College of Charleston Geology Department

Geology Rocks! And so does the College of Charleston!

You won't find a better department to be a part of (I may be a little biased). Feel free to ask any questions if you're interested in Geology and Environmental Geosciences.

Meet The Covert Geologists That Helped The Allies Win The Second World War

Covert geologists having a big impact: Geologists have been co-opted by various governments during times of war, and those in the US were no exception. Here's the brief tale of how their work, alongside British geoscientists, helped the Allied forces prevail in the Second World War.

Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston

The The Post and Courier was interested in the fossil oysters we found out at Folly Beach and wrote up this article about them. You won't find any living oysters like these in the area: they are an extinct species! Named Ostrea coxi, they are little "teardrop" shaped oysters which a surprisingly thick shell, and appear to have been non-colonial - none of them are found attached to each other or other shells and so must have lived loose in the sediment, like a clam; a strange life habit for an oyster! Ostrea coxi were virtually unheard of outside Florida until the 2014 beach renourishment introduced all sorts of fossils from the Pliocene age (~3-5 million year old) Goose Creek Limestone. Thanks to Ashby Gale for helping us figure out what these were!

Researchers hunt for 'buried' SC faults that could cause next 'great' quake

Professor Scott Harris and students are working on a mapping project this summer to help us understand earthquake risks! For the next few months, a twin-propeller plane is flying grids from Kingstree to Edisto Beach with an antenna sticking out from its tail like a stinger, to map webs

Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston

Take a moment for SCIENCE! :)

#fossilfriday Earlier this week our very own Dr. Boessenecker was featured in WCBD News 2's "A Moment of Science" feature with advice for looking for fossils in the lowcountry. Anywhere you find little black phosphate pebbles is likely to have shark teeth and more! Happy hunting!

Click the link to watch the video!

College of Charleston Geology Department College of Charleston School of Sciences & Mathematics College of Charleston

Cross-Sections of Geological Formations and Views of the Cosmos Bring the World to Life in 19th Century Educational Charts

There is artistry in Geologic maps In 1887 Levi Walter Yaggy published the Geographical Portfolio – Comprising Physical, Political, Geological, and Astronomical Geography with his publishing company, Western Publishing House of Chicago. The popular set of maps and charts (an expanded second edition was released six years later) was...

Lauren Fuqua, Geology adjunct faculty extraordinaire, has a new article on foraminifera fluxes related to El Niño! Learn more about it: #foraminifera

Dr. Adem Ali embarks soon for South Africa with a prestigious fellowship! Supported by the Carnegie IIE program, he’ll be conducting teaching and research at University of the Witwatersrand for 3 months on a project titled “Capacity building program by integrating and enhancing the use of current
generation NASA and ESA satellite products and geospatial technology through training and research.” Cheers!

Have you heard? There’s new research on ancient dolphin hearing by Dr. Boessenecker and colleagues!

New paper published today in Biology Letters! New research by Drs. Rachel Racicot, Simon Darroch, Jonathan Geisler, and our own Dr Boessenecker reveals that an Oligocene stem toothed whale (dolphin), cf. Olympicetus, was not capable of hearing the sounds used in echolocation and therefore could not echolocate. This implies either that 1) Olympicetus-like dolphins lost the ability to echolocate, similar to the Miocene walrus-faced dolphin Odobenocetops, or 2) that echolocation evolved twice within dolphins.

Previously, studies of xenorophids like Cotylocara and Echovenator strongly implied that echolocation evolved once at the very base of Odontoceti. The picture is now much more confusing, as Olympicetus-like dolphins sit on the tree between xenos and main-line odontocetes. This fossil skull with associated earbones was collected and donated to CCNHM by Jim Goedert. The fossil was laboriously prepared by Dr B by bathing it in acetic acid over several months in our prep lab.
Artwork: reconstruction of cf Olympicetus calf nursing, and most critically - reconstructed as a dolphin without a melon.

Press release:

Peer-reviewed article: . . @cofc @cofcssm @cofcgeology #science #scientist #research #whale #whales #dolphin #dolphins #odontoceti #odontocete #echolocation #biosonar #oligocene #whaleontology #marinemammal #marinemammals #cetacean #cetaceans #simocetus #simocetidae #whaleevolution #evolution #fossil #fossils #paleontology #paleontologist #peerreview

College of Charleston School of Sciences & Mathematics

Kudos to graduating senior Manny Byas! He will be missed by the department, but he’s setting sail for great things!

