Student Projects

Colby Geology majors who now are pursuing projects in Professor Gastaldo’s research group include:

Sean Cusack: Class of 2015

SeanCusack_WordPressSean is a senior who participated in the JanPlan 2014 field season at Old Lootsberg Pass, a critical stratigraphic section in which the Permian—Triassic boundary is reported to occur.  Sean’s project focuses on rocks in which both fluvial deposits and paleosols alternate and represent ancient landscapes on either side of the extinction event, as defined by vertebrate biostratigraphy.  Sean originates from Chicago, Illinois, where he attended a private, French speaking school prior to arriving in Maine.

Jiawan (June) Li: Class of 2016

June Li at Old Lootsberg Pass, South AfricaJune, coming to Colby from Beijing, China, is a double Geology & Biology major who participated in JanPlan 2015’s field work.  June’s project is not with the fossilized wood seen here but, rather, focused on the geochemical attributes of variously colored siltstone deposits exposed at Old Lootsberg Pass, Eastern Cape Province.  She will be testing the hypothesis that the variously colored rocks, once former soil horizons, represent original different depositional environments below and above the currently defined, vertebrate biostratigraphic extinction event.

Kathy Lipshultz: Class of 2016

Kathy Lipshultz in the Valley of Desolation, Camdeboo National Park, Graaf Reinet.Kathy also is a junior who is double majoring in Geology and French.  After the JanPlan field season, she headed off to Geneva, Switzerland, for her Spring Semester study abroad program.  Upon her return later in the year, Kathy will be detailing a late Permian, river channel complex located below the vertebrate-defined Permian–Triassic boundary at Old Lootsberg Pass.  She will perform petrographic and geochemical analyses on possible volcanic-derived deposits that are found to be interbedded within a complex sedimentary channel fill.  Kathy comes to Colby from near Concord, New Hampshire.

Tak Sasajima: Class of 2016

Takuto SasajimaTakuto (Tak) Sasajima is now a California resident, born in Tokyo, having moved to the ‘States at age eleven.  He comes to Colby’s Geology program from Palo Alto, and is undertaking a double minor in Chinese and Physics.  Tak’s project involves the department’s first DJI Phantom Quadcopter, used in the field to document, , the stratigraphic architecture of Permian and Triassic river channels. From still  and video images, Tak will reconstruct the lateral relationships of bedload deposits in these channels and determine what type(s) of river channels existed in this part of the Karoo Basin both prior to and following the purported terrestrial Permian–Triassic extinction event in the southern hemisphere.