Hadean zircons, found in the Jack Hills, Western Australia, are the oldest known materials on Earth, dating back to nearly 4.4 Ga or only ~150 Ma after formation. These tiny grains have been essential in transforming our view of the Hadean from a hot, hellish environment to one that appears much more hospitable to life with continental crust, water, and possibly even plate tectonics. Understanding the magmatic environment that leads to the formation of these ancient grains is fundamental to interpreting the geochemical signatures within them. Hypothesis of formation environments have ranged from plate boundary interactions to impact melt sheets. One important characteristic of the Jack Hills zircons is their unique inclusion assemblage,...
Required AvailabilitySpring 2017
Course Credit?Yes - Geo 399/499
Students will be tasked with assistant a graduate student with fabricating reinforced and unreinforced concrete specimens for this project funded by the Department of Energy to study how to monitor the progress of alkali-silica reaction in concrete structures. This project is a collaborative effort with researchers at Nebraska, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Idaho National Laboratory. It involves research at the intersection of construction materials, mechanics, structural health monitoring, and geochemistry. There will be opportunities to meet faculty and students from these different institutions. Initial tasks will include fabricating formwork, tying rebar, installing instrumentation, batching materials for concrete mixes, and as...
Paid Position?Yes - $12/hr
During the past 3 years, I have been conducting natural fracture analysis research on the Chattanooga shale rock outcrops in Northeastern Alabama with using LIDAR, a Light Detection and Ranging equipment, which provides state-of-the art method to analyze natural fractures. The equipment images rock outcrops with high resolution, allowing precision and accuracy when evaluating fracture relationships. The Chattanooga shale has high concentrations of organic compounds and therefore is capable of producing natural gas from its natural fractures. This research will continue over the course of the spring, 2017 semester and beyond. The student involved in the project will not only learn how to operate the LIDAR equipment, but will also greatly i...
Required AvailabilitySpring 2017
Course Credit?Yes - GEO 399
Volcanic eruptions and lightning strikes are two of the most impressive and destructive natural phenomena, but much is still unknown about the fundamental processes that allow these events to occur. An emerging new line of research is seeking to determine the complex relationship between explosive volcanism and lightning, specifically: The effect of lightning discharge on the textural and chemical properties of volcanic ash and the resulting signature of volcanic lightning occurrence in the geologic record. Fundamental questions addressed by this project, and the integral educational component that involves learners of all ages, may result in potentially transformative concepts the geosciences, atmospheric sciences, and hazard assessment. ...
Course Credit?Yes - UA 156; GEO 399
Paid Position?Yes - $2000 for summer only, fall/spring semesters receive course credit
One of my field areas is in the Hell Creek are of central-eastern Montana which contains rocks that preserve the Cretaceous - Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary, which is the interval where dinosaurs (and many other organisms) went extinct. I have two projects related to samples I've collected from the area: 1. I'm trying to reconstruct climatic conditions in the latest Cretaceous using geochemical tests of fossil mussel shells and descriptions of rock types. This work will help us understand what environments fossils are preserved in, and the hydrology of the area during the Cretaceous. 2. I've also collected samples at high resolution across the K-Pg for chemical tests of the sediment. This will help us locate the K-Pg boundary precisely, assess...
Course Credit?Yes - GEO 399/499
Investigating the domestication of the chili pepper (Capsicum spp.) in Mexico using modern and archaeological seeds
What was the timing and context of the domestication of the chili pepper (Capsicum spp.) in Mexico over 10,000 years ago? To address this question, this project will conduct a morphometric analysis of modern chili pepper seeds collected from across Mexico to develop an identification methodology that can be used to distinguish various chili pepper cultivars and species. This methodology will then be applied towards the systematic identification of chili pepper seeds recovered from some of the earliest archaeological sites with evidence of plant cultivation in Mexico. This project is a single component of a broader, multidisciplinary collaboration between archaeologists and biologists from multiple institutions in the United States and Mexic...