EAS fully engaged as CUBO begins drilling in June

By: Cornell EAS

The Cornell University Borehole Observatory (CUBO) will begin early in June and many EAS members are in the action. 

Non-stop preparations have been in motion for the last several months, involving EAS faculty and graduate students in partnership with Cornell staff from Facilities and Campus Services, Cornell’s central administration, College of Engineering administration, and the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering administration—as well as Professor Jeff Tester from chemical & biomolecular engineering. Assistant Professor Patrick Fulton and Professor Teresa Jordan are central members of the science and engineering research team who will use the borehole to characterize the rocks, fractures, fluids and stress system to a depth of about 2 miles. Graduate students Sean Fulcher, Roberto Clairmont, Daniela Pinilla and Ivan Purwamaska have assembled and scrutinized data and samples from other deep wells in the Finger Lakes region, developing knowledge that will be tapped as CUBO drills deeper and its well log data set grows. geological sciences alum Tomás Zapata arranged that Repsol, an international energy company, provide training in data analysis to Fulcher, Clairmont and Pinilla, who will use those skills to turn CUBO’s raw data into understanding of the subsurface materials and conditions. 

Jordan has worked with adjunct EAS faculty member Rob Ross plus Dr. Don Haas, both of the Paleontological Research Institution, and Cornell alumna Deborah Hoard of Photosynthesis Productions to use the public interest, curiosity or concerns that arise from the site of a huge drilling rig in Ithaca as teaching moments. They have produced web site content and videos intended to enable a growing understanding of earth sciences, engineering, and energy technology. Check out these materials at https://deepgeothermalheat.engineering.cornell.edu

The project has also entrained other EAS faculty during the last few months, such as Geoff Abers shepherding the accumulating data from a seismic monitoring network into a weekly seismic activity report for the community. Newly arrived Assistant Professor Nicole Fernandez has begun to probe the soils and waters near CUBO. EAS undergraduates Madeline Fresonke and Juliette Torres, as well as an M.S. student from the chemical and biomolecular engineering, Reeby Puthur, will all work as mudlogging trainees during the drilling operation.

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