Contact Us
Department of Geology
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone: (610) 526-7392
Fax: (610) 526-5086

Department of Geology

Welcome to the Department of Geology at Bryn Mawr College. In these pages you will find information about our courses and research, our students and faculty, our undergraduate and graduate programs, our history, our facilities, and our special events.

Recent Department Highlights

Summer Field Work with the Marencos

Claire Johnson (BMC'16), left, and Katherine Marenco, right, studying an Ordovician-aged reef mound in Arches National Park.

Happy Trails to Lynne!


Our long-time lecturer and lab coordinator Lynne Elkins joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska this Fall as an Assistant Professor of Volcanology.  We're all sad to see you go, Lynne! Best of luck with your newest adventure!

Students & Faculty on Summer Field Work

Field Work

Research Associate Katherine Marenco (left) with Geology Majors Nancy Toure (center), Emily Garcia (right), and Danyelle Phillips (top) -- atop the Continental Divide.

Bryn Mawr Research Team Analyzes Mid-Ocean Ridge Basalts Over Summer

Evan and Robin

Geology Department Lecturer Lynne Elkins led a student team to the University of Wyoming this summer, to continue work on her NSF grant.  Above, Evan Rivers (BMC ' 14) and Robin Chernow (HC '15) perform strontium extraction columns to analyze strontium isotopes by MC-ICP-MS in basalts from the Northern Kolbeinsey Ridge and Southern Mohns Ridge.

Aliza Taft (BMC '14) Restores Roman Pottery in Macedonia

Aliza and Roman Pottery

Geology-Archeology double major Aliza Taft (BMC '14, shown above with a pot she successfully restored) spent part of her summer at a workshop on Conservation, Restoration and Documentation of Roman Pottery, one of several field schools offered by the Balkan Heritage Foundation. The school took place in Macedonia at the archaeological site of Stobi, a city that existed from pre-Roman times up through the sixth century CE. During the pottery project, Aliza learned the process of conserving, restoring and documenting Late Roman Pottery (3rd-4th cent. CE) on actual vessels found in the necropolis at Stobi. Before starting on the "real" vessel, she had two "practice pots," on which she learned how to assemble the pot from shards, glue it together, and then fill gaps with plaster.

Geology Professor Arlo Weil named GSA Fellow

Dr. Arlo Weil, Geology Department Chair and Full Professor, has been named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), a prestigious award given to those considered to be the best of our profession.  Congratulations, Arlo! 

Arlo in Argentina

Arctic Ocean Exploration with Bryn Mawr Students & Faculty

Students Onboard

In June and July 2012, Lecturer Lynne Elkins led a student team in conducting geochemical and field research into volcanic activity in the Arctic Ocean. Students Evan Rivers and Kelsey Meisenhelder accompanied Elkins aboard the RV Poseidon for 25 days along the northern Kolbeinsey Ridge and Eggvin Bank spreading region, west of Jan Mayen Island. Together with seven other scientists and the ship’s crew, and using shipboard and autonomous vehicle sonar equipment, they extensively mapped and conducted targeted sampling of this poorly understood volcanic region. Back in the Geochemistry Suite at Bryn Mawr, student Rachel Davis worked with Rivers, Meisenhelder, and Elkins to process volcanic samples from other Arctic locations and begin method development for volcanic trace element analysis using the Department’s ICP-MS instrument.

Professor Weil & Students Conduct Geologic Mapping in the Rocky Mountains

Fern and Andriy

This past summer, newly minted Full-Professor Arlo Weil, along with his colleague Adolph Yonkee from Weber State University in Utah, took two students (Fern Beetle-Moorcroft and Andriy Mshanetskyy) deep into the Rocky Mountain foreland to study the kinematics and mechanics of Laramide deformation.  This was the final summer of a three year National Science Foundation project investigating the link between plate-scale dynamics and foreland deformation in the North American Cordillera. We collected nearly 100 sites worth of data, and only had one rattle snake bite to show for it.

