undergraduate research projects

One of greatest joys of being a geophysicist is that you can work with so many different types of geophysical data, and those data can be collected in so many different and exciting settings around the Earth.  In the photo above, Dana is gathering time-lapse gravity data within the caldera of Kilauea Volcano to help understand/model the daily rise and fall of the lava lake observed in Halemaʻumaʻu crater. I believe that to fully appreciate one’s field data, to understand it’s relevance to the geologic problem, to understand the sources of error in the data, and to help keep one’s interpretation real…..you need to gather the data yourself (when possible).  As such, I continuously seek to find real projects for our undergraduate students, largely for their Senior Design course, that they will be excited to tackle.  I want them to learn the complete geophysical cycle of preliminary field planning, data collection, and inversion/interpretation.  And I want them to walk away with awesome field photos and an amazing story to tell their friends and family!  Undergraduate projects with me generally focus on geophysics for archaeological investigations and volcanic studies.

Example projects

  • Volcanic monitoring: Various projects around Kilauea volcano including the caldera and lower flow field
  • Historic preservation: Geophysical investigations at Astor House Yard, City of Golden, CO
  • Historic preservation: Geophysics for detection of mass graves at Roselawn Cemetery, Pueblo, CO
  • Historic preservation: Geophysical identification of unmarked graves at Russell Gulch Cemetery, Gilpin County Historical Society, CO
  • Historic preservation: Geophysical identification of unmarked graves at Lake George Cemetery, Park County, Colorado
  • Archaeological geophysics: Kahuku archaeology site, Hawaii
  • Archaeological geophysics: Tahosa Creek / High Peak Camp, Colorado
  • Archaeological geophysics: Ludlow massacre site, Colorado
  • Archaeological geophysics: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
  • Archaeological geophysics: Chimney Rock Great House, Colorado
  • Archaeological geophysics: Indian Camp Ranch, Basketmaker III community, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Colorado
  • Archaeological geophysics: Hidden Tower Village Site, Colorado

A few fun photos of amazing undergrads in action

volcanic studies

archaeological geophysics: Indian camp ranch

historical preservation

detection of unmarked graves at russell gulch cemetery

search for mass graves in pueblo, co

Undergraduate students in geophysics join the collaborative project between Dr Richard Krahenbuhl at MINES, Michelle Slaughter of Alpine Archaeology, and Lucille Coresentino with Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo, CO.  Objectives: Use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), DC Resistivity, and Frequency-domain EM to detect mass graves believed to exist in a historic section of the Roselawn Cemetery.  The mass graves are associated with the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 and the Great Flood of 1921.

Read about this exciting study in the Pueblo Chieftain News!