IEEE PHOENIX SECTION
Annual Banquet - Saturday, February 7th, 2015
Hilton Phoenix Airport, 2435 South 47th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85034
Title: The Grand Canyon – A 1.8-Billion-Year Slice of Earth History
Speaker: Prof. Thomas Sharp
Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science
Arizona State University
The Grand Canyon is an amazing surface feature that attracts millions of tourists from around the world. The canyon exposes a thick sequence of rocks that represent 40% of Earth’s history. The inner canyon exposes the oldest igneous and metamorphic rocks, known as the Vishnu basement. These rocks record the history of continental crust assembly through collisions, mountain building, metamorphism and melting in the Paleoproterozoic Era between 1840 and 1660 Ma. The layered Grand Canyon Supergroup rocks of the inner canyon in the east record a history of sedimentation, crustal extension and basaltic volcanism on the continental interior during the Neoproterozoic Era between 1200 and 700 Ma. Separating the rocks of the inner canyon from those of the main canyon is the Great Unconformity, representing as much as 1200 million years of missing geologic record. The flat-lying sedimentary rocks of the of the main canyon record a history of sediment deposition in and adjacent to shallow seas that moved on and off of the continent through the Paleozoic Era (540 to 260 Ma). A thick sequence of Mesozoic sediments covered the area, but have been eroded away. The timing and mechanism of Canyon formation is the subject of current study and debate. The erosion that created the Grand Canyon is part of the recent history of the Colorado Plateau uplift and formation of the Basin and Range Province and is believed to be as young as 6 Ma.
Prof. Thomas Sharp is a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and director of the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science at Arizona State University. He earned a BS in Geology and in Geophysics at the University of Minnesota in 1983 and a PhD in Geology from Arizona State University in 1990. Prof. Sharp is a mineralogist interested in mineral reactions, phase transitions and deformation and how these can be used to understand processes that occur within Earth and other planetary bodies. This research combines experimental and natural samples with detailed physical and chemical characterization of rocks and minerals with transmission and scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, thermal emission infrared spectroscopy and other techniques. Applications include: Phase transitions in Earth’s deep mantle; High-pressure minerals in meteorites as indicators of impact history; and Chemical weathering of basalt and its implications for the remote sensing of Mars. In addition to his research, Professor Sharp is the ASU Associate Director of the NASA Arizona Space Grant Consortium.
Registration / Social Hour: 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Sit-Down Dinner: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Section Program: 7:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Keynote Presentation: 8:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Awards Presentation: 8:30 PM – 9:15 PM
Change of Section Officers: 9:15 PM – 9:30 PM
Banquet Registration Direct Link:
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