Rocky Mountain Section - 64th Annual Meeting (9–11 May 2012)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:30 PM


MOGK, D.W., Dept. Earth Sciences, Montana State Univ, Bozeman, MT 59717, HENRY, D.J., Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, MUELLER, Paul A., Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 and FOSTER, D.a., Department of Geology, Univ of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611,

The “Evolution of the Precambrian Rocks of Yellowstone National Park and Surrounding Areas” NSF/REU site project was designed to meet the principal investigators’ long-term research goals while providing students with a significant professional development experience to prepare for either continuing study in graduate school or to enter the geoscience workforce. Students participated in a year-long program that allowed them to gain research experience and produce meaningful results. Students prepared for the project by reading the primary literature on regional geology, petrogenetic processes, and evolution of continental crust. During the field experience, students practiced geologic field skills (rock description, measuring structural data), application of knowledge acquired in course work (e.g., interpreting mineral assemblages with respect to phase diagrams), defined independent research questions in the context of the larger research project, and contributed to sampling and mapping at many scales in the field to characterize samples to specifically address their research questions. Students also participated in sample preparation, including cutting thin section billets, crushing rocks to obtain mineral separates, and preparing geochemical powders. During the following academic term students worked on their home campuses with faculty mentors to complete petrographic analysis of their samples. Students then participated in analytical studies at the University of Florida to acquire whole-rock (XRF and ICP-MS) geochemical data, and U-Pb zircon geochronologic data; mineral compositions were also acquired (EPMA) for geothermobarometric analysis. Students ultimately contributed to writing abstracts on their findings and reporting results at this GSA meeting. The results of the combined student projects over two years have produced definitive results on the petrogenesis and age(s) of magmatic rocks, grade of metamorphism, structural style, environment of deposition of the protoliths of metasedimentary rocks, and overall geologic history of this complex of Precambrian rocks. The students produced important new scientific results; our project produced a cohort of young scientists who are well-prepared to undertake the next steps of their geological professional development.