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Course-based scientific research is publishable!?


Describing facies in the Byron Formation at the Michigan Geological Repository for Research & Education (MGRRE). Left to right: Jean Maurisset, Mohammed Al-Musawi, Evan Hellner, Ashley Scott, and Dr. Stephen Kaczmarek.

A typical graduate course involves lectures and laboratory activities covering a wide range of high-level scientific topics. We’ve changed the script this semester! Carbonate Petrology (GEOS 6650) is being taught as a research methods course with the goal of conducting an authentic research study. Students are gaining “in-the-lab” training in theory and application for a series of common analytical tools used in materials characterization. Ultimately, the students are conducting a detailed petrological investigation of the Byron Formation in the Michigan Basin. The unit is characterized by a series of alternating limestones and dolomites formed in a shallow marine setting during the Silurian. Why only some of the layers are dolomitized and others are not remains unknown.


Ariel Martin conducting thin section petrographic analysis on an interval in the Byron Formation.

By collecting data from core description, thin section petrographic analysis, x-ray diffraction mineralogy, scanning electron microscope imaging and micro-chemical analyses, and conventional stable C and O isotope analyses, we hope to answer fundamental questions about the timing, conditions, and mechanisms of dolomitization. Our preliminary results will be presented as a poster at the upcoming regional North-Central Geological Society of America meeting, which will be held at the L.V. Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The poster is one of ten CPCL presentations at the two-day conference.


Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 55, No. 3, 2023 doi: 10.1130/abs/2023NC-386530

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