COSAM News Articles 2018 August Geosciences Graduate Student Uses Prestigious International Award to Further Support Field Research at Wetumpka Crater
Geosciences Graduate Student Uses Prestigious International Award to Further Support Field Research at Wetumpka Crater
Neeraja Chinchalkar, a graduate student in Geosciences, is the recipient of the Barringer Impact Crater Award for Student Research, an international award given only to a handful of students from around the world each year. Chinchalkar is studying the Wetumpka impact crater in Elmore County, Alabama, which was formed approximately 85 million years ago.
“Auburn University has an outstanding proximity for field work,” states Chinchalkar. Since the crater is just an hour away, she is able to more frequently conduct research allowing her to learn and grow in her field.
The goal of her current research, supervised by Dr. David King, is to understand the early stages of post-impact modification of wet-target impact craters. She will study why deposits of rock usually seen on or near the rim of the craters, that is evident in the crater center at Wetumpka. She will also examine the silicate minerals in the sand to look for evidence of hypervelocity shock metamorphism and high pressure mineral phases.
Chinchalkar plans on pursuing her PhD and offers this sincere advice to students, “Look for your passion in science, and it will lead you to a rewarding career and unseen opportunities if life.”
The Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research was established as a memorial to recognize the contributions of Brandon, Moreau, Paul and Richard Barringer to the field of meteoritics and the Barringer family’s strong interest and support over many years in research and student education. In addition to its memorial nature, the fund also reflects the family’s long-standing commitment to responsible stewardship of The Barringer Meteorite Crater and the family’s steadfast resolve in maintaining the crater as a unique scientific research and education site.
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