Rere te toP" th oes.................
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES
The Official Newsletter of the Department of Geological Sciences Summer 2010
From the DODartment Chair...
Dear Alumni and Friends of the Department of Geological Sciences:
It's hard to believe that another year has passed but I am happy
to say that the Department is in a much better and brighter position
than it was last spring. Due to the heroic efforts of our faculty and
-- students, together with overwhelming support from our alumni and
friends, we not only survived the draconian cuts that were proposed
for the Department as a consequence of the ongoing fiscal crisis in
J n Jaeger and MS the State (and University System), but we are now thriving. As often
sludent Katherine Malone occurs in perilous times, people rise to meet the threats before them,
measure dune erosion at join together, and find ways to succeed when it appears the odds are against them. I
Kennedy5pace(enleragains am proud to say that with your help we did just that. During the past year we have
ye shuttle... made major strides toward increasing the number of undergraduate majors (greater
9A Dr Jaege^ than 50 percent increase), offering new classes and a new degree track, graduating
andDr Peler Adamsare more undergraduate majors and doctoral students, and having much success in our
studyingtoastalgeomorphic research endeavors in the State and around the world.
thangealthissliewithas = Details of many of our activities, research and awards are presented in this issue
tudenl Jessicalo ering. d for the next year. I am glad to say that we have a terrific group of undergraduate ma-
undergraduale malors Blanta :. jors who are excited about learning and have been successful in recruiting new Geol-
Malbauer and Tim Kirthner ogy majors. They have also created an organization known at the "Geologic Sciences
.......au... c., .A. Ambassadors" (they even have their own logo and polo shirts) who together with the
"Geogators" (an organization of graduate students who volunteer in the local school
IHside this issue: system) have given fourteen presentations to local school children about Earth and our
Department Offers New environment. In collaboration with the Department of Geography we have developed
Bachelor of Arts Degree in a joint degree program know as the Environmental Geoscience track for those under-
Environmental Geosciences.......................2 graduates interested in pursuing the variety of careers dealing with the Environment,
but not necessarily going on for an advanced degree in Geology or Geography.
Florida Ridges'Mystery Marine Fossils A number of our graduate students have been very successful this year as indi-
Tied to Rising Land, Not Seas....................3 cated by national recognition for their research by the American Geophysical Union,
UF Grad Students Attend offers of well-paying jobs in industry, and prestigious post-doctoral appointments at
International Conference...........................3 institutions such as Cambridge University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Or-
egon State University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. We wish them all
UF Geological Sciences Celebrated the the best of luck in their careers.
End of the 2009-2010 Academic Year Most of our students and faculty played some role in our successful "Can You Dig
with Awards, Food, Drink and Music.....4-5 It" geo-expo event at the Florida Museum of Natural History again this year. More
Brenner's Student Studies Snails...............6 than 2,000 excited and energetic children, parents and interested members of the com-
munity came to see our exhibits and interactive displays explaining everything from
UF Professor to Help Gauge earthquakes and tectonics to volcanoes and meteorites. A tip of the hat goes to Matt
Future Earthquake Possibilities.................6 Smith, who did most of the organizing for the event and provided some explosive
Marine Geologist Available to Talk volcanic activity that was a major crowd pleaser.
About Research Into Rising Sea Levels.......7 Our faculty members have also had a banner year. Members of the Department
were awarded nearly $3M in new grants this past year and more than 95 percent
Again and Again...0ur Grads of the faculty now have research funding. Ellen Martin and Mark Brenner were
ProvetoBetheBestoftheBestl...............7 promoted to Full Professor rank, Ray Russo was promoted to Associate Professor
nemtrapeDe hT t and received tenure, Ray Thomas was promoted to Associate In Geology and Jason
continued on page two
DODartment Offers New Bachelor of Arts
Degree in Environmental Goosciences
Faculty members of the departments of Geological Sciences and Geography have
combined their expertise to design a new cross-disciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree.
The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Geosciences is intended for students interest-
ed in land and water aspects of the environment. The focus is on geological resources
such as water and mineral resource exploitation and management, geological haz-
ards, environmental planning, resource sustainability, or earth science education.
