Dr. Brian Zimmerman
Edinboro University Geosciences Department students enjoy state-of the-art learning facilities, located primarily in Cooper Hall, which extensive recent additions and renovations have transformed into one of the most technologically advanced laboratory environments in the region.
Field equipment capabilities for the Department of Geosciences include a variety of tools for mapping and collecting geological data from the shallow subsurface. These tools can be used in a great variety of studies, including natural resource investigations, groundwater, soil, stratigraphic and geoarchaeological investigations, among others.
At Earth’s surface, our high resolution backpack model Trimble© Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system permits highly detailed (cm scale) mapping of surface features, that can be combined with satellite imagery and digital elevation data to create maps and geological models. A large number of hand-held Garmin GPS units are also available. GPS technology is often used in conjunction with our Total© laser survey station to make detailed measurements of Earth’s topography.
GPS technology can be combined with an array of instruments for geophysical investigations into Earth’s crust, including Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Seismic, and coring capabilities.
Our Mala© GPR system is used for rapid (real-time) examination of the thickness and detailed subsurface geometry of soils, groundwater, and sedimentary features, to depths of 60 feet. The GPR system can also be used to find buried utilities, and in forensic work related to burial sites, and can be used in conjunction with our electrical resistivity system to fully image the shallow subsurface.
To examine greater depths, we have a Geometrics© seismic system, which permits examination of the structure of shallow sediments and sedimentary rocks. This system is similar in technique to those used by oil and gas companies in hydrocarbon investigations.
We also have a variety of soil and sediment coring tools, including a 3-inch diameter, portable vibra-corer capable of extracting continuous cores up to 20 feet in length. We also have a 2-inch diameter Livingstone corer and a piston corer, used primarily for lake studies. Cores up to 40 feet long can be extracted below water depths up to 60 feet with these systems. A complete AMS©discrete sampling bucket/auger coring system is used for a wide range of environmental samples, as is a Russian peat-borer and soil probes/augers.
An 18-foot pontoon boat, housed on Edinboro Lake during summer months, provides access to the lake for water and sediment studies.
A wide variety of geological samples can be characterized within several newly designed and renovated laboratory spaces, where we can analyze everything from solid rock to sediment cores and soil samples. Laboratories include space for preparation of samples, such as cutting (with a variety of rock saws), grinding (mixer-mill), and sieving (Rotap© sieve shaker). Prepared samples can then be analyzed for mineralogy with our Rigaku MiniFlex© X-ray diffractometer, or for detailed, rapid particle size analysis with our Beckman Coulter© laser diffractometer. A programmable muffle furnace permits the determination of organic carbon and carbonate contents of soil and sediment, and a Bartington© magnetic susceptibility meter can be used to analyze the magnetic characteristics of both intact, continuous cores or outcrops, as well as discrete samples in the laboratory.
The department also houses a large number of new petrographic microscopes for thin section analyses, as well as a large rock and fossil collection.
The biogeography lab is a workspace used to sort and prepare biological specimens and samples. It is equipped with two long work counters, a sink, fume hood and work tables that accommodate twelve students. It contains equipment for field research projects, which have included stream sampling for zebra mussels and macroinvertebrates, and forest studies that incorporated collecting and analyzing tree ring samples.
The Geosciences Department currently houses two state-of-the-art cartography/GIS computer labs. The smaller lab has 10 workstations, while the larger has 29 workstations, and is used for teaching GIS classes. Both of these labs are available for student use during open lab hours. All of the workstations are equipped with the latest version of ArcGIS. They also have SPSS statistical analysis software and a variety of other software used in GIS and cartography classes, including Idrisi, Fusion and Adobe CS.
The Edinboro University Planetarium provides K-12 students, the general public and Edinboro University students with interactive programs highlighting astronomy and space exploration. Located in Cooper Hall, the 32-foot diameter dome features 70 seats, a full color laser system and computer controlled LED lighting system. Several thousand visitors each year visit the planetarium and adjacent natural history museum. The Edinboro University Planetarium services the tri-county region of northwest Pennsylvania and also attracts visitors from northeast Ohio and western New York. CHAOS (Cooper Hall Ambassadors Of Science) provides Edinboro University students of all majors with an opportunity to work directly with K-12 students and the general public in planetarium operations and as docents for the museum. Learn more about the EU Planetarium.
The Edinboro University Seismograph Station is located in Cooper Science Hall and began operation on October 1, 1996. Currently, the station operates a PEPP-V broadband vertical seismometer from Guralp Systems. The seismograph is capable of detecting large earthquakes anywhere in the world and has recorded both the 2004 Sumatra and 2009 Japan earthquakes, which were responsible for devastating tsunamis. On average, the seismometer detects one or two earthquakes each month, including smaller earthquakes that occur in the eastern United States.
The Department of Geosciences maintains a suite of meteorological instruments, located on the roof of Cooper Hall. The suite of instruments, which are manufactured by Davis Instruments, collect temperature, humidity, pressure, wind and precipitation data, which are used in the meteorology classes offered by the Department. The temperature and humidity instruments are housed within a radiation shield to protect them from the sun and precipitation. The anemometer and wind vane have been positioned so that they are largely free of upwind obstacles. The data is archived and sent to our WeatherCam page for public viewing every minute using Virtual Weather Station software by Ambient Software. Our WeatherCam image is produced by a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000. New WeatherCam images are generated and uploaded to the Internet using ImageSalsa software every minute as well.
Cooper Hall, which has been the University’s primary science building since its construction in 1965, is also home to the Edinboro University observatory, greenhouse and science museum and the departments of Chemistry, Biology and Health Services and Physics & Technology.