Back to the desert: Diamictite strain analysis explained

After a week of tromping around Virginia’s Piedmont backcountry, it was time to get back to get back to my metadiamictite from the Oman desert. The fresh air was a nice reset and I was able to come back to the McG TC with a crisp get-it-done drive.

[Read more…]

Rock saws, epoxy, and stereonets: Creating a baseline to work with

The learning curves for this project haven proven to be steep this first week, but not nearly as steep as the grungy desert outcrop surface I had to scramble up to collect my samples in the first place.  The past 5 days in research have brought me face to face with a number of techniques and methods I’ve encountered in the literature over the past semester in preparation for this project, but am just now putting to use. A great deal of time this past week has been spent prepping my samples, while also familiarizing myself with the processes and practicing my methods.

[Read more…]

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).

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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:

[Read more…]