Tectonics and Sedimentation (April 21 & 23)

On Tuesday we will cover petroleum from a sedimentary perspective. Please review the links from last week.

“Tectonics and Sedimentation” is a broad topic with few direct web references; we’ll start with a review on Tuesday. You may want to revisit Plate Tectonic theory with this primer on plate tectonics. An excellent (and very useful) website is that of Ron Blakey at Northern Arizona University. It contains superb maps for each period and excellent discussions of issues in tectonic sedimentology. Here is an excellent website from James Madison University on the Wilson Cycle (love that name). This will be useful when we discuss sediments produced under particular tectonic conditions. James Madison University also has a good summary site on sedimentary rocks.

We will also cover general stratigraphy, which will be in part a review. There is no better resource for sequence stratigraphy than the excellent on-line guide written by my colleague Steve Holland at the University of Georgia Stratigraphy Laboratory. The extensive sequence stratigraphy webpages at the University of South Carolina are also very good for our work next week. They include animations and exercises. Who needs professors these days?

Remember that your Research Paper is due at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday (April 23) as a Microsoft Word document in your Dropbox folder

Swan Peak Quartzite (Ordovician) exposed near Tony Grove Lake, Cache County, Utah. (Click to enlarge.)

Geology in the News –

Here’s a new paper describing an astounding amount of microbial life in old seafloor basalts. There are as many or more bacterial cells in some of these rocks than there are in the human gut. I’m not impressed, though, by “what it tells us about life on Mars”.

“Geologists have studied exposed, 3.2-billion-year-old ocean crust in Australia and used that rock data to build a quantitative, inverse model of ancient seawater. The model indicates the early Earth could have been a ‘water world’ with submerged continents.” (I can’t bring myself to rewrite this elegant description!)

Ancient monkey Atlantic raft adventures! It is likely that the ancestors of modern South American monkeys came to the New World from Africa by floating across the Atlantic Ocean on mats of vegetation and earth.


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