In the Jan. 27 Wired.com Eruptions blog entry "How Tiny Crystals Can Tell Us The History of a Continent," blogger Erik Klemetti, a geosciences professor at Denison University, writes about the process behind his forthcoming Geosphere paper with Pomona Prof. Jade Star Lackey and Jesslyn Starnes, now a graduate student at UC Davis.
The Geosphere paper, "Magmatic lulls in the Sierra Nevada captured in zircon from rhyolite of the Mineral King pendant, California," was first published online in December 2013 and is scheduled for the journal's February issue.
Prof. Lackey presented some of his work on this subject as part of Pomona's 2013 Fall Faculty Lecture Series, last October. In his talk, "Zoned Crystals and the Pace of Earth Processes," Lackey discussed case studies from the Sierra Nevada that showcase how to use the mineral zircon to reconstruct magma origins and mixing in the nascent Sierran Arc, and how the vigor and evolution of a CO2-producing hydrothermal system of the arc is archived by the semi-precious mineral garnet.
The collaboration between the three coauthors began through the Keck Geology Consortium, "a group of small liberal arts colleges that helps faculty run projects during the summer where 3-10 undergraduate students get down and dirty with field and labwork, culminating in a senior research project," explains Klemetti. The Keck Geology Consortium is based at Pomona and is directed by Senior Scholar Robert Varga.
The Geosphere paper is the third research paper stemming from the Keck project directed by Lackey in Sequoia National Park in summer 2010.
Lackey, an associate professor of geology, joined the Pomona faculty in 2007. Last August, he was awarded a $466,785 National Science Foundation five-year grant for research on decarbonation processes in the Sierra Nevada, including studies by Pomona students on garnet deposits in the Mineral King area. His most recent articles have appeared in the journals Geosphere, Geology, The Canadian Mineralogist and the Journal of Petrology.