Highlights & Reminders

Welcome back!  We are glad you are back and are settling into the semester.  Here is wishing you a productive and successful 2014-2015 Academic Year!

Winter & Spring Field Courses

Get ready for the best classes you could take this academic year. Geo 450 and GEO 190: Regional Geography-Geology Field Studies in Curacao, Winter-Spring 2015! Contact Dr. Cornell or Dr. Jantz for more information, but click here to put your name on the interest sign-up list.

2014 Photo Contest: 

Download PDF of 2014 photo entries and VOTE HERE!


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Contact

Geography & Earth Science Department
104 Shearer Hall
1871 Old Main Dr.
Shippensburg, PA 17257

Phone: 717-477-1685
Fax: 717-477-4029
Email: geog@ship.edu

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Alumni

Please take a moment to fill out our Alumni Survey!

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cornell Faculty Image 

Sean Cornell

 

Associate Professor
Office: 103 Shearer Hall
Phone: 717-477-1310
Email: srcornell@ship.edu
Homepage: http://webspace.ship.edu/srcornell 

Education

PhD (2008) Geology, University of Cincinnati
MS (2001) Geology, University of Cincinnati
BA (1998) Geology, University of Rochester

Profile

I am by training a field geologist with specialties in oceanography, paleontology, paleoecology, and sedimentary geology. I also have experience in environmental science.  Here at Shippensburg, I wear several hats in terms of teaching and research and I enjoy engaging students in collaborative research projects that fall within my areas of expertise.  These collaborative research projects take the form of both course-ebedded research as well as independent research projects.

Currently, most of my research focuses on mentoring projects involving undergraduate and graduate students on projects at Wallops Island, Virgina, or projects involving the use of Ground Penetrating Radar for investigating shallow subsurface features (caves, faults, bedrock orientation, soil thickness, soil/sediment architecture, lake/pond sedimentation, etc.).

At Wallops Island, projects range from tide and groundwater-level monitoring, to water quality monitoring, and mapping the distribution of indicator species in the Chincoteague Bay region.  Students also are engaged in measuring rates of geomorphologic change in barrier islands using GPS and survey-quality total stations on seasonal basis.  In collaboration with my colleague Dr. Adrienne Oakley (Kutztown University) we have students investigating sediment transport histories of barrier islands including Assateague and Wallops Islands. In addition to these projects, I have projects that investigate storm impacts (i.e. Hurricane Irene in 2011), beach replenishment programs and their impacts on natural ecosystems, and their impact on groundwater systems of barrier islands.  Using GPR, we are evaluating characteristics of surface aquifers and the ways that they are impacted by such phenomena as well as by sea-level rise. 

Given my interest in paleonotlogy, several groups of students have also been working on a number of biostratinomic and taphonomic studies important for understanding the fidelity of the fossil record.  These projects have investigated the mortality and taphonomy of horseshoe crabs as a result of natural processes (i.e. predation, storm-induced mortality, etc.).  Efforts have also been focused on a data collection effort to investigate temporal variations in shell-beds found on different areas of the beach at Wallops Island.  These efforts hope to evaluate shoreline processes and their impact on the production of shell beds and whether community composition and change in offshore benthic communities is reflected in the onshore shell-bed assemblage.  All of these data are being compiled in cooperation with the a coastal zone research program at the Marine Science Consortium and its partners at the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  Click here for information on this research partnership.   

In addition to these projects, I am also interested in modern carbonate sedimentology and the ways these sediments help to record environmental and biotic change.  I regularly study modern marine environments, particularly in tropical, warm-water regions (circum-Caribbean region including the Florida Keys, the Bahamian Platform, and the Netherlands Antilles), to learn how these environments and their biotas respond to tectonic, climatic, and other environmental changes.  These modern studies allow geoscientists like myself to understand and interpret the abundant limestone deposits of the eastern United States including in the Cumberland Valley around Shippensburg.  Here the rocks of the Middle to Upper Ordovician (~470 to 450 million years ago) are available for closer investigation of climate change events not-unlike those being experienced today (i.e. sea-level rise, global climate warming, etc.).  This allows me to study the ways that marine environments (and their organisms) are impacted by things like sea-level change, volcanic eruptions, nutrients, aridification, humidification, glaciation, greenhouse climates, etc.. The Ordovician is a particularly important period of time because the record of environmental change during the Late Ordovician is critical for understanding the causes for rapid climate change that ultimately ended in one of the largest mass extinctions in Earth's history.

