Previous recipients of student travel grants
Precambrian Division Student Travel Awards 2016 – Whitehorse
The Precambrian Division awarded six travel grants to students attending the Whitehorse GAC-MAC meeting. Below are their reports from the trips and sessions they attended, and some information on their projects they presented. We’re happy to see so many students enjoy opportunities to see these great areas of Canada!
Award Winners 2016
My participation to the 2016 GAC-MAC meeting held in Whitehorse was an opportunity to get a week long immersion in the research pursued on the Cordilleran tectonics. I presented the results of my M.Sc. thesis, a research dedicated to the mantle rocks of the northern Cache Cree terrane, an oceanic terrane that is key to the tectonic and accretionary model of the Cordillera. Colleagues from different universities in Canada and research scientists and field geologists from provincials and federal surveys gave interesting feedback and developed on opening questions and discussions. I also participated to the excellent fieldtrip on the Tectonics of the Intermontane and Insular terranes organized by M. Colpron, S. Israel and M. Hutchinson from the Yukon Geological Survey. It contributed to my understanding of the regional tectonic setting and the main interrogation that drives the current scientific research on the northern Cordillera. This allowed me to grasp a better view of how my work integrates to the regional problematic. I would like to thank the Precambrian Division to support with travel grants their student members in participating to such a rewarding experience.
Field trip participants examining deformed pillow basalt of the Late Triassic Bear Creek Assemblage in the Mt. Decoeli area (adjacent to the Denali fault in southern Yukon) on the Tectonics of the Intermontane and Insular terranes (photo Anne-Sophie Corriveau).
My Ph.D. thesis project focuses on characterizing the Archean orthogneiss complex of eastern Hall Peninsula. The cratonic affinity of these Archean rocks has remained enigmatic due to a lack of detailed mapping and isotopic work. In my study I augment field mapping at the local and regional scale with laboratory analyses including whole-rock geochemistry and Sm-Nd isotopes and also U-Pb geochronology using zircon with complimentary Lu-Hf isotopes from the same zircon domains. Ultimately, the results of this work will add to the isotopic database for southeastern Baffin Island and refine current proposals for crustal correlations of eastern Hall Peninsula to West Greenland, northern Labrador or the Meta-incognita microcontinent of Baffin Island.
The 2016 GAC-MAC conference in Whitehorse, Yukon was a phenomenal experience as one of the special sessions was directly related to my area of research “Special Session 3 (SS3) – Tectonics of accretionary and collisional orogens”. With eastern Hall Peninsula having been caught up in a three-way, two-stage collision during the Paleoproterozoic Trans Hudson Orogen, I was very interested in similar processes documented along the west coast of Canada and Worldwide. Also, “Special Session 11 (SS11) Cratons, kimberlites and diamonds” provided excellent learning opportunities relevant to my thesis work as there are diamondiferous kimberlites present on eastern Hall Peninsula, Baffin Island. As always, the poster sessions were a great way to network with colleagues and gain exposure to the different realms of geological research being undertaken by a wide variety of scholars.
The five day field trip entitled “VMS and Orogenic Gold deposits of the Chatham Strait, southeast Alaska” was an absolute blast! The opportunity to learn about the complex and varied geology of the Yukon and Alaska from local experts was unparalled and the tours of VMS deposits and underground mines was really the icing on the cake. Having recently done a short course on Granite-Greenstone terranes and their mineral deposits (including VMS And orogenic gold deposits) it was invaluable to actually see economic deposits and discuss the geology with mine staff. We fit a lot of outcrop examinations, arm-waving sessions and ferry rides into the 5 days but it was totally worth it!
Richard From preparing for one of many ferry rides on the “VMS and Orogenic Gold deposits of the Chatham Strait, southeast Alaska” field trip.
I presented my work “New Re-Os geochronological constraints on the evolution of the Bylot Supergroup in the Borden Basin, Baffin Island” at the session “New data from an old continent: The Proterozoic stratigraphic record of Laurentia”, and it was a great experience to present to an audience knowledgable and curious about my work. It was also a useful meeting to coordinate with collaborators about future projects in the Arctic!
My thesis broadly focuses on the late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic (1200-800 Ma) tectonic evolution of northern Canada and the apparent change in silicate weathering style across this interval. Specifically, I will construct a geochronologically updated tectonostratigraphic synthesis of the Bylot Supergroup and compile Sr (strontium) and Os (osmium) isotope chemostratigraphic data across this period. Results from the first aim will elucidate the timing and nature of the Borden Basin’s tectonic evolution, which, in conjunction with basin analysis and sequence stratigraphic correlation, will relate the geological history with other Bylot Basins and perhaps the Amundsen Basin. Chemostratigraphic data from both the Bylot and Shaler Supergroups will highlight influences of late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic chemical weathering on ocean chemistry and may help relate secular change in silicate weathering to Rodinia’s tectonic and volcanic history. Furthermore, this data will enable integration of diverse fossil and geochemical data into a coherent chronostratigraphic framework, as well as stratigraphic correlation to basins of similar ages around the world.
