Planning for a Day in the Field

May 19th, 2010

I officially started my summer field work today! Unfortunately, here in West Chester, PA, it rained all day. That didn’t keep us from being productive, though. Lee Ann and Tim (from West Chester University) and Loretta (from Lock Haven University) and I began the day by visiting the quarries that we’ll be working in tomorrow. We spent the afternoon developing a plan for the rest of the week. It goes a little something like this:

The Plan

This really isn't the plan, but it is a map of all of the sites that we're interested in.

Lee Ann set out all of her samples from these locations and let us play in the lab all afternoon. We immersed ourselves in diabase, so much so that we nearly forget to break for dinner!

Diabase samples

A table topped with diabase hand samples, thin sections, maps, and chemical data = heaven.

Diabase thin section

Action shot of Lee Ann adjusting the microfiche viewer to get the best image of a diabase thinsection.

You would think that a day of discussion would clear things up, but I’m more overwhelmed than ever! I realize that I have so much to learn about the emplacement and evolution of these rift-basin dikes and sills. I typically think of these large intrusions as composite structures, formed by multiple pulses of magma, but I wonder if I’ll be able to recognize evidence of this in the field? How did the complex plagioclase-pyroxene layers form, and why are they different in different parts of the sill? And what are the mafic channels that cut across the plagioclase-pyroxene layers? Fortunately, I have wonderful and experienced (not to mention patient) colleagues who are seeking answers to the same questions. Some insights, I hope, will be gained by whole-rock geochemistry (as long as my sampling strategy works). Whew! Are all new projects as exciting as this?

One Response to “Planning for a Day in the Field”

  1. Mark Wilsonon 19 May 2010 at 8:00 am

    “We immersed ourselves in diabase so much so that we nearly forget to break for dinner.” At these moments you know you picked the right career. Good luck with the fieldwork, Meagen! Hope there are many more posts to come.

    A microfiche viewer to project thin-sections? Interesting idea!

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