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Summer Studies in the Sierras

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Geological sciences professor Diane Clemens-Knott and two undergraduate students recently trekked across the Sierras to study how magma chemistry of the Sierra Nevada mountains changed over the Mesozoic Era — the age of the dinosaurs.

Clemens-Knott, Jovany Estrada and Tony Mistretta are collaborating on a two-year, National Science Foundation-funded research project with students and faculty members from Iowa State, Northern Arizona and Trinity universities, and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.

During their fieldwork, they visited the granites of Yosemite; Napa to see the oldest marine sediments of the Great Valley basin; and Visalia, where Mesozoic sediments provide the oldest record of dry land in California, along with ancient ocean floor rocks into which the granite magmas were intruded, said Clemens-Knott.

Students and faculty mentors also conducted laboratory work on campus, will collect geochemical data at Stanford University and prepare their research results for presentation at the fall 2016 Geological Society of America meeting.