"Understanding what happened geologically 1 to 2 billion years ago is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with only half the pieces."
Associate professor of geology
The popular phrase "Rock On" is most often associated with youth, but for Chris Daniel the connotations are old - in fact, they're downright ancient. He studies metamorphic rocks - rocks like marble, schist, and gneiss that were formed deep in the earth's surface under tremendous pressure and temperature over a billion years ago.
By examining metamorphic rocks - 1.4 to 1.7 billion years old - Daniel gains new insight about the formation and evolution of the North American continent. Trying to understand what was happening geologically 1 to 2 billion years ago is complicated. "It's like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with only half the pieces," he says.
Daniel says it was an early love of hiking and camping that first led him to geology, one that he shares with his students. Not only does he lead geology classes into the field in the region around Bucknell, but he also leads groups of students on trips over spring break to places further afield like Utah and Death Valley. In the lab, students are able to study the structure and chemistry of their samples using an environmental scanning electron microscope. The ESEM was purchased through a grant from the National Science Foundation.
- Igneous and metamorphic petrology
- Physical and historical geology
- Formation and tectonic evolution of continents and mountain belts
- Interactions between metamorphic and deformational processes
- "Exhumation of the Main Central Thrust Zone from Lower Crustal Depths, Eastern Bhutan Himalaya," in the Journal of Metamorphic Geology vol. 21. n.4, 2003.