PhD, Rutgers University
MS, Dartmouth College
BS, Dartmouth College
I use the composition of volcanic ash to correlate between archaeological sites in East Africa. Individual volcanic eruptions produce and deposit volcanic ash layers of distinct compositions that can often be uniquely identified over broad areas. Where these ashes are preserved between stratigraphic layers of archaeological interest, we can create stratigraphic frameworks for important evolutionary and cultural changes throughout a region.
I am also interested in Mars geology, and finding terrestrial analogues for the minerals, sediments, and geochemistry of the Martian surface. Much of the Martian surface, as documented by the MER Spirit and Opportunity rovers and recent and current orbiters, likely consists of altered volcanic material. These deposits are also enriched in sulfate minerals, likely the products of dirty evaporites during a wetter episode of Mars’ past or possibly sulfur-rich volcanic fumaroles. I am interested in studying places on Earth where sulfate minerals are formed during the alteration of volcanic materials, under both volcanic and aqueous conditions.