Every outcrop is interesting. No matter how much work there may have been done on a particular formation, magmatic arc, etc. there are still unanswered questions. We can go to the end of the world and get some rare samples, we can go to our backyard and collect more mundane ones (I just discovered a dacite dike on my own property the other day), we can play with amazing databases and find out more about global trends nobody saw before.
In the laboratory, even an old instrument if still functioning can be the playground for some new analytical developments. All I need, my students need, we need that curiosity and desire to ask the next question that has not been asked yet. Easier said than done.
My Latest Projects
Applying AI to geosciences
With Barbara Carrapa and Mihai Surdeanu, we venture into the realm of machine learning- we teach the computers to read large amounts of geo literature and answer for us questions that we pose: is there a volcanic driver to climate change? Does global mountain uplift increase in certain times? The machines can read thousands of papers in a short amount of time and presumably can guide us in our hypotheses and rule out crazy ideas. It's an interesting departure from what we normally do.
TANGO, the evolution of central Andean orogeny
This is a 4-year multidisciplinary effort just funded in the summer of 2020, aimed at unraveling how crustal thickening, plate kinematics and magmatism intertwine in the Andes. We will samples several transects across the magmatic arcs of the southern parts of the central Andes and the southern Andes and into the plateau and foreland regions. Collaborators include Pete DeCelles, Barbara Carrapa, Susan Beck, Jay Quade and graduate student Emilie Bowman.