Kansas State University


Department of Geology

Spotlight on undergraduate research

Undergraduate student Lindsay Gutierrez is currently working with Dr. Goldberg on a senior thesis entitled Paleocurrent and provenance analysis of an incised-valley fill at Echo Cliff, KS. Echo Cliff, located southwest of Dover, KS, is a 75-foot exposure of channel-fill deposits accumulated in incised valleys that cut down into the Pennsylvanian marine succession during a sea-level fall. Much of the material filling the channel is believed to have come from the uplands to the north and northwest, but to date no systematic study of the provenance of these sediments was carried out. The purpose of Lindsay’s study is to reconstruct the sediment pathways and to identify potential source areas. During summer 2019, she carried out a detailed facies analysis, with construction of a sedimentary log that included facies attributes and systematic measurement of paleocurrents, and also collected sandstone samples for further petrographic analysis. Lindsay has identified 7 lithofacies deposited in a meandering fluvial environment and a provenance analysis. The integration between paleocurrent and compositional analyses in the sediments exposed at Echo Cliff, with the analysis of regional geological maps, pointed to potential source areas upstream for fluvial deposits. Lindsay’s research identified that the sediments that filled the incised valleys at Echo Cliff probably came from low-grade metamorphic terrains in Washington or Oregon, travelling southeast through Idaho, Wyoming/Montana, Colorado/Nebraska, and finally Kansas. The long distance of transport (about 2,000 miles) is compatible with the fine grain size, good sorting and quartzose composition of the sediments. Lindsay presented her results in a poster at the GSA conference in Phoenix, AZ.

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