At Shippensburg, I teach a number of Geology courses including Introductory and Physical Geology, Historical Geology, and Oceanography. I also teach courses at the upper-level in the area of Sedimentary Environments, Geologic Hazards, Geologic Field Studies, and Rock and Mineral Resources.  I also teach summer courses at the Marine Science Consortium.  One course is called Coastal Environmental Oceanography, and the other is called Coastal Zone Resource Management.  This former course  between the Wallops Island, Virginia and the Keys Marine Lab in Long Key, Florida.

Having spent most of my life growing up in rural northern New York, the “rural-feel” of the Shippensburg region is certainly not a new concept for me… well maybe a little less snow. Nonetheless the “hills” of the easternmost Appalachian fold and thrust belt are intriguing to me as a geologist and I spend as much time as I can investigating the Geology of our once grand, in fact Himalayan-scale, mountains. The substantial tectonic history of this region is certainly not lost on me and I hope that I can at least share a small part of this knowledge with my students.

Teaching & Research Interests

  • Physical Geology
  • Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and Basin Analysis
  • Oceanography / Paleoceanography
  • Paleoecology & Paleoclimatology
  • Geologic Hazards & Coastal Zone Management
  • Geoscience Education & Outreach

Courses

  • ESS 110: Introduction to Geology 
  • ESS 210 Physical Geology 
  • ESS 212 Historical Geology 
  • ESS 220 Oceanography 
  • ESS 410 Sedimentary Geology and Paleoenviornments 
  • ESS 413 Mineral and Rock Resources 
  • ESS 453 Coastal Environmental Oceanography 
  • ESS 490: Special Topics: Coastal Zone Resource Management 
  • ESS 494: Special Topics: Sedimentary Geology and Paleoenvironments 
  • ESS 594: Special Topics: Geologic Hazards (Grad Class) 
  • GEO 450: Geography-Geology Field Study of Curaçao 
  • INT 300: International Studies Seminar: The World Beyond Oil 
  • INT 300: International Studies Seminar: The Global Environment 

Selected Presentations

Cornell, S.R., & Oakley, A., 2012, Ghost Forests in the Chincoteague Bay Region, Delmarva Peninsula: What's Killing Loblolly (Pinus taeda) Forests?, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Annual Meeting, Charlotte, North Carolina, Vol. 44, No. 7, p. TBD. 

Cornell, S.R., Kerrigan, N., Zume, J.T., & Heston, D., 2012, Geophysical Investigation of the Burd-Run Buried Stream Channel in Colluvial Fill of the Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Annual Meeting, Charlotte, North Carolina, Vol. 44, No. 2, p. 54 

Chariw, J. E., M.J. Sabetta, A. Oakley, S.R. Cornell, 2012, Monitoring in situ Tidal Range and Surface Aquifer Recharge and Discharge on Wallops Island, Virginia, Ocean Sciences Annual Meeting 2012, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

McGilliard, E.R., Cornell, S.R., and Oakley A., 2012, High Resolution GIS Mapping of Shoreline Change at Wallops Island, Virginia: a Preliminary Investigation of the Impact of Hurricane Irene, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 2, p. 85 

Nocco, L.M., and Cornell, S.R., 2012, Biostratinomic Investigation of Horseshoe Crab (Limulus Polyphemus) Death Assemblages after Hurricane Irene, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 2, p. 63 

Sergent, E., Bond, T., Oakley, A., and Cornell, S.R., 2012, Monitoring Sediment Transport and Grain Size Distribution along Wallops Island, Virginia, Pre and Post-Beach Replenishment, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Annual Meeting, Charlotte, North Carolina, Vol. 44, No. 7, p. 

Williams, J., Cornell, S.R., and Oakley A., 2012, Preliminary Investigation of a Barrier Island Beach Aquifer at Wallops Island, Virginia Using Ground Penetrating Radar, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 2, p. 53 

Woodlief, V. A., Cornell, S.R., M.J. Sabetta, E. Sergent, E. McGilliard*,& A. Oakley, 2012, A GIS Analysis of the Chincoteague Inlet Eddy and Its Impact on the Shoreline Morphology of Northern Wallops Island, Eastern Shore Virginia, Ocean Sciences Annual Meeting 2012, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Cornell, S.R. 2011, Teaching Geohazards in our Backyard: Using Case Studies in Central Pennsylvania and Coastal Virginia to Engage Students in Geoscience, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 137. 

