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Lorne Currier '14

Lorne Currier

Lorne Currier was an Environmental Studies major. While he enjoyed the work, he wanted more science and quickly found himself in the Geology Department adding a minor.

"The first class was mineralogy and crystal systems and the way rocks and minerals form," Currier says. "And I liked it a lot and I connected with it. Geology is so related to the environment and environmental studies that you can't do environmental studies and you can't be a true environmentalist without having some knowledge of how the earth works."

He soon discovered that the classes were field study oriented and quickly found his weekends filled with trips to Hampton Beach to study the coastal environment and coastal sedimentation process and others to the Catskills in New York, to Maine and to Turner's Falls, Mass. He even took a one credit course that had him exploring and mapping an old zinc mine in Sterling, NJ.

He also had the opportunity to attend the New England Intercollegiate Geologic Conference and present a paper with fellow Geology Major Phillip Geer at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America.

They presented a paper entitled, "Assessment of a Storm Drain Outfall to the Metal Contamination of Sediments in the Ashuelot River, Keene, NH." The paper went onto win the 2013 GSA/ExxonMobil Field Camp Award, one of only 15 awarded nationally.

Previous studies showed that the sediments of the Ashuelot River in Keene, New Hampshire, are contaminated with heavy metals, including lead, well above sediment quality guidelines from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the past, the lead was determined to be from paint flaking off of bridges. However, a recent study showed elevated levels of other metals occurring in sediments not associated with the bridges. In this study, Currier and Geer, undertook detailed sampling of river sediment in the vicinity of a storm drain outfall in order to determine whether this could be the source of these metals. The occurrence of these metals is consistent with measurements of metals in soils adjacent to a highway, suggesting contamination by Road Dust Sediment.

Currier will graduate in 2014 and says he hopes to find a job where he can somehow use his Geological studies to help the environment.