Title

Palynology of the Hell Creek Formation in Montana

Presenter Information

Marissa Spencer

Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Major

Geology and Geophysics

Research Advisor

Oboh-Ikuenobe, Francisca

Advisor's Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Funding Source

Missouri S&T Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) Program; National Science Foundation; Dr. Al Spreng Undergraduate Research Award

Abstract

Sediments were collected from the Hell Creek Formation and surrounding areas in Garfield County, Montana in 2008 and 2009 during the recovery of fossil bones of a Triceratops (a dinosaur), and the Snow Creek Microstratigraphy Project as part of a collaborative study with researchers from Washington University, St. Louis Community College, the St. Louis Science Center, and Missouri S&T. The Hell Creek spans the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary, known for one of the largest Phanerozoic mass extinctions. The palynofacies and palynomorphs of these samples were analyzed utilizing transmitted light microscopy to interpret paleoenvironmental conditions and age of the sediments. The 69 samples studied contain abundant dispersed organic matter and pollen. Dispersed organic matter components are mainly comminuted and degraded phytoclasts, and structured phytoclasts (wood, cuticles, parenchyma), although palynomorphs (primarily pollen, spores, fungal remains), and opaque matter are also commonly preserved. Palynology is being integrated with sedimentology and vertebrate paleontology for interpretation.

Biography

Marissa is a senior at Missouri University of Science and Technology studying Geology and Geophysics. Marissa is a member of the C.L. Dake Geological Society, Geological Society of America, Eastern Missouri Paleonotological Society, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and is Treasurer for Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the Earth Science Honor Society. While studying the palynology of the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, Marissa also co-authored another scientific publication on the palynology of Southeast Missouri. In addition to classroom and research experience, Marissa has spent several summers in the field excavating dinosaur bones in Montana, leading geological tours of Onondaga and Cathedral Caves, as well as educational programs and geological presentations. Marissa plans to continue her education at Missouri S&T as a graduate student of geological sciences.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

06 Apr 2011, 9:00 am - 11:45 am

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Apr 6th, 9:00 AM Apr 6th, 11:45 AM

Palynology of the Hell Creek Formation in Montana

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Sediments were collected from the Hell Creek Formation and surrounding areas in Garfield County, Montana in 2008 and 2009 during the recovery of fossil bones of a Triceratops (a dinosaur), and the Snow Creek Microstratigraphy Project as part of a collaborative study with researchers from Washington University, St. Louis Community College, the St. Louis Science Center, and Missouri S&T. The Hell Creek spans the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary, known for one of the largest Phanerozoic mass extinctions. The palynofacies and palynomorphs of these samples were analyzed utilizing transmitted light microscopy to interpret paleoenvironmental conditions and age of the sediments. The 69 samples studied contain abundant dispersed organic matter and pollen. Dispersed organic matter components are mainly comminuted and degraded phytoclasts, and structured phytoclasts (wood, cuticles, parenchyma), although palynomorphs (primarily pollen, spores, fungal remains), and opaque matter are also commonly preserved. Palynology is being integrated with sedimentology and vertebrate paleontology for interpretation.