Advisor: Dr. Scott D. Samson
BS Earth Science, Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2010
MS Geology, Boise State University, 2013
My research interests are broad, but in general I focus on the geochemical, petrological, and geochronological aspects of magmatic processes. The processes I investigate primarily operate at the micro-scale within magma chambers, yet they can provide enormous insight into processes at the continental-scale. Volcanic-plutonic associations are another topic of interest. Laboratory and field- work are both vital components to my research methodology, as geologic context starts (and arguably ends) at the outcrop.
My doctoral research is focused on understanding the process(es) that generated granitoids with exceptionally high zirconium (Zr) concentrations during the Grenville Orogeny. These rocks are a volumetrically significant part of the exposed orogenic belt and can be found in the eastern US, Australia, South America, and Scandinavia. Specifically, I am interested in evaluating the role of crustal recycling to their petrogenesis. I am using the Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) to measure titanium (Ti) concentrations in zircon to determine the temperature at which these rocks may have formed. I am also using Hf isotope data from zircon to assess if the melts that produced these rocks were derived from continental crust. In the future, I plan to measure zircon stable oxygen isotope ratios to gain further insight into their origin.
Paleogene Volcanism in Southern Oregon
This project is somewhat of a continuation of my Masters work at Boise State University. It started as a need to place poorly constrained volcanic units into a proper regional stratigraphic framework. I obtained zircon U/Pb dates via LA-ICP-MS for this portion of the project. However, upon continued field work and review of old geologic maps, I have learned of a plutonic system in the same area (within 5 km), which I have determined to be of similar age (also by zircon U/Pb). Hence, there is a unique opportunity to study the relationship between ignimbrites and their plutonic counterparts. I am in the process of obtaining chemical data from individual glass shards via EPMA. With these data, I am trying to demonstrate that both the volcanic and plutonic rocks were derived from the same magma. Future high precision zircon U/Pb ages may offer insight into the timescales in which magmas are emplaced to shallow crustal levels. Lastly, at the latitude at which the field area resides, there is a ~200 km eastward shift in the axis of the ancient Cascadian arc, leading some workers to suggest that this is the product of a slab tear. Using the trace element geochemistry of these rocks, one goal is to determine if this tectonic model is a viable explanation for their origin.