About this Project

The goal of the Introducing Geophysics for Urban and Near-surface Applications (IGUaNA) project is to attract a diverse population of students to geophysics through the development of teaching materials that highlight the application of geophysical tools and methods to societally-relevant questions, including environmental, engineering, and forensic questions in urban settings. People who identify as Hispanic/Latinx, Black or African-American, Native American, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, or multi-racial, together constitute about one-third of the U.S. population. However, these demographic groups are severely underrepresented in STEM (NCSES, 2019) and the geosciences are amongst the least diverse of the STEM disciplines (e.g. Bernard and Cooperdock, 2018; NCSES, 2019). Likewise, while women make up more than half of the undergraduate student population, they earn far fewer than half of the undergraduate degrees in STEM (NCSES, 2019) and comprise only 23% of the geoscience workforce (Sidder, 2017). The IGUaNA project utilizes two key evidence-based strategies to counteract these trends: active learning with authentic data (e.g. Freeman et al., 2014) and the integration of societal issues with science content (e.g. Huntoon and Lane, 2007). Our project goals are codified in IGUaNA's guiding principles.

Measuring Depth to Bedrock for an Urban Renewal Project explores the use of seismic refraction methods to evaluate the subsurface geology for an urban renewal project along Codorus Creek, in York, PA. Pipes, Tree Roots or Unmarked Graves? Forensic Geophysics has students analyze GPR data from surveys conducted to map utility lines (e.g., pipes and cables) or to locate unmarked graves. In Evaluating the Health of an Urban Wetland, students investigate the relationship between electrical resistivity and physical properties of the soil in Harrier Meadow and evaluate a hypothesis relating the distribution of plant species to groundwater salinity.

For more information, follow these links:

Guiding Principles Module Development Project Activities Publications and Presentations Terms of Use

Project team

Sarah Kruse Sarah Kruse, University of South Florida

Andy Parsekian Andy Parsekian, University of Wyoming

Slater Lee Slater, Rutgers University Newark

John McDaris John McDaris, SERC, Carleton College
photo of PI Beth Pratt-Sitaula Beth Pratt-Sitaula, EarthScope Consortium

Christine Downs, Sandia National Laboratories
Klaudio Peshtani, Rutgers University Newark
Tonian Robinson, University of South Florida

Past Team Members

John Taber profile photo John Taber, IRIS

Carol Ormand Carol Ormand, SERC, Carleton College

Headshot Danielle Sumy, EarthScope Consortium


This work is supported by the National Science Foundation via the Seismological Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience (SAGE), which is a major facility operated by the EarthScope Consortium (formerly IRIS) and funded by award EAR-1851048.

Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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