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Graduate Research

Daniel King
Excitedly preparing to dive ~3500 m aboard the HOV Alvin (pictured in the background) in order to take rock samples from the bottom of the ocean at ~13° N, mid-Atlantic ridge.

Daniel King
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Eric Mittelstaedt

I study the physical processes that shape the seafloor at and around mid-ocean ridges. Through the use of numerical modelling, my research contributes to the better understanding of tectonic and magmatic events at extensional plate boundaries, as well as planetary surface evolution.

numerical simulation
Finite-difference, numerical simulation representing faulting and subsequent hill formation with varying magmatic accommodation at a slow-spreading mid-ocean ridge. Use QR code to access model animation and further info.
Mt. Hood
At Mt. Hood during Cascade Range Field Work.

McKayla Meier
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Erika Rader

I study lava flow and water interactions through their petrology, geochemistry, and spectral characteristics. My research is an analogue study between Earth and Mars to better understand the past Martian environment by analyzing lava flows captured on Mars through remote sensing. By comparing lava flow and water interactions on Earth, we can apply the same concept to lava flows on Mars to search for surface water and by comparison the potential for life.

mafic lava thin section under the SEM
Vesicle Ducky in mafic lava thin section under the SEM
Kari Odegaard
Kari Odegaard with ASD Halo visible near-infrared spectrometer at Hell’s Half Acre, Southeastern Idaho.

Kari Odegaard
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Erika Rader

I use visible near-infrared spectroscopy from the field to identify variations in the glassiness of lavas. In the lab I use a scanning electron microscope to look at the crystals and composition of hand samples to get the percent crystallinity and compare it to the spectra. By relating these together, an increase in reflectance coincides with an increase in crystallinity. This same technique could be used on active lava flows or lava flows of different planets and moons.

Scanning electron microscope backscatter
Scanning electron microscope backscatter image of a Ross Flow sample (left) and Blue Dragon sample (right) with top 50 microns colored by mode. White is glass, black is vesicle, blue is plagioclase, green is olivine, red is oxide, purple is apatite.
Haley Thoresen
Standing above the detachment fault associated with the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex during the 2020 summer field season.

Haley Thoresen
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Cassel

I am researching the timing of the initiation of the collapse of the Western United States Cordillera using the basin record in southwest Montana and southeast Idaho. This is important because it not only gives us insights into how mountains are built and subsequently destroyed, but how changing topography affects climate and paleodrainage patterns.

Anaconda Metamorphic Core
Measuring section in the basin adjacent to the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex (in the background).
Frank Wróblewski
Shaking hands with a robonaut at the Dexterous Robotics Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Frank Wróblewski
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Erika Rader

I study the shapes and colors of planetary surfaces to analyze the differences between volcanic features in satellite imagery. My current research is an analogue study between Earth and Mars to map the spatial, structural, and spectral relationships of lava flows to determine how lava is represented differently depending on how it contacts water. By studying how water interacts with lava, I seek to understand how past climates of Mars and other terrestrial bodies have been preserved alongside their ability to sustain liquid water, habitability, and potential life.

THEMIS IR image of a lava flow
THEMIS IR image of a lava flow, Elysium Mons, Mars.
Erin Young-Dahl
Pausing to examine and reassemble a deer hoof while collecting samples in Salmon, Idaho.

Erin Young-Dahl
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Cassel

I’m researching the development of the northern Rocky Mountains, specifically looking at paleoelevations achieved during the early Eocene (~55-45 Ma) when the mountain range was at its highest. My paleoelevation estimates are determined using stable isotope paleoaltimetry of hydrated volcanic glass shards obtained from Eocene-age ignimbrites and ash-fall deposits. Coupled with high-precision Ar/Ar dates, these estimates reveal how much surface lowering has occurred since this time, in turn informing the mechanisms by which the mountains were built and destroyed.

Microscope image of a prepared tuffaceous sandstone
Microscope image of a prepared tuffaceous sandstone sample from Montana (10x magnification). Glass-bearing samples are processed to clean and isolate the glass, which is then analyzed with a mass spectrometer to obtain the hydrogen isotopic ratio dD of paleo-water trapped inside the glass shards.

Contact

Department of Geological Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure Hall 203

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3022
Moscow, ID 83844-3022

Phone: 208-885-6192

Email: geology@uidaho.edu

Web: Geological Sciences