Microgravity Team Flies in NASA's Zero-G Plane

Microgravity Team!

In July, new Assistant Professor Selby Cull took six Bryn Mawr Geology students (Christina Lee, Alice Clark, Mary Schultz, Hannah Gatz-Miller, Simona Clausnitzer, and Danyelle Phillips) to Houston to fly in NASA's parabolic airplane that simulates zero gravity, testing the properties of Martian soil.  Follow their story on their blog!

In Zero-G

Read news coverage and an interview with team member Danyelle Phillips in the Nelson County Times and with team member Christina Lee in the Courier Post!

Bryn Mawr Paleontologists Explore Western Utah

Pedro and Students

Bryn Mawr Research Associate Katherine Marenco conducted field work in western Utah this summer, for an ongoing project exploring the relationship between seafloor conditions and the evolution of marine communities during the Ordovician radiation. Also participating in the Utah expedition were Assistant Professor Pedro Marenco and Geology majors Alliya Akhtar and Danyelle Phillips, who focused their efforts on measuring and sampling Ordovician and Triassic stratigraphic sections for geochemical analysis. The group encountered plenty of wildlife - including four rattlesnakes - but came away unscathed.

Professor Barber and Students Investigate Sea Level Rise in North Carolina


This summer, Associate Professor Don Barber led a student team to investigate sea level changes in coastal North Carolina. Geology students Anna Lee Woodson and Storrs Kegel led a team of researchers back to Woodson’s senior thesis site in search of a longer Holocene sea level record.  The team obtained the deepest Holocene marsh peats ever found in southern Pamlico Sound.  After the work in southern Pamlico Sound, Kegel and Woodson joined the international group for additional fieldwork in northern Pamlico Sound, near Nags Head on the Outer Banks. A second field campaign by Barber and Kegel recovered cores from a new southern NC site.  Geology students will begin analyses of the new core materials in the new geochemistry lab suite this fall.

BMC Geology Professor Makes Cover of GSA Today

Geology Today

Department Chair Arlo Weil poses for the cover of GSA Today and a cover story on his research.  Read the full story here

Geology Students Win NASA Grant for Microgravity Research

The Bryn Mawr Microgravity Research Team - a group of seven Geology Majors - has been selected by NASA to fly on the "Vomit Comet", an astronaut training aircraft that simulates zero gravity. The team wrote the NASA grant themselves, mentored by Geology Assistant Professor Selby Cull, and will be simulating the effect of Mars gravity on Martian soil porosity.  Read their blog here!

Bryn Mawr Microgravity Team

Bryn Mawr Geology Team to Leave for Arctic Research Expedition

Two Bryn Mawr students will join Geology Lecturer Lynne Elkins on a trip to the watersThe Mid-Atlantic Ridge at Iceland north of Iceland next summer as Elkins and her fellow researchers try to better understand volcanic activity in the area. The researchers plan to explore the mechanisms driving the production of new ocean crust occurring at volcanic mid-ocean ridges like the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the Arctic Ocean, and also to help explain anomalous volcanic activity occurring in the region.

The trip is funded by a National Science Foundation grant that Elkins and colleagues from the University of Wyoming received this summer to explore volcanic activity in a segment of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge known as the Eggvin Bank.  Read more...

Geology Assistant Professor and the Search for Water on Mars

New Assistant Professor of Geology Selby Cull is among the researchers making headlines for a just-released article in the journal Scienceon the possibility of water on Mars. The news has been reported by most major media outlets world-wide.


Department and Alumni Activity :
Department Travel:

Fall Break 2012 - Spain!  Geology Department students and faculty will travel to Spain, led by Professor Arlo Weil

Spring Break 2012 - Costa Rica!  Geology Department students and faculty traveled to Costa Rica to study the volcanoes


Spring Break 2011 - Bahamas!  Geology Department students and faculty traveled to the Bahamas to study coastal processes