stratpeople

    Faculty

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Ken Miller

The research interests of our Stratigraphy-Earth history group are focused on sea-level and paleoceanographic changes of the past 200 million years. As co-leader of the group, I am a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University who received an A.B. from Rutgers College (1978) and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography (1982). I worked at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory from 1983-1988 (with current Rutgers scientists Greg Mountain, Jim Wright, Dennis Kent, and Rick Faibrbanks) and am a veteran of 8 scientific cruises and numerous drilling campaigns, including the New Jersey Coastal Plain Drilling Project (ODP onshore Legs 150X and 174AX), the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure, DSDP/ODP Legs 95, 150, and Expedition 313. I grew up in Medford, NJ in the heart of the Pine Barrens and live in Pennington, NJ. I enjoy skiing and running in my spare time.

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Greg Mountain

My research is based on applying reflection seismology to understanding Earth history recorded in marine sediments. Topics of most interest include the record of Cenozoic sea-level change, the transport of sediments across shelves and slopes, and the control of deep-sea sedimentation by abyssal currents. Each of these illuminates the impact of global climate change on the Earth system at a range of scales in both time and space. I teach courses on these topics from the introductory level for non-majors to hands-on, data-driven seminars for graduate students. I received my Ph.D. in 1981 at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory where I pursued an active sea-going research career until joining the EPS faculty in 2002. I continue going to sea to conduct my research and to help train the next generation of marine-based Earth scientists. Meanwhile, I live far enough inland to have realistic hopes of mastering a killer knuckleball before rising sea level forces me to move and quit 40-and-over baseball.

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Jim Browning

My scientific interests include microfossils (foraminifera) and sedimentology, as well as their application to sequence stratigraphy. I received a B.S. from the Ohio Wesleyan University (1980), a M.S. in Paleontology from the University of Southern California (1983), and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University (1996) and am currently a Research Scientist and Core Curator in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University. 

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Don Monteverde

My scientific interests include sedimentology and using sequence stratigraphy to better understand the 3 dimensionality of sedimentary bodies. I received my B.S. (1977) and M.S. (1984) from Lehigh University and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2008. I am a Research Scientist at the New Jersey Geological and Water Survey (NJGWS) and an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University. My work at the NJGWS and Rutgers involves geologic mapping using outcrops, downhole geophysical logs, and seismic data from the Middle Proterozoic to Pleistocene.

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Peter Sugarman

I am a Research Scientist at the New Jersey Geological and Water Survey (NJGWS) and an Adjunct Member of the graduate faculty at Rutgers after receiving my Ph.D. from Rutgers (1994) specializing in sequence and strontium isotope stratigraphy. My main responsibilities at the NJGWS involve geologic mapping, including subsurface stratigraphic and hydrostratigraphic investigations. I have been a Chief Scientist on many of the New Jersey Coastal Plain boreholes, and participated as a sedimentologist on IODP Leg 313 – the New Jersey Shallow Shelf. I also teach as an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers where I developed and teach a course in Environmental Geology.

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Pete McLaughlin [University of Delaware]

Peter P. McLaughlin, Jr. is a Senior Scientist at the Delaware Geological Survey at the University of Delaware with a secondary appointment as Professor in the UD Department of Geological Sciences. He is a frequent collaborator with Rutgers Stratigraphy-Earth History team geoscientists on Coastal Plain drilling projects and, more recently, CO2 sequestration. He received a B.S. from the University of Delaware (1984) and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University (1982). Pete's scientific interests include sequence stratigraphy, microfossils (palynology and foraminifera), and sedimentology, as well as their application to hydrogeology and petroleum geology. He worked in a variety of scientific and leadership positions at research and exploration divisions of Exxon between 1989 and 1999 before returning to his alma mater at Delaware in 1999.

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    Students

    Ph.D.

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Chris Johnson

Advisors: Greg Mountain, Ken Miller

Thesis Title: “Sedimentological controls on the rate of relative sea level rise at Sandy Hook, NJ”

I am a fourth year graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers. I received a B.S. from George Mason University in 2012. My past work experience includes teaching labs at George Mason University (2013-2014) and interning at the USGS’s Earthquake Hazard Center in 2013. I enjoy field work and have participated in bedrock mapping (Monterey SE Quadrangle, VA 2012-2014), coring (Coastal Plain Drilling Program 2014-Present), and a seismic research cruise (MGL1510, New Jersey 3D Seismic). My research interests include sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleoenvironmental reconstructions as they relate to climate and sea level using cores, outcrop mapping, and seismic data. Currently, I am working on constraining the sedimentological contributions (organic material and sediment compaction) to the rate of relative sea level rise at Sandy Hook, NJ.

