In the mountains of Idaho, Dr. Matthew McKay, assistant professor of geology and master’s student Sourav Krishna Nandi brave the cold in search of mountainous answers.
Two hundred million years ago, the edge of North America was in present-day Idaho. A series of islands collided with the continent, creating moutains.
“The entire states of Oregon and Washington were created through the collision of Japan-like islands to North America,” McKay says. Sourav is researching the process of continent construction.
The Society of Economic Geologists awarded Sourav $2,100 for his research, “Geologic mapping and gravity investigation of an accretionary orogen in western Idaho: Oxbow-Cuprum shear zone and Salmon River suture zone.” He is using the funding for a four wheel drive vehicle rental and fuel. Sourav is working in a remote area, so he is driving far distances on hard terrain to get to relatively close areas. This work is also funded by the United States Geological Survey.
Sourav will map the small gravity changes in rocks to “peer into Earth’s crust and determine where major boundaries [are] observed,” McKay says. “Mountain belts are very thick and have roots that extend well below the surface,” he adds. McKay worked in this area for his masters as well, so he is familiar with the geologic history of the area.
Dr. McKay and Dr. Kevin Mickus are Sourav’s academic advisers. Sourav is aided in the field by master’s student Mark Brown and undergraduate field assistants Derek Spurgeon, Ashley Gerik, and Dalton Breeding.
Thank you for this exciting work in Idaho’s mountains!