Editorial: Charleston must learn to love and live with its water

Professor Norm Levine presented Charleston flooding analyses during the “Dutch Dialogues” last week - an ongoing series of discussions in the city to improve our resiliency. Learning to love and live with water will “allow Charleston to not just preserve quality of life and the city’s livability but enhance it.” See more about this important initiative at and in the Post & Courier (editorial below) Water is one of Charleston’s greatest assets. It’s also one of the city’s greatest threats, of course.

It’s a beautiful day at Sullivan’s Island. Join us at Station 26.5 until 2ish, then we’re heading to Home Team BBQ! #alumniweekend

We’re unveiling the Outcrop of Honor tomorrow at 5pm! Please join us to mark the occasion (2nd floor SSMB, 202 Calhoun St). Reception to follow.

Alumni Weekend is almost here!Looking forward to seeing everyone rocking it across the Geology Events schedule, and check out the fantastic line-up of alumni panelists. Thanks to the Geology Board of Advocates for organizing events this year (Dan Boles, Mace Brown, Mike Passarello, Chris Itteilag, Will Veseley, Morgan Annab, Karen Black and Tim McClinton)! Beach ride sign up here:

One week until Alumni Weekend! We're having an alumni panel discussion for students next Friday May 3rd at 4pm, the revealing of our Outcrop of Honor at 5:15pm, and a reception at 5:30pm, all at the Geology department (202 Calhoun St.). Saturday, May 4th we're having a beach outing at Sullivan's Island from 11-2. If you haven't seen the emails, feel free to message Tim Callahan for details. Hope to see you!

Congratulations to Professor Leslie Sautter for being awarded the 2019 Norine Noonan award in recognition for all she does to benefit the School of Sciences and Mathematics. Way to be “Doc”! #cofcssm

Geology students impressed with their research presentations at the annual School of Sciences and Mathematics Poster Session! Congratulations to Gracie Eldridge (advisor: Barbara Beckingham), Sam Croft (advisor: Leslie Sautter) and Nathan McCuen (advisor: Bobby Boessenecker) for being selected as the top Geology Posters.

King of the Tyrannosaurs Goes on Display - Eos

The Geology Department is excited to be welcoming Dr. Scott Persons as new Assistant Professor and Curator of the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History this Fall. He is making giant, T-Rex-sized waves with his research: The biggest, oldest T. rex found to date shows how big tyrannosaurs could get.

Alumni Weekend is a month away! May 3-4! Headed to campus for A Charleston Affair? Make sure to add these events to your calendar to reconnect with fellow Geology alumni!

Friday, May 3
4:00 pm - Alumni and Faculty Panel Discussion for Students
5:00 pm - "Outcrop of Honor" Reveal, 2nd floor of School of Sciences and Math Building (202 Calhoun St)
5:30-7:30 pm - Geology Alumni and Friends Reception, courtyard
Saturday, May 4
Morning - Beach Day @ Sullivan's Island followed by drinks at Poe's Tavern (details and RSVP to follow)
Evening - A Charleston Affair, the Cistern

It’s been a great few days of everything GEOLOGY at SEGSA meeting here in Charleston. Posters, presentations, networking (seeing friends and alums!), sunshine and coffee breaks! Especially great job to all the student volunteers and presenters, and the faculty who made it possible. (Photos incomplete, but tag yourselves!) #segsa

SE GSA is here! Over 900 attendees from near and far. The Geology department is honored to be making an impact at the meeting this year. Faculty have organized and are leading scientific excursions (and musical entertainment!), students are presenting research, and 21 majors are volunteering to run the event. Cheers to an exciting next few days! #segsa

Dr. Cass Runyon was in Iceland for Spring Break with her “Fire and Ice” First-Year Experience students!

“Doc” Sautter and 12 students from the Geology BEAMS program are at the national US Hydro conference in Biloxi, MS for Spring Break!

Dr. Callahan is having fun sawing rock tiles for the Geology Wall of Honor over Spring Break! #cofcssm #cofcalumni #powertoolsarefun


On Tuesday night, we (along with the College of Charleston Geology Department) attended the annual STEM night at St. Andrews school! Kids got to learn all about how streams form and what lies beneath the skin and fur of animals! College of Charleston School of Sciences & Mathematics

Megalodon is definitely extinct—and great white sharks may be to blame

Did you miss the BIG publication news from paleontologists at CofC last month? Bobby Boessenecker (Geology lecturer), Sarah Boessenecker (Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston) and colleagues have revised the extinction story of the megatoothed megalodon shark! You can read about this exciting work in National Geographic and the open-source journal PeerJ. New analysis of the ancient behemoths suggests they disappeared a million years earlier than thought, raising questions about what led to their demise.

Geology Club Bowl-a-Rama! Even the Dean came to roll a few rocks! Thanks all for a fun department outing.

Congratulations, Trey Gillespie for winning a very prestigious Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) at the Fall 2018 AGU conference in DC!
"The Outstanding Student Presentation Awards (OSPAs) promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, Master’s and PhD students for quality research in the Earth and space sciences. It is a great honor for young scientists at the beginning of their careers. The process relies entirely on volunteer judges. Typically the top 3-5% of presenters in each Section are awarded an OSPA and all judged students are provided feedback."

Happy Valentines Day, from the Geology Department! Learn more about this folded heart here:

Geology alumna, adjunct, mariculturist and general rock star, Caitlyn Mayer, was on Lowcountry Live! yesterday for an oyster cooking demonstrating promoting upcoming #SEWE events. Check out the video here:

College of Charleston

CofC celebrates Darwin Week with a number of fascinating speakers, including Geology lecturer Dr. Bobby Boessenecker! See information below, and event on our page.

Evolution doesn’t just apply to living things. It applies to just about everything, including celebrations.

Students- Great event happening today to celebrate 100 years of women at CofC.

Be sure to join us in RITA 101 for our Year of Women: Women in Science Mini Conference TODAY starting at 3pm!

Research presentations! A Brilliant Guest Speaker! Free Swag! Pizza! Career Advice!!

Stay for all or any portion of the events. All Genders Are Welcome!!

Excellent talk going on currently by our very own Professor Teddy Them! It goes until 1:30, so if you're just getting out of class, come and check it out! Room 227 in the Addlestone Library.

Charleston entrepreneur will market 3D scanners for an unusual place: The hardware store

Geology alum Keith Meany applied his skills in 3D mapping to creative business opportunities! If Keith Meany hadn't thought of the technology behind Skubot, someone else might have.

These Geology Students are Rock Stars

“Most people look at a rock and see, well, a rock. Senior geology majors Michael Schwartz (right) and Dylan McLane (left) see a whole other world.” College of Charleston geology majors Michael Schwartz and Dylan McLane are conducting some explosive research on volcanoes.


Last night as a part of the Lifelong Learning lecture series by the South Carolina Aquarium the Boesseneckers gave a joint talk at College of Charleston School of Sciences & Mathematics! They shared their journeys to becoming paleontologists and stories from the field, as well as research they are each currently working on here in Charleston (walruses and cetaceans!) There was a huge turnout - over 130 people came to tour the museum and see the presentation, and we saw a ton of new faces. We hope they all come back to the museum again soon! College of Charleston Geology Department College of Charleston

[01/10/19]   Happy New Year everyone! We've created a new closed GROUP on our page for "Job and Graduate School Opportunities". Please join this forum if you're interested and feel free to post & share with others. May this create new connections and career advancement for many!

Volcanic eruptions once caused mass extinctions in the oceans – could climate change do the same?

Winter break is the perfect time to catch up on faculty research! Check out this recent paper by Professor Teddy Them, "Terrestrial sources as the primary delivery mechanism of mercury to the oceans across the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (Early Jurassic)" as well as a piece he wrote on other research for The Conversation:

Link to the mercury paper in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters: Drastic oxygen losses in the world's oceans millions of years ago coincided with mass extinctions. Scientists see this as a warning about how climate change could affect oceans today.


For students, alumni and friends attending the AGU Fall Meeting in Washington, DC this week and joining us for happy hour, please note the following change:


Dacha Beer Garden
1600 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Happy hour will still begin at 6:30 PM and tables are reserved.


Around the department today: Hannah Hartley decked the halls in her festive sweater, and Strat/Sed culminated the semester with presentations and a pose that really worked the core.

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2018 Graduation (2)
2018 Geology Graduation
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202 Calhoun St, Ste 224
Charleston, SC
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