Proposed thesis research: Regional structural geology of Earth and Mars
April 16, 2015
My thesis will focus on the structural analysis of targeted terranes
that record key transitions in Earth and Mars geologic history.
This work encompasses three separate studies which
leverage a range of techniques including geologic mapping
in the field and from orbital imagery, laboratory geochemistry
and petrology, and geospatial software development.
The first focus area, advised by Dr. Bethany Ehlmann,
will be an evaluation of potential formation mechanisms for
the layered sulfates at the Northeast Syrtis escarpment on Mars.
This unit was emplaced during a secular drying during the Noachian—Hesperian
transition early in Mars history. The project encompasses the creation
of digital elevation models (DEMs) from stereo satellite imagery,
the development of new methods for the collection and quality-control of
bedding orientation measurements, and the evaluation of depositional
scenarios against structural data.
Second, I will study the tectonics and regional environment
of southwest Africa during rifting of the South Atlantic Ocean with Dr.
John Grotzinger. This study will yield a paleoenvironmental timeline
of rifting supported by field geologic mapping,
stratigraphic correlations, and laboratory geochemistry.
Finally, work with Dr. Jason Saleeby on the petrologic characterization and
tectonic implications of the Crystal Knob xenolith suite
will provide new information on the deep structure of the
California margin during the cessation of Farallon-plate subduction.
Taken together, this body of work will show mastery of structural
techniques on Earth and the adaptation of these techniques to Mars,
resulting in several refinements to the geologic history of both planets.