Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Geography and Geology

Document Type



Geologists have examined the causes and mechanisms responsible for the Heart Mountain detachment for over a century with much debate and discussion. White Mountain is a part of the upper plate, which was emplaced during the detachment event. Within White Mountain, there exist several andesitic dikes and carbonate ultra-cataclasite injectites, which were integral in the emplacement of the Heart Mountain detachment. This research involves the characterization and identification of an enigmatic vertical outcropping of brecciated rock located on White Mountain, Sunlight Basin, Wyoming, which was originally interpreted as a kimberlite. Samples were collected for geochemical and textural comparison, and cut into thin sections for analysis using polarized light microscopy. Remaining sample material was powdered for X-ray fluorescence geochemical analysis and for heavy mineral splits for U-Pb dates of primary zircons. Geochemical results indicate the enigmatic unit more closely resembles local andesitic dikes, while textural observations show two different rock types.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Andrew Wulff


Geochemistry | Geology | Physical Sciences and Mathematics