Students who choose this major will take basic courses in both geology and geog-
raphy. These majors will complete upper level coursework in both
disciplines but can choose to focus their major concentration on a '
either Geological Sciences or Geography. The major requires a
total of 39 to 44 credit hours.
Undergraduates who are interested in pursuing the new ^
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Geosciences are urged to .
contact Dr. Joseph Meert, Geological Sciences Undergraduate
Coordinator, at email@example.com, or call the department at 352-
From the Department Chair...(continued from page one)
Curtis was promoted to the rank of Senior Associate In Geology. I am proud to say
that three of the eleven distinguished Term Professors in the entire College this year
were from our department and include Liz Screaton, Ellen Martin and David Foster.
Liz Screaton was also elected as the Chair of the United States Advisory Committee
(USAC) for Scientific Ocean Drilling; the national advisory committee for U.S. partici-
pation in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and wider issues in scientific
ocean drilling. Congratulations to Joe Meert, who was honored as a Fellow of the
Geological Society of America this spring.
In order to help the Department better serve the needs of our students and alum-
ni, the private sector, and our profession in general, we created a Geological Sciences
Advisor Committee primarily consisting of alumni from the De artment but also
including supporters from local industry, DuPont and ExxonMobil. Our first organ-
izational meeting took place at UF in November and we plan to hold another one
before school starts again in late August.
More good news came our way last fall when the Department was given one of
only 13 new faculty positions in the College. We had an excellent group of applicants
from which to choose an expert in "climate and global change" and I am happy to say
that we were successful in obtaining our number one candidate. Dr. Andrea Dutton
Lambeck, who is currently a Research Fellow at the Australian National University
and who earned her PhD from the University of Michigan, will be joining us (with
her family) beginning next January. We are all looking forward to her arrival and
welcome the addition of her expertise to our marine geological and climate change
research programs, as well as her involvement in the new Climate Institute that is tak-
ing shape at UF. Looking forward we hope to search for a world-class scientist to fill
an Endowed Chair that has been created by two of our biggest supporters: Jon and
Beverly Thompson. The plan is for this Chair to specialize in subsurface geology and
develop a Center for Florida Geology. Down the road we also hope to hire a planetary
geologist as part of a State Space-related Initiative grant we were awarded as part of
a joint program with University of Central Florida.
We plan to host a Geology Alumni "event" during this year's Homecoming so keep
October 16th open on your calendars. We would love to see a large contingent of geolo-
gists here. I hope you enjoy this issue of the Rocky Gator and will send us comments
and news about what you have been doing. As always, we appreciate all the support
you provide to keep our educational programs healthy and vibrant.
I hope to see you here this fall,
In April 2009, John (PhD 2002)
and Claire Grimm (BS Geology,
2002) Chadwick had a baby boy
named Benjamin. John is cur-
rently an assistant professor in
the Department of Geography
and Earth Sciences at the Uni-
versity of North Carolina at
Charlotte. He can be reached at
The ROCKYGator la the afloal liewala-
ter..1the llinversity of Flornia floparnews,[
or Geologn al iners.e> Issues are provulel
tree or .harge lu alterested usernis of
the departmell family smilents anal
alumn, Due is, usiver ...nstallers th
RIEE.C.arocur.r.nrecl in ola.5-an.1-wI"'"
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p.lease .<.nra.1 the .Impartment Prograin
Assistant Pain Haines al lahaints. *ull
edu or write or phone the deparonent
at 241 Williams Hall Pu P.u. I1:121.
sailleaville FL 3 .11-:12". Ishurse I35.2)
3''.'- -' 'RI
Dr. Michael Perfit
Dr. John Jaeger
Dr. Joseph Meert
Senor 1:>. al Assistant
Cry tlE man
IIF Gn"~nradSue'~nts Aten
UF Geology PhD student Su-
sanna Blair (left) and Cam-
bridge Geology PhD student
Mary Beth Day (right) at the
cal site of Guachimontones,
m the state of Jalisco, Mexico.
