Arctic REU Greenland

Arctic REU Greenland: Earth and Environmental Processes from the Inland Ice to the Ocean along the Aasivissuit–Nipisat World Heritage Corridor

Research Topics: Structural geology, earthquake geology, environmental change, ice sheet albedo

Location: Sisimiut, Greenland

On-Site Field and Lab Research: ~June 19 to August 7, 2023 (tentative)

Application Deadline: February 13, 2023

Note: Operation of the REU is subject to funding renewal.

Overview

This NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) is focused on developing skills in arctic geoscience research. Our work will integrate studies of bedrock geology with records of environmental change in a remote, international setting.

Research projects include: (1) geologic mapping and analysis of Proterozoic metamorphic bedrock and fault geometry to better understand earthquake rupture dynamics and landscape development; (2) lake coring to evaluate post-glacial environmental change and ecological succession during ice retreat; (3) evaluation of nutrient inputs to glacial and pro-glacial lakes; and (4) field calibration of ice albedo on a retreating ice sheet margin. Participants will present their research at a national scientific conference in the fall and prepare an ArcGIS StoryMap to explaining their research experience to the general public.

REU Directors and Mentors

Dr. Joseph L. Allen, Concord University (Athens, WV)

Dr. Colin A. Shaw, Montana State University (Bozeman, MT)

Additional Mentors: Dr. Stephen Kuehn (Concord University), Dr. Tom Saladyga (Concord University), Dr. Melissa Chipman (Syracuse University), Dr. David McWethy (Montana State), Dr. Mark Skidmore (Montana State), and Dr. Eric Sproles (Montana State).

Graduate Assistant: TBA

Photos: Students measuring the orientation of a reverse fault lined with pseudotachlyte and offsetting a pegmatite dike. Below: Field work on the Ikertôq Fjord by student-skippered zodiac in 2015.

Student Support and Logistics

Support includes a $4800 stipend plus an additional $1000 for cool-weather field clothing, a sleeping bag, a passport, and an iPad for geologic mapping. Travel, lodging, and meals are provided.

The expedition will depart from New York for Sisimiut, Greenland, via Kangerlusuaq (travel to NY also provided). We will camp 5-6 days/week on a remote island and spend 2 days/week in dormitory-style housing in Sisimiut and Kangerlussuaq. While camping, tents, meals, and cooking gear, will be provided.

Timeline

April-early May 2023: Six online meetings and logistical planning.

~June ~15-30: Lab work and orientation, Concord University and Montana State University. Professional development activities.

~July 1-20: Field work based in Sisimuit and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

~July 21-Aug 7: Campus-based lab research at Concord University and Montana State University. Professional development activities.

September: Three weekly online meetings and final review of research posters; additional career and graduate school mentoring.

October or December: Presentation of your research results at a geologic conference with additional career and graduate school mentoring (optional; funding provided).

Am I Qualified?

Applicants should be undergraduates who are rising sophomore, junior, or senior geology/geoscience majors. Ideally, applicants will have completed or be enrolled in a course in mineralogy, petrology, or Earth materials although this is not required. Coursework in structural geology and/or field geology or field methods is useful. NSF requires REU participants to be US citizens or permanent residents.

Participants must have a planned date of graduation no earlier than December, 2023. Because of the late start time, students completing a geology field camp early in the summer might be able to attend this REU.

We encourage applications from first-generation college students, veterans, and members of underrepresented groups including women, minorities, and native Alaskans.

Photographs of pseudotachylyte generated by frictional melting during earthquake slip. The pseudotachylyte appears as black glassy veins incorporating fragmented clasts of the host gneiss that survived melting. REU participants will conduct field work and mapping on these unusual rocks to better understand how earthquake ruptures behave in the deep crust. Top/left photo shows an example of a pair of veins between the orange notebook and pen. These formed during a single earthquake rupture and can be mapped for 10s of meters along strike.