Geosciences Department

News and Events

The Princeton Review lists Union College as #1 for Best Science Lab Facilities

The Princeton Review's "The Best 389 Colleges" has recently listed Union College as #1 for "Best Science Lab Facilities" based on student ratings of Union Colleges science lab facilities. Check it out here!

Princeton Review the Best 389 Colleges Book Cover

Union students take GEO 305 lab on location in Panama

The Geosciences department and its students are on the move again! After two years of travel restrictions due to Covid, our students are once again traveling for hands-on research experience. The students from Prof. David Gillikin's GEO 305 Global Biogeochemical Cycles travelled to Panama and the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation field station in Bocas del Toro, Republic of Panama.

'Nature' paper completes picture of lockstep global climate

The drilling rig, Lake Junín, Peru, 2015

The drilling rig, Lake Junín, Peru, 2015

For the first time, scientists can show that greenhouse gases have dragged the tropics – not just the polar regions – into synchronous climate change over much of the last million years, according to a paper published this week in Nature.

Donald T. Rodbell, the John and Jane Wold Professor of Geosciences at Union College, is the lead author of the paper that also shows that changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases (primarily CO2 and methane) have had a profound impact on synchronizing global climate. >>Full story...

F.W. Olin Building Weather Station

New station installed on Olin Roof

Geosciences Tech, Hailey Mundell, and Geosciences Major, Ian Plummer '22, just finished installing Olin building's new weather station. (February 24, 2022)

The Geosciences department just installed a new weather station atop the F.W. Olin building! Check out the current weather conditions at

Union College, Schenectady, NY

Conditions as of: NOW

Professor John Garver Addresses Ice Jams on the Lower Mohawk River

Screen capture of John Garver taken from a local television broadcast

Local news outlets relied on Professor of Geosciences, John Garver, for his expertise regarding ice jam mitigation and last week's breakup on the Mohawk River.

The Daily Gazette article by Shenandoah Briere after successful breakup (19 Feb 2021) - this has a key public message that jams are being mitigated.

To read more about ice jams along the Mohawk River, and other environmental issues, check out Professor John Garver's blog "Notes from a Watershed."

Frey and Manon Awarded NSF RAPID Grant

La Soufrière volcano

The April 22, 2021 eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, St. Vincent. After four months of volcanic unrest and lava dome growth, La Soufrière experienced more than 30 explosive blasts from April 9-22, 2021, blanketing the region in ash and pyroclastic flows. Attribution: Ritchie Robertson (UWI-SRC)

$15,691; NSF Rapid Response Research (RAPID)

Principal Investigator: Holli Frey, professor and chair of geology; Co-Principal Investigator: Matthew Manon, lecturer in geology

RAPID: The effusive to explosive transition of La Soufrière, St. Vincent: Insights from petrology and hygrometry

The on-going eruption of La Soufrière, St. Vincent provides a unique opportunity to understand and evaluate a volcanic event as it occurs and evolves. After exhibiting no volcanic activity since 1979, a lava dome began extruding from the summit crater of La Soufrière in late December 2020, and on April 9, 2021, the eruptive style transitioned to an explosive phase.

Rodbell, Gillikin lead $1.5 M NSF grant to study tropical climate record

Prof. David Gillikin, Modesto Castro (cave owner), Laura Piccirillo ’20 and Prof. Donald Rodbell at the entrance of Peru’s Huagapo Cave in March 2019.

Prof. David Gillikin, Modesto Castro (cave owner), Laura Piccirillo ’20 and Prof. Donald Rodbell at the entrance of Peru’s Huagapo Cave in March 2019.

Two of our Union College geology professors – Donald Rodbell and David Gillikin – are leading an international team of scientists in a project to develop the longest continuous paleoclimate record from the region known as the “heat engine” of Earth. Rodbell, Gillikin lead $1.5 M NSF grant to study tropical climate record.