Lukas “Luke” Harvey ’18 had a promising geological career ahead of him before he tragically passed away following a ski accident in March 2018, but his memory endures as his work continues to impact the field of geology. A paper he co-authored with his advisor, Professor of Geology Antun Husinec, was recently published in Elsevier’s journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
The published paper, titled "Late Ordovician climate and sea-level record in a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic-evaporite lithofacies, Williston Basin, USA," is based on Luke and Husinec’s extensive fieldwork in North Dakota and subsequent analytics at Husinec’s Carbonate Sedimentology Lab at St. Lawrence. The study delved into the distant past (some 445 million years ago) in order to better understand the environmental conditions that preceded a major glaciation and a mass extinction that eliminated more than 80% of marine species. Luke benefited from the St. Lawrence geology department’s long tradition of collaborative, graduate-level student-faculty research, which often consists of externally-funded projects that take place around the country and internationally. This study was funded by the Hess Corporation.
“Such studies of ancient climate, sea-level changes, and their environmental effects provide a unique way to better understand the current and future climate change and enable projections of its impact on the global environment,” Husinec explains.
Luke, who majored in geology and minored in government, was known for his outstanding academic record. In 2017, Luke was awarded the Dr. J. Mark Erickson Geology University Fellowship, and based on his research, he received the Austin A. Sartin Best Poster Award by the Sigma Gamma Epsilon National Honor Society at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. His geology research agenda was already extensive in his travels to North Dakota and Honduras as a New York Six Research Fellow in 2016.
“I worked closely with Luke for more than two years, first as his lab instructor in introductory geology, through the upper-level classes and a field course in Honduras, and finally as his summer research and thesis adviser,” Husinec says. “Luke did the fieldwork for his thesis during a cold January in Grand Forks, North Dakota. After that, he flew to New Zealand for a semester abroad and returned to Canton to work as a University Fellow on the material collected in North Dakota. Working with Luke was an incredibly enriching experience as he was not just a very talented and hard-working student, but was also a kind, honest, humble, and happy young man that everybody liked. He is deeply missed.”
In addition to his on-campus academic work, Luke was known for his community involvement and diverse circle of friends. He studied at the University of Otago in New Zealand during the Spring 2017 semester. He was a much-admired Community Assistant, a devoted member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and a very popular kitchen staffer at Kappa Delta Sigma sorority for two years. He also spent time volunteering at St. Mary’s School in Canton as a reading tutor.
In recognition of St. Lawrence’s profound impact on Luke’s life as a place he loved and in which his spirit of adventure flourished, his family and friends established the Lukas Harvey ’18 Memorial Travel Award for Geology. This grant provides travel opportunities for geology students, making it possible for them to answer the questions that fuel their own curiosity and exploration in Luke’s honor.