Can Rapid Magnetic Reversals Cause a Mass Extinction?

A study by Dr. Joseph Meert — Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences — and his colleagues suggests an unstable magnetic field may provide an explanation for major evolutionary changes at the end of the Ediacaran Period (542Ma). Read more about their study in a recent article featured in Science Magazine, “Hyperactive magnetic field may have led to one of Earth’s major mass extinctions.” The original research article is currently in press in Gondwana Research — “Organisms with the ability to escape UV radiation would be favored in such an environment.”

Reference

Meert, J.G., Bazhenov, M.L., Levashova, N.M., Landing E., Rapid changes in magnetic field polarity during the Late Ediacaran: Linking the Cambrian Evolutionary Radiation and increased UV-B radiation, Gondwana Research, doi://10.1016/j.gr.01.001
Those with UF Gatorlink access can read the in press article here.

The magnetospheric shield protects the Earth from incoming solar and cosmic radiation. During periods when the Earths magnetic field is weak, the shield is down and harmful UV-B is increased on the surface of the Earth.
The magnetospheric shield protects the Earth from incoming solar and cosmic radiation. During periods when the Earths magnetic field is weak, the shield is down and harmful UV-B is increased on the surface of the Earth.

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Alumni Carolyn Luysterburg awarded 2018 Horizon Award Winner

Carolyn Luysterburg was presented with the 2018 Horizon Award at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Evening of Excellence in April.  Carolyn graduated with a BS in Geology in 2011 and Masters in Geology in 2012.  She is a rising star as an exploration geoscientist at Shell.  She is also a fierce advocate for Gator Geology, an active member of the Geological Sciences External Advisory Board, and organizer of the Houston Alumni Group.  The award recognizes Carolyn’s professional achievements and support of the Department of Geological Sciences.
 
 
 

Winners of the 2018 Fishing Tournament.

Congratulations to Mindy Foster, Tom Cheney, Kellie Davidson, John Leapley, Steve Blaschka, and Brian Haney, P.E., UF 2009. the winners of the 2018 Fishing Tournament!
UF Geology students, faculty, board members, and alumni had a great time at the Gator Geology 3rd Annual Fishing Tournament at Cedar Key on April 28th, 2018. Everyone enjoyed a beautiful day of fishing and delicious food. All proceeds from this event went to support the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida.
If you are interested in learning more about our annual fishing tournament please email:
George Foster      gfoster@creativeenvironment.com
Wink  Winkler        wwinkler@jahna.com
 
 

Mark Brenner teaches a course in Colombia

The UF Geological Sciences Department enjoys long-standing, close ties with several universities in Colombia, where a number of our former PhD students are on the faculty.  Several members of our department have conducted field research in Colombia, served on graduate committees at Colombian institutions, and have ongoing in-country projects.  During the first week of December, Mark Brenner taught a short course at the Universidad Quindío (Armenia, Colombia) on use of paleolimnological techniques to address questions about global change.  The one-week short course was integrated into a longer class on climate change and was attended by about 25 Colombian students and faculty members from several Quindío departments.  The final day of the course involved a hike to the Santa Isabel Glacier, in Los Nevados National Park.  The group departed from Armenia at 2:45 AM and headed by bus to the town of Pereira.  There, they transferred to vehicles owned by the trekking firm Montañas Colombianas, and started the long ascent to the “base camp.”  After a hearty breakfast, it was on to the park entrance and the hike to the glacier tongue, which lies at 4725 m (~15,500 feet).  Beautiful and breathtaking!  But the rapid retreat of the glacier is of great concern to the cities and towns that lie at lower altitudes and depend on its meltwaters.

Paul Mueller honored at Geological Society of America Meeting

Paul Mueller honored with a special session at the Geological Society of America Meeting in Seattle.

Paul Mueller honored with a special session at the Geological Society of America Meeting in Seattle.
A special session in celebrating of the career contributions of Professor Paul Mueller was a feature of the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Seattle in October.  The session included talks and posters centered on the topic of the origin and evolution of the continental crust.
Paul A. Mueller has made career-long contributions to the study of the genesis and evolution of continental crust. Paul is highly regarded by his peers and the international geochemical research community in general and has remained at the forefront of geochemical and isotopic research through his field and laboratory investigations as well as his continued development of advanced analytical methods and instrumentation for Earth sciences. He is one of the leading experts on the use of Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometers (MC-ICP-MS) for measuring radiogenic isotopes.  His research has focused on the use of major and trace element geochemistry, and the radiometric systems of U-Pb, Rb-Sr, Hf-Lu, and Sm-Nd in order to improve our understanding of the tectonic and geochemical evolution of the continents.  He has been a principal player in identifying some of the oldest rock units in North America and striving to document their origins and significance in terms of the formation Earth’s early crust and the onset of plate tectonics.  His research has addressed Archean geology of the Wyoming Province, remobilization of this crust in the Paleoproterozoic Great Falls Tectonic Zone, detrital zircon geochronology of the Mesoproterozoic Belt and Uinta Basins, and Phanerozoic history of the assembly of the Appalachian Orogen.   Paul has been a generous scientific collaborator, offering his experience, insights, and use of his laboratory and analytical facilities to colleagues and students for over 40 years.

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