Students, alumni on research cruise to Galapagos

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Oceanographic cruiseThis isn’t your mom’s Carnival cruise.

Seven Colgate students and three alumni are taking part in a month-long research cruise to the Galapagos Islands, where they are mapping the ocean floor and collecting rock samples.

It is a rare opportunity for undergraduates from a smaller school such as Colgate to be able to take part in such an oceanographic cruise, and just as rare to be able to work in one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.

The students — Mike Carbone ’12, Will Cushman ’11, Cameron McKee ’12, Caitlin Mello ’11, Nick Pollock ’11, Krista Moser ’11, and Will Schlitzer ’12 — are sharing their experiences on a blog.

Also on the cruise are Alison Koleszar ’04, Gretchen Swarr ’07, and Dorsey Wanless
’01. Two undergraduates from Redlands University and the University of Idaho are taking part, as well.

Krista Moser ’11 prepares parts of a tow cam that are designed to collect glass from the sea floor. See more images on the students’ blog.

The Colgate undergraduates took a seminar last semester with geology professor Karen Harpp that included instruction by other researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of Idaho, Redlands University, and the University of Paris.

Harpp and her colleagues had secured funding for the cruise from the National Science Foundation.

The research team is examining mantle plumes and mid-ocean ridges in the northern area of the Galapagos archipelago.

The two magma sources have different geochemical signatures, and the team is examining how the two sources might interact.

The Colgate students’ research will continue even after the cruise ends June 20, and they are scheduled to present their findings at an upcoming geological conference.