Christian Gray ’17



Project Title

4-Dimensional Study of Earth’s Most Ancient Reefs in the Canadian Rockies, Canada

This summer I had the opportunity to do field research on the fossils of two species of organisms, Namaclathus and Cloudina, in a remote section of the Canadian Rockies. These species formed reefs approximately 550 million years ago, right before and on the edge of the famous Cambrian explosion. While in the field, I took note of what was in the rock layers above and below our fossils, and then tried to determine and justify in what sort of habitat these ancient reefs could have developed. For example, I took many measurements of the paleocurrents to try to determine in which direction the water was flowing. We also gathered samples for the Grinding, Imaging and Reconstruction Instrument (GIRI), which will be grinding samples throughout the school year to create 3-D representations of the fossils embedded in the rocks we collected. With the information we collected in the field combined with the 3-D images of the fossils, we hope to discover more about the physiology of the creatures and what effects they had on the rapid expansion in biodiversity that occurred only a few million years later. While I do not foresee geology as a subject influencing my major, the experience of doing fieldwork in such a remote location and the logical deduction skills I developed will stay with me throughout my scientific career.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate Change and Environmental Science


Maloof Group, Geosciences Department, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ and British Columbia, Canada


Adam Maloof, Professor, Geosciences