Friday, October 29, 2010


It's not usually undergrad students presenting at GSA, so it's really exciting to have completed a project and to have this chance to present.

This is an image I exported of our poster, just to give you a preview of what we've generated for our presentation. I've had my battles with Adobe Illustrator, and after reconciling our differences, we're now on speaking terms again.

Tomorrow morning, it's Denver or bust.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's Been Too Long

I haven't updated this blog in far too long.
This past semester, I completed the Field Camp course here at BYU-Idaho. It was the best course I've had so far. For the final 3 weeks of field work, we were out mapping Paleozoic carbonate units in the Beaverhead Range of Idaho. It was my first attempt at a real geologic map. The geologic maps that have been published of the area are pretty inaccurate. Our field camp group allows each student to map an area that overlaps with students on either side so they can work together to create a suitable map to fit the field data they collect over the three-week period. Here is the completed presentation poster of my map:
Click on the image to see it in full size.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sample Prep at BYU Provo

Sample is obliterated into powder using a tungsten carbide crusher.
Powdered sample is pressed into pellets for trace element analysis using x-ray fluorescence (XRF).
Powdered sample is mixed with flux and other elements to be heated and fused into glass discs for major element analysis using x-ray fluorescence (XRF).

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chinle Formation

While I was in Arizona, I took my brother Jim out fossil collecting north of town.
The badlands north of Joseph City are part of the Chinle Formation (Triassic in age). The Chinle includes abundant deposits of petrified wood and some fossilized vertebrate remains -most of what I've seen are phytosaur.
It also includes Paleozoic chert clasts that contain fossils: bryozoans, brachiopods, and crinoids.
It's not uncommon to find evaporite mineral deposits in the region as well, but these are most likely quaternary deposits.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sample collecting: Henry's Mountains

I spent Monday night out in the BYU-Idaho Natural Science Center cabin in Island Park (North of Rexburg near West Yellowstone). Tuesday morning, I headed out with 3 other students to collect samples from flows of Basaltic Andesite from the Henry's Mountains which we'll use for a research project this fall. Brother Dan Moore led our group. We'll process the samples we collected at BYU in Provo this summer before school starts again in the fall.
Bro. Moore, our brilliant instructor:
Bro. Moore and Sam Grover
Fresh and weathered surfaces. Notice the pyroxene phenocrysts. They weather out into nice euhedral samples. Some of the soil on the ridge was full of them.
Our location (on a geologic map):
After we finished our collecting, we went up past Henry's Lake to the nearby Quake Lake in Montana and viewed the site of a significant landslide. Mass wasting to the extreme:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Craters of the Moon, National Monument

On the way back from my weekend in Boise, we stopped at Craters of the Moon, National Monument. Craters of the moon is an extensive series of basalt flows produced by a fissure eruption -part of the Snake River Plain volcanics. The flow is fairly recent, in a geological sense: 8 eruptive events over the past 15,000 years. The basalt flows of Craters of the Moon differ from other extrusive snake rvier plain volcanics in compositional and textural variety. It's an impressive sight -especially as you drive through and realize the extent of the flows (It's quite large).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Menan Buttes

I helped lead a group of students on a field trip to the Menan Buttes last week. The weather was a lot nicer than the last tour I led and the group of students was awesome. They all seemed pretty fascinated and had a lot of good questions.
Xenoliths ("foreign rocks") within the basaltic tuff:
Topographic map of the Buttes. We climb the North Butte, the younger and larger of the two.
A profile of the Buttes from the BYU-Idaho campus