Sept. 25, 2007
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Slippery Rock senior tackles football, geology with distinction
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Clinton Forsha, a Slippery Rock University senior, stands out as a defensive tackle on the varsity football team and as a geology researcher.
The geology major recently completed a nationally funded student-faculty research project at Johns Hopkins University, where he made a significant contribution to the understanding of rocks from Antarctica and continental breakup.
Forsha said he enjoys hammering opposing linemen and rocks.
I have a lot of fun doing both," Forsha said. "They both require a lot of time and energy, and they are similar in the sense that in order to do well at anything, you've got to have the desire and a strong work ethic."
"Clint personifies the scholar-athlete ethic. He's a talented and bright guy and his study will improve our understanding of crustal structure and processes during the Antarctic continent breakup that occurred 176 million years ago," said Michael Zieg, SRU assistant professor of geography, geology and the environment.
Forsha will present his findings in December at the American Geophysical Union national conference in San Francisco.
Forsha studied the texture and chemical makeup of igneous rocks Zieg collected in Antarctica last January to learn more about what happens to rocks when they cool. The duo's goal was to explore what happens to rocks when continents drift apart.
The team discovered that continental breakup produced greater and more diverse intrusions on rocks than previously thought. Forsha's analysis of one particular intrusion, called the Peneplain sill, led to some surprising conclusions about how these rocks form. In particular, his work demonstrates that the sill formed by an extended, nearly continuous filling process rather than the single, short-lived filling event previously hypothesized.
"This was an excellent opportunity for Clint," Zieg said. "He had the opportunity to experience graduate school 'from the inside,' as he worked with graduate students in an active laboratory. This experience has helped him to prepare for graduate school after he completes his SRU degree in December."
A $30,000 grant from the National Science Foundation funded the student-faculty collaboration. Zieg said the rocks are now back in SRU's geology department, where they will continue to provide "Rock Solid" learning opportunities for other students.
Forsha, a starter and co-captain of the football team, has applied to several graduate schools, including Virginia Tech and the University of Texas. He plans to work as a geotechnical engineer. The sub-division of civil engineering specializes in foundation design.
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