Research in Geosciences

Department of Geosciences offers BS in Geology, and BA and BS in Geography. The department also offers a post-bac certificate program in GIS. The research in Geosciences is very diverse. It includes teaching and learning such as web-based GIS for middle school teachers and designing technology-enhanced, inquiry-based lessons using GIS. The study of hurricane impact on coastal areas, rising sea level, assessment of shoreline change, and coastal vulnerability is research that includes the United States and Puerto Rico. Research in GIS includes LiDar projects that range from the Okefenokee Swamp to analysis of natural gas supply and demand. Faculty and students do detailed geologic mapping of the Piedmont and Valley and Ridge. Investigation is in human geography in Atlanta that includes field observations, interviews, and archival work. Research in paleontology is focused on how sample selection relates to morphology and Assembling the Echinoderm Tree of Life. The study of climate change in the Arctic is coupled with contested sovereignty and Inuit sovereignty.  Research in progressive metamorphism and deformation is being done by studying the progress of mineral reactions and change in rock texture. Dendroarchaeological dating research is applied to dating historic structures and fire regimes in forest of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in urban areas are being researched. Additionally, research is being done on urban surfaces and heat island mitigation and the effect of vegetation on apparent albedo in residential communities. Other research includes the hydrogeology and sedimentology of the floodplain of the Little Tallapoosa River, long-term experimental study of dissolution of echinoid in the Gulf of Mexico, and chemical weathering rates of minerals.   
Much of the Department’s research involves undergraduate students so that in a typical year 10-30 undergraduate students present their research at the national and sectional meetings of the Geological Society of America and the Association of American Geographers. Other research that involves students is long-term water quality monitoring, arsenic in groundwater and soil, distribution of lead wheel weights in urban settings, study of emeralds from North Carolina, mineralogy of pegmatites from Pikes Peak Batholith, Colorado, goethite pseudomorphs after pyrite, origin of topaz and red beryl in topaz rhyolites of Utah, teaching mineralogy with experiential learning, and new Periodic Tables for teaching geology.