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Track 10A - Geology - Oral Presentations

MAPPING PLUTO SURFACE AGE BY IMPACT CRATER ANALYSIS

Presenter(s): Andrew Schmidt

Faculty sponsor(s): Verner Johnson, Richard Livaccari

Download file for MAPPING PLUTO SURFACE AGE BY IMPACT CRATER ANALYSIS Play Video

ArcMap flexibly models geographical data not just for Earth but other ellipsoids. Pluto is the latest solar system body to undergo recent study of its geology and geography. Many internet images exist upon which ArcMap can perform basic georeferencing, projection, editing, and numerical analysis. This study uses ArcMap, and power law relations governing crater size distributions, to date the various subregions of Pluto that were imaged in sufficient resolution to perform editing. Pluto appears orders of magnitude younger than 4.5 billion years because its rifted, smooth surface is not impact-saturated; however, absolute ages derived from inner solar system models are suspect because temperatures, impactor populations, and orbital velocities are lower in the outer solar system. This study plots relative ages for homogenous geomorphic regions. Normalized by surface area, results indicate that areas adjacent to Sputnik Planum (an early impact basin, now a frozen nitrogen‚ most actively exhibit greatest small-diameter crater removal via glaciation, cryo-volcanism or volatile deposition, while areas near the poles undergo passive crater removal processes via relaxation and frost infill. Mid-latitude areas retain the oldest impact record, with the exception of Cthulhu Regio, which appears younger because a coating of tholins obscures its mostly unaltered crater history.

Track 10B - Geology - Poster Presentations

40AR/39AR DATING OF DETRITAL SANIDINE IN THE GOODENOUGH UNIT, GRAND MESA, COLORADO

Presenter(s): Joshua Schlag

Faculty sponsor(s): Andres Aslan

Download file for 40AR/39AR DATING OF DETRITAL SANIDINE IN THE GOODENOUGH UNIT, GRAND MESA, COLORADO

Radiometric dating involving 40Ar/39Ar isotopes in detrital sanidine (DS) is a relatively new and emerging method for dating non-volcanic sedimentary deposits. The technique assumes that detrital sediments contain a small percentage of volcanic air fall that is reworked into the sediment at the time of deposition. This method is being applied to the Goodenough unit, which lies stratigraphically under the Grand Mesa lava flows and above the Uinta or Green River formations. The Goodenough unit chiefly consists of unconsolidated or friable fluvial sand and floodplain or lacustrine mud facies. The age of the unit is poorly constrained. However, detrital sanidine data may provide the first absolute age for the Goodenough. There are currently two hypotheses for the age of the Goodenough unit: 1) Late Miocene, which suggests a major unconformity separates the Goodenough from the underlying Eocene Uinta Formation, or 2) Oligocene, which suggests a major unconformity separates the Goodenough from overlying Grand Mesa basalt flows. The primary goal of this study is to use 40Ar/39Ar dating of sanidine to construct an accurate depositional history of when the Goodenough unit accumulated.

AN ANALYSIS OF JURASSIC THEROPOD TOOTH SERRATIONS USING GIS

Presenter(s): Miriam Kane

Faculty sponsor(s): Andres Aslan, Julia McHugh

Download file for AN ANALYSIS OF JURASSIC THEROPOD TOOTH SERRATIONS USING GIS

Theropods are carnivorous dinosaurs that have serrations on their teeth, like a steak knife. A serration is a row of sharp tooth-like projections. In the case of theropod dinosaurs, these serrations are found on the edges of their teeth. There have been two main theories surrounding the origin and purpose of serrations on theropod teeth. In the first theory, serrations help to maintain the strength and integrity of the tooth along the curve of the tooth. The second, and more widely accepted theory, is that denticles evolved to aid in the killing of prey, which helped theropods become the apex predators of their time. Many attempts have been made to morphometrically analyze theropod teeth as an aid in their identification, including measurements of serration density and the microanatomy of the serrations. However, none of these techniques have been able to successfully identify theropod genera from isolated teeth and teeth fragments. The purpose of this study is to use GIS mapping of tooth serrations of known theropod teeth acquired from museum collections, to establish criteria for identifying genera using theropod tooth serrations.

CLAY MINERALOGY OF THE MOLINA MEMBER OF THE WASATCH FORMATION: RECOGNITION OF THE PETM

Presenter(s): Misty Bowen

Faculty sponsor(s): Andres Aslan, William Hood

Download file for CLAY MINERALOGY OF THE MOLINA MEMBER OF THE WASATCH FORMATION:  RECOGNITION OF THE PETM

A global warming event occurred near the Paleocene-Eocene boundary known as the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The purpose of this study is to determine if clay mineralogy can be used to recognize the PETM in the Piceance Basin. Specifically, clay minerals of the Atwell Gulch and Molina Members of the Eocene Wasatch Formation will be examined. The study area is located between DeBeque and Molina, Colorado in an area called Atwell Gulch. Samples were processed and analyzed for their clay mineralogy using an X-ray diffractometer. When looking for the change in the clays we should have seen chlorite once the samples were heated and the kaolinite was removed. However, chlorite was absent and instead, we found minerals that have yet to be identified. The minerals show that something dramatic occurred. The chlorite must have been present at some time, but other minerals developed and the chlorite peaks bonded with the smectite peaks, which complicates the identification of these minerals. Clay mineralogy might help us determine what future environments might look like if similar warming events occur in the future.

