Monday, December 31, 2018



Committee Chair:  Dr. Michael Nelson
Csrockguy at yahoo dot com

The primary goal of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society (CSMS)) Student Research Grant Program is to promote and support original research on Colorado geology by undergraduate students. The grant program does not seek to cover all of the researcher's expenses but instead should be viewed as a professional endorsement of the research endeavor. Requests for grants are judged on how well the proposed research will advance the science of geology and its related branches within the State of Colorado. Since the grant program budget is not anticipated to be large enough to fund every research proposal, the grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. The policy for applying for and awarding grants is outlined below.

Undergraduate students who are undertaking original research projects on Colorado geology are eligible to apply for CSMS research grants.  CSMS research grant applicants need not be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society. Undergraduate students must be currently enrolled in degree-granting institutions and their research must be part of a degree program (an academic course granting credit and a grade). Institutions may not request that overhead costs be added to budgets. The Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society strongly encourages women, minorities, and people with disabilities to participate fully in this research grant program. The research proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the feasibility and scientific merit of the project, the abilities of the researcher, and the reasonableness of the budget. Students are eligible for only one CSMS Student Research Grant per degree pursued.

Research Grant Guidelines
Individual grants will be awarded based on merit and number of grant applications received. One confidential letter of recommendation from the student’s research advisor is required for each grant applicant. This letter should be sent directly to the Committee Chair via Email (csrockguy at yahoo dot com) to preserve confidentiality.
Due to different schedules at different institutions, research should be scheduled to begin within 4 months of the grant award (anticipated by early May). For 2019, CSMS anticipates that research will begin during summer 2019.

Rules for the Use of CSMS Research Grant Funds
Grants are to be used for expenses directly associated with the research proposed. For example, research funds may be used for field expenses (travel, some meals, lodging), materials and supplies (sample bags, base maps, air photos, film and developing costs, etc.). Travel to professional meetings will not be funded.  CSMS will not fund research by undergraduate students that relates directly to a thesis or dissertation by a graduate student.

Funds requested for equipment, computer time and software, thin-sections, chemical and isotopic analyses, and the purchase of services must be fully justified. Research grants may not be used for salaries or tuition. Upon completion of the research, equipment and materials purchased with a CSMS research grant become the property of the department in which the student is enrolled and are expected to be available to help additional students with their research.

Responsibilities of Recipients
Grant recipients are encouraged to present their results at professional meetings as well as to publish them. In both cases, support by the CSMS should be acknowledged. Recipients who cannot undertake or complete their project must return any unused funds along with a written explanation of expenses incurred. Grants may be subject to tax by the IRS and the grant recipient is responsible for determining this point. Within one year of receiving their grant, all CSMS research grant recipients are expected to 1) submit a written article documenting results of their research; however, a more formal report such as a senior thesis may be submitted. The committee chair will abstract the report and submit such for publication in the CSMS Pick & Pack.  At any rate, recipients should keep in contact with the Committee Chair and provide periodic progress reports.

A research grant application follows. The Research Grant Committee of the CSMS will review each application. The decisions of this committee are final.

Student Research Grant Program Application

Please follow the format below and submit a signed application postmarked (email attachment) by the 2017 deadline:  APRIL 1.  Please note the two critical areas that often distinguish the application!
1.    Name of Applicant: 
Temporary Address:
Permanent Address:
Telephone numbers and hours that are best to reach you: 

2.      College/University enrolled:
          Expected degree completion date: 
          Project supervisor and address:

3.      Project title: 

4.      Statement of problem.  Please include in your statement how this work will further our understanding of Colorado Geology.  CRITICAL AREA

5.      Concisely state how you plan to accomplish your investigation. CRITICAL AREA

6.      Give a brief bibliography of the most important papers related to your proposed research (no more than five). 

7.      Duration of investigation (dates): 

8.      Budget: 

9.      Budget justification: 

10.    Other support for this project, both applied for and received.  For support applied for, include dates you expect to know outcome: 

12.    Sign (electronic signature is valid) and date the submittal:


Please send completed application, via Email attachment to: csrockguy at yahoo dot com


The Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society sponsors several programs and events during the year with perhaps the best known being the annual show in June.  In 2019 the Club’s theme is Minerals of Colorado for the event scheduled the first weekend of June.  Additional information about monthly meetings and other sponsorships may be found at The 1936 refers to the year the Club organized, one of the oldest rock and mineral clubs in the country.

A primary goal of CSMS is to promote and disseminate knowledge of the earth sciences, especially as they relate to mineralogy, lapidary, and fossils. One important way that the club meets this goal is to promote and financially support original research on Colorado geology by undergraduate students.  A competition for funding is held each spring and research grant applicants need not be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society; however, they must be currently enrolled in a baccalaureate-granting institution and their research must be part of a degree program (an academic course granting credit and a grade).  A final report, often a senior thesis, must be submitted at the end of the academic year.  These grants have been offered since 2014 and each past recipient has graduated, and found a professional position or continued their education in a graduate program. 

