The environmental geoscience program at Concord University has been awarded a competitive research grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.  The three-year study will examine how geological faults begin to grow and connect into structures that can support large earthquakes.  The work will take place at a field site in western Greenland.

At this site, a geological fault zone that was once active many miles below the surface of the Earth has been gradually uplifted so that it is now exposed at Earth’s surface.  The funding from the grant will allow Concord students to travel to the site during the summer over the next three years and participate in collection of field data.  The site is located on a remote island in the Davis Strait above the Arctic Circle and will be accessed with helicopter and sea support.

During the academic year, the students will examine tiny mineral grains from samples collected from the field site using Concord’s electron microprobe laboratory on campus. The mineral data are critical to the success of the study and will allow the researchers to determine how deep the fault was when it formed and how much frictional heat it generated when it was actively moving.

The $70,000 grant, entitled “Influence of Anisotropy on Dynamic Rupture During Incipient Fault Zone Development,” was awarded to Dr. Joseph Allen, Professor of Geology at Concord University, who will serve as principal investigator for the study.