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Rhode Island Research Infrastructure Development University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography

One major issue in determining climate change (whether gradual or sudden) in sediments is the identification of reliable markers. EPSCoRRID funding allowed the development of biogeochemical proxies for paleo-environmental changes associated with climate and impact events recorded in the loessoid deposits in the Buenos Aires Provence, Argentina. Using sediments returned from Argentina from a separate project, our research established that mid-chain n-alkyl compounds (leaf waxes) and glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs, i.e., bacterially generated compounds) are indeed preserved in sediments spanning the last ~3-4 Myrs. Such biomarkers provide evidence for sudden changes in temperature and hydrology in Argentina spanning an impact event

for Ocean Leadership funded workshops for scientific drilling in South America and its continental margin. This research contributed to NASA EPSCoR-RID objectives by creating future research opportunities and establishing new collaborations that will address several NASA Science Mission Directorate interdisciplinary focus areas including Climate Variability and Change, Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems, Water and Energy Cycle, and Exobiology. Of particular interest here, however, is to use these new biogeochemical proxies to assess the conditions before and after several major impacts discovered in Argentina (highly relevant to NASA’s Exobiology program). These impacts are expressed as widespread impact glasses coincident

and faunal turnover ~3.3 Ma, as well as temperature changes from the last glaciation to present. Our results resulted in presentations at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (2013), submission of two National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant proposals, preparation of a final paper, and participation in several NSF and The Consortium

with sudden endemic faunal turnover (3.27Ma) or sudden climate change (e.g., the Miocene/Pliocene transition). Understanding the severity of climate and landscape change following an impact helps to distinguish between this process relative to other natural (or human) processes as well as informing the potential response to a future collision.

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NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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