Project Overview

Where is the limit of life on Earth? Spoilers: In Antarctica

Faculty Sponsor

Joe Levy (




How do soils evolve in the coldest, driest, saltiest, most irradiated place on Earth? Is anyone home in them? This project will revolve around the physical analysis of sediment samples collected in Antarctica. A student researcher will measure grain size, salinity, chemical composition, and hydrological characteristics to address an outstanding polar geology mystery: how did water come to flow in an environment with a mean annual temperature below -20°C and how can these soils support extremophile soil communities? The ideal student for this project is organized, meticulous, and brings an interest in how climate processes shape the surface of the Earth and/or the ecosystems that function in extreme environments. .

Student Qualifications

Student should be comfortable working in a laboratory environment and must have taken at least one lab class at Colgate.  Students must be current on lab safety training. 

Number of Student Researchers

1 student

Project Length

10 weeks

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (