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Project GEO

Geotechnical Engineering
Earth Science Outreach

Dr. Nick Hudyma
The University of North Florida

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Bo Smith
Terry Parker High School
Last updated:  November 27th, 2006
Dr. Nick Hudyma came to The University of North Florida in 2002 as an Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at UNF  after completing his PhD at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.  He had an idea that he would like to involve high school students from the local area in his area of research in Geotechnical Engineering.  He was interested in pursuing a cooperative research project in Earth Science and Geotechnical Engineering involving high school students.  Project GEO began when  'Dr.NIck' contacted Bo Smith, an Earth/Space Science teacher at Terry Parker High School.   After an initial planning meeting, Project GEO came to life.

The concept is that a group of motivated high school students at Terry Parker is identified from Bo Smith's Earth/Space Science Honors classes join Project GEO as their final research project requirement.  The students conduct research as assigned by 'Dr. Nick' or Mr.  Smith and spend three to four sessions in the UNF Geotechnical Laboratory doing their research.  Each group of students keeps a scientific notebook, produces a written report, gives a presentation to their class at Terry Parker as part of their final exam grade for the course.  'Dr. Nick' attends these presentations when he can! On some projects, the student's research may be included as a part of a professional paper or presentation by Dr. Hudyma or Mr. Smith. So far, we have had four groups of students participate in the project; Fall 2003, Spring 2004, Fall 2004, and Spring 2005 semesters.  The project was tremporarily suspended for the Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 terms due to a sinkhole research project that required Dr. Hudyma's presennce in Gainesville. However, we have resumed the project with the Fall 06 term.


Mr. Bo Smith and Dr. Nick Hudyma 
at the new UNF Geotechnical Lab

UNF's new Science and Engineering Building

Fall 2006 Projects

Demolition Project: This project coordinated by Dr. Hudyma involves the demolition of a tunnel into "plaster of paris" rock. The rock is studied using non destructive testing prior to and after the demolition to study the efffect of the demolition on the "rock" surrounding the tunnel.

Spruce Pine Pegmatites: This project coordinated by Mr. Smith investigates the production of silica and feldspar from the spruce pime pegmatite formation in western North Carolina.  The student investigators are researching the history of quartz and feldspar mining in western North Carolina and current mining operations being conducted to support the silican chip and ceramic industry.

DuPont Titanium Mining: This project coordinated by Mr. Smith investigates the mining and  production of titanium oxide products fron northeast Florida heavy minerals contained in beach sand. The project also investigates the various methods utilized over the yrars to reclaim the land following mining.

Spring 2005 Projects

Isolation of Heavy Minerals from Northeast Florida Beach Sand:

                  Michelle Page (9th) -  "The Miscievous Miner" (Final Update-May 11th, 2005)

Laboratory Simulation of Sinkhole Formation:

                                Brandy Johnson (9th) and Alisha Keys (9th) - "Sinkhole Sisters" Final Updae- May 9th, 2005

Laboratory Investigation of Ptygmatic Folding:

                                Amanda Corbin (9th) and Karen Thomas (9th) - " The Ptygmatic Prognosticators" Final Update- May 12th, 2005

Fall 2004 Projects

Model Study of the Formation of Sinkholes:T&V Sinkholes' (Final Update; December 15th, 2004)

                  Tearra Walker (9th) and Venessa Jackson (9th)

Developing Physical Models for Rock Mechanics Research: 'The Rockies' (Final Update; December 14th, 2004)

                  Nisha Patel (9th) and Jennifer Pham (9th)

Environmental Concerns Associated with Karst: 'Igneous Tech' (Final Update; December 15th, 2004)

                  Aaron Dzina (9th) and Lonnie Wells (10th)

Study of the Mineral Characteristics of Northeast Florida Beach Sand: 'The Sand Pirates' (Final Update; December 15th, 2004)

                                            Teresa Owens (9th) and Mehgan McCann (9th)

Spring 2004 Projects

Model Studies of the Formation of Caves:  'The Troglodytyes' (Final Update: May 17th, 2004)

                                            Chris Mahaffay (9th) and Mac Lewis (9th)

Formation of Clay Smears: 'The Clay Smears' (Final Update: May 17th, 2004)

                                            Kiara Toti (9th) and April Urroz (9th)

Characterization of a Martian Soil: 'The Mars Heads' (Final Update: May 17th, 2004)

                                            Shaye Quackenbush (9th) and Caeli Hill (9th)

Rock Breakage by Blasting: 'Rock On' (Final Update: March 29th, 2004)

                                            Andrew Clark (9th) and Jonathan Burdon (9th)

Fall 2003 Projects

Click HERE to see the Fall 03 project websites

Microstructure of Shear Bands in Dense Granular Soils:

                                             Jeimy Ribado (11th- junior grad)

Effect of Load on Two Different Sands:  'The Sand People'

                                            Bermuda Sand Group- Thao Quan (9th grade) and Trang Nguyan (9th)
                                            Jacksonville Sand Group- Ricky Liebig (9th) and James Morales (9th)

Effect of Cavities and Fractures on Rock Properties:'The Rock Guys'

                                            Manuel Ortega (11th- junior grad) and Richard Forresto (9th)

Website maintained by: Bo Smith
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