Investigating the mysterious pyrite (FeS2) tubes in the Monterey Formation



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Project Description

Enormous quantities of organic carbon and sulfur were buried in the California Borderland Basins ~10 million years ago - these are the units that produce oil and gas locally, and the also represent an enormous sink of carbon. Specifically, our goal is to understand the source of the unusual iron-sulfide (pyrite) tubes in the Monterey Formation. 

Undergraduate Contribution

The project involves separating pyrites from rock samples by density, characterizing them using optical and electron microscopy, and chemically processing and purifying them to analyze their sulfur isotopes. This is a relatively independent project that will hopefully grow to include significant data analysis (including from collaborators at other institutions) and manuscript writing.

Requirements/Application Instructions

At least 6 hrs/week (2 units) and a 2-quarter commitment. Contact me directly to discuss.