In a beautiful and quiet part of the Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo, Colorado, Mines Geophysics students have been searching for mass graves. The graves are thought to be the result of several tragedies that occurred in the first part of the twentieth century: the 1904 Eden train wreck, the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, and the 1921 “Great Flood”.

Using ground-penetrating radar, frequency-domain EM (FEM), and electrical methods (DC resistivity) the students are searching for anomalies under the ground that would indicate the land has been disturbed. So far, two teams of students, under the direction of Research Assistant Professor Rich Krahenbuhl and in collaboration with Alpine Archaeology and the Roselawn Cemetery, have participated. The first group – Paul Bonn, Arsya Kadyanto, Dylan Mayes, and Emily Moren – worked until March when work was halted due to the Covid Pandemic. The second team: Sigourney Burch, Tannor Ziehm, and Hanna Haugen resumed work this fall.

The project offers the students an excellent chance to learn how geophysics methods can be put to humanitarian uses. In fact, Burch has turned the task into her senior design project in Geophysics. As she told the Pueblo Chieftain, “I’m really interested in combining geophysics and archaeology and kind of doing something more humanitarian-inspired with geophysical equipment.”

Read more about this exciting work here.