They visited the site during
the mid-Congress field trip
of the 11th International Pa-
Guadalajara, Mexico. Blair
presented a poster titled "A
record of recent trace metal
accumulation in Newnans
Lake, Florida (USA) Da
gave a talk, Inception of
the annual flood pulse in
Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia,
between 5,000 and 3,000 r
pp,, which was the subje t
of her MS work at University
of Florida. Day received an
Honorable Mention for the
best student presentation at
Florida Ridges' Mystery Marine Fossils
Tiod to Rising Land, Not Seas
By Aaron Hoover
University of Florida News Desk
Sea level has not been as high as the distinctive
ridges that run down the length of Florida for mil-
lions of years. Yet recently deposited marine fossils
abound in the ridges' sands.
Now, a University of Florida geologist may have hel pe J
crack that mystery.
In a paper appearing June 1 in the June edition of the lous nal Geolow Pe-
ter Adams, a UF assistant professor of geological sciences, says lus computer models
of Florida's changing land mass support this theory: The land that forms the sandy
Trail Ridge running north to south from North Florida through South Georgia, as
well as lesser-known ridges, was undersea at the time the fossils were deposited--but
rose over time, reaching elevations that exceeded later sea level high stands.
"If you look at the best records, there's no evidence that global sea level has come
close to occupying the elevation of these fossils since the time of their emplacement,"
Adams said, referring to Trail Ridge's elevation today, nearly 230 feet above modern
sea level. "The only thing that explains this conundrum is that Trail Ridge was under-
water, but later rose to an elevation higher than subsequent sea levels."
At the heart of the phenomenon are Florida's unique
weather patterns and geology, Adams said.
The state's abundant rain contains a small amount of
carbon dioxide, which forms carbonic acid in lake and
river water. This slightly acidic water slowly eats away
at Florida's limestone bedrock, forming the karst topog-
raphy for which Florida is so well known, replete with
pockmarks, underground springs and subterranean cav-
erns. The surface water washes the dissolved limestone out to sea, over time signifi-
cantly lightening the portion of the Earth's crust that covers Florida.
A mass of slow-moving mantle rock resides 6 to 18 miles below the crust. As the Flor-
ida land mass lightens, this mantle pushes upward to equilibrate the load, forcing Flonda
skyward, Adams said. The process is known as isostatic rebound, or isostatic uplift.
"It's just like what happens when you get out of bed in the morning. The mattress
springs raise the surface of the bed back up, Adams said, adding that the uplift is
similar to what takes place when glaciers retreat, with Maine and Norway, for ex-
ample, also gaining elevation. .
Glaciers melt off the land surface to drive isostatic uplift. But m Florida, varymg
rainfall rates during different periods have slowed or quickened the karstification
just below the land. This has in turn slowed or quickened the mantle's push up from
below. Additionally, sea level high stands do not always return to the same eleva-
tion, which creates a complex history of which beach ridges are preserved and which
aren't, Adams said.
For instance, during periods when sea level rose quickly, some pre-existing ridges
were overtaken and wiped out. During other periods, however, when sea level rose
slowly or did not reach a certain ridge's elevation, a beach ndge was preserved. In ef-
fect, Trail Ridge, Lake Wales Ridge and other lesser-known ridges are the remains of
isostatically uplifted land that was kept out of harm's way, Adams said. The ridges car-
ry with them the marine fossils that are the evidence of their lowly early beginnings.
Today, the land surface of Florida is rising at a rate of about one-twentieth of a
millimeter annually, far more slowly than sea level rise estimated at approximately
3 millimeters annually. Adams noted that Florida's rise is not nearly rapid enough to
counteract sea level rise--and that society should be mindful that low-lying coastal
areas are threatened.
continued on page six
IIF Geological Sciences Colobrated the End of the
2000-2010 Academic Year with Awards, Food, Drink and Music
The 2009-2010 Geological Sciences student
awards were presented at the "End of the Year
Student Awards/Mystery Meat Raffle/Day After
Earth Day Party" held at Dr. Andrew Zimmer-
man's house on April 23rd. Open to all faculty,
affiliates, alumni, graduate and undergraduate
students and their families, the gathering has
turned into an annual event.