Cornell, S.R., L. Howland, K. Serr, & J. Zullinger, 2011, GBLUES Composts and Grows, Annual Conference of the International Association of Laboratory and University Affiliated Schools (NALS), Pittsburgh, PA, Conference Program (April, 14, 2011) 

Stefanic, M.J., & Cornell, S.R., 2011, A Multiphase Model for the Formation of Enigmatic Coastal Geomorphic Features of NW Curaçao; A Case Study of Bokas from Shete Boka National Park, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 251. 

Cornell, S.R., 2010, Service-Learning in the Geosciences: Effective Strategies for Learning Outside the Classroom, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 445 

Woodlief, V.A., & Cornell, S.R., 2010, Investigating the usefulness of the USGS Coastal Vulnerability Index: Realized and potential impacts of storm surge events of three different Atlantic and Caribbean Coastlines: Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia,; Florida Keys, Florida; and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 1,  

 Cornell, S.R., 2009, A Multi-Disciplinary Model For Geoscience Field Study: Geography-Geology Field Studies of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 315

Cornell, S.R., 2009, Time Restricted Facies of the Late Ordovician: Tectonic and Environmental Implications:
Geological Society of America, Northeast Section Meeting (Portland, ME), Abstracts with Programs Paper No. 29-1.

Bushman, K., & Cornell, S.R., 2009, Morphologic Landmark Analysis and Glabellular Fenestrae Count of North American Cryptolithus Trilobites: Geological Society of America, Northeast Section Meeting (Portland, ME), Abstracts with Programs Paper No. 39-10.

Them, T.R., Cornell, S.R., & Woodlief, V.A., 2009, Using Chincoteague Bay As a Model For Place-Based Education: Teaching the Impacts of Groundwater Flows on Estuarine Ecosystems and Their Fisheries, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 490

Woodlief, V.A., Cornell, S.R., & Them, T.R., 2009, Investigating the Realized and Potential Impacts of Storm Surge Events on Three Different Atlantic and Caribbean Coastlines: Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia; Florida Keys, Florida; and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 675

Zubin-Stathopoulos, K.D., Jones, W.T., Cornell, S.R., & Erickson, J.M., 2006, Testing Paleoenvironmental Gradients in the Upper Ordovician Whitewater Formation of the Central United States, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, (Philadelphia, PA), Paper No. 23-22.

Cornell, S.R., 2005, High Resolution Sequence Stratigraphy and Event Bed Correlations of the Upper Ordovician Black River and Trenton Groups in Central Pennsylvania: Unraveling (Adding to?) A Century of Controversy, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, (Salt Lake City, UT), Paper No. 47-1.

Cornell, S.R., Brett, C.E., McLaughlin, P.I., 2005, Sequence Stratigraphic Comparisons of the Black River-Trenton Boundary Interval: Implications for Taconic Foreland Basin Dynamics, Geological Society of America, Northeast Section Meeting (Saratoga Springs, NY), Abstracts with Programs Vol. 37, No. 1.

Cornell, S.R
., Cundiff, J, Collier, F., Corbett, M., Caudill, F., Hanken, J., 2004, A New Resource in Geoscience Education: Taking Invertebrate Paleontology Collections Online and Back to the Field, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, Co), Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 36, No. 5, p. 349.

Cornell, S.R., & Brett, C.E., McLaughlin, P.I., 2004Comparative Sequence Stratigraphy of the Black River to Lower Trenton Group Interval (Upper Ordovician): Implications for Climatic, and Associated Faunal Changes, American Association of Petroleum Geologists 33rd Annual Eastern Section Meeting, (Columbus, OH), Program with Abstracts, pp. 71-72.

Cornell, S.R., C.E. Brett, P.I. McLaughlin, 2003, Synchronous Modfication of Upper Ordovician Facies Gradients Along Two Shelf-to-Basin Ramps: Influences of Taconic Tectonism on Eustatic Cycles, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Meeting, (Salt Lake City, UT), AAPG Bulletin Vol. 87, No. 3.

Cornell, S.R
., and C.E. Brett, 2003, Tectono-Eustatic Modification of the Early Trenton Shelf: Evidence for Shelf Reorganization During the onset of Taconic Tectonism (Vermontian Tectophase), Geological Society of America Northeast Section Meeting (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 35, No. 3.

Cornell, S.R., C.E. Brett, & P.I. McLaughlin, 2001, Sequence Stratigraphy and Spectral Gamma Ray Analysis of Upper Ordovician Carbonates of the northern Appalachian Basin: Linking surface and subsurface stratigraphy, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Boston, MA), Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 33 No. 6.

