A quick update on happenings with the VT Sedimentary Systems Research group for winter 2014.
Ph.D. candidate Neal Auchter has been working hard the past couple weeks to prepare for the upcoming field season in Chilean Patagonia, which will be his second field season down there. Lots and lots of logistical tasks to do to prep for these international field expeditions. Neal will be down there for ~6 weeks this year.
Ph.D. candidate Cody Mason is also in field-prep mode, although he doesn’t head out to Panamint Valley, California until mid-March. He’s using this time to work up sedimentological data from the past two field seasons. The main goal of the upcoming field work is a sampling campaign, which is informed by the sed-strat information. Cody is also continuing to work up bedrock thermochronologic data for a tectonics project he’s working on with VT professor Jim Spotila.
M.S. candidate Patrick Boyle is in the final stretch of his master’s degree. After a very successful poster presentation at the AGU Fall Meeting in December, Pat now has all his data in good order and is busy writing up the results. He’s planning on defending in April. Pat will be the first graduate of this relatively new research group!
Undergraduate researcher Sarah Ault has moved on from Virginia Tech but is still working up some of the data she generated in my lab last summer and through the fall. Current undergrad researcher Chris Matthews is now helping with the final steps in the analysis of this data set, which the three of us will write up in a paper. Rachel Corrigan is a new undergrad researcher starting this semester and will be looking at the grain-size record of deep-sea sediments across the Oligocene-Miocene boundary.
Developing and refining the workflow for the particle size analysis research has taken a bit longer than anticipated, but I think we are getting really close to being able to generate a bunch of great data over the next couple of months. I’m really excited to see it all come together after all this hard work by me and these talented undergraduates.
Earlier this month I participated as a panelist on the International Ocean Discovery Program (the new IODP program) Science Evaluation Panel. This was my first experience reading/reviewing new ocean drilling proposals. I learned a ton, it was a really good experience. I will soon be heading down to Patagonia for nearly a month of field work with Neal (and some of my own) and to interact with the sponsor’s of that research as well. From Chile I will be flying straight to California to meet up with Cody in the desert for a couple of days of field work before heading home. The rest of the spring will be busy with co-teaching a grad seminar that will culminate in a six-day field trip, continuing the lab work, and guiding Pat through the end of his master’s.