The Late Devonian (382 Ma) Alamo Impact Event was caused by a km-scale bolide impact that devastated a 200 km portion of the expansive carbonate platform in the Great Basin. Shortly following the event, faunas recolonized the surface of the Alamo impact breccia without any evidence for biotic extinctions or any long-lived geochemical change to the environment. This project is conducting detailed field mapping of the Guilmette Formation in southern Nevada to provide the first high-resolution 3D model of platform strata before, during and after the Alamo Event and allow site-specific correlation of impact features with overlying elements of recovery. Sedimentary, faunal and ichnological data collected above the impact deposits will be compared to underlying physical parameters of the post-impact seafloor, e.g., topography, relative bathymetry, substrate type, and geographic position, to identify variations recovery of the carbonate platform ecosystem.
Research activities merge with a comprehensive educational outreach effort through the Impact Initiative on Great Basin Field Geology. Partnering with the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP programs in Nevada and Idaho, our Impact Initiative includes a four-pronged approach to provide STEM education and training opportunities to K-12 teachers and students, with an emphasis on involving female high school students in research.
Research funded by NSF-EAR.
Past graduate students from the Nevada Project, clockwise from top left, Julia Steenberg, Carrie Thomason, Joseph Sheffield, Reed Myers.
Nevada Project Theses
Julia Anderson MS Geology 2008
Carrie Thomason MS Geology 2010
Joseph Sheffield MS GIS 2011
Reed Myers MS Geology 2011
Andrew Retzler MS Geology 2013
Ben Rendall MS Geology 2013