 

    Selected Publications 

Cornell, S.R., and V.A. Woodlief, 2011, Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Lessons Learned During A Service-Learning Experience In the Gulf Coast. In: Proteus: A Journal of Ideas. Shippensburg, PA. 

 Book Review: Cornell, S.R., 2009 A review of: Tectonic Faults Agents of Change on a Dynamic Earth, Edited by: Handy, Hirth and Hovius, MIT PRESS; Book Review for the Professional Geographer.

Sumrall, C.D., Brett, C.E., & Cornell, S. R., 2006, The Systematics and Ontogeny of Pyrgopostibulla belli, a New Edrioasteroid (Echinodermata) from the Lower Devonian of New York, Journal of Paleontology, Vol. 80, No. 1, pp. 187-192

Cornell, S.R., Andrews, J., Agle, P., & Thomas, D., 2005, Classic Localities of the Black River and Trenton Groups (U Ordovician) in the Black River Valley: Revisited Through Traditional and Sequence Stratigraphy, In: New York State Geological Association Field Trip Guidebook, Trips A4, B1.

Cornell, S.R., 2005,Stratigraphy of the Middle and Upper Ordovician Black River and Trenton Groups in the Mohawk and Black River Valleys, In: Field Trip Guidebook, Northeast Section Meeting, Geological Society of America, Saratoga Springs, New York, Trip A-1,

Brett, C.E., McLaughlin, P.I., Cornell, S.R., & Baird, G.C., (2004), Comparative Sequence Stratigraphy of two classic Upper Ordovician Successions, Trenton Shelf (New York-Ontario) and Lexington Platform (Kentucky-Ohio): implications for eustasy and local tectonism in eastern Laurentia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology. Vol. 210, No. 2-4, pp. 295-329.

McLaughlin, P.I., Brett, C.E., Taha McLaughlin, S.L., and Cornell, S.R., (2004), High-resolution sequence stratigraphy of a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic, cratonic ramp (Upper Ordovician; Kentucky–Ohio, USA): insights into the relative influence of eustasy and tectonics through analysis of facies gradients, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology, Vol. 210, No. 2-4, pp. 267-294.

Cornell, S.R., C. Sumrall, C.E. Brett, (2003), Paleoecology and Taphonomic Implications of an Edrioasteroid Encrusted Hardground from the lower Devonian of eastern New York State. Palaios, Vol. 18, pp. 212-224.

Cornell S.R., Cundiff, J., Corbett, M., Caudill, F., Collier, F., Hanken, J., Geology and Paleontology of Trenton Falls, New York, URL http://www.mcz.harvard.edu/departments/invertpaleo/trenton/index.html

M.S. Student Research Projects

    • *Veronica Woodlief ’13 (Shippensburg University): Thesis Project: Modeling the sediment transport history of northern Wallops Island.  Ongoing project partially funded through NASA shoreline monitoring program and a College of Arts & Sciences Faculty-Student Research Grant of $711.00. 
    • *Robert Koroncai ’13 (Shippensburg University): Thesis Project: Investigation of surficial aquifers and salt water intrusion at Wallops Island, Virginia using Ground Penetrating Radar. 
    • Michael Stefanic ’12 (Shippensburg University): Thesis Project: Characterization of Phosphate Mineral (principally wavellite) Development at Moore’s Mill, Boiling Springs, PA 
    • Marlin Gruver ’12: (Shippensburg University); Thesis Project: Development and testing of the RATE tool for rapid tree health assessment for community-based urban tree programs.  ($629.00 Grant from the Miklausen-Likar Science Research Fund) 
    • *Erick Ammon ’12 (Shippensburg University): Thesis Project: Investigating the sedimentary record of long-shore sediment transport at Assateague Island Virginia: Do hard stabilization projects at Ocean City, Maryland have a significant impact? (Not completed) 
    • Luke Portieles ’10 (Shippensburg University): Semester Research Project: Investigating rock armoring and acid mine drainage in Wiconisco Creek watershed, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania  
    • *Kaja Spaseff ’10 (Shippensburg University): Semester Research Project: Mapping sea grass biomass in Chincoteague Bay, Virginia. ($350.00 Grant from the Oyen Student Research Fund) 
    • Ryan Jakubco ’09 (Shippensburg University); Semester Research Project: Monitoring acid mine drainage remediation projects in Schuylkill Valley, Pennsylvania using macroinvertebrates and water quality analysis. 

