Summer has arrived in Granville. Warm winds suddenly change to thunder, and the Bluecoats’ music rumbles through campus. For some of us geoscientists, this signals the time to become enthralled in summer research. My second week of research work is coming to a close, and I’m not getting down to the nitty-gritty of why I’m here. Though I had never done summer research at Denison before, a semester of Directed Study led right in to crushing rocks on day one.
My summer will be all about zircon, the tiny crystals in many igneous rocks whose composition and structure allows scientists to gather data like ages and formation environments from isotopes within each crystal. My advisor, Erik Klemetti, will be studying zircons from various units in the Mineral King metamorphic pendant in Sequoia National Park, California. Our primary goal will be to better constrain the ages of some of the plutonic and volcanic rocks of the pendant, giving us a more complete picture of the geologic history of that area and more broadly, the Sierra Nevada as a whole.
Both Dr. Klemetti and Dr. David Greene have extensively studied this site, and I’m very excited to be a part of the ongoing research at Mineral King. This project will take me to new places, like California for field work and Michigan State for sample testing, but I’m also eager to see where it takes me in my geological interests. Next week, fellow student Cory Van Auken and I will join Dr. Green on a two week excursion to the high Sierra for sample collection, but stay tuned! More posts are forthcoming. As my research continues, I can’t wait to share my experiences through this blog. Check back soon for updates!