Catherine Skinner
Department of Geology & Geophysics


As part of the G&G course "Minerals in the Biosphere" I require students to investigate the geochemical distribution of an element globally and, in some instances, more resticted geographic locations. In addition they are asked to gather data on the epidemiology of any disease(s) that may be related to this element. Additional data on food consumption (agricultural products), domestic water compositions, and for some elements, inhalation of dusts or pollutants is important. A Geographic Information System (GIS) such as ArcView is required to maximize and coordinate such data. This allows us to rapidly and directly compare a wide range of data. I forsee the use of this technique to present the data on a series of elements in future. We may be able to further augment this research by integrating landcover information obtained from satellite images as we develop these techniques.

I am presently most interested in the element magnesium and expect to have a researcher work with me on this project, as well as helping students gain knowledge of this newly available technique. We will be doing research in California adjacent to serpentine localities once the course is finished. The CEO is the best way for this course, and my research, to optimize our efforts. I am looking forward to being able to integrate the large amounts of data using these graphic systems of presentaion.