Stop 4 – University of Connecticut

Best college logo of the tour so far? Probably. Much fun in New England with a pack of Huskies…

A rather fraught journey from Roanoke to Hartford, involving a delayed departure and a Usain Bolt-esque sprint though Charlotte airport, only involving a heavy roller-case and lots of sweating and swearing, deposited me in Connecticut, New England. Despite being the son of West Indian immigrants I guess, in some way, this is my US spiritual home.

I was met by my host Julie Fosdick, an all-round basin analysis ninja, specialising in the application of geo-thermochronology to understanding mountain building and related sediment erosion and dispersal. Having only known her because of her excellent, prize-winning(!) work on the Magallanes foreland basin (Chile and Argentina), I first met Julie at a pre-AAPG party in Calgary last year; I’d evidently not put here off, thus she was receptive to my offer to visit when I contacted her about my GSA tour. We drove to her house in the Glastonbury woods, where I met her husband Ken, a professor at Yale specialising in climate economics. We took a stroll through the woods to a pub (yes, an almost real, British-style pub!) for dinner and deep, deep politic chat, before heading to bed.

I woke early the next morning for a short run. I didn’t feel like it and I didn’t have much time, but the sun was shining and I’d foolishly committed to running at every tour stop. Running without a large roller-case was very nice. A quick breakfast, and Julie and I headed into University of Connecticut’s stunning campus. Set amongst rolling green hills, the architecture felt distinctly British, with the clear blue skies and sunshine adding to the ambience. So began a whirlwind morning of meetings with faculty, including Andrew Bush, Michael Hren, and Lisa Park Boush (the program head and all-round cat-herder; see also @LisaBoush). We laughed and discussed too many things to mention, with Andrew showing and allowing me to photograph some of his cool dino-bits…which sounds weird now I read it back to myself. I also finally met Anjali Fernandes (@climbing_ripple), a sedimentologist-stratigrapher and Twitter connection; turns out people on Twitter can be super-cool in real life!

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Running behind schedule (full disclosure: I likely talked to much), I had a pizza-lunch with some of the grad students, before diving back into my schedule with a meeting with Patrick Getty. Finally it was time for my seminar, which today was to be on normal fault geometry and kinematics. A mixed group of undergrads, grad students and faculty patiently watched me leap around the room whilst impersonating normal faults, before firing in numerous testing questions. In fact, some of them halted my performance with in-talk questions, which I always think is a good sign and, to be honest, much more interactive and fun.

Staggering from the lecture room, I completed the afternoon with meetings with Jean Crespi, Robert Thorson (a geoscientist and author, who queried me on the use of the word “evolution” to describe the growth of normal faults…), Tim Byrne (who regaled me with tails of Taiwanese fieldwork – spoiler: it can be frustrating, emotional, but ultimately quite awesome) and an undegrad student Connor Mitchel (who will be undertaking his semester abroad placement in London). It was then time for a short walk across campus to the village(?)/town(?) of Storrs, where Julie, Anjali, Tim, Lisa and I had a few drinks and food, and a lot of laughs at the world- UConn-famous Geno’s Grille. Julie then kindly drove me back to my airport hotel in preparation for my horribly early (0535) flight to NYC (via Washington DC!) this morning…

I’d like to finish by saying a huge ‘thanks!’ to Julie; she was an A-Grade host and I look forward to spending time with her in the future. Not only did she allow me to stay at her beautiful home, but she also arranged an action-packed schedule. Absolutely everyone I met at UConn was great fun and very welcoming, and I left with the feeling this would be a great place to work! Thanks you Huskies and see y’all soon!

Author: Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson

I am Professor of Basin Analysis @imperialcollege. I ❀️ πŸƒπŸΏ, 🚴🏿 and @basinsIC (⛏). I obsess about the tectono-stratigraphic development of sedimentary basins. Why? Because I'm hopeless at everything else.

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