Geologic Mapping of Upstate South Carolina By Polly Goss

The Geologic Mapping in the Upstate of South Carolina and Geologic Properties Creative Inquiries give geology students unique opportunities to get their hands dirty. In both projects, the students fine-tune their own research topics and experience field work from a geologist's perspective. Each of these projects, led by Scott Brame, Department of Geology, allows sophomores to watch seniors at work and then to begin researching a topic that interests them in the spring of his or her junior year. The students can choose to base their research in the field or in the laboratory, according to their interests.

Senior geology students Alan Martuch, Geoffery Ives and Katie Maracci each chose their research topic based not only on the project that most interested them, but also on how they approach geology itself. Martuch made the decision to join Geologic Properties through conversations with friends and with Brame. Much of Martuch's work for the project involves collecting samples and bringing them back to the lab to prepare for analysis, as well as familiarizing himself with relevant academic literature.

Like Martuch, Katie Maracci is also involved in the Geologic Properties project. Maracci joined the team because she was drawn to the structural aspects of the research and wants to learn more about change as a factor in geology. Maracci studies metamorphic rock and, more specifically, how quartz changes position to indicate sheer stress.

"I wanted to work in the field, not in a lab."

Geoffery Ives was drawn to a different aspect of geology, which led him to become involved in the Geologic Mapping in the Upstate of SC project

"I wanted to work in the field, not in a lab," Ives said. Ives's work involves hiking, mapping, gathering samples of outcrops and ultimately using software to develop a digital map of the area. These are the experiences that Brame wants the students to take away from the project, aside from their presentations at a symposium during their senior year.

"I want them to learn how to do field-based science, which is challenging, but it's what geologists do. It isn't about the end result, it's about how they went about getting the data," Brame said. As Martuch, Maracci and Ives work to find out what the upstate of South Carolina is made of, this field work is shaping them into geologists.


Created with images by Boston Public Library - "Caesar's Head, Greenville, S. C." • Boston Public Library - "Table Rock, 900,000,000 gallon reservoir, World's finest drinking water, Greenville, S. C."

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