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It has been quite a while since you have heard from us, probably because we have been very busy in the last few years.  The Bryn Mawr Geology Department has been in a steady state of change over the past few years.  With the retirement of Weecha Crawford and the impending retirement of Bruce Saunders, the department will have a lot of new faces in the coming years.  In addition there has been a significant increase in geology major numbers and the continuing increase in our overall course enrollments.  Fourteen seniors will graduate this year.  Here is a message from those students:

Dear Geo Alums,

The students here hope this newsletter finds you happy, healthy, and appreciating your time outside the walls of the Park Science Building. Everything is going well here. It’s mid-semester Spring term which means theses are completed, we’re recovering from midterms, bracing ourselves for finals, and gearing up for summer internships and jobs, and of course, graduation. Between Bryn Mawr and Haverford, we have 14 geology majors graduating this year. Our small family is quickly expanding, as we have 6-7 freshmen already deciding Geology as their major. We have around 30 majors total!

As we grow in size, we hope to stay in contact with the previous students (you!). We would love to hear about where your studies have taken you, what your current interests are, stories about completing theses, etc. We would also be very thrilled if anyone would be interested in hosting student interns for week-long internships over Fall, Winter, and/or Spring Breaks. If you have any questions about the program, or would like to host a student, please contact Major Representative Paige Walker (’09) at . We would also welcome any advice (geology-related, or life in general).

In closing, we would just like to reiterate our appreciation for you all – the previous students.  If it wasn’t for your continued interest in and commitment to the program, it wouldn’t be what it is today – a thriving, enthusiastic place for students to learn and collaborate with each other and with our professors.  Sending all our best,

The Students of Bryn Mawr Geology

Some activities – Field trips

Many of you know of and have benefitted from this fund sponsored by alums to honor E.H. Watson, who was one of the second generation of faculty (all hired by Florence Bascom, our founder).  As you may remember, this fund supports student field work and research, trips to meetings, field camp, etc., and has grown over the years with alum contributions, particularly with a significant donation by Elizabeth Wood (PhD. '39 now deceased).  Five years ago, we decided to use a portion of the income to subsidize a significant Fall Field Trip that would otherwise not be affordable to students (or faculty!). 

Arlo led the first trip to the Cantabrian of NW Spain in 2003 with a colleague, Gabriel Gutierrez-Alonso ("Gabi"), of the University of Salamanca.  The focus of this trip was a tectonic transect across an ancient continental suture that existed between North America and Europe after the amalgamation of the Pangea supercontinent.  The students were exposed to everything from a nearly complete Paleozoic sedimentary succession that was deformed during folding and thrusting in the Carboniferous (similar to what is found in PA), to high grade rocks and eclogites that marked the ancient contact between the two ancient landmasses.  Arlo plans to lead a similar trip this coming fall for our new crop of eager geology majors.


Don Barber led the fall 2004 trip to the Canadian Rockies with help from his wife, Sharlene, who was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta.  Students and faculty took in the grandeur and beautifully exposed geology of the Kananaskis valley and the mountains in and around Banff and Jasper Nat'l Parks.  This trip provided exposures for nearly everyone: stacked thrust sequences, fossil Paleozoic reefs, petroleum geology, hydrothermal pools, glacial geology and retreating glaciers, and we even got to gaze up the mountainside to the Burgess Shale outcrop (hiking up is forbidden after September). There was darn little igneous or metamorphic petrology, but other than that we saw a heck of a lot of geology in a week!  Pictures from the Canadian Rockies trip are online at:


In 2005, a long-time friend of Bruce's from his “South Pacific days,” Larry Davis of St. Benedict/St John's College, Minnesota led a trip to San Salvador (Columbus' first landing site) to look at modern carbonate environments.  This was the first exposure most students had to modern reef environments, and we had a remarkable look at modern stromatolites growing in hypersaline lagoons pumping out O2 during the daytime; a great Precambrian model for the early setting for life. 


In fall 2006, Catherine Riihimaki led the Geology Department trip to the Central Coast of California. Over the week, we traveled from Point Reyes down to Big Sur, getting first-hand views of tectonic landforms, coastal processes, Neogene fossils, and igneous and metamorphic petrology as we followed the San Andreas Fault from north to south. We also took in the local surfing culture in Santa Cruz, the marine life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, and the great hiking and camping opportunities at several state and national parks throughout the trip.


hawaiiChris Oze, our newest faculty member, led a trip to examine the volcanically active island of Hawaii as well as to explore the geologic processes that have shaped the current landscape in 2007.  More than half of this trip was spent exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, introducing many of the students for the first time to the field of volcanology.  We also had the opportunity to visit unique sites and explore topics at the intersection of geological, biological and ecological studies on the western side of the Big Island. The highlight of the trip was a helicopter tour of the active vent at Puu Oo.  By the end of the trip, it was difficult to bring many of the students back to Bryn Mawr.

