Earth & Environmental Sciences

Faculty

Carmala Garzione

Professor
Chair of Earth & Environmental Sciences
PhD, University of Arizona, 2000
carmala.garzione@rochester.edu

Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
227 Hutchison Hall
(585) 275-3042

Office Hours: By appointment

Website
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Stable Isotopes in Terrestrial Paleoenvironmental Studies; Interaction between Climate and Tectonics; Sedimentary Basin Evolution and Related Tectonic History of Mountain Belts; Geochemical and Petrologic Provenance Studies of Siliciclastic Sedimentary Rocks

My research interests are in the tectonic and climatic evolution of sedimentary basins and related mountain belts. Large mountain belts have a significant impact on global climate and geochemical budgets. Sedimentary basins develop through a complex interplay of tectonics and climate that is recorded by the sedimentary basin fill. I combine sedimentology and stratigraphy, stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, and map-scale structural geology to address questions related to growth and unroofing of mountain belts and their elevation/climate histories.

One of my current research interests is the surface uplift history and paleoclimate of the Tibetan plateau as recorded in sedimentary basins within and along the margins of the plateau. Fieldwork efforts in Tibet are aimed at reconstructing paleogeography and tectonic evolution from sedimentology, stratigraphy, and geochemistry. Our group has employed O isotopes and clumped isotopes in studies of paleoelevation and paleoclimate and C isotopes to determine paleo-vegetal cover in the Himalaya and Tibetan plateau. Our current focus (work of Postdoctoral Research Associate, Alex Pullen, Ph.D. student, Li Lin and collaborative work with Greg Hoke at Syracuse) is the surface uplift, tectonic history, and associated climate change preserved in sedimentary basins in northern Tibet, southeastern Tibet and along Tibet's northern margin. Examination of the relationship between modern topography and atmospheric circulation patterns in Tibet will enable us to link our understanding of the deformation history of Tibet to environmental changes observed in the sedimentary record. As a compliment to the geologic records that we are generating in Tibet, we are characterizing the isotopic composition of surface waters and rainfall across a wide range of settings within and surrounding the Tibetan plateau to better understand the primary processes that fractionate stable isotopes in atmospheric water in this region.

I am also working in the central Andes (Peru and Bolivia) to document the elevation history and the tectonic evolution of the Altiplano basin to understand the geodynamic processes responsible for surface uplift of the Andean plateau. In the northern Altiplano of Bolivia, O isotopes and '13C-18O clumped isotopes' from carbonates in the Corque basin indicate that rapid surface uplift, on the order of ~2 or more km, occurred between ~10 and 6 Ma, raising the Altiplano to its current elevation. Both the magnitude and short duration of this uplift event suggest that removal of dense lower crust and mantle lithosphere below the Andean plateau caused late Miocene surface uplift. This surface uplift coincides with a slow-down in the convergence rate over the subduction zone to the west as well as the propagation of deformation into the eastern lowlands, perhaps related to the increased force applied by the elevated Andean plateau to the surrounding lowlands. We are currently extending paleoelevation and paleoclimate studies of the Andes to the lowland Subandes, southern Altiplano in Bolivia and northern Altiplano in Peru (work of Ph.D. student, Nandini Kar) to evaluate spatial and temporal variations in surface uplift of the plateau.

There are opportunities for graduate student research in South America and Asia, Please contact me (carmala.garzione@rochester.edu) for further information.

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • EES 101  Introductions to Geological Sciences
  • EES 203  Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
  • EES 283/483  Sedimentary Basin Analysis
  • EES 264/464  Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions using Light Stable Isotopes
  • EES 286/486  Seminar in Sedimentology and Tectonics

Selected Publications

Research Opportunities for graduate students

If you are interested in learning more about these or other potential opportunities, please contact me at carmala.garzione@rochester.edu.