Student Richard Bubbico and geology Professor Hannes Brueckner claim their Greenland research site for Queens College.
“Cities and civilization have isolated most people from their connection with our planet. Few people seem to realize that everything—the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the tools we use—came directly or indirectly from this ‘rock’ we call the earth,” says geology Professor Hannes Brueckner, looking back on the two weeks he spent in eastern Greenland the summer of 2009 studying how mountains are made.
Queens College undergraduate Richard Bubbico had the chance to work with Brueckner in this “bleak but spectacular landscape” under a National Science Foundation grant. They were joined by colleagues from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and the University of California at Santa Barbara. The rock samples they collected should tell the team more about the formation—roughly 400 million years ago—of Liverpool Land, part of the North Atlantic Caledonides.
Bubbico assisted in the field work by mapping the rocks, measuring the orientation of structures and collecting rock samples. The samples will be analyzed as part of his senior research project and serve as the foundation of his dissertation when he enters the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences graduate program.
“It was fun to see how Richard’s knowledge and understanding of geology was expanded as a result of our time in Greenland,” says Brueckner. “Not only did he learn field techniques from me and the rest of the party, he also benefited from the many discussions we had ‘on the outcrop,’ where we tried to read the rocks.” Indeed, the rocky and sometimes difficult terrain required that researchers travel the area in teams of two or more.
Says Bubbico: “As a geology student, there is only so much you can learn in the classroom. It was great to get out into the field and immerse myself in the subject. The learning experience in Greenland was so hands-on—it was an amazing adventure!”