At left – Arlo (at left), Chris (far right) and students on the Hawaii field trip.


We have really been blessed by the alums in being able to offer these trips and the other support that the Watson fund permits.  There is little doubt that many of our majors are drawn to the Department through these experiences, and they serve as a great way to develop camaraderie as well as to foster on-hands field experience.


News from the Faculty

Bruce Saunders has, for several years, returned to his ammonoid roots, and has been publishing on the ~170 My record of morphologic variation in Paleozoic ammonoids.  This has involved the use of about 22 characters for all ~600 genera of ammonoids ranging from the Devonian into the Triassic, using Principal Components Analysis. The seeds for this were first planted by Andy Swan, whom some of you may remember as a postdoc working here back in the '80's (Andy is now on the faculty at Kingston University, UK).  It is a measure of progress to note that the original, seminal paper we published in 1984 using this approach involved use of the College HP mainframe, and we generated graphics using an ink-pen plotter and custom software running overnight on an Apple II+ computer that was then state of the art on campus--today any laptop can do the same thing in seconds using commercial software!  Next up will be comparing Paleozoic ammonoids to nautiloids--we know they are different but no one has ever tried to quantify the differences or look at the tempo of their evolution.  Bruce has for several years benefitted from the presence of  Howard Hughes postdoctoral fellow Emily Greenfest-Allen (BMC ~'2000).

On a personal note, Bruce and Nancy have become owners of an historic 1790 former farm house/tavern/underground RR stop in Pennsdale, north central PA, near Williamsport.  This just happens to be only an hour from Watkins Glen NY, where  he continues to race (and she continues to tolerate) his 1962 Volvo 1800 in vintage sports car races, against  Porsches TRs MGs Corvettes, wins but lots of excitement and a great way to spend money.  They will retire to this area in a couple of years.

Don Barber was tenured in 2006 and was on sabbatical last academic year (’06-07).  Among other activities while on sabbatical, Don co-led (with Prof. Peter Magee in Archaeology Dept) a month-long winter geoarchaeological field school with ten students in the United Arab Emirates (picture #1). 

Don and the students conducted coastal research on the Holocene sea-level history of the Persian Gulf, and also sampled serpentine quarries in the mountains of the Oman ophiolite to characterize potential softstone sources for archaeological artifacts.  From a coastal engineering stand-point, construction in Dubai is a wonder in itself, but Don also took time out to become familiar with sedimentology in the coastal sabkhas (picture #2).










Picture 1 – UAE scenery                                     Picture 2 –Sabkha travel        

Back at Bryn Mawr, Don and Peter co-taught their 200-level Geoarchaeology course for a second time this past fall (’07), with about 36 students enrolled.  Don also is directing the Environmental Studies concentration, which recently hired an environmental historian, Ellen Stroud, who is bringing more social science (and students!) into the program.

Arlo Weil was tenured in 2007.  His research over the past few years has focused mainly on the kinematics and mechanics of fold-thrust development. In collaboration with colleagues from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Weber State University in Utah, he has prepared six manuscripts on the evolution of the Wyoming Salient of the Sevier foreland orogenic system (picture #3 next page).  This area of research has a long and fruitful history in the Bryn Mawr Geology Department, as Lucian Platt spent many of his formative research years trudging up and down some of the same slopes Arlo has tackled over the past several summers.  Arlo also continues to work on the tectonic evolution of Variscan Europe with colleagues from the University of Salamanca (picture #4 next page). This work mainly focuses on the final stages of collision between the main Pangean players – Laurussia, and Gondwana.  Students continue to participate in all activities of this research – both in the laboratory running paleomagnetic and rock magnetic samples, and also in the field helping collect structural data and core samples.  Plans are underway to start a new research program this summer that will focus on investigating the mechanisms responsible for carbonate remagentization.  This project should take Arlo and several students to some pretty exotic places around the globe for sample collecting and analysis.



