As an experimental petrologist, I recognize the need to ground-truth the interpretations I come up with in the lab against the natural rock record, which of course requires doing field work. So far, my two main field areas have been the Butte porphyry Cu deposit and the Ubehebe Peak Cu-W skarn deposit but I've had the opportunity to explore many areas on field trips and as a TA for the University of Lausanne metamorphic field camp. I've picked up many rocks recently and look forward to getting to know new field areas as my research progresses.
As a graduate student, my field area was the Butte, Montana porphyry Cu-Mo deposit. The Butte deposit has a rich, 200-year long history and has been mined as a placer deposit, an underground mine, and as an open pit mine. I was an intern in the pit for several months in 2014, where I mapped highwalls and sampled rocks for my dissertation.
1. The upper left image shows a highwall with bright blue chalcanthite staining. In the foreground is a younger me in a hardhat and safety vest, intently examining a rock.
2. The lower left image shows an overview of the 2014 Continental Pit. Note the giant haul trucks!
3. The lower right image shows me holding the biggest mud crack I've ever seen in my life.
Ubehebe Peak Cu-W skarn deposit
View to the NE from the flank of Ubehebe Peak, looking across the Racetrack towards the Cottonwoods.
Necessary image of the famous sliding rocks on the Racetrack.
Tabular olivines from the outer forsterite zone of the prograde contact aureole! These are the focus of my current research. Close to the Ubehebe Peak intrusion, which is a member of the Hunter Mountain batholith, the forsterite is small and equigranular but farther away in the outer contact aureole the forsterite is large and tabular (not skeletal!).
Atoll garnets from the skarn.
This image shows some of the lovely Swiss cows , and also in the background you can see the contact of a limestone country rock with the Adamello intrusion.
I came to Switzerland to work on a skarn from Death Valley, but of course have taken the opportunity to grow as a metamorphic petrologist in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world - the Alps!
Every summer, I TA for the UNIL metamorphic field camp, which means I've learned a lot about the structure and history of the Alps and also gotten to see some of the neatest metamorphic rocks one could wish for (and a lot of cows).
Also in the Adamello contact aureole, I saw these pancake garnets, which grew into a fracture as flat crystals.
Within the Adamello intrusion, skeletal hornblende megacrysts with plagioclase fillings (very cool).