Tag Archive for Resor

Wesleyan Hosts 8th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of Connecticut

Professor Gilmore accepting the Joe Weber Award

Marty Gilmore accepts the Joe Webb Peoples Award at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of Connecticut.

On Nov. 18, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (E&ES) hosted the 8th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of Connecticut (GSC). The event featured a student scholarship wine-tasting fundraiser and a public science lecture called “The Real Jurassic Park in the Connecticut Valley,” by paleontologist Robbert Baker.

During the meeting, Phillip Resor, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, Martha “Marty” Gilmore, the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, were awarded the Joe Webb Peoples Award for their efforts in hosting the 2015 New England Intercollegiate Geologic Conference. The award recognizes those who have contributed to the understanding of the geology of Connecticut through scholarship, education and service.

Many other E&ES faculty were in attendance, including Dana Royer, Suzanne O’Connell, Johan Varekamp, Peter Patton and Timothy Ku. Additionally, several E&ES graduate students attended, including John Hossain, Melissa Luna, Shaun Mahmood, and alumni Bill Burton ’74, Nick McDonald MA ’75, and Peter LeTourneau MA ’85.

Resor, Seixas ’10 Co-Author Paper on Structural Mapping of Hualapai Limestone

Phil Resor, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Gus Seixas ’10 are co-authors of “Constraints on the evolution of vertical deformation and Colorado River incision near eastern Lake Mead, Arizona, provided by quantitative structural mapping of the Hualapai Limestone,” published in the February 2015 issue of Geosphere, Vol. 11, pages 31-49. The paper includes research from Seixas’s honors thesis at Wesleyan.

In this study, the authors quantify the structural geometry of Hualapai Limestone, which was deposited in a series of basins that lie in the path of the Colorado River. The limestone was deformed by by a fault pair known as the Wheeler and Lost Basin Range faults.

Resor Explores Connecticut’s Geological History

Phillip Resor at Connecticut's "Lake Char" fault zone. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Skahill/WNPR).

Phillip Resor at Connecticut’s “Lake Char” fault zone. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Skahill/WNPR).

Phillip Resor, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, was recently interviewed on WNPR about an amazing part of Connecticut’s geological history. According to the story, several hundred million years ago, Connecticut was in the middle of a massive continental collision, which formed the super continent Pangea and pushed up huge mountains. Deep beneath the earth, a borderland beneath the two continents formed. Today, geologists call it the Lake Char fault system; it runs along the I-395 corridor in southeastern Connecticut.

Resor took WNPR reporter Patrick Skahill to East Haddam by Gillette Castle to walk along the banks of the Connecticut River, and showed him fine black patterns flowing through the hardened cliff which showed evidence of ancient earthquakes.

“That super-fine grain material actually is what we call ‘pseudotachylite.’ It was a melt — a frictional melt in the fault,” Resor said. “If you think about rubbing your hands together, you’ll get heat, right? So if you rub fast enough, you’ll raise the temperature to the point where you can actually melt the rock.”

Resor explained that as Pangea broke apart about 200 million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean began to open up. A little piece of that ancient continent called “Gondwana” had broken off and was left behind, stuck to Connecticut. Geologists call this zone “Avalonia.”

Read more and see pictures of Resor and the area he studies here.

Resor Delivering 6 Lectures to Petroleum Geoscientists in Australia

Associate Professor Phil Resor is delivering six lectures in Australia this June.

Associate Professor Phil Resor is delivering six lectures in Australia this June. He is the 2014 AAPG Distinguished Lecturer.

Philip Resor, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, is taking his knowledge of petroleum down under.

Between June 18-26, Resor, a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), is delivering six lectures in Australia. The talks are geared toward members of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia (PESA) and a general petroleum industry audience.

Phil Resor at a talk in Melbourne.

Phil Resor at a talk in Melbourne.

While abroad, Resor will speak on “Syndepositional Faulting of Carbonate Platforms” and “Revisiting the Origin of Reverse Drag.”

He’ll be lecturing in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra.

A specialist in structural geology, Resor’s work integrates field mapping, remote sensing, and numerical modeling to better understand the mechanics of faulting. Recent projects have focused on the causes of syndepositional faulting in carbonate platforms, deformation around normal faults, folding on Venus, and the effects of fault zone geometry on earthquake slip.

Prior to joining the faculty at Wesleyan, Resor worked for several years as an exploration geologist in the oil and gas industry.

sydney

Phil Resor in Sydney.

Shervais ’13 Presents Fault Surfaces Research in Vienna

Kate Shervais ’13 presented her thesis research on “Examining Microroughness Evolution in Natural and Experimental Pseudotachylyte-bearing Fault Surfaces,” at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in April. More than 11,000 scientists from 95 countries attended the conference, which was held in Vienna, Austria. Only 28 percent of the participants were students.

Shervais completed her study with Phil Resor, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences. Resor, who received a National Science Foundation grant to study earthquakes in an Italian fault zone, also attended the conference. The NSF grant supported their travel to the conference.

“I had a wonderful time and was able to discuss my poster and research with geoscientists from all over the world,” she said.

Read an abstract of Shervais’s paper here.

Resor’s Study Seeks Better Understanding of How Earthquakes Occur

Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, discussing a fault line in San Francisco, Calif.

A new study designed to give scientists a better understanding of how earthquakes occur by studying ancient faults long after the quakes are over will be led by a Wesleyan faculty member and involve at least two of his students.

Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, received a $246,728 NSF (National Science Foundation) grant for his study titled “Three Dimensional Characterization of a Pseudotachylyte-bearing Fault.” The grant includes funding for one thesis student for each of the next two years; Wesleyan has contributed additional funding for a second student in 2012. The study will also establish a new collaboration between Wesleyan and scientists from the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), a world-renowned research institute in Italy.

The study is designed to improve the understanding of earthquakes and their effects, one of the primary goals of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. Specifically, Resor and his students will be examining faults that were once located more than 4 miles below the earth’s surface, where most large earthquakes begin. The conditions were so extreme at these depths that the walls of the faults actually melted due to frictional heating, creating a fault rock geologists call pseudotachylyte.  The study will use high-resolution x-ray computed tomography, similar to medical imaging technology, to look inside these faults for evidence of ancient quakes and gain new insights into their underlying causes.

“In order to produce an earthquake slip must be rapid enough to produce high-frequency waves and sufficiently large to be detectable at the surface,” Resor says. “But seismology has been unable to resolve some key issues in earthquake mechanics. For example, earthquake slip is associated with unstable frictional sliding,

NSF Supports Resor’s Fault Slip Study

Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, received a $246,728 grant from the National Science Foundation for his study on “Three Dimensional Characterization of a Pseudotachylyte-bearing Fault.” The grant was awarded on March 15 and expires on June 30, 2014.

In this study, Resor and Wesleyan students will use high-resolution x-ray computed tomography imagery of natural and experimental fault surfaces to quantify surface roughness, frictional contact area, and Pseudotachylyte fault rock thickness. “Pseudotachylytes are generally considered the only unequivocal evidence of earthquake slip velocities that is preserved in fault zones,” Resor explains.

The proposed project will improve the understanding of earthquakes and their effects, one of the primary goals of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. Furthermore, the project will establish a new collaboration between Wesleyan and scientists from the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), a world-renowned research institute in Italy.

“Undergraduate students will play an integral role in the project, planting the seeds for future international and interdisciplinary research into the processes of brittle deformation in the earth’s crust,” Resor says. “These students will experience the full scope of the scientific process, from hypothesis generation, to study design, to presentation of results at professional meetings and in a written thesis.”

Faculty, Students Present at International AGU Conference

Graduate student Austin Reed presented his first results for his MA thesis at the American Geophysical Union conference. Reed and his advisor, Johan Varekamp, are examining the evolution of two large explosive volcanic eruptions in the Greek arc.

Three faculty members from Earth and Environmental Sciences, as well as two graduate students and two undergraduate students, presented their research at the annual conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 5-7. The conference drew more than 20,000 scientists and policy makers from around the world.

Associate Professors Suzanne O’Connell and Dana Royer, Assistant Professor Phillip Resor, and Austin Reed MA-candidate, Rosemary Ostfeld BA ‘10/MA ‘12, and Julia Mulhern ’12 all attended. In addition, a poster by Katherine Shervais ’13, was also presented.

“Our research in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is so diverse, and it is exciting to see Wesleyan faculty, students, and alumni contributing to technical sessions spread across many of the AGU sections,” Resor says.

EE&S Students Develop Research, Observational Skills through Puerto Rico Fieldwork

Laura Anderson '11 (center) and fellow earth and environmental science majors and faculty kayak off the coast of Puerto Rico in January. The students worked on research projects on the island, and presented their findings in April.

This semester, 18 earth and environmental sciences majors explored dwarf mangrove forests, studied landslide susceptibility in a rainforest, examined if cave rocks record bat inhabitation, and analyzed the chemistry of coastal seagrass – all in Puerto Rico.

The students, who are enrolled in the E&ES 398 course Senior Seminar, developed observational, interpretative and research skills through their island studies. The seniors traveled to Puerto Rico in January for fieldwork, and spent the past few months analyzing their findings.

They presented their Senior Seminar Presentations on April 19 and 21 as part of the Stearns

Royer Receives Donath Medal at Geological Meeting

Dana Royer.

Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, assistant professor of environmental studies, accepted the gold Donath Medal at the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual meeting in Denver, Colo. Nov. 1.

The award came with a cash prize of $10,000.

The award recognizes a scientist, aged 35 or younger, for outstanding original research marking a major advance in the earth sciences.

On a GSA press release, Peter D. Wilf of Pennsylvania State University said, “Dana is a true innovator who successfully tackles extremely important questions in paleoclimatology and paleoecology, in part using paleobotanical proxies calibrated with a remarkable series of careful modern analog studies. He often connects the deep-time climate and CO2 record to the present day in highly societally-relevant ways that are widely cited in the ‘modern’ climate change literature.”

“Without Dana’s contributions we would know much less about Earth’s climate history and its great importance to today’s world,” Wilf said.

Leo Hickey, professor of geology and Curator of Paleobotany at Yale University, said, “In the rapidly developing field of plant paleoecology and ecophysiology, Dana Royer stands out in terms of innovation and sheer breadth and depth of knowledge. He is truly an emerging leader in the geological sciences.”

Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, also attended the annual GSA meeting, which focused on “Reaching New Peaks in Geoscience.”

Gus Seixas ’10 and Greg Hurd ’10 also presented results of their Wesleyan thesis research at the meeting.