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Why we look for faults (in the middle of North America)

Looking for faults in the craton (the old part of the North American continent) can be, well, challenging what with all of the dirt and vegetation covering up so much of the rock.  One reason to find these elusive faults is to avoid pumping large volumes of waste water into them and thereby increasing the potential for earthquakes.  Here are some links to news reports about recent studies suggesting that faults and huge volumes of waste water don’t mix.

April 23 New York Times Article           Oklahoma earthquake map                April 21 New York Times Article

Undergraduate pre-service teacher-researchers involved in Geoenvironmental Challenges are discovering new ways to use old geologic maps and new field observations to find hard-to-find faults.

Faculty mentor Dr. Mark Abolins recently led a fault-finding field trip in connection with the 2015 Geological Society of America Southeastern Section Meeting in Chattanooga, TN.

Abolins, M., Young, S., Camacho, J., Trexler, M., Ward, A., Cooley, M., and Ogden, A., 2015, A road guide to the Harpeth River and Stones River fault zones on the northwest flank of the Nashville dome, central Tennessee, in Holmes, A.E., ed., Diverse Excursions in the Southeast: Paleozoic to Present: Geological Society of America Field Guide 39, p. 1–20, doi:10.1130/2015.0039(01).

The Earth Sciences and the Next Generation Science Standards

From GSA Today . . .  full article at


Next Generation Science Standards: A call to action for the geoscience community

Nicole D. LaDue1, Cheryl Brown Manning2

1 Dept. of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois 60115, USA
2 Evergreen High School, Evergreen, Colorado 80439, USA

How do we ensure the health of our geology departments with a steady stream of majors and build an informed public prepared to make important decisions on geoscience issues? The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a critical step, and they require the support of geoscientists nationwide.

The NGSS demonstrate an expanded emphasis on earth-science topics (such as natural resource distribution, human impacts on climate, and geologic history) compared to previous standards (NGSS, 2012; National Research Council, 1996). The NGSS present a rare opportunity to significantly improve K–12 earth-science education nationally because they (1) include up-to-date, timely topics important for public decision making; and (2) increase the rigor and prominence of earth-science content in K–12 classrooms. However, adoption of the NGSS requires state-level legislative action. Without support from geoscientists at the state level, the implementation of NGSS nationwide is threatened.

What can you do to ensure quality K–12 earth-science education?

  1. Promote the adoption of the NGSS in your state to local lawmakers and popular media. Check here to learn about NGSS in your state: Major legislative battles are taking place in many states due to push-back on controversial earth-science–relevant topics. Write letters to your lawmakers urging them to support the statewide adoption of NGSS. Write articles for local popular press, or hold a local science café through your institution’s STEM outreach office. Stress the importance of the NGSS for preparing an informed public to make decisions about natural resource use, climate change impacts, and natural hazards.
  2. Urge your state commissioners of education to provide adequate resources for teacher training to meet the Earth and Space Science Performance Expectations in the NGSS. Many local and regional school districts are struggling to adapt to curricular changes as a result of statewide adoption. The resources they need include earth-science content training, curriculum development training, classroom materials, computers, and strategic planning for implementing earth science either as a stand-alone course or infused into their physics, chemistry, and biology courses. The needs and resources of each district vary substantially; however, all schools need teacher training to understand the earth and space science standards and how to best meet the standards within the context of their school districts’ curriculum.
  3. Utilize broader impacts of funded projects to provide content knowledge training to regional teachers. Teachers in your area need a boost in their earth-science knowledge to meet the expectations of the NGSS. Specific challenges relate to understanding how the process of science can be different in the earth sciences as compared to other sciences and how to present politically charged issues, such as climate change, earth history and evolution, and natural resource use (such as fracking). Resources to facilitate your efforts are available through the following organizations and curricular repositories: National Association of Earth Science Teachers, Museum of the Earth, SERC, On the Cutting Edge, and the Geological Society of America, to name a few. Likewise, you can partner with colleagues in a college of education or STEM outreach office to help use the content you provide and to develop appropriate lessons for K–12 classrooms.

