Chaos Crags, in the Lassen Volcanic Center, seen from Chaos Jumbles. Image: Erik Klemetti Well, it might seem early for some of you (and wrong for those of you in the southern hemisphere), but summer is upon us. Classes are 100% done here and I've spent the last week slowly changing gears from teaching (and research) to research (and teaching). This summer will be especially busy for me as I have two research students working with me on two ongoing projects and they will both be hitting the field and the lab over the course of the next three months. So, to give you a sense of what to expect this summer, here is the Eruptions summer projects:
Mineral King, Sierra Nevada in California: This is now summer #4 for me working on rocks from the Mineral King pendant in the central Sierra Nevada. The first paper from this work is churning through the review process as I type, but one of my students this summer will be dating zircon from some of the volcanic units that we haven't dated yet, along with delving into detrital zircon in some sandstone breccias supposedly associated with a caldera collapse (that occurred ~134 million years ago). My student will be headed out to Mineral King with the structural geologist here at Denison (David Greene) and his student. All of this is part of a greater project with collaborators from Denison and Pomona College to unravel the magmatic, structural and tectonic history of this slice of crust incorporated into the granites of the Sierra Nevada.
Lassen Volcanic Center, northern California: I'm really excited to start my first summer working at the Lassen Volcanic Center under the National Science Foundation grant I received along with collaborators from UC Davis, Sacramento State and Fresno State Universities. I've already working on zircon from the 1915 dacite of Lassen Peak, the rhyodacite of Chaos Crags and the ~27,000 year old dacite that makes up much of the Lassen Peak edifice. This summer, more volcanic rocks going further back in the history of the Lassen Volcanic Center will have their zircon dated and hopefully we can collect samples in late July that can lay out the evolution of the magmatic system under the area going as far back as 600,000 years or more. My student and I will also be collected new data on the Lassen Center zircon with two more days at the SHRIMP-RG lab at Stanford. Look for a longer post on this Lassen project later this summer.
A third mystery project: It's a mystery! More will be revealed later.
When we're not in the field, we'll have plenty of lab work here to get the samples ready for analyses (and to get my new gold table running to separate out these dense zircon crystals). Throw in a trip to Chapman University in Orange, California in June to attend the Council for Undergraduate Research annual business meeting and some non-work related journeys to the homelands (Massachusetts and North Carolina) and you can see that I have anything but the summer "off" as a faculty here at a small liberal arts college. Fun stuff!