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Susquehanna University Professor Shares Expertise on Travel Channel Show

Published on December 4, 2013

A television crew from the Travel Channel’s “America Declassified” program visited Centralia, Pa., recently to film a story about this nearly-abandoned town. It’s the site of an underground coal mine fire that has been burning for 50 years.Jennifer Elick Susquehanna University Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Jennifer Elick appears on the program as an expert who explains the Centralia coal fire to the Travel Channel’s Ben McGee.

First airing Dec. 1, the program will be re-broadcast Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. and Dec. 12 at 10 p.m. The Centralia story is the second segment of the show.

Elick conducts research to map and model the thermal history of the fire, which involves measuring the gas concentrations from exhaust vents, vegetation distribution related to surface heat and rate of sinkhole formation from the coal fire. She has matched the stratigraphy of the Buck Mountain coal bed to the developing landscape features. Much of this work has involved collaboration with Susquehanna University students.

Currently, Elick is working with a student to identify the mineralogy and geochemistry of a Triassic diabase intrusion and compare it to others located near the magma chamber. Other research projects include reconstructing environments from fossil fish, ancient plants and trace fossils from the Devonian time period in Quebec, New York and Pennsylvania.

Elick teaches classes at Susquehanna University in both the earth and environmental sciences, and ecology majors. She is a sedimentologist by training and conducts research in paleoenvironmental reconstruction. She is a member of the Geological Society of America and Society for Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists.

Preview the Show »

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