Diane Clemens-Knott, PhD, California State University (Fullerton)
ACS-PRF support to work at the Arizona Laserchron Center has fostered one of the most satisfying and productive periods of intellectual growth that I’ve enjoyed in my 21 years at CSU Fullerton. In learning the details of detrital zircon (dz) methodology, the breadth of my scientific perspective has expanded significantly, adding an understanding of sediment transport and depositional environments to my former training in magmatism-tectonics. As a result, my perspective of the Mesozoic evolution of California is now more holistic, benefitting the range of research projects in which my students and I are involved.
This project has already had a significant impact on my research career. Two years ago I was invited to present our preliminary results at a GSA Penrose conference regarding the evolution of the Sierra Nevada arc. Subsequently, colleagues from USC, Caltech and UA invited me to join a collaboration focused on the pre-Mesozoic tectonics of this segment of the North American margin. The stellar performance of the CSUF lab group prompted an open invitation to conduct future research at the over-booked Arizona Laserchron Center. Operating a million-dollar instrument (the LA-ICP-MS) and interacting with the staff at this R1 institution lead to increased confidence amongst the CSUF students and generated more expansive visions of their scientific futures. The ability to pay students for their lab time and for travel to professional meetings has opened doors for all of us to more fully engage with the research and professional communities.
Originally budgeted to support one M.S. and three undergraduate students, I was able expand the grant’s impact to two M.S. and five B.S. theses. Kevin Tomita reported that an interviewer asked to inspect his undergraduate thesis overnight. Kevin received his first environmental geology job offer the next day and is convinced the ACS-PRF-funded thesis played a major role. I anticipate that Natalie Hollis will feel similar gratitude regarding her 3 years on this project: after presenting preliminary results at ACS and AAPG meetings, she will present her completed study at the national GSA meeting this fall. With thesis in hand, Natalie will search for graduate opportunities studying structural geology. Lastly, I was able to support non-thesis research experiences for four students. Undergraduate Michelle Gevedon was inspired to return to CSUF for her graduate studies, using the same instrumentation (LA-ICP-MS) to study hafnium isotopes in the mantle. Currently funded by a prestigious CSU Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the inspiration for Michelle’s ambitious geochemical research was her experience working on this ACS-PRF-funded project.
This field- and laboratory-based project focused on a recently discovered sedimentary-volcanic formation in the western Sierra Nevada. Specific goals were to assess whether the Goldstein Peak Formation’s apparent, and unusual, Early Cretaceous depositional age was correct, as well as determining the sediment provenance. The overarching goal was to assess whether the Goldstein Peak rivers could have contributed sediment to California’s oil-rich Great Valley Group.
Substantial outcomes include >2000 zircon dates, which support the following findings:
To date, 8 published student-faculty abstracts report various results of this study
I anticipate 3-4 manuscripts will be generated by this project. Currently, Mike Martin and I are finalizing a manuscript on the Goldstein Peak Formation; I anticipate co-writing another with current student Chris Buchen on the provenance of Jurassic-Triassic metasediments. Another will synthesize the results of the entire Sierra arc-interarc basin-Great Valley forearc basin depositional system, and the tectonic implications of this data will be incorporated in a collaborative paper with colleagues. Lastly, Natalie Hollis will submit her thesis to the CSUF Student Journal, Dimensions.