April 1 Deadline – Nominate a Teacher for National Presidential Award

A reminder from the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) . . .
At IBP, we know that K-12 educators are instrumental in building a strong foundation for a future career in math or science. That’s why we’re excited to share information about the Presidential awards program that honors these outstanding teachers! The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the nation’s highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). PAEMST nominations and applications for the 2014-2015 cycle are open for 7-12 grade teachers. Nominations close April 1, 2015. Applications close May 1, 2015

Established by Congress in 1983, the PAEMST program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year. NSF administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Presidential awardees receive a certificate signed by the President, a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Last year, the most recent cohort of PAEMST awardees also had the opportunity to meet with President Barack Obama
We hope you’ll consider nominating a talented science or math teacher using the PAEMST website today. NSF is offering free webinars from now until the end of April to help applicants complete the application process. Nominations close April 1, 2015. Applications close May 1, 2015
Liv Detrick
Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP)
The mission of the Institute for Broadening Participation is to increase diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. Our goal is to help students successfully pursue their careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Our website ( lists hundreds of programs and opportunities around the nation that provides funding, mentorship, fellowships/internships, summer programs, etc. that are dedicated to helping students along their educational pathways and eventual careers.
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IslandWood Graduate Program in Education for Environment and Community (EEC)

Geoenvironmental Challenges Summer ’13 alumnus Joe Camacho is a student and educator at IslandWood.  Maybe you will be one day too . . .


The IslandWood EEC Program, created in partnership with the University of Washington, is based on the principle that a more sustainable future demands knowledgeable, committed and reflective educators. Each year our graduate students live, learn and teach in a spectacular natural setting located on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Hands-on teaching experiences with culturally diverse populations help our students to explore the meaning of education, environment and community, and most of our students go on to complete their Masters Degree at the University of Washington’s College of Education.

Please pass along our information to individuals who are passionate about inspiring community and environmental stewardship. We are still accepting applications for 2015-2016 (applications received by March 13, 2015 receive a $100 tuition discount!) and those interested are invited to contact me at 206-855-4369 or We greatly appreciate your help and thank you for being part of our vision for a sustainable future.



Theresa Song, IW ’11, M.Ed. ‘12

Coordinator of Graduate Program in Education for Environment and Community

IslandWood | 4450 Blakely Ave NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

o: 206.855.4369

f: 206.855.4301

The mission of IslandWood is to provide exceptional learning experiences and to inspire lifelong environmental and community stewardship.


Please consider your environmental impact before deciding to print this missive.

Call for Undergraduate Research Highlights

Call for Undergraduate Research Highlights: Summer 2015 issue of the CUR Quarterly on the Web
Submissions for the “Undergraduate Research Highlights” feature of the Summer 2015 issue of the CUR Quarterly on the Web are being accepted until March 15, 2015.  Highlights consist of brief descriptions of recent (past six months) peer-reviewed research or scholarly publications in scholarly journals, book and book chapters, web-based publications, and juried performances. These publications must be in print and must include one or more undergraduate co-authors. To be considered for publication as an Undergraduate Research Highlight, the following information must be submitted to be considered for publication as an Undergraduate Research Highlight, a submission should include the information listed below and MUST CONFORM TO THE FORMAT OF THE EXAMPLE PROVIDED BELOW.  Submissions must be sent via the electronic submission form available at the following link:
Should you have any questions regarding the eligibility of your highlight, please send your question to the Highlights Editor by email (Marie Graf,
For a sample highlight submission, please visit:
Questions regarding the submissions process may be directed to the CUR National Office at or 202-783-4810
EXAMPLE OF PROPER FORMAT REQUIREMENTS – SUBMISSIONS MUST CONFORM TO THIS FORMAT TO BE CONSIDERED. Parker JS, Stewart GS, Gantt C. Research and intervention with adolescents exposed to domestic violence. Family Therapy. 2006; 33:45-52. (University of South Carolina Upstate)  The present study examined characteristics of adolescents exposed to domestic violence and tested a group intervention protocol utilizing expressive writing (EW) as a coping method for this population. The experimental group used “Positive Points”, a list of personal strengths, in the writing intervention based on the hypothesis that their use would increase cognitive insight and positive word usage. A significant group effect was found and all participants demonstrated positive overall emotional change as a result of EW. Jennifer Parker is an assistant professor of psychology. Gina Stewart and Courtney Gantt, both senior psychology majors, participated in the research for independent study credit. The research was supported by a USC Scholarly Research and Development Award and a mini grant from the USC Upstate Center for Undergraduate Research, which was awarded to Gina. Gina is currently in a doctoral program in psychology at the University of Mississippi. Courtney is employed and in the process of applying to graduate programs. INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DESCRIPTION (through the electronic submission form): -Title of the article and full journal citation (inclusive pages). -A brief description (3-5 lines) of the research and its significance. -Title and department or program affiliation of the faculty member. -A brief description of the student co-author(s).  Include the year of study in which the student(s) undertook the work, the opportunity through which the work was undertaken, (independent study project, summer project, REU program, senior thesis project, etc.), and the current status of the student (graduate school, employed, still enrolled, etc). -The source of funding for the work.

