ODNR Geologic Research Grants awarded

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has awarded geologic research grants to two Ohio graduate school students from the ODNR Division of Geological Survey’s Ohio Geology License Plate Fund. The student research will broaden understanding of the state’s natural history and may assist in future development of resources.

Eric Armstrong, a first-year master’s student at the University of Toledo, and Allison Young, a fourth-year Ph.D. student at the University of Cincinnati, will each receive grants of $2,500 to aid in their current research projects.

“The Ohio Rocks! Scholarship is a great way to support geological research in Ohio at Ohio schools, and we are very excited that new research is being conducted as the program was intended,” ODNR Division of Geological Survey Chief and State Geologist Tom Serenko said. “We are proud to fund both of these excellent projects. Many thanks to those Ohioans who purchased and continue to renew their plates in support of student research.”

Exploring a feature hypothesized to be an impact crater, Armstrong will use a modern, mobile seismometer (called a tromograph) to assess the thickness of sediments and depth to bedrock in the study area in northwestern Ohio. The “hole” in the bedrock is nearly a kilometer in diameter and exhibits other clues that suggest it is the site of a meteor or comet striking the ancient Ohio landscape. Armstrong’s analysis of sediments could provide information about Earth’s climate during the Ice Age.

Young’s research explores the nature of some of the state’s oldest rocks found in the subsurface of southwestern Ohio. Her grant award will continue to fund an intensive study of an interval that includes the Utica and Point Pleasant formations, which are known source rocks for petroleum and natural gas.

Both of these projects will use modern analytical methods to help understand how the Ohio landscape formed and changed over time. Armstrong’s use of seismic instruments to analyze sediments and depth to bedrock relates to recent work by ODNR Division of Geological Survey geologists. Young will use a method called sequence stratigraphy, which involves mapping of strata, or rock layers, based on identification of surfaces that are assumed to represent timelines, rather than emphasizing the physical, chemical and mineralogical makeup of the rocks.

The grants to Armstrong and Young represent the third year of awards from the Ohio Geology License Plate Fund.