Picture 3 - Arlo’s students                                          Picture 4 - Arlo 

Chris Oze, the most recent geology faculty hire, is finishing up his second year at Bryn Mawr.  Trained in diverse geoscientific specialties (mineralogy, petrology, geochemical thermodynamics and kinetics, biogeochemistry and soil chemistry), Chris is currently working on a number of projects including the relationship of biogeochemistry and critical zone processes, the biodurability of asbestos minerals, and the production of elemental hydrogen and methane derived from the serpentinization of ultramafic material. He and Kevin Pogue (Whitman College) were funded by the Keck Geology Consortium this past year to lead six undergraduates (including Anna Mazzariello from BMC) to investigate the geologic controls of viticulture in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington state.  This coming summer BMC students Paige Walker and Nithya Vasudevan will be traveling out to Washington state to evaluate how soils affect viticulture in the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area.  In addition to his soil science research, Chris will be offering a new geology course entitled the Science of Soils this fall. The objective of this course is to understand the physical, chemical, and biological processes functioning within soils and to obtain an appreciation for soils as dynamic, non-renewable natural resources.  After leading the geology fall break field trip to Hawaii this past year and based on student interest, Chris will also be teaching a volcanology course during the spring semester.  Overall, Chris is keeping busy after advising six senior theses this past year and is looking forward to getting a new Rigaku XRD up and running this Spring.

BrynMawr_2006_2007 022

Chris Oze, Stephanie Olen, and Arlo Weil at the 2007 BMC graduation.  Stephanie has been accepted into the University of Michigan Ph.D. program working with Todd Ehlers.






IMG_0238-2Catherine Riihimaki is finishing her fourth and final year at Bryn Mawr. For her first three years, she served as a Keck Foundation postdoctoral fellow, teaching a handful of classes, including Problem Solving in the Environmental Sciences, Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies, Glaciology and Glacial Geology, and Earth Systems and the Environment. In 2007-2008, Catherine has been the lab coordinator for the department, teaching the labs for the introductory classes. Her research at Bryn Mawr has focused on landscape evolution in the Rocky Mountains. Catherine took several Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Macalester students into the field for glaciology work in Glacier National Park and thermal chronometry research in northeastern Wyoming. She will begin a tenure-track job at Drew University in Fall 2008.



In the picture at right, Catherine works on a meteorological station on Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park





megaf1Bill and Weecha Crawford are greatly enjoying retirement.  We moved from Bryn Mawr to Haverford, into a senior citizen community, when we no longer needed to be close enough to walk to the College. Despite the move, we still come in most days.  The move has meant we no longer have to do chores such as vacuuming and grass mowing and can happily spend time travelling, giving talks around and about, providing help to our colleagues if/when needed, and generally having fun.  Our trips mostly involve either or both small ship cruising and bird watching.  We also fit in a lot of geology sightseeing and cannot let our traveling companions escape having all the glories of the rocks explained – see picture of folded rocks along the coast of Greenland!

Reflecting on the changes in the department Arlo Weil hopes that the continuing faculty, along with new hires, will maintain the high standards of this great department and that with the help of our esteemed alumni and our emeritus faculty that we will continue to make strides to bring our department even further into the future.  Clearly, the future glows bright for Geology Department’s success.



News from fellow alums

Jill Dill Pasteris, AB ’74 -- Jill continues to apply her mineralogical insights and tools to all variety of interesting materials.  She is working on bone and other biomineralization as well as developing collaborations with her colleagues at Washington University, St. Louis on materials research.  This includes polymer chemists, biomedical and mechanical engineers and at least one physicist.  She also continues to find collaborators around the country.  Her twin daughters will graduate from college this spring.