Nominate a teacher for national Presidential Award

Do you know a 7th-12th grade teacher who provides excellent mathematics or science instruction to his or her students? Then please consider nominating him or her for a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Anyone—researchers, parents, or members of the general public—may nominate a 7th-12th grade teacher by completing the nomination form available on the PAEMST website ( To submit a nomination, you only need the teacher’s contact information.
PAEMST is the highest honor the United States government bestows for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. Since 1983, more than 4,300 teachers have been recognized for their contributions to mathematics and science education. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Up to 108 teachers may be recognized each year.
Presidential Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States; a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events, professional development opportunities, and policy-maker meetings; and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
The Nomination Deadline is April 1, 2015. The Application Deadline is May 1, 2015 for teachers (Grades 7-12). Elementary school teachers (K – Grades 6) are eligible to apply in 2016. If you know more than one teacher deserving of this award, you may submit more than one nomination. Teachers may also initiate the application process themselves at
Please consider nominating outstanding mathematics or science (including computer science) teachers today!
Nafeesa Owens, Ph.D.
Program Lead, PAEMST*
*The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
This message has been sent to you by the National Science Foundation (NSF). If you do not wish to receive NSF messages on this topic, please send a blank email to to be unsubscribed automatically.

March 18 Field Trip to Examine Ancient Fault Zones Near Nashville, TN

Geoenvironmental Challenges first peer-reviewed publication is in press!  The field guide paper is being published in conjunction with the 2015 Geological Society of America Southeastern Section Meeting.  Geoenvironmental Challenges mentor Dr. Mark Abolins will lead a related one-day field trip on March 18, 2015.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A Road Guide to the Harpeth River and Stones River Fault Zones

on the Northwest Flank of the Nashville Dome, Central Tennessee


2015 Geological Society of America Southeastern Section Meeting

Pre-meeting field trip

One-day field trip: 18 March, 2015.

Cost: $110.00.


Early Registration Deadline: 17 February, 2015.


Mark Abolins1, Shaunna Young2, Joe Camacho3,**, Mark Trexler1,***, Alex Ward1,****, Matt Cooley1,****, and Albert Ogden1

1Department of Geosciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

2Geology Department, Radford University, Radford, VA 24141

3Environmental Science and Management, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521


**Current address: IslandWood, 4450 Blakely Ave., NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

***Current address: Environmental Sciences Corporation Lab Sciences, 12065 Lebanon Road, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee 37122

****Current address: Center for Earthquake Research and Information, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee 38152


The authors use mesoscale structures and existing 1:24,000 scale geologic maps to infer the locations of four macroscale NNW-striking blind normal faults on the northwest flank of the Nashville Dome approx. 30 km south of downtown Nashville. The Harpeth River fault zone has an across-strike width of approx. 6 km, and, from west to east, includes the Peytonsville, Arno, McClory Creek, and McDaniel fault zones. All of the fault zones are east-side-down except for the west-side-down Peytonsville fault zone. Mesoscale structures are exposed within each fault zone and are observed at three stops along Tennessee-840 and at an additional stop 1.8 km south of the highway. These structures include minor normal faults (maximum dip separation 3.8 m), non-vertical joints, and mesoscale folds. No faults are depicted on existing geologic maps of the zone, but these maps reveal macroscale folding of the contact between the Ordovician Carters Formation and the overlying Hermitage Formation. The authors use the orientation and amplitude of these folds to constrain the orientation and length of the inferred blind fault zones and the amount of structural relief across the zones. The longest fault zones are the Arno (13.2 km long) and McDaniel (11.6 km) fault zones, and the amount of structural relief across these zones peaks at 27 m and 24 m, respectively.

The authors also use existing geologic maps to hypothesize that a second east-side-down blind normal fault zone (Stones River fault zone) is located approx. 27 km northeast of the Harpeth River fault zone. The authors interpret non-vertical joints at one stop as fault-related, and they interpret joints at a second stop as related to a hanging wall syncline. Both of these stops are within 4 km of Tennessee-840.



Figure 1. Location of stops (numbered 1-6) and index of figures in relation to Tennessee 840, the Harpeth and Stones Rivers, hypothetical basement faults, the approximate axis of the Nashville Dome (Wilson and Stearns, 1963; Stearns and Reesman, 1986), and the epicenter of the 8 July, 2001 M2.6 earthquake. All faults are high-angle normal faults, and all are east-side-down except for the Peytonsville fault which is west-side-down. Inset shows location in relation to Nashville, Tennessee, and the rest of the eastern United States. PF-Peytonsville fault, AFZ-Arno fault zone, MFZ-McDaniel fault zone, and SRFZ-Stones River fault zone. The McClory Creek fault zone (MCFZ) is at Stop 3 and is too short to depict at this scale.




Figure 2. An east-side-down minor normal fault at Stop 2. See Figure 1 for location of Stop 2.




Figure 3. Groundwater dye traces near the hinge of the Stones River syncline (SRS) and the hypothetical Stones River fault zone (SRFZ). See Figure 1 for location.



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