Adam Lewis and Peter Oduor, assistant professors, and Allan Ashworth, distinguished professor, all from the Department of Geosciences, presented papers at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which was held Dec. 14-18 in San Francisco. The meeting is the largest of its kind anywhere in the world and brings together researchers from all of the diverse earth sciences disciplines.
Lewis and Ashworth both presented papers focusing on their collaborative work in the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica. Lewis presented a paper titled “Evidence for repeated early Miocene glaciation and the cutting of upper Taylor Valley from the Friis Hills, Antarctica.” The paper highlights data that suggest a small, high-elevation region in the Dry Valleys preserves remnants from a much warmer than present environment 19.76 million years old. The age of the site is based on analysis of a volcanic ash deposit discovered just last year.
Ashworth presented a paper titled “Miocene Antarctic terrestrial realm,” which focuses on plant and animal remains from Antarctica that can be used to provide precise estimates of paleoenvironments as well as help to answer questions about the evolution of Southern Hemisphere plants and animals. Together, their papers provide a new view of paleoclimate from the especially important period just before Antarctica became a permanently frozen continent.
Oduor, along with two student co-writers, presented a paper titled “Semi-empirically derived petrophysical and thermodynamical coefficients of permselective argillaceous matrices.” The paper details a model that can be used to predict the transport of solutes through different clay barriers. This has important human-health implications because the contamination of soil and water from hazardous materials leaking through clay-lined repositories is a serious environmental problem.