Student Research Grants

The Central Oregon Geosciences Society offers student research grants for undergraduate and graduate students. Grants are intended to support research in any field generally related to the geosciences, with a focus on central Oregon. Grant funds may be used to support analytical costs, travel costs, field expenses, and other costs associated with research projects.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2022

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2021 Student Research Grants

Andrew Dunning
Portland State University, Masters Project

Grant amount: $1,083 awarded March 2021

ProjectEvaluation of slip history and Holocene activity on faults in the Strawberry Mountains, Grant County, Oregon

This project will determine how long ago an earthquake occurred on this recently-discovered fault in the Strawberry Mountains using carbon-14 in charcoal trapped within deposits along the fault. We will also use glacial deposits and volcanic rock stratigraphy to determine how long this fault structure has been active. Most importantly, this project will create data for faults and glaciers where very little currently exists. These faults in the Strawberry Mountains could pose a notable seismic hazard to the residents of the John Day Valley.

Michelle Simone Jordan
Oregon State University, Undergraduate Senior Thesis Project

Grant amount: $489 awarded March 2021

Project: Explosive volcanism in the Bend area of central Oregon: Unraveling the path of pyroclastic flows and location of source vents using anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility

In this project, the focus will be mainly on the magnetic properties of the Desert Springs Tuff, the Tumalo Tuff, and the Shevlin Park Tuff, three pyroclastic flow deposits from the Tumalo Volcanic Center in central Oregon near Bend and Sisters. It is intended to use the orientation of magnetic minerals to understand the flow directions of the pyroclastic flows. When high temperature pyroclastic flows deposit and cool, magnetic minerals record the flow direction. This is a technique known as Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS) and will be used to infer a source vent(s) and indicate flow and transport direction of the pyroclastic flow deposits by evaluating the magnetic minerals locked inside and their magnetic orientations.

Charles Tyler Lewis
Oregon State University, PhD Project

Grant amount: $1,000 awarded March 2021

Project: Volatile contents of Newberry Volcano rhyolitic magmas and implications for explosive eruptions

Newberry Volcano located near Bend, Oregon has a history of eruptions characterized by rhyolite (high-silica) magma. To understand the history and how it may play out in the future we need to understand why these eruptions occur. It is well known that high volatile contents (water, carbon dioxide) in magmas can fuel such eruptions. So, understanding the production and budget of volatiles in the rhyolite magmas will assist in hazard assessment by broadening our understanding of the explosivity and subsurface processes that lead to eruption. Geochemical analysis of rocks and their constituent minerals will be combined to reveal what the volatile budgets of the magmas were, and how this influences the eruptive behavior of Newberry. This study will contribute to a better understanding of the eruptive behavior and hazards of the Newberry volcanic system.

Ellen K. Olsen
University of Oregon, PhD Project

Grant amount: $1,158 awarded March 2021

Project: Improving paleoclimate interpretations: Kinetic isotope effects in calcite from saline, alkaline lakes of southern central Oregon

Some minerals, such as calcite, record trace element and isotopic information that can be a window into past climates and environments. The equilibrium isotopic partitioning of oxygen between the mineral calcite and the water it grows from reflects the temperature of the water. However, natural calcite often grows too quickly to achieve equilibrium partitioning and will record kinetic isotopic effects that depend on environmental variables such as growth rate, lake pH, or lake composition. I will treat five closed-basin saline, alkaline lakes in Central Oregon as natural laboratories in which to grow calcite in the near-surface lake water while measuring environmental conditions, in addition to sampling past calcite deposits along the lakeshores. Quantifying disequilibrium isotopic effects recorded in calcite under known conditions will help me interpret isotopic signatures, and consequently, paleoclimate and paleoenvironment signals recorded in the ancient lake calcite.

Ana Mercedes Colón Umpierre
University of Oregon, PhD Project

Grant amount: $1,000 awarded March 2021

Project: Ice, ice, baby! Understanding ice-magma interactions in the Oregon Cascades

Central Oregon has a wide range of glaciovolcanic deposits (meaning, volcanic deposits showing interaction with ice). Studying these deposits provides a unique opportunity to not only constrain a portion of Oregon’s rich volcanic history, but its glacial history as well. The goal of my project is to understand how the presence of ice affects the emplacement of magma, and to constrain the local paleo-ice conditions in the Cascades using these deposits. To address these objectives, I am proposing conducting fieldwork on two subglacial volcanoes, or tuyas, in the Cascades, with the goal of characterizing the geometry and emplacement history of deposits of intermediate compositions in a subduction arc setting, where most ice-covered volcanoes occur.

2020 Student Research Grants

Annika E. Dechert
University of Oregon,
PhD Project

Grant amount: $1,000 awarded December 2020

Project: Gravity modeling at the South Sister Volcano, Oregon

My research focuses on the South Sister Volcano, Oregon, to study the storage of magma in the plumbing system of an active volcano through time. Through field work measuring variations in gravitational acceleration exerted by the crustal structures, I can determine the density distribution beneath South Sister. With this density distribution, I will identify the depth and volume of the active magma chamber. Next, I will utilize a forward gravity model that identifies changes in gravitational acceleration based on varying volcanic processes through time (i.e., all of South Sister’s geologic record). By comparing the field data to the model results, I will establish a range of scenarios through time that allowed the South Sister magma system to evolve to its current state.

Adrian Broz
University of Oregon,
PhD Project

Grant amount: $1,316 awarded December 2020

Project: Organic matter preservation in ancient soils of Earth and Mars

Eastern Oregon’s iconic and colorful banded sedimentary rocks at the Painted Hills are a sequence of some 500 individual paleosols (ancient, buried soils) which formed over millions of years during the Eocene and Oligocene (42-26 million years ago). These ancient soils, now lithified into clay-rich sedimentary rocks, are strikingly similar in mineralogy and stratigraphy to ancient (~3.7 billion-year-old) clay deposits on Mars, and researchers from Purdue University, University of Oregon, and NASA have been using these paleosols as a Mars analog site to help determine if similar deposits on Mars should be targeted for in-situ biosignature investigation and Mars Sample Return. This project builds upon previous work which examined Painted Hills paleosol samples with instruments configured to operate like the SAM instrument onboard Curiosity Mars Rover. Specifically, this work uses radiocarbon dating and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to help determine if endogenous (original) organic carbon is preserved in 33-million-year old paleosols from eastern Oregon, and to discover whether there are any contributions from modern plants and/or microbes overlying the ancient soils.

Rachel Hargrove
Central Oregon Community College,
Undergraduate Research Project

Grant amount: $380 awarded June 2020

Project: Pilot Butte Inclusion

Project Summary Report

Central Oregon Geoscience Society

P.O. Box 2154,  Bend, Oregon 97709

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