class field trips are back!


After a long hiatus, the field trips for Stratigraphy & Basin Analysis (EARTH 467) are back!!

The last trip was in April 2019. Even though the class was last taught in Winter 2020, we went remote before the field trips.

But with classes back in-person this semester we were determined to get into the field — and we did. Twice! The first was overnight trip to western Ohio in October to check out the Ordovician and Silurian Stratigraphy. We had another trip to Grand Ledge MI to explore and describe the Pennsylvanian strata and fossils. It was so so good to get out again into the field. This picture is of the class on the Ohio trip — at Charleston Falls where we met up with  Dr. Zelalem Bedaso (Univ Dayton) who gave us a tour of the area.

Correspondence on First-Year Grad Seminars

Naomi joined a group in Fall 2020 of faculty who taught first year seminars for grad students. This group shared their experiences in teaching grad school on-boarding classes at GSA 2020, in a NAGT webinar Graduate student onboarding courses: Exposing the hidden curriculum to help your students succeed, and most recently in a correspondence piece in Nature Geoscience led by Michele Cooke at UMass Amherst, published July 19.

Cooke et al. 2019
First year graduate courses foster inclusion” by instructors who have been teaching these courses
Non paywalled link

The article came out along side a companion piece written by and early career group at UC Santa Cruz
Pensky et al. 2019
“Disrupt and demystify the unwritten rules of graduate school”
Non paywalled link

Congratulations to Elise for winning a library award for her thesis work

Elise Pelletier (undergrad and recent grad extraordinaire ) just learned she was awarded a UM Library award for her thesis work, Variability of Meteoric Water Isotopes in the Great Lakes Region

The award is technically called the “2020-2021 3rd Place Multi-Term Research Award”, and it’s one of the 11th Annual Pamela J. Mackintosh Undergraduate Research Awards from the University of Michigan Library.

The award winners will be announced on the UM Library website later in June ( and there will be a ceremony in the Fall.

Congratulations Elise!

Emily’s paper on triple oxygen and clumped isotopes in Serengeti soil carbonates is out!

Check out Emily’s paper on triple oxygen and clumped isotopes in Serengeti soil carbonates.

This work was a product of Emily’s NSF postdoc in the lab where she put together a quick and very thorough field season to the Serengeti in Feb 2018 to collect soils and soil water. The results: lower carbonate clumped isotope (∆47) temperatures than elsewhere in eastern Africa and triple oxygen isotope (∆17O) values that track local aridity gradients. Stay tuned for more work coming out from Emily with results from this Serengeti transect and for more work on ∆17O in soil carbonates from the lab.

photo credit: Emily Beverly

The citation:
Beverly EJ, Levin NE, Passey BH, Aron PG, Yarian DA, Page M, Pelletier EM. 2021. Triple oxygen and clumped isotopes in modern soil carbonate along an aridity gradient in the Serengeti, Tanzania,
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 567, 116952.

And the link to ESSOAr open access pre-print.


Congratulations to Jada and Sarah on receiving GSA grants for their research!!!

Both Jada and Sarah received funding from GSA for their research, Congratulations!

Jada’s project title: Carbonate Diagenesis in the Afar, Ethiopia

Sarah’s project title: Tropical climate and hydrologic variability from 609-530 kyr BP at Lake Junín, Peru: characterizing interglacial temperatures, water budgets, and precipitation using lake carbonate Δ47, Δ17O, and δ18O

Phoebe’s review on 17O in the hydrologic cycle is published

At last, Phoebe’s review of 17O in the water cycle is out in Chemical Geology.

It’s really exciting to see this out. The paper provides a thorough tour of triple oxygen isotope variation in water – it’s complete with R scripts for calculating & plotting O & H isotope variation in different settings. It’s a very good starting point for anyone who wants to get their head around the use of 17O measurements of waters.

This was a big team effort and it’s the first publication to come from the #17Owatermap crowdsource efforts that started with an email to the department in May 2018 asking if anyone could collect water samples during their summer travels. The outcome of this collection is all the gold circles on this map. 

If you’re reading this and you collected a sample for us: thank you!!

Here are the main data plots from the paper:

Elise finishes her senior thesis!!!

Elise Pelletier presented her her top-notch senior thesis on “Variability of Meteoric Water Isotopes in the Great Lakes Region” last week. Elise was co-advised by post-doc Phoebe Aron and her thesis built on work that Phoebe started as a PhD student at the UM Biological Station, on the Ann Arbor campus and nearby at the Huron River.

Elise started working in the lab in the spring of 2018 after taking taking EARTH 144, first-year seminar class with Naomi and she’s been here longer than all the current grad students! 

the IPL smorgasbord at AGU 2020

There was a good showing of IPL members at the 2020 annual AGU Fall meeting, sharing our recent work. Here’s an overview:

Sarah Katz, PhD student: Reconstructing precipitation δ18O from lacustrine carbonates using δ18O, Δ47, and Δ′17O: a modern case study from Junín, Peru with implications for paleoclimate. link to talk, PDF of abstract.

Julia Kelson, NSF EAR postdoc working in both the SCIPP lab and IPL:
Deltas in an estuary: clumped and triple oxygen isotope analyses reveal isotopically depleted headwaters in the early Eocene of Southern CA. link to talk, PDF of abstract.

Tyler Huth, IPL postdoc: Using triple oxygen isotopes to constrain speleothem paleorecord interpretation in western USA cave systems. link to talk, PDF of abstract.

Naomi Levin: A wet basin during dry times: a new Pliocene lake record from the Afar region, Ethiopia. link to talk on AGU site, PDF of abstract, and video of the recorded talk.

Welcome Jada Langston, new MS student in lab

We’re excited to have Jada Langston join the lab as a MS student in August 2020. Jada comes to UM from Hamilton College where her research ranged from Paleozoic red beds in southern France and to evaluating the isotope records for mollusk shells in East African Rift lakes. At Michigan, Jada will be working on the stable isotope composition of carbonates from the Afar region of Ethiopia, to gain insights into both past environments and carbonate diagenesis in an active rift.