As sediments and volcanics accumulate on Earth’s surface they record information about Earth’s climate, the motion of tectonic plates and evolution of the biosphere. Through the study of ancient stratigraphic sequences on Earth we can gain a window into our planet’s varied, and sometimes tumultuous, past.
Our research seeks to peer through this window through the detailed study of sedimentary and volcanic stratigraphic successions. In the context of detailed field mapping and observations, we apply a variety of geochemical (C & S stable isotopes, Sr isotopes) and geophysical (paleomagnetic, rock magnetic) methods to the rocks we study. The resulting data sets can give great insight into the history of our planet—revealing local and global stories about tectonics, climate, the biosphere and their interactions.
Charles Darwin wrote that “The crust of the earth is a vast museum; but the natural collections have been imperfectly made, and only at long intervals of time.” This reality demands that we have continued focus not just on analyzing the “natural collections,” but also on understanding their context such that we can understand their imperfections. To do so demands that geoscientists do not lose focus on careful collection of field data, in order that geological and stratigraphic context can continue to be used to solve problems in conjunction with laboratory data sets.
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