I started my PHD in July 2010. On March 12, 2016, the paper that summarizes over five years of work was finally published. Before going on what it is about, you can download your own copy of the paper from this link until May 1st. After that, it is behind a paywall, but feel free to email me if you want a copy. I am always happy to help out, don’t be shy!
A childhood dream
When I was a kid, I was totally obsessed with Earth sciences. I had notebooks full of dinosaur names and facts. I had a big rock collection! I completely wanted to be a geologist or paleontologist when I grew up. When my parents went on a trip to Las Vegas, the gift they got me was a collection of “The rocks and minerals of Nevada” (I actually still have that). Sometime after the age of about 8 or 9, I sort of grew out of those ideas.
I didn’t really get back into the Earth sciences until I randomly took an introductory geology course as an undergrad student as an elective. I was completely enthralled, and remembered the love I had of the Earth that I had as a kid. The class was taught by Jim Teller, an expert on glacial Lake Agassiz.
When I was growing up, I went to school on top of one of the largest features in the post-glacial landscape in North America – the Upper Campbell strandline. It formed when there was a large lake known as Lake Agassiz at the south end of the Laurentide Ice sheet. This lake existed because the natural northward flow of water was blocked by the ice sheet. When I was a kid, I played in the gravel pits of this wave sculpted piece of the ancestral Assiniboine River delta, finding interesting rocks and fossils. I always wondered, how did this come to be? Of course, everyone here knew that this was the shoreline of Lake Agassiz, locally known as the Arden Ridge. I knew the Arden Ridge stretched way to the south, and that you could drive a long way to the south on top of it. I remembered the dip in topography just behind our elementary school. I always thought this was really odd. I also wondered why there was another ridge about 1 km to the east, and other smaller ridges further on the road to my parents’ house.
So I went to Australia, and found out about these things. Continue reading