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Masha Makarova

Advisor: Ken Miller

Thesis Title: “Application of multiproxy tracers to reconstruct paleoenvironmental perturbations on the mid-Atlantic margin during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum”

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student studying climate and ocean conditions across critical Cenozoic climate transitions, the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM, ca. 56 Ma) and the middle Miocene climatic optimum (MCO, ca. 17-14.7 Ma). I received B.S. and M.S. in Geology with an emphasis on geology and geochemistry of fossil fuels from Lomonosov Moscow State University (2009 and 2011). My transition from petroleum geoscience to research in paleoceanography began in 2011 when I moved to Rutgers to pursue Masters degree in Geoscience (ExxonMobil Scholarship for M.S. degree in the U.S.). In my ongoing research, I am applying multiproxy tracers to reconstruct paleotemperature, paleosalinity, and water column structure via analyses on planktonic and benthic foraminifera (δ13C, δ18O, and Mg/Ca) and investigation of lipid biomarkers in organic matter TEX86 and UK'37 paleothermometers). Combinations of independent paleoproxies can greatly decrease ambiguities in thermal estimates making a multiproxy approach extremely significant in studies of past climate.

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John Schmelz

Advisors: Greg Mountain, Ken Miller

Thesis Title: pending

Within the Sequence Stratigraphy group I will be studying the expression of coastal, estuarine, and marine sedimentary pathways preserved within the Quaternary geologic record on the New Jersey margin to document stages in the evolution of earth history on coasts and continental margins. I am generally fascinated by coastal processes and the sedimentary architectures they create. My recent experience includes field work contributing to projects examining coastal geomorphological change within coastal National Parks, where I have observed these coastal processes firsthand through the measurement of their influence on topography with state of the art survey equipment.

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Jesse Thornburg

Advisor: Ken Miller

Thesis Title: “Reconstructing mid-Cretaceous landscapes and climate from Potomac Formation strata to apply a non-marine sequence stratigraphic framework”

I am currently in the final year of my Ph.D. evaluating deposition along the eastern margin of North America during the mid-Cretaceous (Berriasian to Cenomanian). The Potomac Formation provides an excellent terrestrial record of the coastal plain during the transition to peak greenhouse conditions of the Cenomanian (~100-93.9 Ma). I am interested in how the landscape in this region responded to changes in climate and sea-level. This involves describing paleosol profiles from three coreholes in New Jersey and Delaware to interpret landscape conditions. From these profiles a morphology index and two geochemical proxies (Nb and Ba/Sr) were used to understand changes in paleoprecipitation and drainage conditions. Additionally stable oxygen isotopes from sphaerosiderite deposits were used as a paleohydrologic proxy to aid in this reconstruction. Ultimately this information was used to assign fluvial aggradation cycles (FACs) to place a sequence stratigraphic framework and potential sequence boundaries on these sites to offer additional correlatable surfaces between coreholes. I received my B.S. in Geosciences from Penn State University where I completed a project using stable isotope proxies to evaluate the Younger Dryas event in the Pacific Northwest, and my M.S. in Geology from Temple University where I described and analyzed Potomac Formation paleosols from a site in North Carolina.

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    M.S.

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Alexandra Adams

Advisor: Ken Miller

Thesis title: pending

I received a B.S. degree in Geological Sciences from the University of Idaho in 2016. My senior thesis was done with Dr. Elizabeth Cassel, and focused on using stable isotope geochemistry to reconstruct paleoelevation and paleodrainage systems in central Idaho during Eocene time. My current interests include stratigraphy, sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, seismology, and seismic stratigraphy. My thesis project will involve using offshore seismic stratigraphy in relation to potential carbon dioxide sequestration in the East Georges Bank Basin off the North Atlantic coast.

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Gabe Gallegos

Advisor: Ken Miller

Thesis Title: “Sequence stratigraphy of lower Miocene (ca. 20 – 18 Ma) NJ Sequences: architecture and onshore – offshore correlations”

I am in my third year as a graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences here at Rutgers. My research interests include sedimentology, stratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, seismology, petroleum/reservoir geology, salt tectonics, and mineral exploration. I received my B.S. from the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas in 2013. I have worked as an intern at Cabot Oil and Gas (2013) and as a research assistant at the University of Texas for Dr. Mark Cloos (2012-2013), where I assisted with projects on the Grasberg mine in Indonesia. At Rutgers, I participated in a coring project from the Coastal Plain Drilling Program (2014). My thesis project involves analyzing the architecture of sequences along the New Jersey coastal plain and shelf, as well as investigating the correlation of onshore and offshore sequences.