The focus of my thesis is to map and study the Pinguicula Group and lower Fifteenmile Group unit PR1, both Precambrian sedimentary successions exposed in northern Yukon. Goals of the research include development of a comprehensive model involving basin formation and clastic and carbonate deposition for the Pinguicula Group. Key aspects of the work include detrital zircon geochronology, stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, and lithogeochemistry. These methods, in concert with the field results, are being used to characterise the Pinguicula basin and the PR1 basin, test stratigraphic correlations in northern Canada, and develop a paleogeographic model involving ancestral North America and other continents throughout the early Mesoproterozoic.
Although I was unable attend any field trips at the GAC 2016 conference, I attended a variety of talks; some of which were related to my field of research and others that covered new interests related to economic geology. I completed my field research in Yukon and was happy to see familiar faces that I hadn’t seen since my last field season in the north. Some of the sessions that were particularly interesting to me focused on my area of research including ‘Northwest Laurentia’s neighbours in the Proterozoic’ (in which I gave a talk) and ‘New Data from an old continent: The Proterozoic stratigraphic record of Laurentia’. Being in a room with people from around the world who are working in the same research area as I am and gaining their input into my work, as well as hearing their perspectives firsthand on issues surrounding the supercontinental reconstructions in the Mesoproterozoic, was incredibly stimulating and encouraging.
A component of my PhD thesis is addressing the position of western Laurentia with respect to the Gawler craton in Australia. I have been able to positively identify a new Large Igneous Province (LIP) that contains mafic magmatism in the Tobacco Root Mountains in Montana, the Western Channel diabase in the North West Territories and the Gawler craton volcanics. The three locations share the same two geochemical signatures over more than 2000 km. The GAC-MAC conference in Whitehorse was extremely helpful in advancing my research in this area. A number of other researchers are working on reconstruction models from a different angle and we were able to have fruitful discussions on what was now understood and what other issues needed to be addressed. Through these discussions a number of collaborations were discussed and proposed. The fieldtrip I attended was the History of the Whitehorse Copperbelt was enjoyable as it showed some of the geological and mining history of the Whitehorse area. I have worked in copper porphyry deposits in the past and it was educational to see new forms of mineralization.
Chris Rogers on a copper porphyry outcrop on the “History of the Whitehorse Copperbelt” fieldtrip (photo O. Nadeau).
The focus of my thesis has been on the lithostratigraphy of the Pine Lake greenstone belt within the Glennie domain of the Saskatchewan segment of the Trans-Hudson orogen (Reindeer Zone). The Pine Lake greenstone belt hosts a number of gold showings as well as past- and presently-producing gold mines. My supervisor (Dr. Kathryn Bethune) and I have been using whole-rock bulk and trace-element geochemistry, Sm-Nd isotopes and detrital zircon (U-Pb) geochronology to better constrain the nature and timing of lithostructural breaks and the timing and provenance of various assemblages as well as to evaluate the primary tectonic environments of volcanism. All of these factors of the greenstone belt have important implications for a more complete understanding of gold mineralization in the area and many are also important for placing the rocks into a regional context
GAC MAC 2016 “Margins Through Time” is a conference that I will remember for years to come, it truly was a valuable experience. From the technical sessions to the poster sessions to the short courses and workshops, there is something for everyone and plenty of opportunity to learn a great deal about current research and ideas or to brush up on the basics in a variety of fields. Most importantly, the speakers and presenters are both friendly and well informed which makes the information accessible to all geoscientists, regardless of individual areas of study and expertise. Generally, I got the impression that I was surrounded by easily approachable colleagues who were happy to offer constructive feedback regarding my work while at the same time welcoming any ideas and input involving their own work, thus facilitating a high degree of exchange of ideas and information.
Although the conference itself was excellent, my favorite part about my trip to the Yukon Territory for GAC MAC 2016 was my participation in a pre-conference field trip: “Veins to Valleys: the Klondike District”. During this trip we traveled North form Whitehorse to Dawson City where we made various expeditions into the Klondike gold district. Prior to this trip I knew effectively nothing of the history or methods of placer gold mining in the Yukon Territory but thanks to the highly knowledgeable guides I now feel like an expert! The geology and scenery of the area is spectacular and can only be topped by the rich history that is kept alive in the many historical attractions and guides as well as the occasional tall tale told by local residents and miners. Not only was this trip extremely informative but it also provided an unparalleled networking opportunity. The interesting information and relaxed environment had me bumping elbows with my previously unknown acquaintances in no time, thus providing me with a number of new companions with which to enjoy the conference proceedings while forming bonds that are sure to carry on long after the conference has ended.
All together, it was a fantastic experience and I plan to attend more GAC MAC conferences, and hopefully a few more field trips as well, in the coming years. Thank you to the Geological Association of Canada and the Mineralogical Association of Canada and keep up the great work!
Devon Stuebing enjoying the Klondike Mountains on the “Veins to Valleys: the Klondike District” field trip.
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