Geophysics Students Recognized at AGU

May 16, 2017

Two undergraduate Geophysics majors placed in the 2017 AGU Virtual Poster Showcase.

Geophysics seniors, Jordan Skipwith and Collin Brandl placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the Spring 2017 AGU Virtual Poster Showcase undergraduate research section. Both, Jordan and Collin, completed their research projects with Dr. Bobby Reece. The Virtual Poster Showcase (VPS) is an online poster presentation opportunity that allows students to share their research without having to travel to a conference.

Students are guided through the essential peer-review process, during which they learn to evaluate each other’s research. All students that participate receive a citation for their abstract and a certificate of participation after the completion of the showcase. Poster judging has two phases – a peer judging and expert judging based on a judging rubric.

Each lead author participating in the poster showcase is required to judge three other posters and provide a score based on the visual appeal and scientific content of the poster. Students are expected to ask questions about the posters they are judging, and students do not judge peers from the same institution or research project. The expert judging phase involves experts who are scientists and faculty. Experts judge the posters based on scientific merit and on visual appeal, and are allowed to submit comments and questions about the poster.

Second place went to Jordan Skipwith, a senior from Texas A&M University, for his work entitled “Geophysical Analysis of Anomalous Extrusive Volcanism in South Atlantic Oceanic Crust.” Jordan’s particular project consisted of studying swath bathymetry and seismic data collected on Dr. Bobby Reece’s recent expedition to the South Atlantic, which spanned from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to the Rio Grande Rise. Jordan utilized this data to interpret anomalous extrusive volcanism on the seafloor, and correlated this volcanism to potentially influential factors, such as mantle upwelling and crustal spreading rate.

Along with the AGU Virtual Poster Showcase, Jordan also had the opportunity to present his research at the 2017 Geological Society of America (GSA) South-Central Section conference, the TAMUS Louis Stoke's for Minority Participation (LSAMP) symposium, and the 2017 GGGSC symposium hosted through the Department of Geology & Geophysics. Jordan plans on attending graduate school at Colorado School of Mines to study Hydrologic Science Engineering, with an emphasis in geophysics.

Third place went to Collin Brandl, a senior from Texas A&M University, for his project entitled “Constraining Regional Stress and Deformation around Bonaire and the Bonaire Basin: A Seismic Reflection Study.” Collin’s work in Bonaire is focused on better constraining the regional stress and resulting deformation in the southern Caribbean. Bonaire sits in the center of the Bonaire Block, which is tectonically influenced by the Caribbean and South American plates, as well as a series of smaller blocks. The overall tectonic mechanism is not well understood and we hope to add input to the discussion by working specifically on the understudied offshore Bonaire Basin. The dataset Collin used is a 1972 USGS seismic survey that was converted from paper to seg-y for interpretation in Paradigm. Several stages of faulting and folding were interpreted, but the main concern for the research project was the present-day features, such as the deformation of the most recent sediment package or the seafloor.

Collin’s research resulted with an observation of a West to East trend in fault interpretations, changing in nature from reverse/thrust to normal. To further Collin’s work they are evaluating possible causes of this trend and plan to write a manuscript on this research. After graduation, Collin hopes to eventually pursue a Ph.D and enter academia.

Jordan and Collin will both receive a plaque and complimentary AGU membership for 2018.

Congratulations to Jordan Skipwith and Collin Brandl on their success!

For more information: https://education.agu.org/virtual-poster-showcase/

By: Cristina Figueroa '15