PhD candidate Dorsey Wanless was given
this year's Horn Award. The Horn Award goes
to one graduate student who has excelled in
eagerness, inspiration, involvement in and con-
tribution to the geology department, academic
ability and research activity during their total
graduate career at UF.
Recent PhD graduate Chuang Xuan won
the John Ridge Award for academic achieve-
ment in the geological sciences during his
graduate career in both class work and research
(publishing and presentations).
MS students Allen Kent and Katherine
Malone were each given the Ernst Award as
outstanding teaching assistants in GLY 1000
and 2000 level courses and GLY 3000 level and
above courses, respectively.
The Danker Award for outstanding gradu-
ating undergraduate went to Ashley Machek.
Ashley excelled in scholarship, enthusiasm,
motivation, leadership and involvement in the
department during her total undergraduate ca-
reer as a geology major.
Picture top left: (from left to right) undergraduates Lalitha Christian, Carolyn Ball and Ciro Luysterburg; top
right: PhD candidate Derrick Newkirk played grillmaster and provided the mystery meat; above: (from left to
right) undergraduate Caleb Rhatigan, MS student Brittany Newstead, Ana Bremner and MS student Paul Brem-
ner; and below: a gathering of faculty, students, and families watch the awards presentations.
Summer 2010 5
End of the 2000-2010AcademicYear ParlI (continued from page 4)
The Eades Award for Environmental Geol-
ogy Studies went to undergraduate major Car-
olyn Ball. In honor of James Eades, the award
is given to the graduate or undergraduate stu-
dent who has shown the most commitment to
excellence studying in class or in investigating
environmental geology, broadly defined as all
Recent MS graduate Julie Mathis won the
Nichol Paleontology Award (in honor of Dave :
Nichol), which is given to the graduate or un-
dergraduate student who has shown the most
commitment to excellence studying in class or
investigating paleontological topics.
The Estwing Award, voted on by peers,
faculty and teaching assistants, went to recent
BS graduate Osvaldo Meireles. The Estwing
prize -- a geological hammer provided by the
Estwing Company each year -- is given to the
best field camp student.
Thanks to the barbecuing skills of PhD
candidate Derrick Newkirk, everyone who at-
tended ate really well. Following the awards
ceremony, a raffle was held for the identity of
the mystery meat. PhD student Susanna Blair
and MS student Aldo Rincon won with their
guesses of elk, though many thought the mys-
tery meat sure tasted like ostrich.
The partying went on into the evening,
with a blazing bonfire and live music provided
by assorted faculty and students.
Picture top left: (from right to left) Dr.AndrewZimmerman and Dr. Peter Adams present Ashley Machek with her Danker
Award certificate; top right: Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Adams explain award criteria; above: (from right to left) Dr. Andrew
Zimmerman and Dr. Peter Adams present Carolyn Ball with her Eades Award certificate; below left: (from left to right)
undergraduate Nicole Cundiff and MS student Brittany Newstead listen as MS student Alex Ullrich, Dr. Andrew Zimmer-
man and Dr. Matt Smith play on; and below right: PhD candidate Alex Hastings and MS student Kate Rowe.
IIF PrOfOSSOr 10 11010 Gauge
Future Earthquake POSSibilities
By Ron Wayne
University ofFlorida News Desk
A University of Florida geophysics professor will help to deploy and operate up
to 100 high-sensitivity earthquake recorders into the Chile earthquake zone for the
next six months.
Ray Russo and Steve Roecker, a seismologist at Rensselaer Poly-
technic Institute, will lead a team representing the IRIS Consortium,
a group of about 200 U.S. universities and research institutions.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the team expects to
visit the site several times over the next six months.
The team hopes to determine the extent and nature of the fault
that slipped on February 27 to gain insight into how adjacent seg-
ments of the Nazca-South America plate boundary might behave in
the next few decades, UF's Russo said. Many seismologists believe the recent earth-
quake increases the likelihood of a large-magnitude earthquake either to the north or
south of the recent rupture, he added.
"Studying the earthquake rupture zone is of paramount importance because
earthquakes along the western coast of South
America tend to repeatedly rupture the same areas lit-
at intervals of decades or even centuries, and it is ;: ,J
unclear why the ruptures occur only on segments .
of the fault during a given quake, rather than the -
whole fault slipping at the same time," he said.
