Enhance your studies with the top-class technology and strengthen the skills you need to become a science practitioner through field and laboratory-based study opportunities, the junior seminar, and senior capstone sequence.

Research Facilities & Equipment 

You will have access to the "Flume" room, a modeling lab to investigate surface and subsurface processes, and a geospatial analysis lab for GIS and dynamic modeling. Studies of rocks, minerals, and soils are enhanced with petrographic microscopes, an X-ray Diffractometer, and a Portable X-ray Fluorescence laboratory equipment. You'll use a suite of soil biogeochemistry analytical tools to investigate carbon and nutrient cycling dynamics, soil microbial communities, and the world beneath our feet. In addition, available equipment and software include:

  • Laser Particle Image Velocimetry system
  • Acoustic doppler velocity meter
  • 16,000 FPS high-speed camera
  • Recirculating flumes
  • Wave tank
  • Augmented reality sand box
  • Cathodoluminescence microscopy
  • UAV (drone) with thermal and multispectral imaging capabilities 
  • Submeter GPNSS (GPS)
  • Survey-grade laser theodolite
  • Shared access to shallow-earth geophysical equipment including electrical resistivity, a magnetometer, and ground penetrating radar

Field-based Study

Field-based study is the heart of the geoscience program. Seminars in field geology offer students the opportunity to conduct research in locales of natural beauty and geological intrigue. 

Appleton is near great geologic diversity. Nearby classical geological localities boasts rocks spanning almost 3 billion years. From ancient volcanos, a fossil forest, and a world-renowned glacial landscape to The Great Lakes, a historic river, and complex groundwater systems, there's no shortage of opportunity for you to learn and conduct research on site. 

Extended field courses are offered every year, typically prior to the start of Fall Term. Field-based course trips have included Italy, Puerto Rico, the Rocky Mountains, Lake Superior, the Appalachians, Scotland, Hawai'i, and the Adirondacks.

Present Research at International Meetings

Geoscience students have conducted research and presented them at national and international meetings such as:

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • Association of American Geographers
  • Institute of Lake Superior Geology

The Chandler Senior Experience

Building on a junior seminar and senior capstone that engages you in the scientific process on your way to becoming a scientific practitioner (e.g., framing testable hypotheses, collecting and analyzing meaningful datasets, and developing models of geologic phenomena), you’ll apply your skills to a particular project or problem in the earth sciences. 

Examples of recent Senior Experiences:

  • Petrographic, microstructural and geochronologic analyses of the Eau Pleine Shear Zone, central Wisconsin
  • Mapping the North Upper Mutnovsky Geothermal Field, Kamchatka, Russia
  • GIS/GPS Analysis of Bluff Retreat along the Lake Michigan shoreline
  • Changing Ocean Redox and U:Quantitative Modeling
  • A Previously Unrecognized Impact Structure at Brussels Hill (Door County, Wis.)
  • Explorations of Northeastern Wisconsin's soil biodiversity
  • Determining the emplacement mechanism of an unusual rhyolite body in the ca 1.1 Ga Midcontinent Rift
  • Reconstructing the hydration and carbonation history of the Presque Isle peridotite, Marquette Michigan: Insights into mechanisms of carbon sequestration in ultramafic rocks