Colby Geology majors who now are pursuing projects in Professor Gastaldo’s research group include:
Ruofei comes from Beijing, China, and joined the Geology Department during the 2016/2017 academic year. She and Tim Stonesifer (right), a videographer and licensed drone pilot, accompanied our research group in January 2018 to South Africa’s Free State where Ruofei undertook a drone-based project to model exposures of the Katberg Sandstone, which currently is interpreted to represent braided river systems following a reported mass-extinction event in the Karoo Basin. Ruofei’s project involved taking more than 1500 drone images at several “classic” localities, from various perspectives, and, using AgiSoft’s PhotoScan software, develop 3-dimensional models of the outcrops and localities where the Katberg Formation is exposed. In addition to developing models of sandstone bodies to determine if these represent ancient braided river systems, we hope to create a virtual reality space of two localities which will allow workers around the globe access to these very remote and inaccessible sites. Ruofei has been accepted to Columbia University’s environmental engineering program, and took her research results to the national GSA meetings in Indianapolis in November 2018, following a summer research internship in the Geology Department. She continues her research into the Katberg Sandstone during summer 2019 as a research assistant.