All posts by Joe O'Reilly

Halifax Hills

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0376.It’s now late August, and most students are moving into their dorms on campus but not us. We are in Halifax and have just completed our first mid-term exam with a final exam for ES210 Climate Change and Glacial Geology approaching a mere 10 days away. After the mid-term we were able to get a breath of fresh air and visit the Citadel, a British/Canadian military fort from the 1800’s built on top of a drumlin (a 500 m long oval mound of unconsolidated sediment deposited under the outermost 100 km periphery of a warm-based continental glacier). Soldiers serving here probably never knew they had their elevation advantage due to a glacial deposit.


We started the following day driving 40 minutes east through Dartmouth (home of Netflix’s Trailer Park Boys) to Lawrencetown and its well exposed drumlin. We chose this spot because the ocean has eroded away some of the drumlin’s side, exposing about 25 of unsorted sediment. On this steep slope there were two distinct layers that are thought to be approximately 70,000 and 11,000 years old. There was 6.8 meters of grey, massive sand, silt and cobbles and approximately 20 meters of a similar red sediment. Glacial shear causes the long axis of the rocks to point in the direction of flow. Our objective was to measure the orientation (trend and plunge) of elongated pebble- to cobble-size rocks to see if the direction they pointed was different in the grey and red layers. We braved what felt like Mount Everest (a whole 15 meters) with the open ocean directly behind us in order to find elongated rocks. We hypothesized a second (red) drumlin was deposited on top of an older (grey) one, creating the two separate layers. Some of the cobbles we had to dig out……..with the same shovel we previously lost and then found in Fundy. After we took our data we all fell asleep on the ride home, no one moved for the entire 40 minutes. We were incredibly tired from braving treacherous hills, but we had breakfast for dinner to look forward to! After a long day it was time to wind down and type up our lab reports for the day, as a science course without a lab report would not be a real science course.

Joe O’Reilly ’18  & Tyler Allen ’18



The Adventure Begins…

On Sunday August 14, all nine of us environmental and marine science majors met in Portland to embark on our ESS (Environmental Science Semester). We lined up our bags waiting for the van to arrive and everyone around was wondering how we were going to pull it off. We had a volume challenge of putting all of our luggage and seating eleven of us, in an eleven-seated van.  It was an overcast morning and we encountered showers here and there but nothing could stop us now. Dr. Erikson was eager to get going and jumped right on the roof to fill the storage bins on the roof as we passed him our dry bags. We were able to fit everyone somewhat comfortably and all of our luggage in the van. We were then ready to leave and begin our four-hour journey.

Our first stop was Schoodic Peninsula up near Winter Harbor, Maine. Ben and Olive were our navigators and plotted a route to our destination. Good thing it wasn’t me because I had never gone that far north.  I’d only made the usual trips from Saint Joe’s to and from New York, which is long enough. As we got closer to our destination the water views started popping through the trees and  I was very exited. We arrived around 2:30 pm at the Schoodic Education and Research Institute (SERC) in Acadia National Park where we will be staying for the next week in a nice condo (way better than a dorm room). We got started right away using our compass to find dips, strikes, trends, and plunges. It felt weird thinking that summer had ended and school had started again.

After our bite to eat at a local seafood restaurant (which was fantastic) we got to see why this place is so special. The local flora and fauna is protected by SERC, the national park and all of the locals here. We then proceeded to go see the sunset at Schoodic Point and that was a sight to see!

– Joe O’Reilly

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