Rhea Graham, AB ’74 -- This winter, which was summer down under, our entire family visited Queensland and northern New South Wales, arriving on Christmas Day. The next day, the rains came, breaking one of the worst droughts since the 1950s. We experienced several showers at the Australia Zoo, and Teri Irwin conducted the croc show--it was just "crikey". We hiked to the head of a drainage along the fall line, and watched a several hundred feet high waterfall come back to life. The surfing, when the weather was clear, wasn't unbearably hot, such as when we visited friends' at their beach house in Noosa. Later we drove down to northern NSW and stayed in a rented house, where gale-force winds rendered the South Pacific "not pacific" for four days, but we enjoyed it, and learned the ins and outs of cricket, as well as taking turns cooking gourmet meals. Being almost quarter-century residents of the arid Southwest, we know better than curse rains breaking a long-awaited drought. Since their winter precip. patterns are the inverse of ours during La Nina cycles, we wonder what that means this summer will be like here, as the 1950s had record drought in New Mexico. On the eastern Pacific coast of Australia, there is a phenomenon called a King Tide, when the oceanic high tide and the riverine peak flood collide, causing the littoral coastline of rain forest anchored in sand dunes, to be 'cut off". Fortunately, we weren't cut off; however, traffic on a major north-south highway was reduced to one lane on our drive back to Queensland. We then stayed in an eco-friendly resort on barrier islands off Brisbane, with both sand dunes and mangrove beaches, and that was a lot of cars, and only bicycles allowed for guests. We biked all over the forest and saw every animal featured on typical postcards from Oz. For me, it was one of those "bucket-emptying" experiences, but my husband claims that not seeing the Great Barrier Reef means that he isn't finished with that area yet. His 7-month sabbatical at Australian Rivers Institute was very rewarding, and we'd like to both return there sometime. Our younger daughter attended a public high school there for one semester, and since the seasons are reversed, she is getting two proms and two graduations her senior year. They lived in an apartment with stage 5 drought restrictions (30 gppd), and didn't feel slighted in terms of ability to enjoy life. I highly recommend Australia for anyone who is a geologist, especially if interested in environmental geology. This country seems to have figured out that being eco-balanced increases one's standard of living, instead of complaining about the costs of change, as we so often hear in this country.

Floyd Demmon, MA ’77 -- I've been at what now is called ArcelorMittal for 29 years, most of it spent doing stuff totally unrelated to "hard rock" geology, which, paradoxically, prepared me extremely well for what I've done. Take non-metallic inclusions in steel sheet as an example. The same phase diagrams and mineral assemblages that were needed to complete the MA have kept coming back over the course of my career. (Who knew one actually would use those ternary diagrams after classes were done?) Just today I spent the afternoon zapping "slivers" (rolled out inclusions--really bad features on a car door) with a portable OES.

I finally was able to figure out how to develop maps of slab defect data using GIS methods. Without my time at BMC, it never would have occurred to me that the maps would even be possible. Now the maps and the method I developed are going to be part of a paper at an international continuous caster conference in Italy this June. My task now is to weasel a ticket and room for the conference. I can actually compare defect distributions from "Practice A" to "Practice B" now. The question of the statistical significance of the spatial differences still remains but is less important.

Last year I came back to campus for perhaps an hour for the first time since I left in '77. Ironically enough, my hotel for the night was a Hampton Inn smack in the middle of the Downingtown Quadrangle. Now, I had walked every mile of road in that quadrangle and spent many an hour looking at chunks of rock in the fields and at the scarce outcrops. I had walked the entire perimeter of Marsh Lake, but now I was completely disoriented--nothing looked remotely the same. Aliens could have put me back in the wrong zip code, and I couldn't have been more messed up. Hasn't anyone out there heard of regional planning--or was THAT the plan? I remember Harold Arndt telling me to be careful out there because of the ticks. "I knew a guy in Lionville got bit by a tick and got the tick fever. He died. He was a Lutheran." I suspect the ticks have moved to Parkesburg by now, maybe the Lutherans, too.

I'll have been married 25 years in October & have one kid. She graduated summa from Indiana-Bloomington in East Asian Languages & Cultures. She spent her Jr year in Beijing on a PRC scholarship at Beijing Language & Culture Institute. Recently she decided to move to Brooklyn, and I ended up driving her there in a 300m long U-Haul that got one furlong to the gallon. Traffic on I-80 in Western PA came to a dead stop during a Sunday AM ice storm. I turned on the radio, assuming that dead-stop for a long time would be newsworthy. The only radio station made no mention of a massive delay; it merely continued to play polka music for the entire hour & twenty minute lock down. I seem to remember a Far Side cartoon where the devil says to those coming in, "Welcome to Hell. Pick up your accordion, and go to the right." The whole time we were stuck in this situation, I imagined what Bill Crawford would have thought about it.

Pinar Yilmaz, MA ’78 -- These days I find it hard to be in one place more than a week. Besides work travel, I am going to Izmir, Turkey 4-5 times a year to visit my mother and family. Mother is getting a bit slower but still as feisty! I am still having lots of fun and exciting work at ExxonMobil. Malaysia is a new place for me-- what a great place with such mixture of three cultures-- Malay, Indian and Chinese. It is a very colorful place as well as offering great architecture, excellent restaurants, shops and service. The weather is a bit hot and humid most of the time, but everything is green. One wonders what is under all of that green canopy. I plan to visit the surrounding areas on my next trip to see more of the region. Next week I am off to St Petersburg & Moscow. I am sure it will be a bit cooler than KL!

