The Department of Geosciences presents

Geology Open Night

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Spring 2005 Offerings

Open night lectures are usually on topics in the geosciences related to the current research of the faculty, staff and students at SUNY Stony Brook. These presentations are intended for:

  • those interested in new developments in the sciences

  • earth science high school students and teachers

  • undergraduate and graduate students in geosciences

  • professional geologists

In-service Credit is available for teachers attending the Geology Open Night lectures.

We will be having Geology Open Nights on


January 28, 2005
February 25, 2005
April 1, 2005
April 29, 2005
7:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
Earth and Space Sciences Building 
Lecture Hall (Room 001)
SUNY Stony Brook Campus

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?


You may also be interested in Astronomy Open Night lectures the first Friday of the month, The Worlds of Physics lectures the second Friday of the month and The Living World the third Friday of the month In-service credit is also available for teachers for attending these lectures.

A single point entry to all of the science open night lectures is available at this link

All of these lectures are in ESS 001 Lecture Hall

There will be Refreshments and Demonstrations after the Geology Open Night Presentations.

Admission is Free!!

Web pages describing earlier Geology Open Night presentations

Spring 1998Fall 1998, Spring 1999, Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000, Spring 2001

Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003, Fall 2003Spring 2004, Fall 2004


Prof. Roger Flood

The New York underwater landscape:
sandwaves, mud holes, worms and shipwrecks

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday January 28, 2005

Prof. John Parise

How are neutrons used to determine the structures of
liquids and solids?

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday February 25, 2005

Prof. Sidney Hemming

Heinrich Events:
massive Late Pleistocene ice rafted detritus layers of the North Atlantic and their global climate imprint

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday April 1, 2005

Prof. Troy Rasbury

of a Supercontinent: Evidence from ancient rift basins right here in the New York Metropolitan Area

7:30 to 8:30 
Friday April 29, 2005


The New York underwater landscape:
sandwaves, mud holes, worms and shipwrecks

Prof. Roger Flood
Marine Sciences Research Center

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday January 28, 2005

Roger Flood is a Professor in the Marine Sciences Research Center and a geological oceanographer. He has spent several years at sea studying deep-water sedimentary deposits starting as a graduate student at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and MIT and continuing at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory. Since coming to Stony Brook he has initiated a program to study the shape and structure of the shallow, near shore ocean using high-resolution mapping techniques including side-scan sonar and multibeam sonar. Through these and other studies we are getting new insights into one of the least well known of the Earth's environments -- the ocean floor.


The use of side-scan sonar for the identification and morphology of subtidal oyster reefs in Great South Bay

Benthic Habitat Mapping in the Peconic Bays

Changes in Geomorphology and Backscatter Patterns in Mount Misery Shoal, Long Island Sound, as Revealed Through Multiple Multibeam Surveys 

New views of bottom topography of Fire Island Inlet and Great South Bay

Changes in bottom morphology of Long Island Sound near Mount Misery Shoal as observed through Repeated Multibeam Surveys


How are neutrons used to determine
the structures of liquids and solids?

Neutrons: Why $1.4 Billion to produce them in Oak Ridge Tennessee?

Prof. John Parise

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday February 25, 2005

The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) is an accelerator-based neutron source being built in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, by the U.S. Department of Energy. The SNS will provide the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research.  At a total cost of $1.4 billion, construction began in 1999 and will be completed in 2006.  Why are we building this?

We know the properties of minerals depend entirely on the way that atoms are arranged within the solid and that rocks depend on the properties of the minerals that constitute them.  Think of the forms of carbon – diamond, graphite - both consist of carbon atoms, both will burn when heated in the presence of oxygen.  But graphite could never be confused with diamond because of the obvious differences between their physical properties - luster, hardness and conductivity.  The way in which carbon atoms are arranged determines the properties of a mineral, not just composition.  This basic premise hold true for all materials from pyroxenes to proteins.

So how do we determine the relative positions and motions of atoms in a bulk sample of solid or liquid?  We need to “see inside” the material.  X-rays are appropriate for the determination of atomic structure in most cases. However the neutron’s unique properties, its sensitivity to light atoms such as hydrogen, its magnetic moment and its weak interaction with matter for example, make them ideal for the characterization of materials from small mineral samples to aircraft wings.  It is difficult – more precisely impossible – to replicate the science and technology made possible with the availability of intense neutron beams. 

