Spring Break fieldwork

Before sampling, it is important to photograph the exact location from where the sample is coming for precise stratigraphic control.
Dr. Hong Yang at left, Daianne Höfig at right.

During the Spring Break, one of our lab-group members, Daianne Höfig, took part in fieldwork in north Idaho! She is a first-year MSc student at Texas A&M University, under the supervision of Dr. Yige Zhang, and studies carbon dioxide variations during the middle Miocene using biomarkers.

To achieve this goal, she sampled fossil leaves of different angiosperm species that lived 15 million years ago that were preserved in extraordinary conditions in Clarkia Lake deposit. This deposit is located in a property of the Kienbaum family, in the small town of Clarkia, who allows scientific research in their area since the 1970s.

Such an intriguing project is a joint collaboration with Bryant University: Dr. Hong Yang belongs to the second generation of researchers to study this deposit. While the Bryant team if focused on the complex paleontological aspects of this endeavor, the Texas A&M team aims to understand the chemical signatures related to the seasonal sedimentation cycles and their relationship with the paleo-carbon dioxide levels.

Fossil leaf from the Clarkia Lake deposit! Can you believe it is about 15 million years old? It still preserves the fall colors!

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