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Stephen Graham

Advisor: Ken Miller

Thesis Title: “Stratigraphic correlation of potential CO2 injection targets underlying the George's Bank Basin”

I am a Master’s Degree Candidate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. I received a B.A. from Texas Tech University (2004). I was a secondary Mathematics teacher from 2006-2009. I have been a core describer for the Sandy Hook Coring Project on both the South Maintenance yard A & B cores, in 2014 and 2015 respectively. I worked as a Geology Intern at Incline Energy during the summer of 2014. I was awarded a SIPES Foundation Scholarship in 2015. My research interests include petroleum geology, meteorics, stratigraphic correlation, and well log analysis. A resident of Somerset, NJ, I grew up in Midland, TX in the heart of the “oil patch.” I like to snow ski, wakeboard, play volleyball, and spend time with my son in my spare time.

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Oliver McLellan

Advisor: Ken Miller

Thesis title: Pending

I graduated from Brown University with a BS in Geology-Biology in 2016. My undergraduate thesis research was conducted in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and focused on Tyrannosaurus rex locomotion. My strengths are in evolutionary biology, paleontology, and paleoclimate research, though I have an extensive background in archaeology as well; I am interested in studying paleoecology through the lens of paleoclimate. My Masters thesis will involve the analysis of fossilized foraminifera from the North Atlantic to better understand water mass evolution during the Late Miocene (12-5 Ma).

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Luca Podrecca

Advisors: Jim Wright, Ken Miller

Thesis title: Clay mineralogy, grain size, and bulk carbonate analysis of sediments at Medford, NJ; Recording a change in depositional setting during the Paleocene-Eocene boundary 

I am a second year Masters student studying the depositional setting during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum at Medford, NJ. I have interest in reconstructing paleoclimates and environments using geochemical proxies and core analyses.

The world's diary.

The ocean floor and the shore.

Written, clear as mud.

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JN Stanley

Advisor: Ken Miller

Thesis Title: Pending

I am interested in stratigraphy and seismics and their applications to sequence stratigraphy. For my current research project I am looking at the sequence stratigraphy of the Pliocene Chowan and Yorktown Formations from the Eyreville, Va core. I plan to improve the chronology of the sequences using strontium isotopic stratigraphy and determine water depth variations using benthic foraminiferal biostratigraphy.

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    B.S.

   
   
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Mariya Galochkina

I am a sophomore majoring in geology and physics. My current research involves investigating the temperature variations of the North Atlantic sea surface and thermocline during the middle to late Miocene using planktonic foraminiferal stable isotopic records from various DSDP sites. I plan on gathering data from both planktonic and benthic foraminiferal species from various sites along the central subtropical North Atlantic gyre in order to construct a thermal gradient across the North Atlantic Ocean.

   

    Alumni

    Gabe Gallegos [M.S. 2017, Advisor K. Miller]

    Jesse Thornburg [Ph.D. 2017, Advisor K. Miller]

    Chris Lombardi [Ph.D. 2017, Advisor K. Miller]

    Kim Baldwin [M.S. 2015, Advisor G. Mountain]

    Lindsey Lugrin [M.S. 2015, Advisor G. Mountain]

    Selen Esmeray-Senlet [Ph.D. 2015, Advisor K. Miller] – Chevron Energy Technology Corporation

    Tuçe Değirmenci [M.S. 2014, Advisor G. Mountain] – Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO)

    Turan Işçimen [M.S. 2013, Advisor K. Miller] – TPAO

    Roni Dell Baluyot [M.S. 2013, Advisors J. Wright, K. Miller] – Brown and Caldwell

    Svetlana Misintseva [Ph.D. 2013, Advisor K. Miller] – Marymount Manhattan College

    Sarp Karakaya [M.S. 2012, Advisors G. Mountain, K. Miller] – TPAO

    Zuhal Şeker [M.S. 2012, Advisors K. Miller, G. Mountain] – TPAO

    Ashley Harris [Ph.D. 2010, Advisor K. Miller] – Chevron Energy Technology Corporation

    Aimee Pusz [M.S. 2009, Advisor K. Miller] – Hess Corporation

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