Studying Earth and Water
Dr. Richard Enright of the Department of Geological Sciences and students Eric Croll and Timothy Kiesel attended the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) held in San Francisco, where the students presented research they conducted under Dr. Enright’s mentorship.
“This is the first time a BSU professor has ever mentored two students whose work was accepted for the same prestigious American Geophysical Union meeting,” said Dr. Enright. “They did an admirable job both during the summer and at the meeting.
Mr. Croll, a senior and veteran of the U.S. Army, who is also a former law enforcement officer, used his experience and interest in environmental science to work on his project. “I have a degree from Massachusetts Maritime Academy and I spent some years at sea, so topics related to water are of interest to me," said Mr. Croll, a geology major with a minor in biology.
For the AGU program, Mr. Croll presented a research project he conducted in Marshfield, titled, “A Study of the Effects of Conjunctive Water Use within a Watershed."
With the assistance of Dr. Enright, Mr. Croll previously conducted field work in Cambodia and presented that research project, titled, "The Role and Geological Conditions of the Kbal Spean River in the Tonle Sap Watershed," last summer at BSU through the Adrian Tinsley Program (ATP). He aims to earn a master’s degree in environmental management, specifically in water resource protection.
Mr. Kiesel, a senior and earth science major, was encouraged by Dr. Enright to pursue a project that involved taking satellite pictures provided by NASA to identify and make inferences about the geology of an area in Utah referred to as the "mineral belt of Utah."
For the project, he downloaded photos from NASA and used algorithms to remove the effects of atmosphere and different absorption features, making the photos more useful for scientists. He also collected different pieces of data sets and compiled them into a useful model for researchers.
Mr. Kiesel said the experience was useful to him. “I had never done atmospheric correction on satellite data before and I used a number of programs to do the research that I had never used before," he said. "Over the course of two months, I analyzed all of the material and I collected and that’s what I presented at the AGU conference."
His presentation was titled, "Geoinformatics and Data Fusion in the Southwestern Utah Mineral Belt."
Mr. Kiesel plans to pursue graduate studies in either earth science or geophysics and ultimately hopes to have a career in geological research.
As an academic bonus for the geologists, the trio also took the opportunity to “visit a section of the San Andreas Fault that is slowly ripping the town of Hollister apart,” said Dr. Enright.
Funding for the students’ travel came from the Adrian Tinsley Program for Undergraduate Research (BSU provides a conference travel grant for every student accepted to present at a professional conference). (Story by David K. Wilson, '71, University Advancement)