Theresa Orr, Honours student
I completed my undergraduate degree in 2016, which inevitably led to my current honours year and the exciting prospect of researching paleosols in the East African Rift System under my supervisor Associate Professor Eric Roberts.
Paleosols preserve information about the environment and climate at the time of pedogenesis, facilitating paleoclimate reconstruction by using morphological and compositional proxies, such as paleoprecipitation and paleotemperatures through carbonate accumulations and major oxide composition. Relict structures and stable isotope signatures preserve paleoenvironmental and paleoecological characteristics, enabling landscape reconstruction and the determination of dominant photosynthetic pathways. My honours project examines exposed paleosol horizons from the Cretaceous, Oligocene and Mio-Pliocene in the Rukwa Rift Basin, Tanzania, encompassing fascinating periods of biome and faunal evolution. Paleoenvironment and paleoclimate reconstruction will be achieved through a multi-faceted approach of field classifications, macro- and micromorphology, clay mineralogy, major element and stable isotope geochemistry and modelling.