Lydia Curliss (Honors 2013)
I am looking at controls on bedrock river sinuosity in the Eastern Tibetan Plateau. This research is based on a study done by Stark et al. (2010) that linked climate to increased river sinuosity following tectonic uplift. The Eastern Tibetan Plateau is an area with a strong tectonic gradient and weak climatic gradient, and I am hypothesizing that the main controls in this area are tectonic rather than climate based. In order to determine how climate and tectonics are affecting changes to river sinuosity, I am looking at relationships between sinuosity and climate, bedrock types and landslides.
Henry Towbin (Honors 2013): Santa Catalina Island Thermobarometry
I study the temperature pressure paths of garnet bearing rocks from Santa Catalina Island. To do this I am modeling stable mineral assemblages of mafic rocks under different temperature and pressure conditions. The models, known as psuedosections, are based on the whole rock chemical composition for each sample and only show assemblages possible for that rock. Using the modeling program Theriak Domino to analyze thermodynamic data and produce psuedosections I can trace the temperature and pressure paths my samples took during metamorphosis.
Alexander L. Yorke (Honors 2013)
Alex studies Pleistocene/Holocene climatic fluctuations and megafaunal extinction in southeastern New York State. Using the pollen and spores preserved in sediments deposited since the last deglaciation of southern NY, he is reconstructing floral assemblages in the vicinity of the Nature Study Woods preserve in New Rochelle, NY. In addition to the records of fluctuations in plant communities kept by fossil pollen, the sediments Alex is working with contain microfossils that can be used as proxies for megafaunal presence, human arrival, incipient agriculture, &c. Using the pollen record in concert with other microfossil proxies, Mr. Yorke hopes to shed some light on the contentious question of what (or who) killed the North American megafauna. He is happy to answer any and all questions pertaining to his research and/or his experiences within the lovely institution that is the Oberlin College Department of Geology; email at email@example.com.
Kate Veeneman (Honors 2013)
I study distorted quartz grains to quantify deformation in the Appalachian Valley and Ridge Province, western Maryland. The orogenies (mountain building events) responsible for the Appalachian mountain belt shortened and deformed rock layers; the Devonian strata with which I work are a portion of the sedimentary products of the Acadian orogeny. Balanced cross-section of this province yield large differences in restored bed lengths for the basement strata and the cover strata, indicating that not enough shortening was accommodated for the in the cover strata. By measuring the change in shape and position of quartz grains in samples I collected from this area, I quantify how much deformation has occurred. In doing this, I hope to accommodate for shortening at the microscopic scale and ultimately correct for some of the inconsistencies in the strata lengths.
Garrison Loope (2009)
Garrison is a double major (Biology & Geology) who is completing a Geology Honors project that considers abrupt warming associated with what has been termed the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). He is using fossil leaves that he collected from five beds within the the Chickaloon Formation in Alaska to reconstruct paleoclimate near the PETM. His field work was supported by the Keck Geology Consortium, a group of 18 liberal arts colleges and universities including Oberlin College.
Anne Warner (2009)
Anne, a Biology major and Geology minor, is examining sediments that she collected on Midway Atoll last summer as part of a Geology Honors project. She will use the results of grain-size and constituent analyses for ca. 150 samples to address the relative importance of the reefs surrounding the atoll versus the lagoon organisms in the sediment budget of the atoll. She is also considering the sensitivity of the sedimentary record to local physical-oceanographic processes with an eye toward improving our ability to use sediments to understand paleoceanographic conditions in past carbonate systems. Field work was supported by Oberlin Geology/Biology and the University of California-Santa Barbara.
Alice Colman (2007): Magmatic Enclaves in the Vinalhaven Granite
The classic model for the emplacement of a granitic pluton consisted of a single crystal-rich pulse of magma rising diapirically into the upper crust. Recent studies have indicated, however, that at least in some upper crustal plutonic settings, the emplacement history was more complex, involving the incremental emplacement of multiple batches of magma into magma chambers that were, at least temporarily, crystal poor. The Vinalhaven Intrusive is one such pluton, where exceptional exposures at all levels of the pluton make it an ideal location to study these processes. Studies of evolving magma chambers have tended to focus on the mafic sheets that represent the injections into the magma chambers, but the coarse-grained granite that makes up the majority of the intrusion preserves information about its construction history as well.
This analysis documents variations in the coarse-grained granite throughout the intrusion, and particularly the spatial distribution of magmatic enclaves in relation to mafic sheets and other features within the coarse-grained granite. Systematic counts of the number of different kinds of magmatic enclaves on outcrops throughout the intrusion indicate that enclaves are present at all levels of the intrusion, even far above the mafic sheets from which they were formed. The most likely mechanism for the dispersal of enclaves throughout the magma chamber is convection, and the widespread presence of different types of enclaves suggests that convection was an important process in magma chambers throughout the life of the intrusive complex. Other features in the coarse grained granite such as schlieren are also indicative of significant magmatic motion, at least at certain points in time, that would have required the granitic mush to be relatively crystal-poor.