Benjamin Frisch, AB  '82 – Has been teaching at Friends Seminary in NYC and is now applying to Columbia University for a Master's Degree in Biostatistics

Enid Karr, ‘83 -- As of Nov '07, I am "Reference Librarian/Bibliographer for Biology and Geology" at Boston College... so actually working in an area related to Geology for the first time in ages.

Bob Cook ‘91 – Is now a tenured associate professor at Keystone College and, at least for ’07-’08, is interim Dean of Academic Affairs.  He reports this puts a crimp in his casual life style.  He has also worked on a summer program for 7th -12th grade teachers and his consulting business is also doing well.  Despite all this he has found time to keep up with running, and has completed at least on 100 mile race, this took just over 24 hours!  He has a daughter who is in 6th grade and thriving.

Barbara Cheyney AB ’92 -- I am not doing much now that I am retired, except for the ZOO! I went through their course (almost a year) to become a docent and am spending every week at the zoo telling visitors about the animals. Since I promised Curt that we could live animal-free after the last one died, it is my only way to be safely near them.

Gwen Miner, AB ’92 -- I'm still working at Harvard in the Technology Development Office doing financial work, 9 years and counting. It works well for me. My daughter is in first grade and my son is 3 so I get to stay home with him 2 days a week. We bought a house 4 years ago and have done all the major things (new roof, new basement) and some smaller things. Life is busy but good.

Ida Wylie Adkins, AB ’93 -- I am very busy keeping up with my two sons (ages 8 and 2) right now. The younger one seems to have inherited the rock-collecting genes.

Peter Nassar, PhD ’00 -- Is living in Narberth, teaching Anatomy & Histology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UPenn (official title "Associate Director of Labs"), and spending spare time playing the game of Go!

Sara Tourscher, AB ’02 -- I graduated from University of Michigan in April 2007 with a M.S. in Geology. Now I am in a teaching program at UMass- Amherst. When I finish up this June, I will be certified to teach Earth and Space Science and have a Masters Degree in Education.  I met up with Juliet Crider when she passed through western Mass on her way to a yearlong sabbatical in France.

Jane Steele, AB ’03  -- I've been busy for the past few years doing archaeological surveys and working part time for the oil industry.  Now I am a first year graduate student at Rutgers University in the department of Evolutionary Anthropology. My interest is in the paleoecology of Pleistocene hominins, mainly the habitats of Homo erectus and Paranthropus boisei. I'll be working this summer on a site in northern Kenya dated to 1.5 Million years, as well as collecting data on modern animal behavior in game parks.  I also got married last summer to a geophysicist who currently works in the oil industry but has dreams of leaving his job to join me in Kenya.

Amanda Rogers, AB ’04 -- I work at Rosemont College as the Web Manager and Head Field Hockey Coach. And I'm assistant coaching track at Bryn Mawr.

Melissa Lindholm, AB ’06 --  I am still working on my Master's thesis at New Mexico Tech; I switched projects last April from a geochemistry thesis on Mount Erebus to an economic geology thesis on a copper-gold porphyry deposit in Alaska. My advisors are Andy Campbell and Bill Chavez. I am looking at ore/alteration mineralogy and zoning and will be creating a sulfur isotope profile of the deposit (which could have exploration applications). I've gotten to do lots of cool field work and go on awesome field trips in graduate school: I went to Antarctica and New Zealand last year to study volcanoes, last semester I went to Death Valley to learn exploration mapping skills, in January I went to Chile on an SEG field trip looking at IOCG deposits, and in May I am going to Ghana for two weeks on a gold deposit field trip! Geology is awesome!

Shannon Ulrich, AB ‘06 -- I'm still at Oak Ridge National Lab, doing research and writing papers.  Look for another publication in Marine and Petroleum Geology in the coming months.  For the future, I just accepted admission to the Colorado School of Mines where I will be working on a M.S. in the Environmental Science and Engineering Division under Dr. John Spear, focusing on geobiology/extremophiles (likely in Yellowstone.)  I'll also be a TA!!  If any of you know of any potential sources of funding (especially for Bryn Mawr alums? in the geosciences?), I hope you will let me know.

If you would like to share your news with us and colleagues, send it to:  Remember we love to hear from you.

The department home page can be found at . 

If you want to see the pictures in this newsletter in color: . 

We have started in a small way to add news of alumnae to the Department page at .  If you have news you would like to share with other Geo alumnae, send the information (or a web link) to Weecha and it will be included.