Alison Campion ’16
Late Paleozoic Ice Age: Carbon and Oxygen Isotopes in Carbonate Parasequences
The Late Paleozoic Ice Age occurred approximately 300 million years ago and is an ancient analogue to the Plio-Pleistocene Ice Age, our modern climate system that is characterized by alternating cold glacial climate and warm, interglacial climate. During this ice age, England was a tropical platform, recording environmental information in the deposition of carbonate and siliclastic rocks. This past summer I went to England and measured stratigraphic layers, noting bed thickness, lithology, grain size, facies, fossil abundance, and sedimentary structures to learn about the environment recorded in the deposition of the rocks. I collected approximately 1200 samples from outcrop and core material to measure carbon and oxygen isotope ratios; from this we can interpret global temperature, ice volume, and atmospheric carbon dioxide at the time of the deposition. This semester I will analyze the physical and chemostratigraphy of the sections from England to better understand how Earth’s climate was changing at the beginning of the Late Paleozoic Ice Age. Not only did I gather a lot of interesting data this summer, I also had an amazing experience and learned so much about how to improvise, adapt, and overcome challenges during research. My research from the summer will contribute to my junior paper this semester and is the start of a two-year senior thesis project.
Department of Geosciences, England
Adam Maloof, Associate Professor, Geosciences