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Harrisburg Chapter Meeting
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When: September 14, 2017
4:45 PM
Where: Meeting Location: AEG Offices (previously known as GTS)
441 Friendship Rd
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 
United States
Contact: Rick Hoover

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Using Stable Isotopes in Bryozoans to Constrain the Timing of the Formation of the Isthmus of Panama Relative to the Onset of the Gulf Stream and Northern Hemisphere Glaciation

Presented by: Professor Marcus M. Kay, Jr., Ph.D., P.G., Dickinson College

Meeting Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017

Meeting Time: 6:30 pm

Meeting Location: AEG Offices (previously know as GTS at 441 Friendship Rd, Harrisburg, PA)

Dinner Location: Fiesta Mexico (same place as last year, just around the corner)

Dinner Time: beginning at 4:45 pm or whenever you get there

The formation of the Isthmus of Panama 3 million years ago (Ma) had major implications on the oceanography and biology of the tropical Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. For the 1st time in 170 Ma, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans were not connected, but North America and South America were.  On land, this led to the Great American Interchange of mammals and in the ocean, massive speciation.  Oceanographically in the tropics, it created the Gulf Stream which carried warm moist air to the high latitudes in the north Atlantic. It has been argued that this triggered the onset of northern hemisphere glaciation. The goal of this project is to develop a method to independently determine the timing of the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. We use temperature variations recorded in the stable isotope profiles of free-living extant marine bryozoans as a method for quantifying paleo-seasonality. Pacific bryozoan colonies consistently reveal cyclical trends that are absent in the Caribbean colonies. This reflects a combination of seasonal freshening and seasonal upwelling of colder water. The next step will be to apply this methodology to the rich bryozoan fossil record recently improved by the widening of the Panama Canal.

Speaker Bio:  Marcus Key is the Joseph Priestley Professor of Natural Philosophy and chair of the Department of Earth Sciences at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. His teaching interests include sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, evolution, extinction, energy resources, and sustainability. His research interests involve inferring evolutionary and sedimentary patterns and processes using fossil and living bryozoans. He received his Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University and his B.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas.

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