The purpose of my research is to construct a more detailed narrative of the tectonic history of the Star Range in Beaver County, Utah. The study of low angle faults and the surrounding rock formations will yield a deeper understanding of the deformation forces which this region may have been subjected to. The goal of geology as a science is to build a working understanding of Earth processes in the past, present, and future. Contributing to this expansive goal, the knowledge gained through my research will add to our comprehension of the tectonic history of the United States and North America as a whole.
This summer I will be taking the Regional Field Geology course (GEOL 310) from May 18th to June 3rd. The class focuses on allowing geology students to try their hands at field research, and this year we will be exploring the geology of the Basin and Range region. I will actually begin my research during this class, as my advisor is one of the professors, and one of our stops will be in the Star Range. During our time in the field, I will be documenting where these fault zones are, taking note of their geometry, and collecting samples of the rocks in and around the faults. In reference to geometry, I will be looking at the size of the fault zone, features found on the rocks, and recording the orientation of rock layers. Once the field work is completed, our data will be organized and placed into the larger context of scientific literature. Over the rest of the summer, I will visit Williamsburg periodically to analyze thin sections of the rock samples we will have collected under a microscope. Microstructures in these rocks will allow us to calculate the forces to which they have been subjected, information which will help progress our understanding of the tectonic forces at play in this region. Because it can take up to a month to make thin sections of rock samples, I do not have set dates for lab work. However, my research will be completed by the end of the summer, or around August 20th.