The PROPS Group (...see Alumni here)

Professor Galen Halverson

James McGill Professor and T.H. Clark Chair

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 middle Proterozoic to the early Phanerozoic (ca. 1800 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 eukaryotes. This research is fundamentally field-based and geared around detailed geological studies of sedimentary basins that formed during this time.

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.

Maxwell Lechte

Post-doctoral Fellow (PhD, U Melbourne 2019)

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I study the sedimentology and geochemistry of marine sedimentary rocks in order to reconstruct Precambrian environmental conditions during key evolutionary events, in order to better understand the drivers and consequences of eukaryotic evolution. My research focuses on the biogeochemical cycling of iron: the distribution of sedimentary iron is a proxy for the evolution of the Earth’s surface redox conditions, and iron-rich chemical sediments can capture the chemistry of their contemporaneous seawater. Iron-rich marine sedimentary rocks from the early Neoproterozoic (potentially coincident with the first animal life) are well-preserved in the sedimentary basins of Yukon, and offer insights into the relationship between ocean chemistry, oxygenation and ecosystem complexity. More about my research can be found on my personal page at maxlechte.com.

Lei Wu

Wares Post-doctoral Fellow (PhD, U Alberta 2017)

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I study global tectonic history and have a particular interest in the dynamic evolution of the surface plate topology for the past two billion years. I work with a variety of geological and geophysical databases, including paleomagnetic, seismological and paleoclimatic data. To better understand those datasets, I explore and employ new analytical methods to gain insights into first-order changes in Earth’s tectonic history. Within interdisciplinary teams, I have led several projects on addressing major tectonic problems, namely dispersion of East Gondwana, the assembly of East Asia and its thermal legacy for the underlying mantle, the formation of Pangea, and tectonic imprints on the Cordilleran Laurentia. Collectively, my research aims to answer the fundamental question on how plate tectonics have shaped Earth’s mantle circulation, climate changes and life evolution.

 

Morgann Perrot

Post-doctoral Fellow (PhD, UQAM 2018)

Pascale Daoust

PhD student (2017–) and FRQNT Fellow, Earth and Planetary Sciences

firefoxCarbonate rocks and sediments are an important component of the Earth system, in particular in the context of ocean acidification. Therefore, ancient and modern carbonates can provide insights on both the effects of modern climate change and past paleoclimatic perturbations. The objective of my PhD research is to simulate the progressive impact of ocean acidification on the mineralogy of modern platform carbonate sediments and compare the results with the mineralogy of ancient carbonates from key greenhouse periods in Earth's history.

 

Wilder Greenman

PhD student (2018–) and W. Garfield Weston Fellow, Earth and Planetary Sciences

firefoxI investigate the ecological niches where the first complex organisms on Earth would have evolved during the Proterozoic. This detailed work requires a combination of sedimentology, micropalaeontology and isotope geochemistry to reconstruct  these ancient environments. To understand the evolution of the basins where these events took place, I employ tools such as sequence stratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, and geochronology. Fieldwork for my PhD project will take place mainly on the late Mesoproterozoic Bylot basins of Baffin Island. I aim to answer questions about the interplay between the evolution of complex microorganisms, climatic shifts and biogeochemical change.

 

Angelo dos Santos

PhD student (2018–), Earth and Planetary Sciences

firefoxMy research is focused Mesoproterozoic intracratonic basins. The Mesoproterozoic is sometimes referred to as the dullest era of Earth’s history. Yet, during this time, evolutionary innovations such as eukaryote life forms and sexual reproduction appeared, and yet this massive transition in the biosphere is not obviously recorded in proxies of global biogeochemical cycles. To better comprehend this poorly studied era of Earth’s history, I use chemostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, drill core logging, and geochronology in sedimentary successions in Greenland and Australia. The goal is to define the depositional age, setting and tectonic framework of the studied basins in order to illuminate environmental changes and the footprints of early eukaryotic evolution in the Mesoproterozoic.

Chen Shen

PhD student (2018–), Earth and Planetary Sciences

firefox An accurate geological time scale is required to properly reconstruct the evolution of the Earth system during the Neoproterozoic (1000-539 million years ago) interval in Earth’s history. The increased application of the U-Pb zircon and Re-Os radiometric techniques have effectively improved geochronological constraints for the Proterozoic Eon. My research focuses on developing and applying new methodologies for calibrating the Neoproterozoic geological time scale using Bayesian statistical modelling and cyclostratigraphy, using available radiometric ages and other chronostratigraphic tie points, which will produce a highly resolved and correlative time scale for a poorly understood interval in Earth’s history that overlaps with the first appearance of animals.

Teegan Ojala

MSc student (2018–2020), Earth and Planetary Sciences

Will Wong

MSc student (2020-), Earth and Planetary Sciences

Maggie Whelan

MSc student (2018–), Earth and Planetary Sciences

PROPS Alumni