Department News

For the most recent alumni news, click here!

Recent Publications by Our Faculty 

Dr. Teddy Them's most recent paper was published in the March edition of Global and Planetary Change. Check out the article, titled "Organic geochemistry of a lacustrine shale across the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (Early Jurassic) from NE China" here.

Charleston City Paper Feature

Check out this article in the Charleston City Paper. Dr. Scott Harris provides commentary and insight on the proposed storm surge wall. 

Dr. Cass Runyon Receives Oustanding Faculty Award for Study Abroad

Congratulations to Dr. Cass Runyon on being selected to be honored at the 6th Annual Symposium on International Faculty-Led Programs. This is an excellent recognition of her Study Abroad course to Iceland! 

Virtual Graduation Recognition

The Geology Department hosted a live event recognizing our Spring 2020 graduating seniors on Saturday, May 9th. Watch a recording of the event on our YouTube Channel.

Spring 2020 Faculty Awards

Congratulations to Dr. John Chadwick for winning the School of Sciences and Mathematics Michael J. Auerbach Award for Excellence in Student Research Mentorship!

Post & Courier Feature

Check out this article in the Post & Courier. Our very own Dr. Steve Jaume' provided information for the story, sharing that the recent rumble felt in Charleston County was not from an earthquake.

Publications by Our Faculty

Dr. Scott Persons just had his paper “The Anatomical and Functional Evolution of the Femoral Fourth Trochanter in Ornithischian Dinosaurs” published in The Anatomical Record’s special volume “The Hidden World of Dinosaurs”. Check out the paper here.

Dr. Teddy Them's most recent paper was published in the March edition of Geology. Check out the article, titled "Atmospheric dust stimulated marine primary productivity during Earth's penultimate icehouse" here

Geology Faculty and Students Make Appearances in Magazine Article and AGU Conference

Dr. Scott Harris, students, and colleagues at the SC Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology and University College London have been researching sites on Castle Pinckney in Charleston Harbor. Their work was recently featured in Legacy, a University of South Carolina magazine. See page 20, here.

Dr. Scott Persons and colleagues recently published a journal article about a dinosaur footprint site in China. Click here to read the article.

A group of our students recently traveled to AGU's Ocean Sciences 2020 conference in San Diego with Dr. Leslie Sautter. The students presented posters and one student (Geology-Marine Biology double major Mikayla Drost) had the opportunity to give a lecture on her research.

BEAMS conference pic Feb. 2020

Darwin Week Festivities

On February 12th the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History hosted a special reception to unveil a new prehistoric resident and to celebrate Charles Darwin's birthday as part of the College of Charleston's annual Darwin Week. We had a great time learning about paleontology, eating birthday cake, and bidding on generous donations provided by Museum supporters. Many thanks to everyone who came out to support the Museum!

Mace Brown Reception Feb. 2020-1 Mace Brown Reception Feb. 2020-2

Post and Courier Article Features School of Science and Math Faculty

A January 29th article in the Post and Courier featured some of the remarkable work being done by faculty and students in the School of Science and Math here at the College of Charleston. Geology faculty Bobby Boessenecker and Scott Persons were both highlighted along with Jon Hakkila of the Physics Department and Marine Biology professor Phil Dustan. Marine Biology major and Mace Brown Museum of Natural History volunteer Bailey Fallon was also featured in the article for her research on an ancient turtle fossil that led to a recent publication with Dr. Boessenecker. View the article here

Geology Faculty & Student Featured in the College of Charleston Magazine

The January publication of "The College Today" featured geology professor Barbara Beckingham, Mace Brown Museum of Natural History curator and geology professor Scott Persons, geology major Clara Meier, and geology professor Teddy Them. Check out their stories (links below) to learn more about the exciting work being conducted by the Geology Department.

Beckingham-plastic gloves Persons-Dino-Might Clara Meier - field

1) Barbara Beckingham: Microplastic volume is increasing in wastewater treatment plants in the Lowcountry, but there are things we can do about it. Read more here.

2) Scott Persons: The largest T. rex ever found had a difficult life. Learn more about this fossil's past and future here.

