Saturday, March 27, 2010

Accretionary Wedge #23: What I do - or want to do.

This is a contribution to the 23rd Accretionary Wedge blog carnival hosted by Geology Happens.

I work on the microfacies, diagenesis, geochemistry and raw material properties of Jurassic shallow-marine carbonate rocks. Unfortunately that is about as much as I can openly discuss about my work details because the project is sponsored by and part of a German constructon material supplier. But that does not matter. There are plenty of issues that I love. Let me tell you about a few of them.

Shallow-marine carbonates: Even though my thesis is related there are issues I would far more enjoy. These are the recent shallow-marine carbonate environments. I enjoy watching images and aerial fotos of reef systems. The Great Barrier Reef, the reefs of the Red Sea or the Bahamas. Just to name some of the better known ones. Nevertheless I am most curious about the non-skeletal carbonates like Ooids. Their deltas and formation is still a not completely solved puzzle and a variety of conclusions on their depositional environment can be drawn from their different internal structures. For example radial or tangential ooids. Yes and, maybe it is just a good excuse to some day actually go to see the Bahamas or the Red Sea.

Calamine Ore deposits: There used to be a number of Calamine (Galmei in German) mines in the Aachen region and around Brilon in central Germany. I would very much like to work on these kinds of deposits to find out about their mineralisation history, the palaeoclimatical controls on weathering  and supergene ore formation. There is a lot of recent interest into these because of the lack of sulfides in these which makes it more environmental friendly to mine and smelt the ores.

Phosphate deposits and terrestrial evaporites: Both of these I want to work on because I know little about them. I know their uses for fertilizers and the chemical industry but their formation is a mystery when considering the details, aside of the general parts I assume every geologists knows. Sedimentary phosphorites are the most common source and directly linked to the activity of life. They are peculiar. Rare. Geologically speaking. Island or Guano deposits are small, rather recent bird droppings. Last but not least some carbonatites and pegmatites rich in apatite. Nice, shiny minerals.

Tantalum and Niobium deposits: I don't even know why I like these so much but I would really love to work on some tantalite placers in Namibia or elsewhere. This would almost have been my Master thesis topic - if financial issues wouldn't have killed it. *sniff*

So I now told you what I want to do. Some of it. Because what I do now I cannot talk about. Now all that is missing is to find someone to support all of those interests or winning the lottery that I don't play.

I am a Carbonate and Economic Geologist - when I am not being lost or travelling. :-)


Mihaela said...

I've always been envious of carbonate geologists for all the cool places (i.e. modern environments) they can go and study. As a geologist woking in the clastic world, the best places where I can see cool rocks are dry and barren. No scuba diving or snorkeling while thinking about production rates. Oh well.... So keep doing what you are doing, there are so many interesting problems to solve.

Lost Geologist said...

I have to admit that I never saw a contemperous carbonate environment. I only know them from the fossil record. Though I would of course love to see them in real. Generally, I love the sea-side. Even if there are no carbonates.