Synchrotron X-ray sources are widely distributed through out the planet (there is one at Brookhaven – the fist “dedicated” source of its type).  These sources of bright X-rays are regarded as routine research tools, having been used for the past 3 decades to study a variety of materials.  They are showing up in smaller industrialized nations.  Neutron sources such as the SNS are more rare, but neutrons provide unique insights into the behavior of materials that are very different from the information provided by X-rays.  I will discuss some of the science made possible by these beams and how the information obtained from both X-rays and neutron sources can be used to complement our view of how earth materials, and materials in general, behave.


Spallation Neutron Source Oak Ridge, TN


Heinrich Events: massive Late Pleistocene ice rafted detritus layers of the North Atlantic and their global climate imprint

Prof. Sidney Hemming
Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday April 1, 2005

During the last glacial interval there were five periods of extreme climatic change known as Heinrich Events. The events occurred 17,000, 24,000, 31,000, 38,000 and 59,000 years ago. The Heinrich events were first recognized in North Atlantic Ocean floor sediments where layers of rock fragments were found between layers rich in carbonate fossils. The layers are thought to have been deposited by massive armadas of ice bergs. The changes in thickness of the layers, the types of rocks and minerals found in them, the ages of the rocks and minerals in the layers and their isotopic signatures indicate that the detritus was derived from the region around Hudson Strait between Baffin Island and northern Quebec. Each of these rock-fragment-rich layers known as "ice rafted detritus" were deposited in a relatively short period of time, approximately 500 250 years. Climatic events at the same time as the Heinrich Events are now recognized around the globe suggesting coherent interactions among Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere. (Some question the evidence for climatic change associated with these events in the southern hemisphere.) Prof. Hemming will review the research on Heinrich layers (events), including a discussion of the setting and source of the ice rafted detritus, the physical and chemical evidence that characterizes them, the processes that may explain them, and the global signals that may relate to them.



Break-up of a Supercontinent:
Evidence from ancient rift basins
right here in the New York Metropolitan Area

Prof. Troy Rasbury
Department of Geosciences
Stony Brook University.

N-S trending basins with tens of thousands of feet of Triassic-Jurassic age sediments line the eastern margin of North America. These basins are believed to represent the initial break-up of the supercontinent Pangea eventually resulting in the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. River and lake sediments deposited from 230 to 190 million years ago fill these basins. The lake deposits have well developed cycles at a number of scales that have been tied to Milankovitch orbital cycles (changes in: the tilt of the earth’s axis, the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit around the sun, and the precession of the spin about the earth’s axis). On the basis of these periodic cycles and a detailed magnetostratigraphy (changes in the direction of the earth’s magnetic pole as measured in the sediments), the deposits have formed a foundation for global correlation. The Triassic-Jurassic boundary at about 200 million years ago is recognized in these deposits. One of the five mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic (the last 540 million years) occurred at this boundary which resulted in the rise of the dinosaurs. Dinosaur footprints are quite common in the shallow lake deposits. There are several hypotheses regarding the cause of the extinction. That it is a result of: a meteorite impact, voluminous outpourings of basalt, or a fall in sea level and commensurate loss of habitat. Prof. Rasbury will describe the sedimentary rocks themselves, discuss what they tell us about the break-up of Pangea, explain the keys to the age of the rocks, and tell us how these rocks are correlated to a global framework.


Mesozoic Basins in eastern United States  --USGS

Newark Basin Coring Project

Hartford Basin Field Trip with links - Long Island Geologists


In-service credit available for teachers

If your school requires that you have a sequence of educational opportunities in order to receive in-service credit, please advise them that during the Fall Semester we will be offering one-hour of in-service credit for each of the:

Four Geology Open Nights
Usually meets fourth or last Friday of month 

Four Astronomy Open Nights
Website for more information is:
Meets first Friday of month

Four The Worlds of Physics - 
Web site for more information is:
Meets second Friday of month

Three The Living World
Website for more information is:


Geology Open Night, Astronomy Open Night, The Worlds of Physics and the Living World meet in ESS 001 at 7:30 p.m.

We will offer up to 7.5 hours of in-service credit for:
Long Island Geologists field trip in Fall

Information is available on the Long Island Geologists web site is:

A more printable description of in-service credit offerings can be found at this link.

There will be Refreshments and Demonstrations after the Presentations.

Admission is FREE!

Presentations are in Room 001 ESS Building SUNY Stony Brook

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?