My interests in geology have run most of the gamut of subdisciplines in the field over the years. Early in my career, I worked for mineral exploration companies in some of the most beautiful parts of Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and Colorado, primarily in Precambrian rocks. These experiences cemented my love for field work and also for the spectacular terrain and geology of the western United States.
Subsequently, my PhD. work dealt with marine geology in the Gulf of Mexico, as I had grown interested in learning about the modern analogs for ancient sedimentary sequences. I studied the Pleistocene climate cycles expressed in slope sediments along west Florida, and worked on the Late Cenozoic paleoceanographic history of that area.
I am now studying the interactions among tectonics, climate, biology, and sedimentation in the Late Triassic Chinle Formation of the Four Corners area. The Chinle Formation represents an unusually well-preserved body of sedimentary rock that represents some 30 million years of geologic time. The set of strata that I am working on is the Owl Rock Member of the Chinle, which has not been well-studied, particularly in parts of my field area largely because they are quite remote and difficult to access. The Owl Rock strata range in thickness to over 100 meters locally, and are a heterogeneous section of fluvial, floodplain, and lacustrine sediments. The fluvial sediments are providing tantalizing clues about the source areas of the river systems, with clasts of both metamorphic and igneous origin. A wide variety of fossils, trace fossils, and soil horizons occur in the strata and provide information about the mosaic of environments that the Owl Rock represents.