Nadine Orejola was recently awarded two research scholarships from the Geological Society of America. She is the recipient of the 2014 ExxonMobil/GSA Student Geoscience Grant and the John Montagne Award. Nadine is a student in Plymouth State University’s (PSU) Master of Science program in Environmental Science and Policy and the awards supports her Master’s Thesis research.
Nadine’s work focuses on sediments from Rekavík Lake in northwest Iceland. Sediments collected by coring into lake bottoms reveal changes in the deposits over time. Iceland’s climate, as well as parts of North America, Europe, and Asia, is influenced by a regional climate pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Extreme NAO years have the potential to leave distinct signatures from storm surges and flooding events in lake deposits, due to Rekavík Lake’s coastal location. Nadine is using cores she collected at Rekavík in 2013 to reconstruct past floods events, from grain-size distributions, magnetic susceptibility, and geochemistry.
Her GSA awards support laboratory analyses of the sediments, including lead isotope dating and sediment geochemistry. With these, Nadine can correlate specific sediment deposits with regional climate records and determine if a relationship exists between the phases of the NAO and storm activity over the last 6000 years.
Dr. Lisa Doner, Nadine’s academic advisor and lead investigator on an associated NSF grant studying the relationship between certain Iceland lakes and climate, notes, “Nadine’s work helps answer important questions about how sea level rise and climate affect coastal regions in high northern latitudes. She combines strong inner drive with excellent classroom, laboratory, and field performance to produce superior work. We are all very pleased to see GSA recognize and financially support this student research effort.”
“The GSA research awards have allowed me to fully explore and pursue my research goals which could not have been realized without their generous support. I am grateful the GSA has acknowledged my efforts and passion for my research,” said Orejola.
PSU’s graduate program in Environmental Science and Policy is designed to engage students in interdisciplinary, field-based applied learning and research. More information about the program is available at http://www.plymouth.edu/center-for-the-environment/ms-in-environmental-science-policy/