I study the co-evolution of tectonics and ocean chemistry, with a focus towards understanding how these fit mechanistically with the oxygenation of the atmosphere and evolution of life on early Earth. I focus my research on studying the physical and chemical signatures left behind in Precambrian sediments, looking to reconstruct the environment that these formed in and what conditions may have led to large changes in Earth’s system.
My current focus is in the Mesoproterozoic Era (1.6 - 1.0 Ga), a time period often referred to as the “Boring Billion”. Frequently ignored due to quiescence, the long term stability of this period remains poorly understood. This poses some problems for our current view of the geochemical and biological upheaval in the Neoproterozoic. Many of the basic building blocks which are cited to drive the Neoproterozoic diversification were in place by the mid- to late Mesoproterozoic (e.g. oxygenic photosynthesis, eukaryotes, low latitude continents). Thus any model to explain this must also include an explanation of why it did not occur earlier. Central to this problem is that there are few basic observation of the Mesoproterozoic. In order to alleviate this issue, I am conducting basic fieldwork and work on a combination of traditional and non-traditional geochemical proxies. I combine these in an attempt to understand the basic interactions between the carbon cycle, the ocean’s redox structure, and the weathering of a growing continental crust during the late Mesoproterozoic.