The 2011-2012 Academic Year

Colorado – Front Range, Year 4

The Keck Colorado 2011 project will work with a large interdisciplinary study (Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory: Weathered profile development in a rocky environment and its influence on watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry-NSF 0724960) directed by Suzanne Anderson, Institute for Arctic and Alpine Studies (INSTAAR), University of Colorado.

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Northwestern Iceland

Field and laboratory research on Tertiary volcanic rocks in the Westfjords region of northwestern Iceland. The main research focus is the Hrafnfjordur central volcano, where we expect to encounter both basalts and rhyolites, and likely some intermediates. The project will consist of three weeks of field study in Iceland, and one week of laboratory follow-up at The College of Wooster (Ohio). Students will continue research during the following academic year.

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Ascraceus Mons, Mars

Water has clearly played an important part in the geological evolution of Mars. There are many features on Mars that were almost certainly formed by fluvial processes – for example, the channels Kasei Valles and Ares Vallis in the Chryse Planitia area of Mars are almost certainly fluvial features. On the other hand, there are many channel features that are much more difficult to interpret – and have been variously attributed to volcanic and fluvial processes (Bleacher et al., 2008; Murray et al., 2009). Clearly unraveling the details of the role of water on Mars is extremely important, especially in the context of the search of extinct or extant life on Mars.

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Ontario, Canada

This project focuses on the geology of the Bancroft area of Ontario, which is thought to have been the margin of North America during the Mesoproterozoic. This part of the Grenville Province of Ontario is made up of two tectonic elements: (1) High-grade gneisses that were part of the 1.7-1.4 Ga continental margin and (2) a package of volcanic, plutonic, and sedimentary rocks that are thought to be a collage of arc components accreted at ca. 1.17 Ga. This Keck project focuses on this arc assemblage and its collision + suture with North America.

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South-Central Alaska

A study of the tectonic evolution of the Campanian-Eocene Chugach-Prince William (CPW) terrane in southern Alaska. This project has several distinct objectives that include: 1) understanding the regional depositional setting and source for of the CPW flysch; 2) understanding the intrusive history of this belt; and 3) determining the age and origin of the Knight Island ophiolite.

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Peruvian Andes

We will generate continuous records of mountain glaciation in Peru that span the Holocene (~12 ka to present) through an approach that combines the acquisition and analysis of lake sediment cores with moraine dating using both lichenometry and cosmogenic radionuclides (10Be and 26Al). The pairing of paleolimnology with moraine dating will enable determination of both the timing and magnitude of ice margin changes through the Holocene with sufficient precison to enable rigorous testing of hypotheses concerning the causes of abrupt climate change in the tropics.

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