Russo, who has a doctorate in seismology and .
geophysics from Northwestern University, has
been an assistant professor of geophysics in UF's
department of geological sciences since 2004. He
studies the flow of the Earth's mantle and its rela-
tion to global surface tectonics.
Russo can be reached at 352-392-6766, or at
Graphic (at right) depicts the broadband seismom-
eters and accelerometers installed in the rupture
region of the 2010 Chile earthquake. More infor- ,
nation about the ongoing research can be found at 3 .
Florida Rid ges' Mysterl ... (continued from page three)
Neil Opdyke, a UF professor emeritus and a co-author of the recent paper, first
proposed the uplift process in a 1984 paper. Adams tested it using computer models
that matched known information about sea levels dating back 1.6 million years with
historic rainfall patterns, karstification rates and mantle uplift. The models concluded
that Trail Ridge is approximately 1.4 million years old -- and has been preserved be-
cause of uplift and the fact that sea levels have not reached the ridge's elevation since
its formation. In addition, Florida's one-twentieth of a millimeter rise is twice as fast
as previously thought.
"The neat thing about this paper is, it combines many different systems that peo-
ple work on. There are people who work on uplift, people who work on erosion of
karst, people who work on precipitation and paleoclimate," Adams said. "And I knew
just enough about all these things to be dangerous. So I said. 'Let's take what we know
from the literature and put it together in a simple mathematical model to see how the
whole system responds.'"
gist Mark Brenner studies
physical, chemical, and bio-
logical aspects of lakes. Dur-
ing a visit to Highlands Coun-
ty, Florida a few years ago, he
found large numbers of exotic
South American island apple
snails (Pomacea insularum) in
two water bodies. There are
concerns that the invasive
mollusks may out-compete
native apple snails, consume
large amounts of aquatic veg-
etation, and create feeding
challenges for juvenile snail
kites (birds). Unfortunately,
little is known about the life
history of the exotic organ-
ism. One of Brenner's gradu-
ate students Tom Arnold
(pictured below), is measuring
stable oxygen isotope ratios
along the growth axis of the
snail shells to determine how
long the animals live and how
rapidly they grow in Florida.
This study is an excellent ex-
ample of how geologic meth-
ods help solve environmental
Our Grads Prove to
Be the Best of the Best!
Kudos to Chuang Xuan,
who received the outstand-
ing paper award at the 2009
American Geological Union
fall meeting in San Francisco
this past December. Xuan
received his PhD in Spring
2010 and is considering sev-
eral postdoctoral positions
on the west coast.
PhD candidate Dorsey
Wanless picturedd above) was
honored by the Volcanology,
Geochemistry and Petrology
(VGP) section of the Ameri-
can Geological Union dur-
ing the fall 2009 AGU meet-
ing. Dorsey's presentation
was identified as one of the
best by first-author students
at the VGP sessions. There
were a total of 425 first-au-
thor student presentations
and the winners comprised
just 3 percent of all evaluated
Marine Geologist Available to Talk
About Research into Rising Sea Levels
By Kristin Bowe ., ---
University of Florida News Desk
University of Florida marine geologist John Jaeger joined a
team of more than 30 scientists on a nine-week drilling excursion
off the coast of New Zealand to explore the global concern for ris-
ing sea levels.
Scientists from around the world gathered to participate in the
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program's Canterbury Basin Sea Level
Expedition 317. The goal of the expedition that ended in January
was to observe how sea level has changed during the past 30 million years. The Can-
terbury Basin was chosen for its strong oceanic water signals and high-resolution
temporal record of sea level change.
Over the last 40 years, sea level has risen at rates 50 percent faster than current
climate change models predicted, and by 2100 sea levels may be over 20 inches higher
than they are now, Jaeger said.
Rising sea level impacts more than just the shoreline position. Higher sea levels
lead to more frequent coastal flooding and greater invasion of seawater into freshwa-
ter coastal aquifer, a huge impact for a state like Florida where large population cen-
ters such as Miami are found right on the coast and get most of their drmking water
from such aquifer, he said.