DETERMINING APPLICABILITY OF GIS AND REMOTE SENSING TO IDENTIFY BEETLE KILL IN THE CNM

Presenter(s): Hunter Doyle

Faculty sponsor(s): Verner Johnson

Download file for DETERMINING APPLICABILITY OF GIS AND REMOTE SENSING TO IDENTIFY BEETLE KILL IN THE CNM Play Video

The Colorado National Monument is a protected public land located in western Colorado, known for its unique geology, beautiful sites, and pinyon-juniper woodland. An issue with these woodlands is beetle infestations that target the pinyon pine in the area. In areas such as National Parks and Monuments, there are a variety of restrictions to keep visitors on the trails and limit accessibility to areas for preservation purposes. Due to this, large areas go untouched and unobserved, making it difficult to identify areas with infestation problems. We are attempting to utilize aerial photographs and satellite imagery to identify areas of beetle kill as well as map out current beetle infestations and determine if there are any spatial factors such as elevation, slope, and aspect that correlate to higher beetle mortality. With ArcGIS and remote sensing software, we can determine beetle damaged trees by looking at spectral wave reflectance relating to moisture stress and color of the needles as well as utilizing this software to determine if there is any correlation between beetle kill and spatial factors such as elevation, slope, and aspect.

Track 10C - Physics - Poster Presentations

ASSEMBLY, ALIGNMENT, AND CALIBRATION OF A SPECTROMETER

Presenter(s): Bryson Marks

Faculty sponsor(s): Brian Hosterman

Download file for ASSEMBLY, ALIGNMENT, AND CALIBRATION OF A SPECTROMETER Play Video

Spectroscopy investigates the interaction between light and matter by observing an emitted spectrum, typically with instrumentation such as a spectrometer. A model 82-000 Jarrel-Ash spectrograph and QHY CCD camera was donated to CMU for this project and a mercury emission bulb was used as a calibration source. I assembled and optimized a spectrometer from the spectrograph and CCD camera. This process required adjustments to mechanical features such as the drive motor and gear assembly, as well as optical adjustments to the mirror and entrance optics. I wrote software to analyze the image acquired by the CCD and create an intensity versus wavelength spectrum. Using the known spectrum of mercury, I calibrated the grating position to known wavelengths.

Track 10D - Environmental Sciences - Poster Presentations

BACKGROUND LEVELS AND SOURCES OF SELENIUM AND E. COLI IN ADOBE AND LEACH CREEKS

Presenter(s): Kevin Conley, Hunter Doyle, John Noyes, Casey Peed

Faculty sponsor(s): Freddy Witarsa

Download file for BACKGROUND LEVELS AND SOURCES OF SELENIUM AND E. COLI IN ADOBE AND LEACH CREEKS Play Video

Selenium (Se) is posing a problem to the aquatic life and recreation of many local rivers and watersheds in western Colorado. In the Grand Valley, this is posing a serious problem as there are two local streams that were listed under the 303(d) provisions of the Clean Water Act as impaired for Se and E. coli. Natural background sources were not measured in the undeveloped area north of the highline canal, hampering the establishment of total maximum daily loading (TMDL) limits on these creeks. The objective of this research is to locate the sources of the Se and E. coli that is causing the impairment to Adobe and Leach Creeks and to help establish TMDLs for both creeks. Sampling and analysis of the two creeks north and south of the Highline Canal will be conducted. The results of these analyses will be presented later as sampling and analysis is currently being conducted. The results of this study will lend themselves to the determination of a TMDL limit that is required for these two creeks and that they have a source that can be regulated through TMDL applications.

