Visiting Assistant Professor in Geology
|Title||Visiting Assistant Professor|
|Work Location||120A Druckenmiller Hall|
B.S., B.S.Ed., M.S. (Northern Arizona University)
Ph.D., M.Phil. (Yale University)
I maintain two primary arenas of ongoing geologic research. The first arena stems from my MS thesis work on the Cambrian sequence of strata (~515 million years old) that comprise the lowermost if the iconic flat-lying layers of the Grand Canyon. This research includes efforts to model sediment dynamics during the historic sea-level high of the Cambrian and to model the geographic and geochemical controls on the development of the terrestrial (subaerial) biosphere during that geologic period.
The second active arena is in the origins of life, which was the focus of my doctoral dissertation. I pose this question: "If the Archean sedimentary rock record contains signs of the transition from pre-biology to familiar microbial biology, what would it look like and what would be preserved from this time?" As a 'dirtbag' field geologist with cross-training in biochemistry, I advocate a "bottom-up" approach to investigating the transition from mineral to the biological in Earth history, with empirical grounding in field mapping (at various scales) the most ancient sedimentary rocks in the Pilbara region of Australia and in the Barberton, Pongola, and KaapVaal regions of southern Africa. The theoretical considerations I bring to bear on these rocks involve the mineral origins of enzymatic cofactors as a key early step toward biology.