together the Parowan Gap Ceratopsipes samples represent the oldest ceratopsian tracks in Utah. The potential Dromaeosauripus specimen represents a small theropod dinosaur. This specimen is of great interest because theropod tracks, especially dromaeosaur tracks, are less common in the Iron Springs Formation, with a total of seven tracks reported from previous studies. If this is an appropriate interpretation, it would make the potential Dromaeosauripus track the youngest dromaeosaur trace fossil in Utah.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 08:01:50 PDT
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762

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School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762

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