3) Clara Meier: A recent trip to Alaska is providing researchers with clues on the the fourth mass extinction that occurred 201 million years ago. Read more here.  

Dr. Scott Persons Featured in Discovery Magazine's Top Science Stories of 2019

In December, Discover Magazine released its list of top science stories of 2019. #20 in the list focused on the largest and oldest T. rex ever found, a dinosaur nicknamed "Scotty". Dr. Scott Persons was featured in the article thanks to his work with the specimen that cumulated in a publication on the dinosaur earlier in the year. View the article here

Geology Department Instrumental in the Installation of Whale Skeleton in Addlestone Library

The College of Charleston's Addlestone Library recently got a new addition, Dorudon atrox, a 20-foot whale skeleton named Manaia. Faculty and staff from the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, including Bobby Boessenecker, Sarah Boessenecker, and Scott Persons, were vital in preparing and installing the skeleton into position in the library's rotunda. To learn more about Dorudon and how Manaia found its home at the College of Charleston, check out this article or visit Addlestone Library to view the skeleton in person.


Dr. Norman Levine Featured on "The College Today"


"The College Today" recently included an article on the Geology Department's own Dr. Norm Levine. To learn more about how Dr. Levine first got interested in geology and how his career has led him to become the director of the College's Lowcountry Hazards Center and the director of the South Carolina Earthquake Education and Preparedness program, view the article.

geoinformatics minor infographic

Interested in learning more about the new minor? Click here.

Dr. Scott Persons' Recent Paper Provides New Insights into Horned Dinosaurs

Dr. Scott Persons discovered the skull of a Styracosaurus, a 5-meter long horned dinosaur, in the summer of 2015. Hannah, the nickname Dr. Persons gave to the specimen, has given researchers new insights into horned dinosaur species, teaching them that the pattern of horns in dinosaurs could be variable within a species. To learn more, check out the article in "The College Today" or the full scientific article, titled "Morphological variation and assymetrical development in the skull of Styracosaurus albertensis".

Hannah, Hannah, and Scott            Hannah all sides

Dr. Cassandra Runyon Talks About The Apollo 11 Anniversary on "The College Today"

Cass Runyon Apollo 11

Dr. Cassandra Runyon was featured on the the College of Charleston's news website "The College Today" to share her thoughts on the historic Apollo 11 moon landing in honor of its 50th anniversary on July 20, 2019. Dr. Runyon shares where she was when the Apollo 11 landing occurred, her work as a planetary geologist, and some of the technology that resulted from the Apollo 11 mission. Read the full article


2019 Graduates

Geology Student's App Promotes Solar Power

Skye Pellicia

College of Charleston junior Skye Pelliccia designed a new app aimed at helping property owners on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas understand the potential benefits of solar panels for their specific home or business with the simple click of a button.

“I wanted to raise awareness that you can save so much money and energy with solar panels,” says Pelliccia, a geology major. Read the full article

Geology Professor Dr. Phillip Manning Spotlights Fossil Research in his TEDxCharleston Talk

College of Charleston paleontology professor Phil Manning recently spoke about breakthroughs in fossil research at the 2016 TEDxCharleston program, explaining  the work he and his colleagues have done using a synchrotron that produces light of extraordinary brightness and enables scientists to analyze the chemical composition of fossils at the atomic scale. Read the full article and watch the TED talk

Geology Professor Dr. Barbara Beckingham as a Featured Expert on "The College Today." 

When the statistic about how much waste Americans produce each year – approximately 251 million tons – gets thrown around, you might imagine an overflowing trash can, mountainous land fills or litter lining the shoulder of a highway. College of Charleston Assistant Professor of Geology and Environmental Geosciences Barbara Beckingham pictures something much smaller. Read the full article

Geology Alumni Take Part in Search of Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

As a hydrographic surveyor, College of Charleston alumnus Ransom White ’06 has traveled the world using sonar equipment to map the sea floor. Now he’s putting his skills to the test on one of the largest and most technologically advanced aviation searches in history: the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Check out the full article Here!

