Mid-Atlantic Iron Belt Project - Phase 4 - Comparison with other iron deposits in the region

Kurt Friehauf - Kutztown University

Many (10-20) undergraduates student involved
Class group project for Optical Mineralogy and Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology classes

Project:  Most of the iron deposits in eastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey are very small – subeconomic by modern standards.  The widespread occurrence of the deposits, however, suggests a large, crustal-scale process may have been at work.  Basic similarities of the geology of these small deposits with those of major mines suggests a similarity of processes that diverged somehow, resulting spreading the iron deposits out rather than concentrating the iron in one spot.  Understanding why mineralizing hydrothermal systems fail can provide key insights into the fundamental processes at work.
Due to the small size of each deposit and limited exposure, few major researchers are willing to spend much time on them. Each deposit is, however, an excellent size for an undergraduate student project.

Richard-Teabo mineOver the course of the next two years, as part of the “hard rock” series of geology courses (mineralogy, optical mineralogy, and igneous/metamorphic petrology), pairs of students will adopt a mine for study in lab.  Dr. Friehauf will accompany each pair of students to visit the mine, giving students valuable one-on-one instruction and experience in the field.  We will collect characteristic suites of rocks from each adopted mine for analysis in the lab at Kutztown University, the study of which will be the focus of each student’s term project, giving students an opportunity to apply material learned in class.   By pairing students together, students have a buddy with whom to ask questions and discuss their observations.  As each study progresses, we will meet to allow different pairs to report to the class as a whole, thereby allowing comparison of the geologic features in different mines and so allowing for investigation of regional trends.

At the end of the third course in the series (igneous/metamorphic petrology), we will synthesize all of the data into a single report for publication.  

back to Iron Oxide Project Index

or Back to Kurt Friehauf home page