In Spring 2017 CSMS offered five research grants/scholarships for summer field work and academic year research.  The following students received awards. However, this is a warning—much of the following information has some pretty serious geological terminology [remember Ma stands for millions].  But please read, or at least skim over, the research reports. I want you to notice how incredibly talented these students are, how they presented their research at professional meetings, and how all are gainfully employed in geology-related positions or continuing their education.  I read each and every word of their final comprehensive reports and I continue to be amazed at their educational experiences.  These young men and women are productive members of our society and future leaders of our country.  CSMS should be proud of their accomplishments.

Allison Mastenbrook was funded to study the Ore Sulfide and Oxide Mineral Assemblages and Paragenesis in the Skarn at Expectation Mountain, Rico Mining District, Colorado.   The Rico Mountains in southwestern Colorado are noted for Pb-Zn-Ag [lead-zinc-silver] vein and skarn [cooked carbonate rocks] deposits that formed in Paleozoic carbonate sequences in the clastic rocks of the Permian Cutler Formation. These mineral deposits are well exposed at the Expectation Mine where Ms. Mastenbrook collected samples for analyses. Her laboratory work consisted of: 1) petrographic analyses of polished sections, done in both transmitted and reflected light, that constrained the associations of the sulfide and oxide ore and related minerals; 2) whole-rock geochemical analyses completed at the Activation Laboratories Ltd. to determine the overall mineral composition and concentrations in the mineralized rock; 3) the electron microprobe (EMP) was used at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology to determine concentrations of major and selected minor elements in sulfide and oxide minerals; and 4) scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis was used to further investigate the chemical makeup of certain ore minerals.
A general map of Colorado showing the Colorado Mineral Belt boundaries, the San Juan Mountains and the Rico District.  Diagram from Kindsvatter report.
Her research has established a blueprint to understand and explore for mineral skarn systems within the Western San Juan Mountains. Geologists now have a better understanding of the mineralogy and clues to conditions under which the systems formed and how these bodies crystallized. 

Ms. Mastenbrook’s research was presented at the Four Corners Geological Society meeting, the Fort Lewis College student research symposium, and the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is currently working in industry.

Aaron Hagglof was funded to study the Mineralogy and Chemistry of Silicate Minerals in Skarn Deposits on Expectation Mountain near Rico, Colorado: Insight into Metamorphic History and Controls.  Aaron’s major emphasis of research was to study the silicate mineral assemblages associated with Fe-Cu [iron-copper] skarns from Expectation Mountain. In this research, silicate mineral assemblages associated with these skarns were investigated to determine metamorphic grade and paragenetic evolution. 

Data from hand sample and petrographic analyses confirm that the dominant gangue mineral assemblages in skarn from Expectation Mountain are garnet + quartz + calcite + epidote-clinozoisite ± actinolite-hornblende ± adularia ± muscovite ± sphene. These associations are consistent with a high temperature--low pressure metamorphic environment. Estimations based on fluid inclusion analysis conclude that the peak temperature of prograde mineralization occurred around ~500°C. Pressures were estimated at about .02 GPa or 200 bars.

Aaron originally graduated from Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, presented his research at the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America meeting, and is now employed by US Silver Galena Mine in Wallace, Idaho.

Otto Lang was funded to study A Comparison of Nd, Sr, and Hf Isotopic Signatures for Late Cretaceous and Pliocene Plutonic Rocks in the Rico Mountains, Colorado: Insight into Magmatic Sources at 68 Ma and 4 Ma.  Otto’s field area was in the Rico Mountains where 68 Ma and 4 Ma plutons are emplaced as stocks, sills, and dikes. The 68 Ma plutons are calc-alkaline diorites to monzonites and are associated with Fe-Cu skarn mineralization, whereas the 4 Ma plutons are alkaline monzonites and are related to porphyry Mo [molybdenum] deposits. Chemical distinctions hint at different magma sources for the two generations of plutons. 

Lang assessed isotopic ratios for bulk-rock samples that is particularly useful in determining isotopic signatures across various different minerals found in the rock. The bulk-rock analyses of samples from Rico plutons were conducted using Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS). The analyses were done using a Finnagan-MAT 6-collector solid source mass spectrometer.

Lang’s results reveal distinctions in melt sources for 68 Ma and 4 Ma plutonic rocks in the Rico Mountains. The 68 Ma plutons were formed during a period of regional magmatism related to subduction during the Laramide Orogeny. Inherited Proterozoic zircons in all  68 Ma samples indicates the incorporation of 1.8 to 1.3 Ga basement rock during magmatism.

The 4 Ma plutons crystallized from a more evolved “crustal” magma source. The data suggests that mantle magmas invaded the upper crust during a timeframe of extension after 25 Ma allowing for the right conditions to melt a small volume of overlying upper crust at 4 Ma.

Lang presented results of his work at the Four Corners Geological Society meeting and the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona.  He is continuing his education.

