2014 Participants
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NAME: Patrick Foster

PROJECT TITLE: Sedimentary and Petrography of "Nonmarine" Limestones of the Glenshaw Formation,     Southern WV, and Implications for sequence Stratigraphy.

Banded iron formations (BIFs), are chemical sedimentary units predominated by hematite and magnetite with more than 15% Fe by weight, and the main ore for iron.  BIFs require the prevalence of reducing conditions in oceanic waters to allow for the concentration of ferrous iron in solution, followed by short episodes of oxidation that result in precipitation of iron oxides and hydroxides.  Most BIFs therefore formed during the Achaean and Paleoproterozoic ages prior to the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) of the Earth’s atmosphere 2.5 Ga. 
In the Central Eastern Desert of Egypt, thirteen deposits of BIF occur in an area of 30,000km2 intercalated with Neoproterozoic volcaniclastic rocks, and locally crosscut by felsic intrusions. For BIFs to have formed after the GOE, special tectonic and/ or climatic conditions must have prevailed. Two competing hypotheses have been proposed for the genesis of the Egyptian BIFs: (i) glacial conditions related to snowball Earth phenomena (Ali et al., 2010; Stern et al., in press), and (ii) small fore- or back- arc basins receiving excessive volcanic debris (Basta et al., 2011; El-Shazly and Khalil, submitted)).
            This project is aimed at identifying the tectonic setting in which the BIFs formed through chemical analysis of BIFs, intercalated rocks, and felsic intrusions. The results will lead to a better understanding of the tectonic evolution of the area, and will provide a means for testing the proposed hypotheses.