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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Metamorphic clues

I’ve been identifying minerals and structures within the thin sections I received last month and using them to draw conclusions on the kinds of deformation the area has undergone. The mineral assemblages in the rocks can help identify different kinds of metamorphic environments and therefore give us an idea of the scale and extent of deformation that occurred.

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Through the Looking Glass

The past month has been focused on looking at my returned thin sections under the petrographic microscope. This microscope was developed for use in optical mineralogy and is integral in identifying microstructures and the mineralogy of rock samples. There are two primary views with the petrographic microscope: plane polarized light and cross-polarized light. Plane polarized light (PPL) is when the light shining through the microscope is polarized, meaning it vibrates in a single plane. A PPL image would look something like this:

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Finding foliation

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Analyzing the fault zone of Taww, Oman


My name is Cece Hurtado and I am a junior Geology major working with Professor Chuck Bailey over the summer. This past winter break I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Oman, a relatively little-known country in the Arabian Gulf, as part of a cross-disciplinary study abroad experience. I had lived there during my middle school and early high school years and consider it a home in many ways, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when I was approached with the idea of doing my senior thesis on the geology of Oman.

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