The Department of Geosciences presents

Geology Open Night

Spring  2017



Gifts from below: Fluorine and fluorite in the western USA

Troy Rasbury,

7:30 PM Friday
Feb. 3, 2017
ESS 001

Interpreting the Geologic Record of Mars, From Orbit

Deanne Rogers

Z:30 PM Friday
Feb. 24, 2017
ESS 001

Inspirational minerals


John Parise

7:30 PM Friday
Mar. 31 2017
ESS 001

Tectonics around the Solar System


Daniel Davis

7:30 PM Friday
April 28, 2017
ESS 001


Earth and Space Sciences Building 
Lecture Hall (Room 001)
SUNY Stony Brook Campus

There will be Refreshments after the Geology Open Night Presentations.

Admission is Free!!

Link here to be placed on the mail or e-mail list to receive announcements.

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

Geology 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

One hour toward professional development is available for teachers and professional geologists attending the Geology Open Night lectures.


Gifts from below: Fluorine and fluorite in the western USA-
a monitor of geothermal energy and ore forming fluids

Troy Rasbury
Department of Geosciences

7:30 PM Friday Feb. 3, 2017

Figure 1. Fluorite mines (circles) and occurrences (∆’s) co-occur with contoured F concentration in geothermal waters.  The 3He/4He ratios of geothermal fluids relative to atmospheric (Ra) also shows a significant spatial correlation with F concentrations.

We have found a strong positive correlation between fluorine (F) concentrations and the magnitude of strain in the Great Basin region (Fig. 1). F correlates with high 3He/4He ratios which are indicative of mantle sources for fluids. In fact, for regions where we have F concentration data, we find a much stronger correlation between F concentrations and strain rate than has been shown for 3He/4He ratios and strain rate.

The occurrence of geologic deposits of fluorite (CaF2) within fault-associated veins records a similar spatial distribution as F concentrations and 3He/4He measurements in present day geothermal fluids suggesting long term (10’s of millions of years) mantle links. Fluorite deposits have a clear association with important ores of beryllium, molybdenum, tungsten, tin, uranium, rare earth elements etc. Indications are that the F in these deposits is from a mantle source. Our work on U-Pb ages for targeted deposits of fluorite will test the timing of these potentially mantle-derived fluids and how this fluid input is linked, both spatially and temporally, with the evolving tectonic boundary forces and how processes such as this bring ‘gifts’ of ores and geothermal energy from below.

 Troy Rasbury is an associate professor in Geosciences and a member of the Doctoral Program in Anthropology at Stony Brook University. She specializes in carbonate petrogenesis, radiogenic isotopes, and geochronology.  She co-runs the Facility for Isotope Research and Student Training (FIRST) at Stony Brook, which was established with a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation. She is a member of the Tender Energy Spectroscopy (TES) research team at the National Synchrotron Light Source II and has been a NSLS user since the late 1990’s. Her research focuses on U-Pb dating of carbonates and fluorite and in understanding U speciation in these minerals. She also focuses on using biogenic carbonates to reconstruct past ocean chemistry, particularly changes in U/Ca and Sr/Ca through the Phanerozoic.  

Interpreting the Geologic Record of Mars, From Orbit

Deanne Rogers
Department of Geosciences

7:30 PM Friday Feb. 24, 2017

Rock units and landscapes provide a record of environments and geologic processes that affected planetary surfaces in the ancient and recent past. On Mars, rock units as old as ~3.8 billion years are common and exposed at the surface. This is in stark contrast with Earth, where plate movements and an active hydrologic cycle have obscured much of the ancient record through crustal recycling, mountain-building, extensive erosion and burial. The ancient rock units of Mars show evidence of volcanism, fluvial erosion, and various styles of sedimentation, revealed through high-resolution cameras and infrared measurements. However, a number of factors complicate the interpretation of such ancient surfaces, such as overprinting by meteor impacts and wind erosion. These resurfacing agents are so powerful, it is remarkable that such ancient rocks are still preserved. I will present a high-resolution photogeologic tour of Martian landscapes and features, and describe some of the methods and challenges involved with interpreting the history of these surfaces.