Kade MacDougall was funded for his work: Insight into the Composition, Origin, and Age of Clastic Dikes in Ouray County, Colorado.  These dikes cut Paleozoic to Cenozoic strata between Placerville and Ouray, and trend 250 to 320 degrees with vertical to near vertical dips. The dikes are up to 4 m thick and have strike lengths up to a kilometer. The dikes are clast to matrix supported and contain angular to rounded fragments up to 35 cm in dimension. Proterozoic basement rocks dominate clast populations in dikes near Ouray; fragments of Mesozoic sedimentary rocks and ~66 Ma granodiorite make up lesser proportions. Clastic dikes at Stony Mountain contain pieces of Proterozoic basement, underlying sedimentary units, and gabbro from the 27 Ma Stony Mountain stock. All the dikes preserve different degrees of chlorite + epidote alteration, and most contain secondary calcite and minor Cu mineralization.

In order to constrain the maximum age of deposition and provenance of the clastic dikes, detrital zircon U-Pb age [uranium-lead] analyses were employed. Detrital zircon ages give provenance by matching age populations with potential source rocks, and maximum age is constrained by the youngest population of detrital zircon ages.  Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used by the University of Arizona Laserchron center to analyze U-Pb geochronology.
The results of MacDougall’s study support a magmatic heritage due to Proterozoic clast and zircon populations, spatial relationships of outcrops and age constraints. In addition, there the clastic dikes are in close proximity to igneous masses in the area.
Model showing the mechanism of emplacement for clastic dikes.  Rising magma in the crust degasses, violently entraining country rock and depositing it into fractures as it rises.  Diagram from MacDougall report but original created by David Gonzales.
Kade presented research results at the Four Corners Geological Society meeting and at the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America conference in Flagstaff Arizona. After graduation Kade started work for Hecla Mines in Coeur d'Alene Idaho's silver valley as an exploration geologist.

Bret Kindsvatter was funded for: A Review of Fluid Inclusions and their Application to Understanding the Origin of Skarn Deposit; Case Study of Skarn on Expectation Mountain, Rico, Colorado. Fluid inclusions are small capsules of fluid and gas that are trapped in minerals during crystallization. These microcapsules can provide information about crystallization temperatures, salinities and chemistry of fluids involved in metamorphism, fluid pressures and densities, and stable isotope signatures. Fluid inclusions provide better understanding of the fluid rock interaction and geological information in determining the evolutionary history of a metamorphic rock. Kindsvatter used a variety of instrumentation to analyze the inclusions including petrography, microthermometry, and a Raman Microprobe.

Kindsvatter’s data reveal a complex history of primary and secondary inclusions. Early high temperature (prograde) garnet contains inclusions that formed at ~500 ºC, while later primary quartz tapped fluids at temperatures of 244 to 163 ºC. This was followed by retrograde (lower temperature) crystallization of quartz and calcite from 260 to 106 ºC. The salinities of the fluids over the history of crystallization ranged from 23.7 to 2.1 weight percent dissolved constituents. The fluid inclusion information provides important insight into the formation of Cu-Fe-Au mineralization in the rocks, which formed during the retrograde stage.

Bret presented results of his research and is now employed in industry.

In spring 2018 CSMS awarded three new student research grants/scholarships:

Peyton Weigel: A petrographic and geochemical investigation of igneous fragments in the Permian Cutler Formation, southwestern Colorado.

Nicholas Brodeur: A petrologic and geochemical investigation of zoned mafic dikes, Bakers Bridge Granite, southwestern Colorado.

Mateo Sanabria: Investigating the timing and history of plutons in the San Miguel Range, southwestern Colorado.

I look forward to learning about these projects as reports are submitted this summer (2019).  Information about applying for these CSMS grants will be available soon [I hope] on, or you can drop me an email.

This is a side note, and personal, so maybe you might want to skip it.  But I often get a questions like “why are you are interested in undergraduates doing research?  Should not research be left to graduate students and professors?  Is this “real research?”

I will answer the last two questions first---read the reports above! As for my interest—it stems back to my college undergraduate days, a long, long time ago.  I had a professor who knew that I was sort of lost in what to do with my life after graduation.  So, he suggested that during my senior year I work on a field research project that might gauge my interest in research and graduate school.  So, off I went to study crossbedding in the Dakota Sandstone of central Kansas. It was a pretty poor study compared to some of the work I see presented today; however, that project cemented my desire to head off to graduate school [South Dakota] and consider teaching as a profession.

I came back to Fort Hays State University after graduation from the University of Utah and thought (was I naïve?] that college professors should be; 1) a good instructor who helped students learn [as opposed to memorize]; 2) a good university and community citizen; and 3) a mentor and role model for students interested in research.  Since the University, at that time, did not have a geology graduate program I embraced working with undergraduates.  In fact, my very first professional publication had an undergraduate as lead author.  Every summer I hauled students to Utah (mostly) and we worked together on research projects and cooked over campfires.  Life was good.

As my career progressed, I made certain that students attended professional meetings and presented results of their research.  As an administrator I was able to funnel resources into the undergraduate research program, sometimes in a big way.  I distinctly remember one trip to the national Conference on Undergraduate Research where we flew 77 students and faculty (~10) to and eastern airport, rented 10 vans, and shuttled everyone to the meeting for student presentations.  And, so it went. Life was good.
Even after leaving academe in summer 2006 (retirement?). I still miss my interaction with students (faculty committee meetings not so much).  Therefore, I immensely enjoy my student interactions through the CSMS student grant program.