Monday, March 4, 2019 - 12:00pm
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Haller Hall (102), Geo Museum, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

EPS Colloquium

The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences presents "Elucidating Redox Conditions in Ancient Environments Using Iron Mineralogy" with Sarah Slotznick, Miller Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Earth & Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley.

Abstract: Iron is by far the most abundant transition metal in the Earth, and it buffers many biogeochemical processes.  As a redox-sensitive element that cycles between +II and +III valence states, the abundance of different iron phases in sedimentary rocks can provide a window into past redox processes operating in depositional basins.  My work innovatively combines magnetic approaches with microscale textural and geochemical analyses to provide insight into ancient environmental redox conditions.  I will focus on the case example of the ~1.1 billion-year-old Nonesuch Formation, which was deposited in a large lake in the interior of North America.  Combining field, magnetic, and petrographic observations allows for a more nuanced understanding of ambiguous geochemical signals and suggests that for much of its existence, and throughout much of its water column, there was oxygen in the waters of Paleolake Nonesuch—making it a hospitable terrestrial environment for early eukaryotes.

Short Bio: Sarah Slotznick is a Miller Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.  After completing a S.B. in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science at MIT, she worked as a park ranger at Glacier National Park and North Cascades National Park.  Returning to research, Sarah decided to combine her interests in magnetism and Earth History at Caltech where she earned a Ph.D. in Geobiology.


Contact Name: 

Marisa Reilly

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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