Appalachias and War History Draw Geology Students on Trip

The Regional Geology of the Appalachians class at the Delaware Water Gap. Back: Catie Castelli, Lexi Sarnowsky, Will Ward, Kyle Kubitz, Josh Sams, John Jacisin, Tom Fontana, Allison Neumann, Matt Mahony, Aaron Hiday, geology professor Bill Bartels. Front: visiting professor Mick McRivette, geology professor Carrie Menold, Mark Hymes, Karen Linderborg, Melissa Light, Brittany Myers, Holly Williams, Abby Williams, Nikki Rockentine.

The Spring 2010 Regional Field Geology trip explored the Appalachian regions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, examining economic and environmental geology, and geologic history.

Geology Department professors Bill Bartels, Carrie Menold, and Mick McRivette along with 18 students spent eight days and visited approximately 40 outcrops and locations. Many geology stops were made in the Valley and Ridge of Pennsylvania, the Rift Basins of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the Coastal Plain of New Jersey.

The class also examined the ancient bedrock of Manhattan Island in New York City. Geological and cultural stops were made at Gettysburg Battlefield, the site of the Great Johnstown Flood, and Lehigh Gap. Collecting stops were made at Big Brook for fossil shark teeth, Franklin Mineral Mines for fluorescent minerals, and Sandy Hook State Park for modern sea shells.

Carrie Menold discussing the geology of the Palisades Cliffs along the Hudson River across from Upper Manhattan.


Allison Neumann, Karen Linderborg, Tom Fontana, and Matt Mahony collecting seashells on the New Jersey shore.

"The geologic surveying was particularly interesting because we learned how the landforms were incorporated into the battle of Gettysburg," said Nicki Rockentine, of the trek through Gettysburg. "I enjoyed learning how human history was often controlled by the geologic surroundings." Both Confederate and Union soldiers died by the dozens in these landcuts on the first day of the battle in 1863.
Melissa Light, ’10, and Brittany Myers, ’10, examining the Jurassic York Haven igneous intrusion at The Devil’s Den in Gettysburg National Military Park. Confederate sharpshooters used the cover from these rocks to harass Union soldiers occupying the nearby high ground on the last day of the battle in 1863.

Bartels and students examining sandstones and mudstones representing ancient river deposits of the Pennsylvanian Conemaugh Formation in the Appalachian Plateau near Johnstown, Pa.