CU Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

For Immediate Release: 
Mar 28 2007

CONTACT: Dr. Joseph L. Allen, Associate Professor of Geology; Division Chair, Natural Sciences

CU Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Athens, W.Va. – The environmental geosciences program at Concord University has been awarded a National Science Foundation research grant from the NSF Tectonics Program. The three-year project will be lead by Dr. Joseph L. Allen, associate professor of geology and chair of the Division of Natural Sciences. The grant will provide summer stipends and travel funds for students and faculty to complete field research in the Sawatch Range of central Colorado and lab work at major research universities in New Mexico, Minnesota, and other sites around the country.

The $232,000 project will investigate how large earthquakes form, and is a collaboration between Concord University and Montana State University. NSF research grants are highly competitive and more than 85 percent of all applicants were rejected this year. Concord was the only primarily undergraduate institution in the nation to receive an award from the NSF Tectonics Program this year. Very few geoscience projects have ever been awarded to West Virginia colleges and universities – in the past ten years only 37 awards were made to institutions in the state, compared with 26,545 awards nationwide.

Both current and future Concord students will have the opportunity to participate in this research over the next three years. At least six students will earn a summer income and participate in year-long research projects for academic credit. Twenty students will have the opportunity to complete shorter mini-research projects during Concord's summer geology field school, which will be taught at the field research site.

According to the NSF website: The project will contribute empirical observations to help improve models of how faults rupture to produce earthquakes. The geologic results will complement geophysical observations of seismic waves, geodynamic computer models of earthquake processes, and direct observations of faults at shallower depths to give a more complete picture of earthquake mechanics.

Concord University President, Dr. Jerry Beasley, stated that, “I appreciate the initiative and quality demonstrated by Dr. Allen in this grant application. This will provide the faculty opportunities to mentor students in significant research.”