09/24/2003 Archived Entry: "2003 CONSOL/CAER Students"

Each summer CONSOL Energy, Inc., along with the CAER, fund two students to participate in a summer research project at the CAER. These projects and students vary significantly from year to year, but all work on coal-related projects and are from the state of Kentucky. This year’s students and their projects are highlighted below:
caudille (68k image)

The Mine Mapping Program of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research is fortunate to have had Michael Caudill as an employee for the summer of 2003. Michael is in his fourth year at UK majoring in Geology. He is a student, originally from Ludlow, Kentucky. Christian holds a GPA of 3.7 in his field. With strengths in stratigraphy, Michael was a real asset to the Mine Map Program.

Michael performed a wide range of tasks regarding Kentucky's coal mine maps. Those tasks includes identifying maps from various sources that belong in the archives, mine map location, determination of geologic conditions (mines above and below), proximity to oil and gas wells and error correction. Other duties included utilizing the databases that index the maps and work with the online Geographic Information Systems, scanning, computer mapping and digital imagery.

By the end of the summer Michael was exposed to every facet of the operations of the Mine Map Repository. He gained a working understanding of Kentucky's coal mine maps, applied coal geology, computer mapping systems and the regulations regarding Kentucky coal mines.

anderson (6k image)

As one of this summer’s CONSOL students, Clair Anderson focused on making the thousands of samples taken and stored annually by the CAER more lastingly useful to researchers. She designed a database capable of storing every significant attribute of a sample, regardless of its type. Each sample has a master number by which it is instantly recognizable in storage. Any chemical or physical analysis results, as well as original collection information, are immediately available. The nearly 1500 samples already cataloged within the new database include data in 86 fields as far reaching as ppm yttrium and median particle size. With this much information and the unique capabilities of a database, researchers can create queries to identify and analyze data from samples enriched in mercury, or pond samples taken within a certain time span. This eliminates the frustration and inefficiency of “losing” samples and their analytical data simply because researchers no longer work in the same lab, and have taken their files with them.

A logical extension of cataloging and centralizing data from power stations and ponds would be cataloging and centralizing the samples themselves, planned for later this year. By barcoding samples based on their unique master numbers and creating a universal storage space, the CAER could eliminate the “vanishing” sample that no one can locate, or the “phantom” sample that no one can identify. Thus, researchers that locate data of interest through the database can quickly find any of the remaining physical material for further analysis and research. With this system, samples and the data generated from them retain their usefulness for longer, and researchers have access to twenty or thirty times as much data as before.

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