Ph.D. Student Receives Geological Society of America Grant

Funds Support Field and Lab Studies to Study a Global Cretaceous Oceanographic Event

Geological Society of America

Manuel Paez-Reyes, a Ph.D. student in the University of Houston’s Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, received a student grant for $1,520 from the Geological Society of America. The grant will support research on the timing and triggering mechanism of a major anoxic event that affected the world’s oceans in the Late Cretaceous. The research will be supervised by EAS Professor Peter Copeland.

Dustin Villarreal

The title of Paez-Reyes’ proposal is “Questioning the role of Caribbean large igneous province magmatism as a trigger of the Oceanic Anoxic Event 2.” Many studies have linked magmatism in the Caribbean Large Igneous Province (CLIP) to ocean anoxia, but existing isotopic dates for CLIP rocks peaked at 89 Ma, in contrast with the onset of the event established at ~94.27 Ma in Pueblo, Colorado.

These Colorado data challenge the hypothesis that CLIP eruption triggered the Cenomanian-Turonian Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2). To test that CLIP magmatism triggered OAE2, funds provided by the GSA research grants program will be used in this project to date CLIP rocks using the U-Pb system in the mineral baddeleyite.

Upon graduation, Paez-Reyes will expand his research to other Cretaceous OAEs aiming to understand the relationship between global ocean anoxia, changes in the world’s ocean chemistry and widespread extinction of marine organisms.