This grant funds a continuation of the UMN Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site for field, analytical experimental, and theoretical study of geological fluids. Since 1998, the 10 week UMN summer intern program in Geology and Geophysics has focused on research concerning geological fluids from surface and near-surface systems to the mantle to the core. Fourteen undergraduate students will be recruited nationally each year. The students will investigate topics with the common theme of fluids in the Earth. They will be involved in various research activities, including the impacts of human activities on groundwater quality primarily in karst and fractured rock aquifers, limnogeology research on lakes to understand regional environmental dynamics, evaluation of the chemical and mechanical effects of fluids in metamorphic and igneous systems, seismic detection of fluids and melts in Earth's mantle, the effect of melt on rheology of mantle rocks, and numerical hands-on experience with mantle convection and core dynamics using scientific visualization, and more. The program features many attributes that foster a cohort experience. In particular, interns participate in a weekly series of lectures given by participating faculty and in two symposia in which they explain their projects and results to each other and to members of the department. In addition, they are exposed to disciplines outside their summer research and by participating in field trips to Midwestern sites (caves, glacial lake/river features, mid-continent rift lavas, deep underground observatories). An important goal of the internship program is to integrate the interns into the research environment of the Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, allowing interactions with faculty, post-docs, and graduate students in the various research groups of the department. The program also fosters a sense of community among the summer students as they interact with future Earth science colleagues and friends. Interns live in university housing with contiguous room assignments and shared cooking facilities and the program includes weekend activities such as picnics, boating on Lake Superior, and camping trips. Program activities emphasize the connections and commonality of research carried out in diverse research fields, in order to help develop communication between the students and an appreciation for the broad range of problems that can be addressed with the same experimental, analytical and computational tools.
REU Site: Fluids in the Earth from Surface to Core