Unfinished business

The research I have done this summer has provided the foundation for continuing into senior year. In the Geology department here at William & Mary, every senior has to complete research and write a thesis in order to graduate. I have been fortunate enough to begin this over summer and complete a great deal of preliminary research before the school year gets started. I’ve collected and reviewed many articles pertaining to my thesis and have been able to pare down superfluous information in order to concentrate on what is essential. I’ve also created multiple visuals for my research, including a geologic map, a topographic map, cross sections, a schematic of how the ophiolite and metamorphic sole were created, and a stage-by-stage walkthrough of the obduction process (see below).

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Obduction process adapted from Searle (1999). Click image to enlarge.

I’ve organized the structural data collected on the field work days into stereonet graphs, which are circular models that structural geologists use to plot planes (e.g. foliation or bedding planes) and poles (e.g. lineations or poles to planes) in order to better visually represent data. Thoroughly looking through the 16 thin sections will be the next step of research that will be the most time-consuming because I will need to photograph certain areas of the thin sections and then use Illustrator to conduct either center-to-center or Rf/phi deformational analysis.

In conclusion, there’s still a lot left to research! I now know that there is evidence for extensional faulting in the northern area through literature review and the stereonet data, however the thin sections will help to establish a more in-depth analysis of the surrounding rocks and resulting deformational features. If you’re interested in my final conclusions about this research, I would highly suggest attending the Geology department’s Senior Research Saturday, which will fall on April 22nd this upcoming spring. I, along with my fellow geology seniors, will present our year’s worth of research throughout the day. Until then, I’ll stay busy continuing this research. Thank you to the Charles Center and all the helpful staff that have given me the opportunity to work on this research this past summer!