According to Jaeger, more than 600 million people worldwide live in low eleva-
tion coastal zones, areas that are less than 30 feet above sea level. Many of the large
cities and barrier islands in Florida fall within this zone, putting these areas in danger
Jaeger said the ability to better understand the causes and magnitudes of sea level
changes is one of the key components of climate change research.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any marine geologist who studies the
long-term impacts of changing sea level," said Jaeger.
The expedition included several record accomplishments for scientific ocean drill-
ing. He said drilling with a dynamically positioned drillship has historically been a
challenge in the relatively shallow waters of continental shelves, the seaward continu-
ation of coastlines. The expedition reached record drilling depths of more than half
of a mile, or 3,400 feet, on the continental shelf and more than 1.2 miles on the nearby
continental slope, becoming the deepest hole drilled on a single expedition in the
history of scientific ocean drilling. It was also the deepest sample taken by scientific
ocean drilling for microbiological studies at 6,300 feet.
"Together, these record-setting accomplishments will allow for an unprecedented
scientific view of million-year long changes in global sea-level, the paleoclimate histo-
ry of an understudied
w part of the Earth and
4 - of the environmental
limits of life on this
4 planet," he said.
expedition was one
of four expeditions.
occurred near New
Jersey, the Bahamas,
Tahiti and Australia.
Jaeger can be
reached at 352-846-
1381 or jmjaeger@ufl.
Vic Ricchezza (BS Geology, 1999), Earth Systems Teacher in the Science Department at Langston
Hughes High School, Fairburn, GA: "This year I left my position as Senior Geologist with Airtek
Environmental Corp. (Long Island City, NY) and accepted a position as a science teacher with the
brand new Langston Hughes High School in Fulton County, Georgia (just outside Atlanta). I'm
teaching a class in Earth Systems which involves a synthesis of geology, oceanography, and meteo-
rology, and preparing high school students to pass the science portion of the Georgia High School
Graduation Test. Although I very much enjoyed my nine-year career as an environmental field
geologist, I feel I've found a calling for myself as a geology teacher. I can be reached through the
school (Vic Ricchezza, Langston Hughes High School, 7510 Hall Road, Fairburn, GA 30213, or via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org).GoGators!"
Let IIs Know
The Rocky Gator relies on
information from you. Did you
get promoted or win any awards
recently? Did you move to a new
job or city? Get married? Have a
child? Or can you tell us about
another Rocky Gator with whom
you're in contact? Let us know
what's happening by mailing or
e-mailing us the information--
with photos if possible--to:
University of Florida
Dept of Geological Sciences
PO Box 112120
Gainesville, FL 32611-2120
neering Technician Dow
staff members who
ing and meritorious
to the quality oflfe
provided to students
Retreated to the Forest
On January 26, 2010 we held
a full-day faculty retreat at UF's
Austin Cary Forest conference
center. The retreat gave us the
opportunity to seriously dis-
cuss some of the directions the
Department will take in the next
few years and do some strategic
planning for the future. Most
active faculty and staff members
were able to attend. UF profes-
sional facilitator John Dane led
participants in exercises de-
signed to detail "where we as a
department are trying to go and
how we intend to get there." It
was a productive and enjoyable
day that provided us with ideas - -
for some new and exciting edu- .
national avenues to follow. -- - --
Departmentof Geological Sciences Faculty: (standing, from left to right) Ray Thomas, Dr.1ames E.T Channell, Dr. Michael Pertit, Dr. Mark Brenner, Dr. Matt Smith, Dr. Paul
Mueler, Dr. Neil Opdyke, Dr. Mark Panning, Dr. Ellen Martin, Dr. Ray Russo, Dr.loseph Meert, Dr.lim Vogl, Dr.1ohnlaeger; (sitting/kneelng, from left to right) Dr. Kyle Min,
Dr.1ason Curtis, Dr. David Foster, Dr. Elizabeth Screaton, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, Dr. George Kamenov, Dr. Peter Adams, and Dr. Ann Heatherington. Not available for faculty
picture: Dr. Paul Gesielski, Dr. Kainan Huang, Dr.lonathan Martin, Dr. Guerry McGelan and Dow Van Arnam.