The Lewis deposit is a major wollastonite (CaSiO3) producer in the Adirondack Highlands, NY. Wollastonite from Lewis is used in applications as diverse as plastics, paints, construction materials, and metallurgical products. Over a timescale of years crushed wollastonite in mine wastes here have been cemented together by calcite, evidence for the reaction where atmospheric CO2 + wollastonite (CaSiO3) –> calcite (CaCO3) + quartz (SiO2). This reaction sequesters atmospheric CO2, and has been proposed as a potential way to mitigate anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Students working on this project will visit the Lewis mine, describe and sample the mine waste rocks, and will analyze samples back at Colgate. The aim of the project is to evaluate mineral-atmosphere reactions as a way to draw down atmospheric CO2; something that has been the topic of laboratory experiments but has had very little confirmation in the field.
Students should have completed Geol 201 (Mineralogy). Geol 320 (Techniques of Field Geology) is not required, but would be helpful. The Geology Department encourages students interested in summer research to meet with potential faculty supervisors before submitting an application.