Welcome to GeoUnion, the graduate student body of the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. GeoUnion strives to supplement the overall graduate student experience at Rice and DEEPS. GeoUnion represents DEEPS in the overall Rice grad student community, acts as a liaison between students and faculty and organizes a number of intra- and inter-departmental events throughout the academic year.
|September 6-8||Overnight Camping at San Marcos|
|September 13||Welcome Barbecue|
|Cancelled because of Imelda||Pre-GSA talk|
|October 12-15||Field Trip to Big Bend|
|October 25||Halloween Kickball Tournament|
|November 26||Multicultural Thanksgiving!|
|Dec 6||Pre-AGU practice session|
Here’s a list of the resources that you would need to use frequently as graduate students at Rice. The websites of the Rice Graduate Student Association (GSA), Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) are platforms which graduate students can use to keep track of upcoming events, funding opportunities, changes in rules and regulations, etc.
Living in a vast city like Houston and exploring a new place can also be challenging, and so we have compiled a list of recommendations for housing and fun things to do in the Space City!
Christopher Jenkins, James E. Mungall, Michael L. Zientek, Gelu Costin, and Zhuo-Sen Yao
The origin and parental magma for layered cumulates in the Lower Banded series (LBS) and the J-M Reef Pd-Pt deposit of the Stillwater Complex remains poorly constrained. We present whole-rock lithogeochemistry and mineral chemistry from LBS rocks collected from drill holes and surface samples from the Mountain View area of the complex that in total span nearly the entirety of the LBS stratigraphy. Excess S, Pt, and Pd in the noritic and gabbronoritic cumulates of the LBS indicate that small amounts of high tenor sulfide liquid generated at very low degrees of sulfide oversaturation were ubiquitous parts of the cumulate assemblage. We show that a simple two-stage thermodynamic model of assimilation-batch crystallization of a komatiitic parental magma in the lower crust produces a close match to a common suite of fine-grained gabbronorite dikes and sills that intrude both the complex and its footwall. After fractionating ultramafic cumulates in the lower crust, the model contaminated komatiitic liquid produces upper crustal cumulates by batch crystallization en route to or at the level of the
intrusion. The modeled rocks have compositions and mineral assemblages closely resembling pyroxenite of the Bronzitite zone and both norite and gabbronorite cumulates in the lower LBS. The trends from the Bronzitite zone through Norite zone I and Gabbronorite zone I can be understood as the result of deposition of crystals from successive batches of the same contaminated parental magma, with an upward trend toward greater amounts of cooling before the separation of crystals from liquid. The olivine-bearing suite of Olivine-bearing zone I, which includes the J-M Reef, can be modeled by partial remelting of the same norite and gabbronorite cumulates due to a temporarily increased flux of hot, moderately less contaminated LBS parental magma that infiltrated partially molten cumulates because its density exceeded that of the interstitial liquid. This model suggests that infiltration of hot Mg-rich parental liquid into moderately PGE-enriched footwall cumulates may be fundamental to the formation of the extremely high tenor sulfide mineralization in the J-M Reef ore zone, and perhaps other reef type deposits worldwide. The same metal tenors that would require silicate/sulfide mass ratios (i.e., R-factors)
of 105 to 106 in a single stage of equilibration would be attained during this second stage of interaction by the incremental infiltration and passage of LBS parental magma through previously sulfide saturated cumulate mush.
Jenkins CM, Mungall JE, Zientek ML, Costin G, Yao ZS (2021): Origin of the J-M Reef and lower banded series, Stillwater Complex, Montana, USA. Precambrian Research, Volume 367, 106457, ISSN 0301-9268, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2021.106457
Because of COVID-19, the field trip is being postponed to later (date TBD) this year. The seminar will continue via remote meetings through the end of the Spring 2020 semester.
As earth scientists we seek to understand the natural processes that have shaped the world around us through time. The most fundamental requirement to acquiring a deeper understanding of these mechanisms is through observation. EEPS has a strong heritage in field-based research that when combined with analytical excellence, produces skilled scientists with a broad view of Earth as a system. While Rice University is well placed to take advantage of a broad array of research resources, students in Houston do not always have immediate access to nearby geological sites that represent Earth as a system.
A generous gift from Mike Johnson enables EEPS students the opportunity to observe classic and fundamental geologic concepts in the field. Students are in charge of proposing, selecting and managing a field excursion that will benefit everyone in the department. A year-long seminar-based class run by the students prepares them to visit the locality they have selected. Papers are selected, presented and discussed, followed by activities that educate the students on how to run a field-based project. During the field excursion, elected stops will be led and presented by individual students. The knowledge gained before and during the field trip will cumulate into a multi-media field guide that will be made available to the department and public following the trips conclusion.
A significant benefit of a department-wide field excursion is the interaction of students with scientists from various disciplines. Many earth scientists only carry out field work with specialists in their own field. The real discoveries in modern earth science occur when the different disciplines are part of a collective discourse. This trip will have scientists with different backgrounds observe the same outcrops; fostering fruitful discussion that results in the generation of new and unique questions. In addition, this trip may inspire fellowship among EEPS graduate students that will hopefully create life-long collaborations and a cohesive department.
General route starting in Albuquerque, New Mexico
This year, EEPS elected to utilize Mike Johnson’s gift to lead graduate students on a 7 day field expedition to observe some of the most diverse and economically important geologic terrains in the United States.
In early June of 2020, EEPS will travel through New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, which have easily accessible exposures of metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous rocks. Starting from Albuquerque, New Mexico they will explore the Rio Grande Rift, the San Juan Volcanic field, and the well exposed Mezozoic stratigraphy on the Colorado Plateau. Observing these diverse geologic terrains will give EEPS graduate students a chance to see how their research interests dovetail with what they observe in nature and provide opportunities to create new ideas.
Pre-Trip planning seminars
Fall semester: The graduate student of the winning field trip proposal organizes a weekly reading group focusing on the regional geology of the four corners region and come up with potential stops.
Spring semester: The weekly reading group continues. Students pick the final outcrops that they would like to visit. Each student is assigned to be an expert on 1-3 stops. Before the field trip, each student will submit their description(s) of their stop for the field guide.