Geology students present research in Vancouver

From Saturday, Oct. 18, through Tuesday, Oct. 21, senior geology students Nicola Hill and Rebecca Schauer had the opportunity to attend the Geological Society of America’s annual conference in Vancouver, Canada.

“Our research was on structural geology with Ben Surpless, but we each had our individual poster,” Hill said. “Ben was unable to go, but that was kind of the deal from the beginning””that we would present at GSA.”

Over the summer, Hill and Schauer were part of a ten-week internship that concluded with a presentation of their research at the Trinity summer symposium. They used the semester to add to their research poster in preparation for the GSA conference. Both Hill and Schauer studied the Stillwill anticline near Big Bend National Park.

“Ben takes people out to Big Bend every summer and winter to collect research,” Schauer said. “I took the research that’s been done in the last five years to build this 3D model using Move 2014, so I built this entire model on the computer during the summer. Then, over the past semester, I reversed the model back before any kind of folding or anything happened.”

Hill also did research on the anticline but focused on fold geometries and strain accommodation, looking at images of the entire outcrop to see how the surface can be understood from what is underneath it.

“It was my first time ever doing research at Trinity, so it was a really good opportunity to see what other students are doing in that field,” Hill said. “There was so much diversity and energy and lots of meet-and-greets. We were able to look for grad school opportunities and impress people with Trinity by showing off our work and what Ben has been doing.”

Hill and Schauer were the only students from Trinity able to attend, but they were among students, professors and professionals from all over the country.

“The conference was held at the Vancouver convention center, this huge place; the Olympics were even held there. I think there were 7,000 posters there or something crazy like that,” Schauer said.

The two students were stationed at their posters for two time slots on Monday and spent the rest of their time attending various lectures and lunches, looking at other posters and exploring the city.

“There were opportunities to talk to graduate schools and different companies hiring,” Schauer said. “It’s great, especially for me since I’m going to graduate school, because a lot of graduate schools scout out people at GSA. They want people who know how to do research.”

“We are both very lucky. Ben Surpless definitely had his work cut out because the research was on structural geology and neither of us has had structure before now,” Hill said. “But it ended up being such an amazing experience.”

Mark Mlella, a junior, was also part of Surpless’s research team, but he was unable to attend the GSA conference in Vancouver.