G.R.E.A.T. Project

Applications for the G.R.E.A.T. Project will open at the end of September. The deadline to apply is November 1, 2017. Open to first-years, sophomores and juniors only.

The Geoscience REsearch At the Cordillera Talamanca (GREAT) Project will use a diverse array of geoscience methods to investigate the origins, the current state, and the hazard potential of the Cordillera Talamanca in southern Costa Rica. This region is unique in Central America because of its lack of active volcanism, its extreme (and geologically recent) high elevations, and its history of unusually distributed large earthquakes.

The project will use resources of the University of Costa Rica: The School of Geology and the civil engineering research center (Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales, LanammeUCR), and also the research facilities of the national power company of Costa Rica (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, ICE).

Students will collect new data on seismic wave propagation, gravity field strength, and the shape of the Earth’s surface, and merge new observations with already existing data into a unified knowledge base that will facilitate better understanding of the region. They will analyze combined data sets to answer specific questions about this region, such as “Why are Cordillera Talamanca so high?”, “Where are zones of present internal deformation?”, and “What factors control slope stability?”, and use newly gained knowledge to assess landslide hazards along the Pan-American Highway in the CT.

THIS IS AN 18-MONTH COMMITMENT. Selected participants will be REQUIRED to attend preliminary trainings and workshops to prepare for their trip abroad.

Spring Semester 2018

Participation in a preparatory seminar that will provide necessary background for the research topics and introduce basic methods or research and types of data to be used.

Summer 2018

5-week long paid research internship with Costa Rican institutions (UCR or ICE). Students will reside in San Jose, CR and be matched with one of three research groups. A large fraction of the time in CR will be spent doing fieldwork, collecting new data for a range of studies (seismological, gravity, land surface), with the remainder devoted to organizing these data and doing first-order analysis of them. The fieldwork in remote parts of CR will likely be quite strenuous, requiring reasonable levels of physical fitness. At the end of their internship each student will formulate a specific research project that will be the subject of their continued work in the subsequent academic year.

Fall Semester 2018

Students join the Aresty Research Assistant program, and spend two semesters working on their research projects, with remote guidance from their CR mentors, and with help and supervision from Professors Vadim Levin and Charles Keeton.

Winter Break 2018

Dr. Levin and students travel to CR during the Winter Break, present results of their research to their CR mentors, and carry out additional field work required by the seismological data collection effort.

Spring 2019

Students finalize results of their research efforts and present them at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium in April. Additional venues for presentation of results (such as national meetings of professional societies such as the American Geophysical Union) will be explored depending on the quality of results and the level of student’s interest.