Geology Projects

Projects are subject to change without advance notice.

Title: 3D analysis of vesicular basalts: implications for eruption characteristics and paleo-elevation of volcanoes in eastern California

What’s inside of a volcano? Will it erupt again? How far will the lava travel if it does erupt again? What does the volcanic rock tell us about the interior of the Earth? What was the landscape like when the volcano erupted? One can answer these questions (and more!) by analyzing the vesicles (gas bubbles) frozen in the rock.

This project will use 3D imaging to characterize the number, shape, and distribution of vesicles in basaltic rocks that were created during volcanic eruptions in Eastern California. The distribution of vesicles in a rock can provide information such as the eruption characteristics of a volcano, paleo-elevation of the volcano, and even paleo-atmospheric conditions. Students will perform 3D analysis of basalts using CSUB’s high-resolution CT scanner and data reduction software. We will calculate Vesicle Size Distributions and compare/contrast the top, middle, and bottom layers of several basalt flows to determine the nature of these eruptions.