Monday, December 5, 2016

Student Gets Ready to 'Rock' the AGU Conference

 After a semester of hard work University of Wyoming geology students have the opportunity to present their research at the AGU Conference in San Francisco December 12th - 16th. This is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences that brings together scientists, educators, and students. One UW student that will be presenting her research at the conference will be Casey McGuffy.

McGuffy, a New Jersey native, came to Wyoming after an undergraduate professor recommended she attend UW for her masters degree in geophysics. She became interested in geology due to her love of the outdoors.

Casey McGuffy working this summer in Jemez, N.M. 
McGuffy's research is focused on bedrock weathering at two mountain watersheds. Her first site is the Jemez Critical Zone, New Mexico and the Reynolds Creek Critical Zone, Idaho.

"The Critical Zone is a near-surface layer of the Earth that supports terrestrial life. This layer includes the bed rock up to the tops of the trees. So it is not only studied by geologists, but ecologists and soil scientists are also involved," McGuffy explains.

The Critical Zone site in Jemez, N.M. 

Over the summer McGuffy worked at the Jemez site, but she was unable to see the Reynolds Creek location. She used data collected by other colleagues from the Idaho site to contribute to her research project. McGuffy studied the thickness of regolith, the layer of soil, saprolite, and underlying weathered bedrock, to determine differences in weathering. The two zones have similar climates and ecosystems allowing for comparisons.

McGuffy found that the primary differences between weathering along the rock profiles were due to slope aspect. It was also noted that seismic profiles between the two sites lead to variations in weathering due to the different rock types.

Previously McGuffy had her undergraduate research presented for her at the conference, but this will be her first year attending. The AGU conference is also an occasion that is great for professional networking. As McGuffy finishes her masters degree, she wishes to create connections that could lead to possible career opportunities.

"I look forward to seeing other peoples research, talking with people about it, and attending different key note speeches," McGuffy adds.

We wish Casey good luck on her research presentation and all of her future endeavors. She is sure to 'rock' the field of geophysics.

Jemez, N.M. 

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