Project Overview

Crust and Upper Mantle Structure of the Adirondack Mountains

Faculty Sponsor

Aubreya Adams (


Environmental Studies


The Adirondack Mountains are a fascinating region, with an origin distinct from the Appalachian Mountains to the south and east. Although the region is not typically noted for its seismic activity, ten to thirty earthquakes are recorded here each year by sensitive seismic equipment. The underlying cause of the earthquakes is poorly understood, but is generally attributed to current uplift of the mountains. One common way to study the very deep (5-50km) geology of a region is by modeling seismic velocities – how quickly earthquake waves travel through rocks in different locations and depths. By mapping these seismic velocities, we can interpret the large-scale structure of the crust and upper mantle beneath the Adirondack Mountains to better understand the geology of the region and the source(s) of earthquakes in the Adirondacks. As a participant in this research project, you will use regional earthquakes to measure seismic velocities in the northeastern US, using a technique called Pn tomography. You will have access to a new hybrid network of closely-spaced seismic stations, which will provide a unique dataset with the capability to measure velocities with more precision than has previously been possible. Training will be provided in skills needed to process seismic (time-series) data on laboratory computers, to operate a Unix or Linux computer, and to interpret seismic data. You will also join your faculty advisor in visiting several seismic stations in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains, collecting data and performing any repairs that may be necessary. The length of the research experience is flexible, 8-10 weeks.

Student Qualifications

Students should have completed at least one geology, physics, or computer science course, and have an interest in applying technology to real-world science questions. Experience with Linux or Unix is a plus, but is not expected. The Geology Department encourages students interested in summer research to meet with potential faculty supervisors before submitting an application.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/15/2017 and close on 02/07/2017

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (