Char Mehrtens As I begin to plan my fall 2010 TAP (Teacher-Advisory Program) class on “Fossil Fuels and Climate Change,” the university is discussing potential future “spires of excellence” for UVM, and one proposal focuses on the environment. If our UVM faculty are any measure, it’s hard to identify another subject that focuses more on the environment than geology! Our faculty and students are traveling across the globe to collect data and in new laboratories in Delehanty Hall are applying the latest analytical tools for documenting the nature, rates, and extent of global and regional changes to the Earth and its environments. You can read more about faculty and student research from links on this page.

Geology faculty continue to offer formal course work and research opportunities spanning the variety of scales and time frames of Earth history and processes. We are proud that Dr. Greg Druschel has just received an NSF Career Award to pursue his cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in the interface between microbial activity, chemical changes in the environment, and resulting mineral formation. A recent National Science Foundation grant to acquire research instrumentation will allow undergraduate and graduate students to learn state of the art analytical techniques that have broad applications in geology and environmental science. Dr. Laura Webb is the recipient of an NSF grant to acquire instrumentation to be used for geophysical studies in Vermont, and her new course in Geophysical Field Methods teaches grads and undergrads how to acquire and interpret data about soil, rock, and water beneath the Earth’s surface. This grant was part of an exciting new collaboration between UVM Geology and the Vermont State Geological Survey.

Our graduate and undergraduate students continue to pursue interesting research projects, both here in Vermont and around the world. Faculty member Dr. Laura Webb brought two students, Merril Sypula (graduate) and Graham Hagen-Peter (undergraduate), with her to Mongolia this summer as part of her NSF-funded research on the geologic effects of Himalayan mountain-building on the terrain in the interior of Asia. M.S. student Janelle McAtamney accompanied Dr. Keith Klepeis and me to Patagonia, Chile as part of his research project to document the nature and timing of the earliest uplift of the Andes Mountains. Joseph Graly, as part of his M.S. research with Dr. Paul Bierman, has been trying to document recent glacial movement in Greenland. Dr. Andrea Lini is working with graduate students Jo Palmer and Drew Koff to compare the climate record of ancient and recent Lake Champlain sediments in order to tease out anthropogenic effects. There is more information on graduate student research at

For more information on the latest research by geology faculty and students, visit these links to Tectonics and Surface Processes.

You are welcome to explore further the global geoscience research of UVM geology by visiting the department website ( and following links to our faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate opportunities. The latest edition of the Geology Department newsletter, the Champlain Thrust, can be found here.