Deanne Rogers is an Assistant Professor of Geosciences at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. She uses remote sensing techniques, statistical methods and laboratory spectroscopy to investigate planetary surface processes. She was a collaborator on the Mars Exploration Rover and Mars Odyssey missions, and is a Co-Investigator within the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) sub-node at Stony Brook University. She was named a NASA Planetary Science Division Early Career Fellow in 2008. She teaches courses in remote sensing and natural hazards.


Inspirational Minerals

John Parise
Department of Geosciences

7:30 PM Friday Mar. 31, 2017

Humans have acquired and used minerals, such as native metals, clays and gems, for tools, shelter and decorative arts since prehistory. The bulk of the Earth consists of minerals constituted from the 8 most common elements; the so-called rock-forming minerals. Many of these are technologically useful with little benefaction. Thanks to chemical differentiation accumulations of rarer and technologically important minerals occur. Many thousands of these rare minerals occur as specks, encrustations and smudges in nature. While mineral formation mechanisms are interesting and worthy of study in their own right, some can be adapted to the synthesis of bulk materials that form the basis of some of our most important technologies.

In the 21th century synthetic materials with structures related to naturally occurring minerals inspired revolutions in energy-industries. Every gallon of gasoline has “seen” a catalytic cracking catalyst (“cat” cracker). All modern cat crackers are chemically and structurally related to the rare aluminosilicate mineral faujasite, a member of the zeolite family of minerals. Apart from catalysis, this mineral family is ubiquitous in industries including gas separation, water purification, aqua-culture (zeoponics in space) agriculture (in animal feed) environmental clean-up (the zeolite clinoptilolite used at Fukushima, Japan) and cat litter. Several other mineral classes are represented in modern technologies: perovskites in cellphones, olivine (the most common mineral in the upper mantle) related battery materials, brownmillerites in fuel cells …… and so on.

In this talk we’ll explore the relationship between naturally occurring materials on and in the planet, the materials we make inspired by them and why they work.

John Parise, a distinguished professor in the Department of Geosciences, is a mineralogical crystallographer and Solid State Chemist with joint appointments at Stony Brook University (SBU) and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) on Long Island New York. His research interests intersect mineralogy, mineral properties the properties of novel materials developed with inspiration from the naturally occurring, though rare, minerals. His recent interests include exploratory high-pressure materials synthesis, aided by theoretical and in-situ x-ray and neutron scattering. In 2012 he was appointed Director of the Joint Photon Sciences Institute, a SBU-BNL initiative to promote education, training and research at BNL's National Synchrotron Light Source-II. He has published over 390 papers and 4 patents. 


Tectonics around the Solar System

Daniel Davis

 Until the past few decades the study of geology and tectonic activity was limited to our own Earth and, through a telescope, the Moon. That has changed.  Spacecraft have now explored all of the planets, numerous moons, comets and asteroids, and (thanks to New Horizons), even Pluto.

 Plate tectonics has made it possible to explain how, why and where our planet forms mountain belts, rifts, the diverse types of volcanoes and earthquakes, and how Earth came to have both an ancient granitic continental crust and a much younger basaltic oceanic crust that is constantly being created by sea-floor spreading and destroyed by subduction. 

The planets and moons around the solar system have tapped diverse sources of energy to create spectacular displays of many kinds of tectonics, with crust that has folded and faulted in all of the fundamental ways found on Earth.  We are coming to understand, though, why we find nothing quite like our own plate tectonics anywhere else in the solar system.  Our planet’s style of recycling crust through subduction and sea-floor spreading remains unique.

 Dan Davis is a professor (and currently the department chair) in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University.  His research interests include plate tectonics, the geology of mountain belts, and geophysical studies of glacial and coastal deposits.  He is also co-author of a popular guide to amateur observational astronomy, Turn Left at Orion.



You may also be interested in the following lectures:
Astronomy Open Night,

The World of Physics and
The Living World
These lectures are usually held in ESS 001 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays during the academic year.

Professional Development letters are available for teachers and geologists for attending these lectures.

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,
Spring 2005, Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2008,
Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011,
Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
Fall 2015
, Spring 2016, Fall 2016


There will be Refreshments 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?