The Faculty of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science



Vic DiVenere

Associate Professor of Geology, Department of Earth and Environmental Science
LIU Post
divenere@liu.edu

Teaching

Courses

Dynamic Earth
GLY 1
History of the Earth
GLY 2
Environmental Science 1: Geology
ENV 601
Honors Dynamic Earth
GLY 301
Honors History of the Earth
GLY 302
Geomorphology
GLY 14 / 517
Earth Science 1
ERS 1
Earth Science 2
ERS 2
Continental Drift
and Plate Tectonics
GLY 47 / GLY 511
Natural Disasters
ERS 22 / GGR 22
Global Climate Change
GLY 29 / GLY 529
Environmental Geochemistry
GLY 23
Oceanography
GLY 9 / GLY 510
Earth Materials
GLY 26 / GLY 526
Groundwater Geology
GLY 15 / GLY 518
Structural Geology
GLY 13
Earth Environment 2
ERS 514
Research Problems in Geology GLY 81
Topics in Conservation CON 81

I teach introductory courses in physical and historical geology, earth sciences, physical geography, and oceanography and advanced courses in plate tectonics, global climate change, groundwater geology, natural disasters, environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, and environmental and engineering geology.

My aim in teaching the geological and Earth sciences is to foster understanding of the materials that make up the Earth and the processes that shape it, from the deep interior, to its tectonic plates, surficial landforms, the waters and atmosphere, the changing Earth and climate, and natural hazards.

I have been developing extensive web-based course materials so students can check out the most recent lecture notes, topics lists, bibliographies for writing assignments, and online quizze.

Field Trips

There is nothing like seeing the rocks "in the wild." I lead field trips to Central Park (geology of New York Metropolitan region), NYC to Delaware Water Gap (regional geology and geomorphology), American Museum of Natural History (meteorites and Earth origins, evolution of humans, dinosaurs), Robert Moses State Park (barrier islands and coastal processes on the south shore of Long Island).

Research

I have a number of research interests in geology. I am eager to involve advanced undergraduates in my research.

Projects

Antarctica. I went to Antarctica twice as a member of the multi-national South Pacific Rim International Tectonics Expedition (SPRITE). The expeditions included geologists from the U.S., Great Britain, and New Zealand. The goal was to work out the geologic development of a little-studied portion of West Antarctica. The results of this study have important implications for details of the breakup of the supercontinent "Gondwana," the opening of the Ross Sea, and for plate tectonic studies of the Pacific and hotspots. See selected publications.

Hotspots. "Hotspots" are plumes of hot mantle material rising from the deep interior of the Earth that leave trails of volcanic islands on the Earth's surface, like the Hawaiian islands. An outstanding question regarding how the Earth works is whether or not hotspots are fixed with respect to one another. If so, they would constitute a fixed global frame of reference for tectonic motion studies. Using the new tectonic motion information from the Antarctic study I show that hotspots are very likely not fixed. This conclusion, in turn, will enable mantle dynamicists to make important predictions regarding the physical properties of the Earth's mantle and the convective flow therein. See selected publications.

New Zealand Tectonics. A senior geology student has gone with me to Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory where I instructed her in the use of the state-of-the-art paleomagnetics lab to measure the magnetizations in a suite of Cretaceous age (around 97 million year old) volcanic rock samples that I collected in New Zealand. The purpose of this study is to improve paleogeographic reconstructions of New Zealand adjacent to Antarctica before the final stages of breakup of the supercontinent "Gondwana." The results show that the Marlborough region of New Zealand has experienced a clockwise tectonic rotation of about 30 degrees with respect to the rest of New Zealand as a result of movements on the Alpine Fault and related faults.See selected publications.

Carboniferous Magnetostratigraphy. The Earth's magnetic field is known to reverse from time to time. For example, about 800,000 years ago our magnetic compasses would have pointed toward the south pole rather than the north pole. I study the history of reversals of the Earth's field with a colleague at the University of Florida. Based on extensive field sampling and laboratory analysis, we have produced the only detailed record of reversals of the magnetic field for the early and middle Carboniferous time period (around 325 to 310 million years ago). This study is valuable for correlating sedimentary strata of widespread regions and it is of special interest for comparisons of the long-term behavior of the Earth's magnetic field and for modeling the geodynamo that gives rise to the magnetic field. See selected publications.

Environmental Magnetism of Lake Ronkonkoma. I conducted a study aimed at Long Island's recent geologic history and environment using techniques of environmental magnetism (using magnetic characteristics of sediments as a proxy indicator of paleoenvironmental change). I studied variations in the magnetic characteristics of several short sediment cores from Lake Ronkonkoma as an aid to understanding changes in deposition in the lake and presumably changes in local rainfall in the recent past. The ultimate aim of the project is to core the entire thickness of post-glacial (>10,000 years) deposits in the lake to study climate change over the entire post-glacial epoch. See selected publications.



If you are interested in geologic and environmental study at C.W. Post please contact me at:

Dr. Vic DiVenere
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
LIU Post
Brookville, New York 11548
phone: 516-299-2034
fax: 516-299-4140
email: divenere@liu.edu