Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
Petrology of sedimentary rocks is fundamental to the understanding of the processes that range from tectonism of the earth to the interaction of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and the biosphere with the solid earth. Low-temperature geochemical processes contribute to the modification of original sediments as well as to their preservation. More than half of the faculty of the department relate to sedimentary petrology directly or in an interdisciplinary way.
Lee Suttner and Abhijit Basu work on the provenance of sand and sandstone. Lee Suttner is also studying the relationship between climate, tectonics and sedimentation in the Rocky Mountain foreland, and Basu also analyzes the petrology of lunar soils.
Juergen Schieber, who joined the IU Department of Geological Sciences in June 2002, specializes in shales, and his research web site provides a wealth of information about his research and about shales in general.
David Bish, Haydn Murray Chair in Applied Clay Mineralogy, studies applications of crystal chemical and crystal structural fundamentals to geological, materials, and environmental problems, using a combination of experimental and theoretical methods. Applications include especially Clay and Zeolite Mineralogy using X-ray and neutron powder diffraction methods.
Chen Zhu works on weathering rates in sandstone groundwater aquifers, and fluid flow and chemical reactions in deep sedimentary aquifers, upon the injections of CO2 and industrial wastes.
Enrique Merino, Haydn Murray, Ed Ripley, and Erika Elswick study sedimentary mineralogy, soil development and diagenesis. Organic and inorganic sedimentary geochemistry is included in studies by Merino, Peter Ortoleva, Lisa Pratt, Ripley and Bob Wintsch, while Bob Dodd and Don Hattin focus on the depositional environments and sedimentology of carbonate rocks.
A large number of adjunct faculty and geologists in the Indiana Geological Survey are involved in many aspects of research in sedimentology, stratigraphy and basin analysis. Our location on the east flank of the Illinois Basin makes study of the formation, history, and depositional settings in this basin particularly convenient. Researchers in the department are studying rocks deposited in the basin as old as Proterozoic and as young as Pennsylvanian. Indeed, some of our faculty and students have studied the sedimentology of the Pleistocene sediments that blanket the northern part of the state and fill the valleys to the south. Our field-based sedimentary research is not restricted to the Midwest U.S.; Don Hattin studies sequence stratigraphy in Cretaceous rocks of the western interior of the U.S.