Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences
Faculty Advisor: Melissa Berke
Winter 2020-21 Project: Using Chemical Lichenometry to Understand Coastal Storm Deposits
The objective of this research will be to physically and chemically characterize coastal boulders and lichens growing on them from samples gathered in western Ireland. This data will be used to assess the likelihood of using these growths for compound-specific radiocarbon dating (chemical lichenometry) to determine how long these boulders have been at the coastline. Large boulders on coastal rock platforms, such as those in western Ireland, are covered in similar lichen growths and were moved by waves from storm events. However, the size and frequency of the storms that move these boulders, and how long they have been resting there, is still unknown. Studying these boulders and determining the power of the storm necessary to move them will help us learn about extreme coastal events. Understanding coastal storm frequency and power is critical for developing resilient coastal energy infrastructure, such as wind turbines and power plants, already under threat from sea level rise.