Geology Department hosts annual Keck Symposium

Publication Date

More than 100 students, faculty and project directors will come to campus when Union hosts the 24th annual Keck Symposium Friday, Apr. 15 through Sunday, April 17.

The Geology Department is a member of the prestigious Keck Geology Consortium, a group of 18 small liberal arts colleges focused on developing and maintaining a research-rich teaching and learning environment.

Since Union joined the Consortium in 2007, the Geology Department has played a critical role in organizing field projects, including in the Alps, the Adirondacks, Oregon Cascades, and this summer in Peru and Alaska.

During the conference, participants will take field trips, present research and listen to a variety of experts discuss geological issues.

On Friday, Don Rodbell, chair of the Geology Department and John Garver, geology professor, will lead a field trip to the northern Catskills and Mohawk Valley. A second field trip led by geology professors Kurt Hollocher and Matthew Manon will visit the southern Adirondacks to view pre-Cambrian outcrops, including the famous stromatolites in Saratoga Springs and the large garnet outcrops in Warrensburg.

On Saturday, more than 50 geology students will present their research during oral and poster sessions in College Park Hall. Each student spent four weeks doing summer field research as a basis for a senior thesis or research project. During the academic year, they worked with their advisor to analyze and interpret data. Projects this year include research in Mongolia, Panama, Glacier National Park and the Sierra Nevadas.

At a banquet Saturday night, President Stephen C. Ainlay will give welcoming remarks, followed by the keynote speech from Mark Brandon, professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University. The title of Brandon’s talk is, “On Making Mountains: The Interaction between Subduction, Accretion and Erosion.”

The conference is organized by geology professors Garver and Holli Frey. Funding was provided by the Keck Geology Consortium, the National Science Foundation and ExxonMobil.