General Area of Research:
Deformation Bands in Central Utah
This Sophomore Research proposal focuses on one project associated with the geology of central Utah. Central Utah has a complex geologic history, especially with respect to regional tectonics. Located in the Transition Zone between the Basin and Range and Colorado Plateau physiographic provinces, the region has undergone both compression and extension since the Mesozoic. For the past several summers, work has been undertaken on structural features such as deformation bands and joints in the region. Deformation bands and joints are common rock responses to brittle forces within the crust, and in central Utah, they can occur in highly porous sandstones near fault zones. They are particularly important in petroleum- and hydrology-related industries, because they can significantly affect fluid migration pathways due to porosity and permeability changes. This study will combine structural and stratigraphic field work with analytical techniques in order to assess the importance and timing of deformation bands and joints in the region.
An important component of this Sophomore Research project during the summer semester will be measuring both deformation bands and joints in the field for 1-2 weeks. Additional field work will require survey-grade GPS mapping of fluid flow structures. Lab-based work will entail database management of the field data and structural plotting. Therefore, skills that would be beneficial for an applicant include: 1. a comfort level with using the Brunton compass to take strike and dip data, often learned in GEOL 313 (or a willingness to learn and practice, practice, practice before going out in the field); 2. the ability to learn a variety of structural plotting programs, such as Stereonet / Stereostat and Oriana; and 3. a comfort level with Trimble GPS equipment, including data dictionary management and DGPS post-processing tools. Please note: The project will require time in the field, probably in the month of July, followed by time back in the lab at Wooster. Students should be aware that the summer months in the Utah desert can reach temperatures consistently in the 80s-90s, and the air is typically very dry.