DETERMINING APPLICABILITY OF AN ALGAL TURF SCRUBBER (ATS) TO REMOVE SELENIUM FROM WATER

Presenter(s): Hunter Doyle, Sierra Mitchell

Faculty sponsor(s): Freddy Witarsa

Download file for DETERMINING APPLICABILITY OF AN ALGAL TURF SCRUBBER (ATS) TO REMOVE SELENIUM FROM WATER Play Video

The algal turf scrubbers (ATS) is a water treatment system that utilizes the natural properties of algae to scrub contaminated water of unwanted pollutants. These systems were used in the treatment of agricultural wastewater containing high amounts of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus). Some studies have found these systems to remove some iron, magnesium, calcium, and other metals. In the western part of Colorado, high levels of the metalloid selenium (Se) have been observed in the water, posing a risk to predatory fish and waterfowl. While the use of ATS is common for removing nutrients, the ability to remove Se from water is largely unstudied. This study serves to address this research gap by determining the effectiveness of Se removal from irrigation ditches that are effluents to agricultural sites. Our system was installed in a local irrigation return flow that was found to have elevated levels of Se (25 µg/L), which was higher than the Colorado state standard of 4.6 µg/L. Successful implementation and removal of selenium by this system that relies on solar energy and algae would provide a cost-effective and efficient method for selenium treatment in the region.

DEVELOPING A RECLAMATION PLAN FOR THE ABANDONED ‘TELLURIDE 18’ URANIUM MINE (NEAR MOAB, UT)

Presenter(s): Meghan Cline, Tyler Schwartz, Savahanna Wilkinson

Faculty sponsor(s): Deborah Kennard, Steven Renner

Download file for DEVELOPING A RECLAMATION PLAN FOR THE ABANDONED ‘TELLURIDE 18’ URANIUM MINE (NEAR MOAB, UT) Play Video

Abandoned uranium mines are scattered across the landscape of the western United States. The Telluride 18 mine outside of Moab, Utah is one such mine. With open mine entries (adits, shafts), unreclaimed waste rock piles, and close proximity to 4x4 trails, the mine site poses unique hazards to human health and the environment. Our goal for this project is to create a comprehensive reclamation plan for the Telluride 18 mine that addresses site stability, enhances the biologic and hydrologic functions of the site, and increases public safety and awareness with regards to abandoned mine lands. Our group will use measures of soil and water quality in conjunction with geomorphic characteristics of the site (e.g., slope, distance, erosion rates) and vegetation data to determine planned reclamation actions. The final reclamation plan will be submitted to staff working under the Defense-Related Uranium Mines program at Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., a contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy.

INVENTORY OF ABANDONED GRAVEL MINES AND THEIR POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE WATERFOWL AND NATIVE FISH HABITAT ALONG THE COLORADO RIVER CORRIDOR IN MESA COUNTY

Presenter(s): Dalton Baker, Gary Johnson, Richard Plock

Faculty sponsor(s): Deborah Kennard

Play Video

There were 82 active gravel mines and 350-400 abandoned gravel mines along the floodplain of the Colorado River in Mesa County in 2000. Gravel mining operations replace riparian vegetation and shallow backwaters with deep-water ponds non-conducive to waterfowl or native fish. The goal of this study is to inventory the abandoned mines and assess their potential to be reallocated into suitable habitat for migratory waterfowl as well as threatened and endangered native fish species. Aerial photography will be used to identify which sites will be assessed physically. Physical observation and water sampling will be used to categorize them as candidates for rehabilitation. ArcMap will be used to produce maps to visually present the information gathered including rankings of suitability for rehabilitation from best to worst, and vegetation currently present onsite. The findings of this study will be shared with interested agencies and organizations including the Bureau of Land Management, Rivers Edge West, Colorado West Land Trust, and Ducks Unlimited, among others.

USING OYSTER MUSHROOMS (PLEUROTUS OSTREATUS) TO MYCOREMEDIATE PHENOL FROM MESA COUNTY LANDFILL LEACHATE

Presenter(s): Ana Hinojosa, Jacob Park, Matthew Rutkowski, Trevor Smith

Faculty sponsor(s): Freddy Witarsa

Download file for USING OYSTER MUSHROOMS (PLEUROTUS OSTREATUS) TO MYCOREMEDIATE PHENOL FROM MESA COUNTY LANDFILL LEACHATE

Mycoremediation, the use of fungi to remove pollutants, is a technique practiced in many applications, including the decontamination of industrial waste. While the use of Pleurotus ostreatus in their mycelium stage has been studied for the remediation of many hazardous chemicals, including phenyl compounds, heavy metals, and PAHs, using them for remediation of leachate needs more research. Leachate, the result of water percolating through solid waste, is often characterized by high concentrations of the previously-mentioned chemicals. Typically, landfill leachate is not accepted at wastewater treatment facilities because of the high phenol concentrations. Our study aims to determine if the mycelium of Pleurotus ostreatus is suitable for removing phenol from landfill leachate. We will collect leachate from the Mesa County landfill and test it in a laboratory setting with the addition of different concentrations of phenol to determine the overall tolerance and ability of Pleurotus ostreatus to remove phenol from leachate. We will interpret results and compare them to our hypothesis that phenol concentrations will be lower in the treated samples than their initial concentrations. Our study would suggest if mycelium is a cheap and viable option to remediate landfill leachate, or other field applications, that has high phenol concentrations.