Ruben De La Calle


Years participated in RESESS: 2021


An Overview

Program: RESESS Boulder

Major: Geology

Academic Affiliation: North Carolina State University

Mentors: Dr. Yvettte Kuiper


Ruben De La Calle is a recent graduate from North Carolina State University where he received a BS in Geology and a minor in Environmental Sciences. This Fall he will be attending the University of Washington and work towards earning a Masters Degree in Earth and Space Sciences: Applied Geosciences. Prior to the RESESS program, Ruben took part in a research project his senior year at NC State with geomorphology professor, Dr. Karl Wegmann that was concerned with machine learning capabilities utilized to study Cyclone Harold’s impact on the island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, the terrestrial-to-marine transport of sediment caused by the cyclone, and the geospatial analysis of landslide/mass wasting data using ArcMap and HazMapper, a Google Earth Engine developed by PhD student, Corey Scheip at NC State. His RESESS research is focused on the analysis of ductile structures of the southeastern New England Avalon Terrane, and will incorporate digitizing structural data using ArcGIS Pro and developing structural analyses using stereographic projection softwares.


There is an interest in compiling foliation data in order to learn more about the late
Paleozoic Alleghanian Orogeny’s effect on the Avalon terrane of southeastern New England, so
scientists may apply what they’ve studied concerning paleotectonics to other parts of the
continuously evolving Earth. Deciphering how Pangaea evolved, how northwest Africa collided
with the Avalon terrane, and how west-trending lineaments found in the area assist to our
comprehension of fault types and movements in the region are all of considerable interest. Using
foliation data from GIS files and pdfs of geologic quadrangle maps of state geological surveys
(MA, CT, RI), this study compiles, digitizes, and structurally analyzes this section of the Avalon
terrane using GeolMapDataExtractor (GMDE), ArcGIS Pro, and Orient. Nine structural domains
were created via ArcGIS Pro by dividing up ~9000 foliation points by similarities in dip
direction using the Thiessen Polygon geoprocessing tool. The dominant direction in our data was
found to be 46% towards the NE, whereas 39% of the data dipped NW. Based on foliation
orientations on the state maps and preliminary work from a 2019 project on terranes west of the
Avalon we expected there to be largely NW dipping foliations. The differences in dip direction
among foliations within the adjacent terranes may indicate folding, overprinting, or unknown
faults in the region.