    Undergraduate Student Research Projects  

       

      • *Krueger, Sarah B.S. ’12 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Shoreline Distribution of Invertebrate Shells at Wallops Island, Virginia, Presented at Celebration of Student Research Conference, Shippensburg University in April, 2012. 
      • *Eric McGilliard B.S. ’12 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: High resolution GIS mapping of shoreline change at Wallops Island, Virginia: a preliminary investigation of the impact of Hurricane Irene, Presented at Geological Society of America NE Regional Meeting, March. 2012, Supported by Undergraduate Research Grant Program Grant of $1,065 
      • *Lisa Nocco B.S. ’12 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Biostratinomic Investigation of Horseshoe Crab (Limulus Polyphemus) Death Assemblages After Hurricane Irene, Presented at Geological Society of America NE Regional Meeting, March. 2012 Supported by Undergraduate Research Grant Program Grant of $798.00 
      • *Jada Williams B.S. ’12 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Preliminary Investigation of a Barrier Island Beach Aquifer at Wallops Island, Virginia Using Ground Penetrating Radar, Presented at Geological Society of America NE Regional Meeting, March. 2012. Supported by Undergraduate Research Grant Program Grant of $1,045 
      • *Sarah Bartle B.S. ’12 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Testing the Feasibility of Using Constructed Reef Balls for Recruitment of Ostrea virginicus at Greenbackville, Chincoteague Bay, Virginia ($1116.00 Grant from the SU Undergraduate Student Research Program) 
      • Eric Buschman B.S. ’11 (Shippensburg University); Using Ground-Penetrating Radar to Image Lake-Bottoms (Laurel Lake, Pine Grove Furnace, Central Pennsylvania). resented at Celebration of Student Research Conference in April 2011. 
      • *Lauren Meckley B.S. ’11 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Taphonomy and Mortality in Limulus Polyphemus in the Chincoteague Bay Region. ($350.00 Grant from the Oyen Student Research Fund) 
      • *Theodore Them M.S. ’11 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Using Chincoteague Bay As a Model For Place-Based Education: Teaching the Impacts of Groundwater Flows on Estuarine Ecosystems and Their Fisheries; Presented at Geological Society of America, Oct. 2009 
      • *Veronica Woodlief B.S. ’10 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Investigating the Realized and Potential Impacts of Storm Surge Events on Three Different Atlantic and Caribbean Coastlines: Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia; Florida Keys, Florida; and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; Presented at Geological Society of America, Oct. 2009. 
      • Kara Bushman B.S. ’09 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Morphologic Landmark Analysis and Glabellular Fenestrae Count of North American Cryptolithus Trilobites: Presented at Geological Society of America Northeast Section Meeting in March 2009, Portland, Maine. ($350.00 Grant from the Oyen Student Research Fund).  
      • Shane Dreese B.S. ’11 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Geology of the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails in the Shippensburg Area. 
      • *Katherine Criswell B.S. ’08, Ashley Reis B.S. ’07, and Sarah Stengl B.S. ’08 (Shippensburg University); Project Title: Topic: Investigating Storm-Related Death Assemblages of the Horseshoe Crab Limulus polyphemus, at Wallops Island, Virginia. 
     

Funded Projects

2010    NSF-CCLI (Through 2013) - A grant to integrate geophysical imaging technology into the Geoenvironmental undergraduate curriculum at Shippensburg University (Co-PI with Joseph T. Zume), $196,902.00

2009    Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Education Grant: Sustain and Conserve: Raingarden, Vermiculture Composting System, and PDE Standard Integratio, Joint program with Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School, $10,003.00

Shippensburg University Miklausen-Likar Research Fund, $629.00 Grant (student Marlin Gruver)

Shippensburg University Oyen Student Research Fund $350.00 Grant (student Kaja Spaseff)

2008    Shippensburg University General Education Grant (Geology of Gettysburg), $2379.60

Shippensburg University Oyen Student Research Fund $350.00 Grant (student Kara Bushman)

2007    Rachel Carson Alternative Fall Break, Shippensburg University Program, $10,000

Community and Professional Service

  • Member: SU Geography & Earth Science Dept. Facilities and Resource Management Committee
  • Co-Director and Secretary of the Academic Advisory Council, Marine Science Consortium, Wallops Island, Va.
  • Co-Director MSC Research Advisory Committee
  • Member: Geologic Society of America; Geoscience Education and Sedimentary Geology Divisions
  • Member: North American Geoscience Teachers Association
  • Member: Paleontological Society