Daniel Bolin ’23 Reconstructs the Litho- and Chemostratigraphy of the New Albany Black Shale

Daniel Brolin ’23 is a Geology major working with thesis advisor Jay Zambito. He works on reconstructing the litho- and chemostratigraphy of the New Albany black shale of Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Devonian New Albany black shale of the Illinois Basin is a widespread rock unit and important hydrocarbon resource. Previous studies have mostly focused on lithostratigraphy and petroleum geology of this unit, but black shales are also important archives of paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental information. The goal of my thesis is to reconstruct the litho- and chemostratigraphy of the Devonian New Albany shale succession in the SDH-273 core, and interpret it in the context of previous studies and Devonian paleoclimate.

The SDH-273 core was collected at the Indianapolis Airport. My thesis includes the use of x-ray fluorescence elemental and stable organic carbon isotopic analysis. Element analysis is used to determine common rock-forming elements (Al, Ca, Si, etc.) that can be used to refine lithostratigraphy. Stable organic carbon isotopic analysis is used to interpret terrestrial versus marine algal carbon sources in the black shale and, furthermore, decipher the Devonian global carbon cycle. The results of this research will provide insight into past climate change, which can be used by future researchers to better predict how anthropogenic climate change will affect the world we live in.

By: Daniel Bolin'23
December 19, 2022

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