Seeing is believing for prospective earth and environmental science graduate students: New Mexico Tech

Seeing is believing for prospective graduate students in Earth and Environmental Sciences

March 21, 2022


The tour introduces the geological characteristics of the Socorro region, the New Mexico Tech faculty and the research laboratories

SOCORRO, NM – A first-hand look at the surroundings – stunning vistas seen from a mesa towering over a ponderosa pine forest and a breathtaking sunset over a multicolored canyon lit by a bonfire – can be a determining factor for undergraduates considering the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Mining. Technology (New Mexico Tech) for their graduate careers. The classroom tours – inside and out – were the culmination of a recent multi-day visit to campus for top potential graduate students from the Earth and Earth Sciences program. Environment (EES) of Tech. Eleven undergraduate students from across the country recently spent three days touring the university’s buildings and labs; meeting with faculty, staff and current graduate students; and experience a sample of the geological wonders of the Socorro region – the spectacular and accessible outdoor classrooms of New Mexico Tech.

Matthew Zimmerer, Ph.D., right, a field geologist and assistant professor in the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, shows prospective graduate students in New Mexico’s Tech Earth and Environmental Science program maps of the various features geological finds found in New Mexico during a tour of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources building on Friday, March 4.

According to Glenn Spinelli, Ph.D., professor of geophysics in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, after the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person campus tours in 2021, EES faculty were looking forward to resuming their annual graduate student recruitment event. In addition to meeting potential advisors to discuss possible research projects, hearing about the experiences of current EES graduate students, and touring the New Mexico Tech campus, the tour also allowed undergraduate students to learn about some of the features surrounding geology.

Visit of the EES laboratories
Matthew Zimmerer, Ph.D., center, field geologist and assistant professor in the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, right, shows prospective graduate students in New Mexico’s Tech Earth and Environmental Science program a spectrometer technology in the New Mexico geochronology research laboratory allows specimens to be dated with very high precision. The lab tour was part of a tour of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources building on Friday, March 4.

“We might as well show them some of the interesting geology while we talk to them, rather than just hanging around our offices and labs,” he said. “Going from undergraduate to graduate, it’s less about coursework and more about research.”

Nels Iversen
Nels Iverson, Ph.D., geochemist, researcher, and microanalytical laboratory manager at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, explains to students how the electron microprobe laboratory is used to examine polished surface samples and determine the mineral composition. Iverson’s lecture was part of a tour of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources building on Friday, March 4, for prospective graduate students in New Mexico’s Tech Earth and Environmental Science program.

The prospective graduate student tour, held March 3-6, included a tour of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources analytical labs, one-on-one meetings with faculty members, a banquet in the office building atrium and tour of the world-class Minerals Museum, as well as field trips with current faculty and graduate students at nearby locations.

EES Group at the top of Water Canyon Mesa
Ryan Leary, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, left, points out geological features to prospective graduate students from the top of the mesa in Water Canyon, part of the National Forest of Cibola about 25 minutes southwest of the new Mexico Tech Campus. The Saturday, March 5 field trip was part of a tour of the geological features of the Socorro region for prospective graduate students in New Mexico’s Tech Earth and Environmental Science program.

Some of the field trips future graduate students have taken part in include:

  • A walk among cranes, geese and ducks at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge 30 miles south of the Tech campus. Faculty and students hiked the Canyon Trail, a 2.2-mile loop that winds through a small canyon carved out of sandstone.
  • A scenic hike on the Mesa Trail through ponderosa pines and volcanic breccias in the Cibola National Forest in the Magdalena Mountains, followed by a picnic lunch at Water Canyon Campground. Even though Socorro is in the Chihuahuan Desert, the forested area of ​​Water Canyon is located just 25 minutes southwest of the Tech campus.
  • A trip just 20 minutes east of Socorro along the Rio Grande to a site where technology professors and graduate students have established a research station to examine the sediment transport that occurs during flash floods in the arroyos.
  • An evening at San Lorenzo Canyon, near Polvadera, about 30 minutes north of campus, in a spectacular slot canyon – a narrow canyon formed by water rushing through rock – followed by lunch provided by truck local tacos and a bonfire.
    EES staff and students picnic at Water Canyon
    The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources and Earth and Environmental Sciences faculty and graduate students are hosting a picnic for prospective New Mexico Tech graduate students at the Water Canyon Campground on Saturday March 5. The field trip to the Cibola National Forest, approximately 25 minutes southwest of campus, was part of a tour of the geological features of the Socorro region for prospective graduate students in the Tech Earth and Environmental Science program. from New Mexico.

Close-up image of a hand indicating the layers of a rock formation.

Veronica Prush, Ph.D., an incoming assistant professor of structural geology who begins work at New Mexico Tech on July 1, points to the volcanic breccia found along the Mesa Trail in the Cibola National Forest, about 25 minutes south -west of campus. Prush explained that the igneous rocks were formed from explosive volcanic action in the Magdalena Mountains. The Saturday, March 5, mountain hike was part of a tour of the geological features of the Socorro region for prospective graduate students in New Mexico’s Tech Earth and Environmental Science program.

Matthew Zimmerer, Ph.D., field geologist and assistant professor in the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, left, tells prospective graduate students of the New Mexico Tech Earth and Environmental Science program that the mineral museum and the bookstore are really great resources for learning about New Mexico geology.  Zimmerer led a tour of the office building on Friday, March 4.

Matthew Zimmerer, Ph.D., field geologist and assistant professor in the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, left, tells prospective graduate students of the New Mexico Tech Earth and Environmental Science program that the mineral museum and the bookstore are really great resources for learning about New Mexico geology. Zimmerer led a tour of the office building on Friday, March 4.

Magdalen Grismer, left, PhD student in geochemistry, and George Pharris, geoscience student at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, enjoy the view from the Mesa Trail in Cibola National Forest

Magdalen Grismer, left, a doctoral student in geochemistry, and George Pharris, a geoscience student at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, enjoy the view from the Mesa Trail in Cibola National Forest, about 25 minutes southwest of the New Mexico Tech campus. The Saturday, March 5 field trip was part of a tour of the geological features of the Socorro region for prospective graduate students in New Mexico’s Tech Earth and Environmental Science program.

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