GIS Students under Dr. Norman Levine Construct Hurricane Hazard Computer Model

"Landfall just south of the city from a Hugo-scale hurricane could tear up nearly half the homes in the region and destroy tens of thousands of them. Tens of thousands of people would be homeless, at least temporarily, and thousands forced to shelters. Businesses and jobs could come to a standstill, and the loss to the economy alone could be far more than $2 billion." Read the full article Here!

Geology Department Featured on "6 Fun Ways to Fulfill General Education Requirements This Fall." 

The co-requisite lab for both Environmental Geology (GEOL 103) and Dynamic Earth (GEOL 101) include field trips to Folly Beach to “to examine coastal processes, such as dune formation, coastal erosion, effects of changing sea level on coastal structures, and much more,” according to Laboratory Coordinator Robin Humphreys! Read the full article Here!

New "Evolution of Whales" Exhibit Opens at the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History!

The new museum exhibit opened today for a sneak preview before the grand opening to be announced later. Come be one of the first to see the new exhibit! Check out the facebook page and webpage for info on the Natural History Museum.

Dr. Cassandra Runyon on "The College Today"

Dr. Cassandra Runyon was recently featured on College of Charleston's "The College Today" news website for her work within the Department, with NASA Space Mission Design, NASA research, and education of the visually impaired. Read the entire article by clicking here!

College of Charleston Tries out it's New Drone

The College of Charleston Geology Department took out its new SenseFLY eBee Drone on August 14th for its maiden flight. This drone will asssist the professors in obtaining in creating 3D maps by taking aerial photos from up to 400 feet above ground. Read the Live 5 News article about the drone here!

Water Quality Blog by Dr. Vulava

Dr. Vulava recently published a water quality blog on Charleston Waterkeeper about his recent study abroad trip to India. Check out the full post by clicking here!


Marine Research with Doc Sautter

Dr. Leslie Sautter is currently on board the University of Washington's (UW) Research VesselThompson, 300 miles off the Oregon coast.  Her and her research team are installing cables and instruments on the mile-deep seafloor at the caldera of Axial Seamount, an active volcano situated on the Juan de Fuca spreading ridge.  This cruise is Leg 1 of 7 legs which make up the VISIONS '14 Expedition.  This expedition is the final phase of construction of the NSF-funded $250 million Regional Scale Nodes (RSN) deep sea fiber-optic cabled observatory.  The RSN is managed by the UW School of Oceanography, and it is part of the NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative (The NSF-OOI's RSN, operated by UW!). We are using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) called ROPOS to do the work, while we control the robot from the ship.  When ROPOS is diving, we stream LIVE HD VIDEO of the seafloor that you will be able to view by clicking here! Also keep track of the team via twitter feed here!



Greece Study Abroad Trip Returns


The Greece study abroad trip team just returned from a month of seafloor mapping and beach profiling in Atalanti, Greece. From left to right: Dante Curcio, Scott Harris (professor), Shelby Bowden, Jessie Woodruff, Jean Catherine Hubbard, Robert Jones. Check out the facebook album here!

India Study Abroad Trip Returns


Drs. Vulava and Callahan led the third group of students to India this summer to study water resources and pollution along the entire stretch of India from Gangotri glacier in the Himalayas to the Sunderbans mangrove forest near the Bay of Bengal.  Most of the students from this group are geology majors and they earned Field Studies credit for this course in an international setting.  The students not only learned a wide range of scientific issues regarding water use in India, but also the role that the government and the Indian culture plays on how water is used in this part of the world.  They also had a lot of great food and fun along the way!  Check out the Facebook link for pictures of all their adventures!


Cass Runyon Featured in National Geographic Article


Dr. Cassandra Runyon was quoted in an April article in National Geographic concerning why we see faces on the moon. Check out this link for the full story!

Field Studies Class Returns

Field studies 2014

Our 2014 Field Studies group just got back from studying the geological features of the American West: Utah, Nevada, Arizona. For more pictures, check out the facebook album here

Scott Harris Featured in Post & Courier

Folly Beach

College of Charleston professor Scott Harris uncovers mystery behind Folly Beach crystal clear blue water. Read more here from Post and Courierand here from ABC News! 

Organic geochemistry of a lacustrine shale across the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (Early Jurassic) from NE China