Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

ECU Department of Geological Sciences Kicks off 50th Anniversary Year

Keynote Address "Ice, Water and Climate"
Documentary Film-Screening "Project: Ice"

April 3, 2017

By Lacey L. Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications
Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Project Ice Film Poster

East Carolina University’s Department of Geological Sciences is celebrating its 50th anniversary beginning this spring. In recognition of their milestone, the department, housed in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, will host events throughout 2017.

To kick off the department’s momentous year, a keynote address and documentary film-screening will be held Wednesday, April 19. Henry Pollack, emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Michigan, and science advisor of the film, “Project: Ice,” will discuss “Ice, Water and Climate,” at noon in the Mendenhall Student Center, room 244.

Pollack has conducted research on many aspects of the Earth’s changing climate. In 2007, he was a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report, and was a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore and other IPCC colleagues.

Later that evening, beginning with an introduction at 6:20 p.m., William Kleinert, director and executive producer of “Project: Ice,” will present a screening of the documentary at the Regal Grande Theater, 750 SW Greenville Blvd., Greenville. Immediately following the film, Kleinert and Pollack will participate in a panel discussion from 8:30 – 9:15 p.m.

“Project: Ice” tells the story of how, over time, the melting of ice sheets as a result of shifting climate change helped shape and form The Great Lakes. High resolution digital cinema is used to explore the geology, human movement, population growth, industrialization, cultural development and recreation that are a part of The Great Lakes.

I’m really excited about the free showing of the award-winning film “Project: Ice” and the panel discussion with its producer. It is relevant to all of us in eastern North Carolina,” said Steve Culver, chair of the geological sciences department. “The lecture earlier in the day by Dr. Henry N. Pollack will set the scene for the film as he explains the links between water, ice and climate, and between eastern North Carolina and the Great Lakes.”

Dr. Stanley Riggs, distinguished professor of geology in the geological sciences department, said, “Much has been researched and learned about the evolution of North Carolina’s coastal system.”

“During the last glacial maximum, the Atlantic Ocean coastal systems in North Carolina were about 50 miles seaward and 400 feet below the level of today’s ocean level,” said Riggs. “However, over the last 18,000 years the climate slowly warmed and the ice sheets melted. North Carolina’s coastal system slowly migrated systematically upward and landward across the continental shelf to its present location; it is still migrating as the planet continues to warm and remaining ice fields melt.”

“North Carolina’s coastal system represents the warm climate component that followed the cold climate story of The Great Lakes [“Project: Ice”]. Society needs to understand the complex inter-relationships of these connections in order to live sustainably with future global changes,” said Riggs.

Both events are free and open to the public. Register to attend the film-screening, by visiting

Free public parking for the noon lecture is available in the Stratford Arms Parking Lot on Charles Blvd., across from the ECU baseball field. The ECU Gold 301 bus runs every 15 minutes and will shuttle attendees to and from the Mendenhall Student Center. For bus routes, with maps and arrival times, visit

Co-sponsors of the keynote address and film-screening include the Riggs Endowment Fund; Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences; Department of Geological Sciences; the THCAS Departments of Anthropology; Biology; Chemistry; Economics; English; Geography, Planning and Environment; History; Mathematics; Physics; and the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy.

For additional information about the keynote address and film-screening, contact Culver at, Riggs at, or call the geological sciences department at 252-328-6360. Additional information about “Project: Ice” is available at

Henry Pollack
William Kleinert