Research

I am interested in how magma travels through the crust, the organization and evolution of shallow to deep magma reservoirs, and their connection to volcanism. 

Spatiotemporal magmatic focusing during the Cretaceous magmatic flare-up and arc migration, central Sierra Nevada, California 

Cartoon showing magma focusing examples at multiple crustal levels.For more information on this diagram see Ardill et al. (2018)

This project explores whether spatial and temporal patterns of magmatism may be caused, and connected, by feedback processes occurring in the arc crustal column, even if they operate at different scales. We utilize large compiled geochronologic and geochemical datasets to start to untangle the signals of arc flare-ups, migration, and magma focusing. More information on magmatic focusing in the central Sierra Nevada can be found in (Ardill et al., 2018).

 

 

 

 

Recognizing porphyry intrusions in the Sierra Nevada: Bridging plutonic and volcanic domains 

Cartoon describing different models for relating plutonic, hypabyssal and volcanic rocks

The connection between upper-crustal plutons and volcanic rocks remains challenging to investigate, in part because exposures of multiple levels of the crust are rare. In the Sierra Nevada, hypabyssal intrusions, shallowly emplaced magma bodies, represent key structural and compositional markers that provide a window into the uppermost levels of magma plumbing systems. This study selects examples of hypabyssal intrusions in the central Sierra Nevada to investigate whether they represent feeder systems to volcanoes or failed eruptions.

 

 

 

 

Formation of schlieren-bound magmatic structures in the Tuolumne Intrusive Complex, Sierra Nevada 

Cartoon summarizing differences between a magma flow-sorting model (e) and a chemically-driven model (f) to form schlieren layers.


Schlieren-bound structures are conspicuous features of plutons worldwide, and their formation process is debated. Whether schlieren form by active (magma flow) or static (thermochemical gradient) mechanisms has implications for magma rheology and mobility, as well as the processes that could occur within the magma chamber. The Tuolumne Intrusive Complex includes an unusually rich abundance of these structures, making it an ideal place to study. My approach combines field and structural analysis with whole-rock and mineral chemistry to learn more about the origin of these spectacular structures.  

 

Characterizing magmatism in the Triassic-Jurassic Western Metamorphic Belt, Sierran foothills

The Western Metamorphic Belt preserves a rich history of Triassic to Jurassic magmatism. This study aims to characterize the rock types and compositions of both the volcanic strata and plutons, placing them in the regional context of the early Sierran arcs.

 

Research Methods:

  • Field mapping and structural analysis
  • Data compilation and synthesis
  • Mineral separation of zircon
  • LA-ICP-MS U/Pb zircon dating
  • XRF bead making and analysis
  • Microstructural analysis and EBSD
  • Electron Microprobe Analysis
  • LA-ICP-MS trace element analysis of minerals