Greenfield Community College

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From the Connecticut River Valley to the Tasman Sea: Lessons in Plate Tectonics

From the Connecticut River Valley to the Tasman Sea: Lessons in Plate Tectonics

Instructor: Presenter: Adriane Lam
Course time(s): 42384 PVI 131-10: (Stinchfield) W, 3/7, 7:00 pm
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The Connecticut River Valley was created during the pulling apart of two continents that led to the formation of the valley, and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. The style of rifting on the east coast of the U.S. provides an ideal model for pull-apart basins and their signature in the sediment and rock record. Once this process is understood, it can be applied to other basins around the world. One such example of using Connecticut River Valley-like tectonics to explain the pattern of rifting is the Tasman Sea and the newly found continent of Zealandia. During August to September 2017, 32 scientists sailed aboard the scientific research vessel JOIDES Resolution to drill six sites in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. The purpose of the expedition was to 1) determine the timing of key tectonic events, some of which elucidated when the Zealandia sank beneath the waves; and 2) investigate important climate events in Earth's geologic past. The key to the timing of these tectonic and climate events lies within tiny fossils, called microfossils. Adriane Lam, a paleontologist studying at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and one of the expedition scientists, will discuss how she used microfossils to help reconstruct the tectonic history of the Tasman Sea and the submerged continent of Zealandia, and some of the major findings of the
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