Denison Geoscientists Present Research At National Geology Conference
Posted: November 14, 2001
Denison University Professor of Geology Kennard B. Bork and Professor Emeritus of Geology Robert J. Malcuit were each invited to present their research at the 113th annual meeting of the Geology Society of America (GSA). The meeting was held Nov. 1-10 at the J. B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Conference Center in Boston and was attended by some 6,000 geoscientists from around the world.
Bork discussed "Holes in the Biographer's Net: The Case of William G. Tight," a look into the life of famous geomorphologist and Denison faculty member William G. Tight. An early decoder of glacial drainage histories in the midwest, Tight pioneered work on the Teays system. Glacial Lake Tight honors his memory. In 1901 he accepted the presidency of the young University of New Mexico. Exceptionally popular among students and faculty, Tight fell afoul of complex political currents and was dismissed by the Regents in 1909. Key elements of his life remain obscure because of a campus fire that destroyed his correspondence and personal records. Bork's presentation showed the biographer as objective sleuth and discussed research options as biography is used to illuminate Tight's contributions to geoscience and higher education.
Malcuit presented a paper entitled "A Jupiter Orbit -- Lunar Orbit Resonance Model Which May Relate to Neoproterzoic Events on Earth and Moon," highlighting his research project attempting to relate solar system physics to events on Earth in the Late Precambrian Era (about 1.0 to 0.5 billion years ago). A critical time in the history of the planet, the era is marked by two major horizons of glacial deposits with the glacial sequences capped by a significant thickness of laminated carbonates, which are precipitates from sea water. Malcuit's research, aided by recently retired colleague, Ronald Winters, professor emeritus of physics, involves four-body numerical simulations (sun, Earth, moon, Jupiter) and the effect of Jupiter's orbit on the lunar orbit. His research indicates that a geologically short-lived forced-eccentricity episode could explain the abundance of tidally influenced sediments. Thus, small but persistent gravitational effects of planet Jupiter appear to have a significant effect.
Bork holds Denison's Alumni Chair and has taught at the University since 1966. He was awarded the 2000 Neil Miner Award by the GSA for his exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the earth sciences. Bork also received the GSA's 1997 History of Geology Award and, in 1993, the Teaching Excellence Award from Denison.
Bork is a fellow of the GSA, a member of American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi (scientific honorary), Omega Delta Kappa (national leadership honorary) and Sigma Gamma Epsilon (geology honorary). In 1994 his book about Kirtley F. Mather,Cracking Rocks and Defending Democracy, was published. Since 1984, Bork has served as one of 10 Americans on the International Commission on the History of the Geological Sciences.
Malcuit taught at Denison from 1972 to his retirement in 1999. His major research interests are the evolution of the Earth-Moon system, the effects of the lunar tides on the development of the Earth, and the evolution of our neighboring planets Mars and Venus. He is a member of several professional organizations including the GSA and the American Geophysical Union.
Malcuit has presented aspects of this research project at the International Geological Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in Aug. 2000 and at a special meeting of the GSA and Geological Society of London in Edinboro, Scotland, in June 2001. He earned his bachelor's (1968) and master's (1970) degrees from the Kent State University and his doctoral degree (1973) from Michigan State University.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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