396 Undergraduate Research Project Proposal Form

INSTRUCTIONS - PROFESSORS: Fill out Sections A & B then submit this form online. (You will receive an email copy of the form. The Office for Undergraduate Research in Science will also post the project online, indicating whether the project is open for students to apply or taken.) DONE

INSTRUCTIONS - STUDENTS: You may receive this form by email, or you may download it after it has been posted. Either way, print this form. Complete and sign Section C on the hardcopy. Ask your supervisor to sign Section D. Take it to the department corresponding to the course number in Section A (this may or may not be your own department). Do not register for a '396' course on Minerva until you receive departmental permission.

INSTRUCTIONS - DEPARTMENTS: After the unit chair/director/designate approves (or not) this project, notify student. If approved, please give student permission to register on Minerva, and fax this form (with signatures) to the Office for Undergraduate Research in Science at 514-398-8102.

QUESTIONS OR FEEDBACK? Contact Victor Chisholm by email, or phone 514-398-5964.

Name: Boswell Wing
Email: boswell.wing [at] mcgill.ca (boswell.wing) -at-mcgill.ca
Phone: 514 398 6772
Supervisor's department: Earth and Planetary Sciences
Supervisor's department (if none of the above)  
Course number: EPSC396 (Earth and Planetary Science)
Term: Winter 2008-2009
Project start date: January 5, 2009
Project end date: January 20, 2009
Project title: The light element in Earth's core: constraints from S isotopes
Project description: Every continent has a package of extremely old Archean (>2.5 billion years) rocks at its core. These 'cratons' contain a record of Earth's earliest surface environments, and understanding their growth and destruction is a necessary condition for unraveling the early history of life on Earth. Lead isotopes monitor of the gross evolution of Archean cratons through their sensitivity to large-scale melting events and their general durability in the face of weathering under an anoxic Archean atmosphere. In the Superior geological Province of Canada, for example, a pair of late Archean 'blooms' of continental material has been inferred from lead isotopes in galena that occurs in sub-seafloor volcanic massive sulfide ore deposits. The same integrative nature that allows galena to concentrate lead isotopic information about Archean crustal growth enables it to sample the bulk sulfur isotopic character of Archean crust and upper mantle. This is a particularly useful tool in the Archean Eon, when the presence of S isotope anomalies enables one to ‘fingerprint’ S that has cycled through Earth’s atmosphere and exclude it from the dataset.

The objectives of this project are to determine the mean sulfur isotopic composition of the Archean crust and upper mantle. By comparing the bulk sulfur isotopic composition of Archean crust and upper mantle to the sulfur isotopic record in meteoritical sulfides, we will be able to determine whether Earth contains a 'missing' sulfur reservoir (e.g., in the core). If an such an imbalance is found, the S isotopic fractionation factor between ‘core’ and ‘silicate mantle’ in planetary environments will be determined from Pallasite meteorites. Such a fractionation factor will enable quantitative evaluation of the percentage of S that makes up the light element in Earth’s core.
Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA ≥ 3.0; or permission of instructor.
Other prerequisite, if applicable:  
Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): 50% of final grade based on participation in lab meetings and 1-on-1 meetings with advisor; 50% of final grade based on final report
Other project information:
Project status - This project is: Taken. The professor has no more '396' projects this term.
How students can apply: N/A; this project is filled.
If other, please specify:  
Ethics, safety, and training
Which of the following, if any, is involved? One or more of the following
Animal subjects [ ]
Human subjects [ ]
Biohazardous substances [ ]
Radioactive materials [ ]
Handling chemicals [x]
Using lasers [ ]
Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students.
Do not complete this section unless/until the student is identified.
McGill ID:  
Email (first.last [at] mail.mcgill.ca):
Program (E.g., B.Sc. Maj. Chem. Min. Biol.):  
Level (U0 / U1 / U2 / U3):
Student signature - I have not applied for another '396' course in this term:  
Do not complete this section unless/until the student is identified.
Supervisor: I give my permission for the student identified in section C to register for this project under my supervision.
Supervisor's signature:  
Unit chair/director/designate: I certify that this project conforms to departmental requirements for 396 courses.
Unit chair/director/designate's name: John Stix
Unit chair/director/designate's signature: