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New Wells at the University at Buffalo

The entire Field Camp of students and faculty stand in front of the drill rig.

The 2021 UB Geology Field Camp students saying good bye to the drill rig. 

The summer of 2021 brought excitement to the Department of Geology through the opportunity to drill three new bedrock wells on campus as part of our capstone Geological Field Methods (“Field Camp”) course, offered for the first time completely within New York. Our students spent a full day watching the drilling and logging core in the shadow of Cooke Hall. The students’ rock identification skills were put to the test by field camp director Prof. Tracy Gregg and Prof. James Boyle—and by Prof. Chuck Mitchell, who dropped by for a surprise visit--as the cores started coming out of the ground. However, this was not new territory for the students, as they had just spent the previous week with Dr. Boyle mapping outcrops of similar units south of Buffalo. Once drilling was complete, students came back to the site and conducted geophysical surveys and aquifer tests on all three wells. The experience of integrating geologic mapping, geophysics, drilling, and aquifer tests turned out to be a fantastic opportunity for our students. This project was made possible by the financial support of over 50 alumni and friends of UB Geology. Through the crowdfunding campaign we were able to reach our goal of $10,000! Currently the wells are being used in our Hydrogeology class, in addition to being the focus of a research project by one of our current undergraduate students under the supervision of Prof. Elizabeth Thomas. The department is really excited about the new well field and the legacy it will provide for future students just steps away from our front door. Thanks for everyone who made donations--we could not have done it without you. 

UB Geology Field Camp students getting ready to drill into the ground near Cooke Hall on North Campus. There are seven students all wearing hardhats and fluorescent green safety vests.

Drilling the first of three new bedrock wells just outside of Cooke Hall with the 2021 UB Geology Field Camp students. 

Field Camp Director, Dr. Tracy Gregg talks with students around a table as they observe the first half of a 50 foot rock core. All are wearing hard hats and safety vests.

Field Camp Director, Dr. Tracy Gregg taking with the students about fracture orientation on the first half of our 50 foot rock core.

Two people wearing hardhats and green safety vests watch the large drill rig drill into the well.

The student got to watch the well drilling for start to finish and have come to appreciate all the little nuances of sitting on the back of a drill rig.  

Students wearing hard hats and safety vest observe the first few meters of rock core coming out of the new well field.

Students observing the first few meters of rock core coming out of the new well field.

Field Camp students conduct their first aquifer slug test. This group of six are looking over a mound of dirt and taking notes.

Field Camp class conducting their first aquifer slug test on the wells in order to quantify hydraulic conductivity.