Taking the laws of physics and reversing them to understand what happened in the Earth’s interior 55 million years ago. UF Geologist ALESSANDRO FORTE’s along with fellow researchers collaborate to reconstructed the phenomena occurring under the North Atlantic Ocean 55 million years ago, during a period known as the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), that may have led to a period of rapid global warming or a “greenhouse gas ‘burp”.
Ellen and Jon Martin led three NSF-funded field deployments to Greenland over the past two summers, for a total of 20 weeks in the field. The project introduced 2 UF Postdocs, 2 PhD students and 3 undergraduates to high latitude field work in remote locations, and has employed additional undergraduates to help analyze samples back at UF.
The goal of the project is to sample two types of streams in Greenland, those that drain ice sheet meltwater from newly exposed landscapes and others that drain annual precipitation and permafrost melt (no glacial water) from more mature landscapes. The team analyzes the chemical composition of these two stream types to determine how they differ and how those differences may vary over a range of time scales from daily, to annual, to millennial.
Their results should contribute to our understanding of how weathering in these two types of streams affects delivery of nutrients to the ocean as well as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the oceans to help refine predictions of future responses to ice-sheet retreat and to provide context that will allow scientists to interpret past ice-sheet retreats and climate changes, based on chemical records.
See information about ongoing NSF-funded Greenland Research aimed at developing a holistic understanding of weathering across forelands of retreating ice sheets: https://grainfluxes.geology.ufl.edu/
Thomas Bianchi and Elise Morrison’s article in AUG’s EOS addresses the need to establish aquatic critical zones (ACZ’s) and understand how human manipulation of the surface through canals, dammed reservoirs, irrigation ditches, and pollution effects species diversity, microbial communities, and nutrient levels in aquatic zones across the planet. Through this research, they hope to get a full picture of the extent of the Anthropocene and understand how these changes will continue into the future as climate change.
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.”
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.
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.