James Willey '18

Research with Jeff Rahl, funded in part by a Johnson Opportunity Grant, Summer 2017

This summer, I had the opportunity to travel with Professor Jeff Rahl to the Island of Crete for my thesis field work. The trip was an incredible experience that covered a large portion of island, starting with the capital city of Heraklion, and then moving around the coast to include stops in Matala, Spili, Plakias, Palaiochora, Chania, and Rethimno to name a few. Along the way we experienced Greek culture through stops at archeological sites, day trips to Santorini and Athens, and field work guided by local Geologist Dr. Babbis Fassoulas. Our trek followed outcrops of the Phyllite-Quartzite unit from east to west, seeking samples of clean quartzite. The goal for this collection method is twofold. First and foremost, we want to track changes in metamorphic grade from east to west. The strategy here involves using crystallographic preferred orientation patterns of the quartz as a thermometer. Additionally, the samples should elucidate a standing debate as to whether deformation on the island is a result of flattening or simple shear. All told we collected 32 samples, which were oriented and made into thin sections. These sections will be analyzed with the SEM - a process we are just about to start - to illustrate the microstructures present in this unit. Hopefully we'll be able to answer both questions, but at a minimum we are confident there is critical information in our data set that will better the understanding of Crete's geology.

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For other opportunities, view the Geology Department's Summer Research and Internships page
Funding for research projects