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WKU faculty member receives grant to support research in East Africa

Dr. Nahid Gani, assistant professor in WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology, has been awarded the prestigious and nationally competitive American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF) Grant to support her research in East Africa.

Dr. Nahid Gani

Dr. Nahid Gani

This grant will integrate novel approaches of apatite (U-Th)/He and 4He/3He thermochronometry to resolve the timing of incision of the Ethiopian Plateau in East Africa by the Blue Nile River system and to reconstruct canyon carving. The Blue Nile, a major tributary of the River Nile, carries 95 percent of the sediment load from the Ethiopian Plateau to the alluvial fans, the Nile delta, and the Nile deep-sea fan in the Mediterranean Sea.

Dr. Gani’s study will investigate the timing of major reservoir rock formation through documenting the incision of the plateau, which has direct importance for hydrocarbon reservoir development. The timing of erosion is critical in understanding the probability of forming a reservoir basin as opposed to forming an organic-rich rock development. The formation of sediment, which is being studied in northeastern Africa, will help scientists unravel the development of the earth’s crust and help explain climate evolution of the region.

This grant will support undergraduate students in the geology discipline to gain experiences in state-of-the-art analytical techniques, hands-on and cutting-edge research experiences in the petroleum field involving a sediment source-to-sink approach, significant lab experience through visits to the renowned Noble Gas Geochemistry and Geochronology lab (NG3L) at Arizona State University, and invaluable international field experience in Ethiopia through collaborating with Ethiopian scientists. This experience will promote students’ critical thinking, which is necessary to evaluate scientific data and solve complex Earth Science problems, and it will help students to gain a robust understanding of how earth-systems work as a feedback loop.

This research will strengthen Dr. Gani and her students’ research collaboration between WKU, Arizona State University, and the Geological Survey of Ethiopia.  In addition, this research furthers both the department’s and WKU’s mission of international reach as part of its educational activities.

The ACS-PRF grant was effective July 2014.

Contact: Nahid Gani, (270) 745-2813 or nahid.gani@wku.edu.

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