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Geological Sciences Seminar: Emmy Smith, John Hopkins University- "New perspectives on the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary in the Southwest United States"

Date and Time: 
January 22, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
GeoCorner 220 - 450 Serra Mall, Building 320
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Event Sponsor: 
Department of Geological Science

** Please join us for coffee and cookies in the GeoCorner Undergraduate lounge (bldg. 320, rm 114) before the talk, at 11:30am! - Seminar will be in room 220~

Latest Ediacaran body fossils, including tubular body fossils and classic Ediacara Biota, have been discovered within multiple stratigraphic intervals at six localities in southern California and Nevada. The fossils are variably preserved in four distinct taphonomic windows: as pyrite pseudomorphs, casts and molds, carbonaceous compressions, and calcified tubes. Using sequence stratigraphy, sedimentology, and carbon isotope chemostratigraphy from over a dozen sections, we refine correlations between Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary sections in the White-Inyo, Esmeralda County, and Death Valley regions and place these body fossils into a spatial, temporal, and paleoenvironmental context within the basin. This multi-disciplinary dataset provides new insights into the nature of latest Ediacaran environmental and biological transitions in southwestern Laurentia, and builds the regional framework necessary to examine the specific controls on taphonomic windows that produce exceptional Ediacaran fossil preservation.​​

Emmy Smith is an assistant professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at Johns Hopkins University. She earned a BA in Geology and Comparative Religion from Amherst College and her PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard University. She is primarily interested in reconstructing Earth's history during key intervals of biotic, tectonic, and climatic change. She does this by using sedimentology, stratigraphy, stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, paleontology, and geologic mapping. Most of her work focuses on sediments that were deposited during the Neoproterozoic and Cambrian.​