The PROPS Group

Professor Galen Halverson

firefoxI integrate sedimentology, stratigraphy, and isotope geochemistry to reconstruct ancient environments within the context of secular and progressive tectonic, biospheric, and climatic evolution of the earth. The underlying theme of my research is to reconstruct paleoenvironmental change spanning from the late Proterozoic to the early Phanerozoic (~ 1200 to 500 ma) and to understand the interconnections between tectonics (i.e., supercontinental break-up and assembly), seawater chemistry and ocean redox, severe climatic fluctuations (including snowball Earth), and the origin and diversification of animals. This research is fundamentally field-based and geared around detailed geological studies of sedimentary basins that formed during this time.

Professor Boswell Wing

firefox Earth system processes leave behind a geochemical 'memory' of their operation. In order to constrain the presence and vigor of these processes in the recent and ancient past, my research exploits the persistence of this memory in solid Earth archives and the unique ability of stable isotope measurements to recover it. Current research projects fall under two broad questions: (1) how can we maximize the gain on the geochemical signal of biological evolution preserved in the geologic record; and (2) how can we quantify the geochemical processes that determine whether an ore deposit forms or not? The peculiarity of the Precambrian environment is the thread tying both these questions together. This research is, at its root, hypothesis-based. Once a stimulating hypothesis is identified (often at one of our many group get-togethers), we design new field studies, analytical techniques, and laboratory experiments to test it. Note that Boz has relocated to the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado.

Dr. Thi Hao Bui

Research Associate and Stable Isotope Lab Deity

firefoxGas hydrates attract broad scientific interest because of their important role in the global carbon cycle and their potential as an energy resource and geological hazard. Because the majority of global gas hydrate reservoirs have formed in marine sediments, especially in convergent margins, different geophysical and geochemical techniques have been developing to identify gas hydrate distribution and abundance in marine sediments. Among those, pore water sulfate profiles appear to be a simple tool to estimate the methane fluxes and gas hydrate saturation contents. It is clear in a broad sense that systems dominated by methane migrating from deep sources with higher methane fluxes will be characterized by shallow sulfate methane transition (SMT) depths and high average gas hydrate saturation states. However, SMT depths are not only controlled by the underlying methane flux, but they also depend on the availability of sulfate from the overlying sediment column. It is therefore important to understand the integrated microbial processes controlling sulfur cycling in the system.

Peter Crockford

PhD student

Marcus KunzmannThe majority of the Proterozoic eon has been touted as “The Boring Billion” due to apparent stasis in the Earth System, however advances in spectrometry are now allowing geochemists to gain far more insight from the geologic record. My interests lie in using a combination of field geology and a variety of isotopic analyses to measure paleo-environmental proxies throughout the Proterozoic eon, a period in my opinion ripe for re-examination. Part of my work will include field campaigns to the Borden Basin on Baffin Island (Nu) and the Mackenzie Mountains (NWT) to collect samples and perform some geologic mapping of well exposed sedimentary packages. The overarching goal of this work is to both test and develop paleo-oceanographic and atmospheric models over this time period using real data collected from well-preserved sections.

Timothy Gibson

PhD student

Marcus KunzmannNorthern Canada preserves unusually complete Neoproterozoic sedimentary sequences that include evidence of early Neoproterozoic eukaryotic diversification, early animal evolution, oxygenation of the global ocean, snowball glaciations, and the breakup of the Rodinia. Through a combination of detailed stratigraphic fieldwork, stable isotope geochemistry, and U-Pb geochronology, I aim to formulate a robust stratigraphic architecture for early Neoproterozoic basin-fill in northern Canada. This will provide a template for integrating complementary paleontological and geochemical datasets that shed light on biogeochemical and biospheric evolution in the early Neoproterozoic.

Sarah Worndle

PhD student

firefoxEarth's redox system has evolved over Earth's history, but quantifying this change in the Precambrian is challenging. My research focuses on global changes to Earth's environment across the Mesoproterozoic-Neoproterozoic transition. The goal of my PhD project is develop new and better calibrated records of redox and seawater chemistry spanning this transition and to relate these changes to eukaryotic evolution, the assembly of Rodinia, and other first-order geological events.

 

Ying Ran Lin

MSc student, Earth and Planetary Sciences

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Kelsey Lamothe

MSc student, Earth and Planetary Sciences

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Olivia Dagnaud

BSc student, Earth and Planetary Sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROPS Alumni