Colorado College Geology Professor Christine Siddoway has been awarded a $145,260 grant from the National Science Foundation for geological research in West Antarctica. The grant, which begins this year, will enable Siddoway to continue her work examining “the transformation of a vast quantity of oceanic mud into lovely rose-colored granite that constitutes the continental crust of East Gondwanaland.” The process she is studying, in collaboration with University of Maryland researchers, is “analogous to distillation of clear, concentrated alcohol (grappa or single malt) from a dark, thick mash of grapes or grains.” Siddoway’s research also involves Colorado College students, on campus and off.
The work is part of an integrated research program that uses multiple approaches to explore the tectonic and climate evolution of West Antarctica. This is Siddoway’s second NSF-Polar Programs grant this year. She also was awarded $49,545 in June, which supports CC undergraduates who undertake “virtual geology” research on Antarctica while learning advanced GIS techniques in CC’s Keck GIS Learning Commons and the Antarctic Geospatial Information Center (agic.umn.edu). Colorado College alumni, parents, and friends took part in Antarctic explorations this year, as well, when Siddoway led a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula during the 2009-10 winter break.