CEC Pittsburgh Environmental Scientist Baylee Kushner can check one item off her bucket list.
She’s now a published author, as her graduate research project — Late Paleozoic cratonal sink: Distally sourced sediment filled the Anadarko Basin (USA) from multiple source regions — appears in the November 2022 edition of Geosphere, one of a family of journals published by the Geological Society of America (GSA).
“I’m proud to be able to tell the story to the geological community,” Baylee says.
She completed her research in 2017-2018 while a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, alongside her School of Geosciences faculty advisers, Gerilyn S. Soreghan and Michael J. Soreghan. “My advisers expect the results of master’s work to be published,” she says.
Baylee graduated in 2018 with a Master of Science degree in Geology and submitted her first draft to Geosphere in early 2019. Throughout the pandemic, while working full time at CEC, she collaborated with her advisers, submitting the final revisions in March 2022. “This has been four years in the making,” she adds.
Her research goal was to reconstruct sediment pathways to the Anadarko Basin (OH/TX, USA) during the Middle and Upper Pennsylvanian Periods using sedimentary petrography and detrital zircon geochronology.
The Anadarko Basin is one of the deepest sedimentary basins on the North American continent and is also an important oil and gas reservoir. Sediment from different source regions can introduce variation in the way sedimentary units change into rocks, and that rock’s ability to hold and release hydrocarbons (beyond the scope of this work).
For scholars, the basin is located along the suture zone between the North American and African/South American continents which once formed the supercontinent Pangaea.
It can tell us about what that land mass looked like:
- Where were rivers and mountains and valleys?
- What land areas were uplifted and eroded away?
- Where were the eroded sediments ultimately deposited?
“We discovered a discrete sediment pathway that connected the Anadarko Basin to the Forest City and Illinois basins (our results matched zircon populations from these locations published in 2018-2019), indicating a source region in the northern Appalachian basin that was not previously identified using geochronology,” she adds.
Additionally, contributions from the adjacent Wichita Uplift were minor in filling the basin and limited to gravel and sand fans on the very edge of the basin, Baylee says.
At CEC, the newly published author is responsible for soil and groundwater monitoring, surface water monitoring, drilling and well installation, bedrock coring, AST/UST removal, data management, and report writing.