Sedimentary Geochemistry Group at Virginia Tech Email Benjamin Gill Virginia Tech homepage Geosciences department homepage


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Dr. Benjamin Gill

My research interests concern the reconstruction of the evolution of biogeochemical cycles over Earth history and the interplay of life and the physical and chemical environment through time. In the department of Geosciences I teach courses on Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry, Carbonate Sedimentology and Stable Isotope Geochemistry.

Graduate Students
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Matt LeRoy

Matt is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. He received his bachelor's degree in Geology from Eastern Michigan University. His PhD project involves investigating changes in marine redox chemistry across extinctions in the Cambrian and the Devonian Periods using a variety of paleoproxies including carbon, sulfur, and thallium isotopes. Matt's study sites include locations in the Appalachians, Korea, and the United Kingdom.

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Selva Marroquin

Selva received her Masters degree in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2016. She previously received her BS in Geological Sciences from Tufts University in 2014. Her MSc research focused on coleoids (vampire squid) from an Early Jurassic Lagerstätte from Alberta that contains the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE). Her PhD research utilizes various isotope proxies to expand the paleoceanographic records of the Late Triassic and Eary Jurassic. She also plans to use geochemistry to investigate the environmental conditions facilitating exceptional fossil preservation.

Affiliated Labs and Collaborators at Virginia Tech
Lab Group Alumni
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Emma Tulsky

Emma received her bachelor's Geoscience degree from Virginia Tech in 2015. Her master's project involved understanding the effect of contact metamorphism on sulfur and carbon bearing specices in sedimentary rocks. She was joinly advised by Dr. Mark Caddick. Emma currently empolyed with Newmont Mining in Elko, NV.

Thesis: The effects of contact metamorphism by diabase intrusion on the carbon and sulfur bearing phases in the siltstones of the Culpeper Basin

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Teddy Them

Teddy came to the group after being a part of the Schmidt Paleoceanography & Paleoclimatology Lab when it was located at Texas A&M where he received a master's degree in Geological Oceanography. He previously received a bachelor's degree in Geoenvironmental Studies from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Teddy graduated from Virginia Tech in June of 2016. His doctoral research focused on the record of the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event in North America as part of an NSF funded study. He is presently has a post-doctoral at Florida State University working with Jeremy Owens on vanadium and thallium isotopes in anicent anoxic marine environments.

Thesis: Biogeochemical cycling and paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event from western North America

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Sam Ritzer

Sam came to the lab from Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she received her bachelor's degree in Geology. Sam graduated from Virginia Tech with a Masters in May of 2016. Her master's research concerned the sulfur and iron geochemistry of Triassic lacustrine deposits of the Newark Supergroup in the Eastern US. She is presently pursuing a PhD at Stanford University working with Erik Sperling

Thesis: An integrated geochemical and sedimentological analysis of a lacustrine Lagerstätten in the Triassic Cow Branch Formation of the Dan River Basin

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Esther Schwarzenbach

Esther's research focuses on the processes occurring during serpentinization of mantle rocks. By studying the isotopic signatures produced during hydrothermal alteration, she is working to determine the controls of mineral reactions on the presence of microbial activity and the importance of serpentinization in various environments in the evolution of early life. Esther received her doctorate at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. She presently is a research assistant in the Institute of Geological Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin.

  • ViewEsther Schwarzenbach's profile on ResearchGate
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Angela Gerhardt

Angela received her bachelor's degree in Earth Science from the University of California Riverside. Her masters research concerned reconstructing the carbon cycles across late Cambrian trilobite extinctions through lithostratigraphic and chemostratigraphic analysis of the Nolichucky Formation in the southern Appalachians. Angela currently empolyed with EnerVest in Houston, TX.

Thesis: Carbon cycle changes during the end-Marjuman (Cambrian) extinction in the Southern Appalachians

View Angela Gerhardt's profile on LinkedIn

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Hannah Grove

Hannah was a Geoscience major that graduated in the Spring of 2017. She worked on a project that examined the sulfur and iron cycles across the Triassic-Jurassic extinction in the United Kingdom.

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Ava Menza

Ava is a sophmore Geoscience major in the Geophysics option. She has worked on a variety of projects including tracking the carbon and sulfur cycles during the Late Cambrian and during the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction in Nevada, as well as an NSF funded study that traced a coal ash spill in the Dan River of Southern Virginia and Northern North Carolina.

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Russell Wheeler

Russell graduated with his bachelor's degree in Geosciences with Geochemistry and Geosciences Education emphasis. Russell worked on a project that sought to reconstruct the Middle Cambrian carbon, sulfur, and iron cycles as recorded in the Machari Formation of South Korea.

Future Opportunities
Please visit the Opportunities page to learn about current openings in the Sedimentary Geochemistry Group.