Department News

EPS Alum Durcanin is runner up for Matson Memorial Award

Michael Durcanin presentation: "Exhumation on the Passive Margin of Eastern North America: Results from Sonic Transit-Time and Vitrinite-Reflectance Analyses in the Newark Rift Basin"


Rutgers’ graduate, Michael Durcanin (BS, 2006; MS, 2009), received news that his presentation at the 2017 AAPG Conference was the runner-up for the George C. Matson Memorial Award. A panel of judges/experts reviewed over 1000 presentations before selecting Mike’s talk as one of the conference’s top talks.  In recognition of his accomplishment, Robbie Gries, GSA President-Elect, has invited Mike to present his work in the Geologic Energy Research Session at the upcoming 2018 GSA meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

Read more: EPS Alum Durcanin is runner up for Matson Memorial Award

Undergraduate Researchers Present in Northeastern GSA

On March 19th and 20th, Rutgers seismology group attended the Northeastern sectional meeting of GSA, held in Burlington, Vermont. In the session aiming to integrate geology and geophysics, our undergraduates, Stephen Elkington and Janine Hlavaty, contributed results from their research investigating the upper mantle rock textures beneath New England. The talk was masterfully presented by Steve. The study was done in conjunction with the Aresty Research Assistant Program (, and will be presented by Janine and Steve once again at the Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in April.


First EPS Publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Chondrules are melt spherules in meteorites. Whether chondrules are universally primitive condensates from the solar nebula or spherules produced by planetesimal collisions during planetary accretion is uncertain. Emeritus Professor Roger Hewins and Ph.D. alumna Claire Condie defined the formation conditions of some unusual chondrules, which partially remelted during cooling (see Condie’s 2012 EPS Ph.D. thesis). Melissa Morris’ group at SUNY Cortlandt used Condie’s data to conduct 3D modeling of an impact plume with the adaptive mesh refinement code FLASH4. They found heating spikes in compressed parcels of gas like those in crystallization experiments. The agreement between the geological experiments from Rutgers and the astrophysical models from SUNY Cortlandt supports formation of these chondrules by collision of planetesimals

Read more: First EPS Publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Chen accepted to the Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research summer school!

Congratulations to Xiaoran Chen on her acceptance into the month-long expenses-paid summer school run by the Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research (CIDER) ( Xiaoran will spend the month of July, 2018 at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP), University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

The program emphasizes multidisciplinary team-based studies of the Earth Interior (details here

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47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference


Harrison (Jack) Schmitt, Annette Hilton, Dr. Juliane Gros

Rutgers planetary science research was well represented at the 47th Lunar and Planetary ScienceConference (LPSC) held from 3/21-3/25. The Rutgers group presented a total of ten papers (two oral presentations and eight posters). This does not include the three papers that Rodger Hewins and Bridget Zanda were authors/co-authors on ( Roger  continues to list Rutgers as a co-affiliation.) So over all, thirteen papers were presented with Rutgers authors onmasthead. 

Read more: 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Medford Auger project site 2 Medford Transportation Center, Medford, NJ

IMG 2004 2The Medford Auger Project (22-26 Aug. 2016) exceeded expectations.  Six sites, 10 holes, and 359 ft of section were successfully cored with excellent recovery (328.65 ft; 91.5% recovery).  Site 6 stands out with the thickest Marlboro Formation (10.5 ft) that was double cored.  We had an overall recovery of 72.6 ft of Marlboro Formation, our target. Weather was spectacular for late Aug.  Seven students worked the sites, with the study of these cores constituting part of L. Podrecca’s Masters thesis.  Study onsite provided an excellent introduction to the geology of the coastal plain for 3 incoming students (Alex Adams, Luca Podrecca, and Mark Yu. 

Read more: Medford Auger project site 2 Medford Transportation Center, Medford, NJ