Department of Geosciences -- News

News & Notes


Helicoprion, the ancient "buzz-saw shark" that was featured in an exhibit at Idaho State University's Idaho Museum of Natural History last year and is now a travelling exhibit currently at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, has also been the subject of an article in the journal Nature

Thanks to research done by ISU Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geosciences Leif Tapanila, the world now knows what the sharks looked like and how their jaws functioned. This had previously been a scientific mystery, and Tapanila and his team used high-resolution CT scans to solve it.

"It's great to get featured in Nature," said Tapanila, "It's sort of the top level of science. It's good to see our beasties getting some recognition."

Tapanila also recently published a paper in the Journal of Morphology describing how the jaw mechanism works, which was the basis of this article.

"When you publish a paper, you get the attention of a few thousand people in the sciences, but when your research is part of an exhibit you can get it to hundreds of thousands," said Tapanila. "And if you can get some press it's even better."


ISU Fulbright Scholar Completes Epic Journey

Idaho State University Associate Professor of Geosciences Benjamin Crosby has spent the start of fall semester readjusting to regular life Pocatello after a year in which he served as a Fulbright scholar and visiting professor in Chile, completed a 15,000-mile drive home with his family and had his research earn international publicity and jokes by Jimmy Fallon on late-night TV (read more...)

Unmanned aircraft systems to detect threats to crops in Southeast Idaho

Idaho State University is leading a research project that will use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to create new methods of addressing agricultural crop threats in potato fields.

The advantage of using UAS is the capability to scan large areas of potato fields to identify the impacts of crop pests and nutrient deficiencies. (read more... 6.2.2014)


Idaho State University Geosciences student Josh Kelly to receive posthumous degree; His father Terrell and service dog Cletus will walk at commencement

Cletus, a service dog, will be there again for his master Joshua Kelly at Idaho State University commencement May 10. This time, however, he will be at ISU in his master’s absence. Kelly, who had epilepsy and suffered from scores of seizures during his lifetime, succumbed to the disease in mid February during what would have been his final semester at ISU. The University is honoring Josh with a posthumous degree. (read more... 5.7.2014)

Ten Students Earn MILES Internships

Ten Idaho State University students have been awarded internships through Idaho's Managing Idaho's Landscapes for Ecosystems Services (MILES) program to participate in a wide range of social science, ecological and geological studies. (read more... 3.10.2014)

ISU Receives $2.5 million NSF Grant

When it comes to climate and carbon, what's under our feet may be as important as what is up in the air. Our planet's soil - what Idaho State University's ecosystem ecologist Kathleen Lohse calls the "skin of the earth" - sustains life on the terrestrial portion of the earth and holds about three times more carbon than the atmosphere.(read more... 1.20.2014)

robert mahon

Idaho State University graduate Robert Mahon recently received the top award

for the Inaugural US Geological Survey/Geological Society of America Best Student Geologic Map Competition held at the 125th anniversary Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver. The award was given for his mapping project titled, "Geologic Map of the Saddle Peak Hills 7.5' quadrangle, Death Valley National Park, San Bernardino County, California" that was completed as part of Mahon's Master of Science degree at ISU. He is currently attending the University of Wyoming and completing a doctoral degree in geosciences. (read more... 11.29. 2013)


35 minutes. That's how long it took for the Idaho State University GIS Center to produce a detailed report that gave Bureau of Land Management wildfire managers information they needed to plan for the recovery of the State Wildfire that burned on the Idaho-Utah border earlier this month - and the wildfire wasn't even out yet. (read more... 9.2.2013)

Special Achievement Award for geospatial technology application

Idaho State University's Keith Weber, director of the ISU GIS Training and Research Center, received a Special Achievement in GIS Award at the Esri International User Conference in San Diego on July 10.This award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work, and innovative use of Esri's geographic information system (GIS) technology. (read more...)

water research

Idaho researchers earn grant for high-tech tools to study watersheds; Idaho State University among participants

Idaho researchers, including those from Idaho State University, are joining with scientists in Nevada and New Mexico to study watersheds in the western United States with the help of advanced computer simulations. The National Science Foundation has awarded the states a grant for a three-year project to analyze, visualize and explore watersheds. (read more...)


ISU Researchers Solve Mysteries of Ancient Fish

Using CAT scans and making 3-D virtual reconstructions of the jaws of the ancient fish Helicoprion, Idaho State University researchers have solved some of the mysteries surrounding large spiral fossils of this fish's teeth. The ISU Museum of Natural History has the largest public collection of Helicoprion spiral-teeth fossils in the world. (read more...)

New Idaho State University Geosciences doctoral program approved, begins in August, 2013

Idaho State University is ready to begin enrolling geosciences doctoral students in August after the Idaho State Board of Education approved an ISU Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in geosciences at its last meeting. (read more...)


Geologic map of Idaho available at Idaho Museum of Natural History gift shop

The new geological map of Idaho, which was created with extensive input from Idaho State University, is available locally for purchase at the Idaho Museum of Natural History gift shop. (read more...)