GEOCHEMICAL AND SEDIMENTOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF A LACUSTRINE TRIASSIC LAGERSTÄTTE IN THE COW BRANCH FORMATION OF THE DANVILLE-DAN RIVER BASIN
The aim of our research is to investigate the sedimentology and geochemistry of the Cow Branch Formation in the Danville-Dan River basin to determine the paleoenvironment of the lake. Specifically, we will test whether a chemocline existed within the lake, and if so, its chemistry and dynamics through the sedimentary cycles. Initial analysis will be completed from two cores through the Cow Branch formation, taken from the Virginia Solite Quarry. The cores overlap stratigraphically and contain the Lagerstätte, totaling approximately 7 meters through a lacustrine cycle. The cores will be slabbed, described, and analyzed for various geochemical measures including total organic carbon (TOC), pyrite sulfur contents, as well as iron speciation and the isotope composition of pyrite sulfur and organic carbon. The combined sedimentological and geochemical results will allow us to make more educated statements about lake depth and chemistry overall. Understanding the paleolake chemistry will assist with interpreting the depositional environment of the lake, which could have implications for the oil/gas industry, as well as for the scientific community seeking to further investigate the East Coast Mesozoic rift basins.