Cao co-author of newly published research in North-East Greenland

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Dr. Wentao Cao

Dr. Wentao Cao

Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor Wentao Cao had his research paper, “Exhumation of an Ultrahigh-Pressure Slice from the Upper Plate of the Caledonian Orogen – A Record from Titanite in North-East Greenland,” published in the journal Tectonics.

In this research paper, Dr. Cao and three co-authors examine the tectonics of Caledonian (geological term) collisional mountain belt in North-East Greenland (a geographical division of Greenland) using radiometric U-Pb dating of titanite (a calcium titanium silicate mineral, CaTiSiO₅) from rocks that reached a depth ~120 km (~75 miles).

Petrographic examination shows that titanite overgrows on the titanium mineral rutile (TiO2), interpreted as formed after the rutile (TiO2). Titanite was analyzed using ion microprobe at Stanford University after secondary electron microscopy (SEM) examination. Rare earth element patterns of the titanite show variable core to rim zoning that are representative of complex stages in different specimens, but fit the overall mineral succession sequences by modeling.

Radiometric dating by U-Pb system shows weighted mean ages from 347 million to 320 million years ago, which is consistent with previous study using U-Pb zircon geochronology. The data supports the exhumation of the crustal materials by buoyancy forces in translational tectonics.

Interested readers can check out the paper here

The journal Tectonics (impact factor = 4.2) is the scholarly journal of the American Geophysical Union, with editorial collaboration from the European Geosciences Union. According to the journal’s webpage, it “presents original scientific contributions that describe and explain the evolution, structure, and deformation of Earth’s lithosphere.”

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