Posted by: magmatist | April 23, 2012

MBVRC research grants provided to three WWU students

It is with real pleasure that the Board of Directors of Mount Baker Volcano Research Center awards our first-ever research grants. The recipients are three students at WWU: Julie Gross, a graduate student in the Geology Department; Paul Whelan, a Huxley College graduate student; and Loren White, a Geology undergraduate.

The students will receive funding to assist with their projects at Mount Baker. Grant funding comes from the sale of MBVRC’s famous t-shirts and from fees paid by field trip participants. This year’s grants total $1,485.

Julie Gross has been studying the evolution of dacite lavas in the Mount Baker volcanic field. MBVRC will provide her the necessary funds to obtain isotope analyses from her rock samples. This will round out the whole rock and mineral geochemical data she previously obtained from three dacite lava flows. The lavas are exposed at Mazama Lake, near Nooksack Falls, and at Cougar Divide. All three predate Mount Baker and are the remnants of older vents in the volcanic field.

Paul Whelan is investigating the formation of soils in the recently deglaciated forelands of Mount Baker’s Coleman and Easton Glaciers. His work will test some hypotheses on the process of soil development. MBVRC is granting Paul with money to support a potion of his travel expenses to the study areas where he will collect approximately 160 surface samples.

Loren White will be undertaking an MBVRC-proposed project in Sherman Crater, the volcano’s active vent. He will use GPS to map out the extent of the several fumarole fields, and take a large number of fumarole temperatures. MBVRC is providing Loren with funding to take a mountaineering safety course and to purchase a thermocouple and meter. He will most likely climb to the crater along with the team that will collect the annual gas samples from selected fumaroles in the crater.

Congratulations on this year’s successful grant recipients. The results of their projects will eventually appear on the MBVRC’s websites.  In future years, MBVRC hopes to expand the grant program to students and independent researchers outside of the WWU community who are involved in some sort of scientific research at Mount Baker.

Dave Tucker, Pete Stelling, Sue Madsen, Doug McKeever, and John Scurlock


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