rss icon  Keep up with Madison Scholar. Click the orange icon for the RSS feed.

JMU Junior Awarded Best Poster at National Geology Meeting

Brittany Sacco and Liz Johnson stand in front of the award winning poster
Brittany Sacco (right) and Dr. Elizabeth Johnson stand in front of the award winning poster.

Brittany Sacco, a junior geology and environmental science major, won the Best Poster Award during the Geological Society of America’s 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 9-12 in Minneapolis. Sacco presented a poster on the “Depth and Temperature of the Mantle Beneath Mole Hill.”

Sacco’s poster summarizes her research at the Rockingham County landmark just 10 minutes from the JMU campus, looking at why Mole Hill formed about 48 million years ago, a time of relatively little volcanic activity in the area.

Through chemical analysis of the minerals found in rocks on the surface, Sacco looked at elemental concentrations in the rocks and performed geothermobarometric testing to determine the pressure and temperature at which the minerals formed. That information can be used to figure out the depth at which they formed.

Sacco did much of the research this past summer in the research experience for undergraduates program at JMU, working with her mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, assistant professor of geology and environmental science.

Winning the poster award came as a complete surprise.

“I did not know that they were judging us. I thought I had done something wrong when I was asked not to leave right away,” said Sacco. “It was a very gratifying experience.”

Sacco plans to attend graduate school after graduating from JMU in 2012 and is interested in studying volcanology.

Published October 21, 2011