Kira Tomenchok '18

Keck Geology Consortium Research Project, Summer 2017

This summer I participated in the interdisciplinary KECK project researching hazards in the Caribbean. I focused on the geomorphology in Dominica, specifically the landslides and erosional processes on the island. First, I spent two weeks in the field with 15 other students and 4 professors. We spent time learning about the regional geology, familiarizing ourselves with the volcanic and hydrothermal activity of the island. Each student developed a research question and we divided into different areas of study: petrology, geochemistry and geomorphology. Along with other geomorphology students, I collected river samples from the 18 largest watersheds, spending most of my time sieving river sediment. At times, I also helped the other students collect samples from picturesque places such as the Valley of Desolation and Trafalgar Falls. At the end of the two weeks, we shipped almost 200 pounds of sand and rock samples back to the U.S.

We continued the research process in the geology labs at Union College in Schenectady, New York. For two weeks, we prepped our samples to run tests and collect data. My project involves fingerprinting sediment sources through fallout radionuclides (7Be, 210Pbex, and 137Cs), concentration of grain coatings, and clay mineralogy. We prepared leachates of the samples to be tested at Oberlin College. Additionally, a lot of time was spent doing GIS work to determine the basin average statistics of my study area. I will continue lab work throughout the school year to present my work at AGU and write my senior honors thesis!

Keck Geology Consortium
For other opportunities, view the Geology Department's Summer Research and Internships page