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: April 14, 2009
Project title: Banded Iron Formation Depositional Environment in the 4.28Ga Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt
Project description: Our knowledge of the primitive earth is limited given that the data available with which to study this ancient time is restricted to very few outcrops located only, up until this point, in Greenland and Labrador. Even the available rocks are limiting since most have been heavily metamorphosed leaving less reliable sets of data behind. The recent discovery of the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt extends the inventory of outcrops and pushes back the limit of time that we previously had access to (O’Neil et al., 2007, 2008; David et al., 2008). The Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt is formed from volcanic rocks dating to 4.28Ga, along with sedimentary rocks (e.g., Banded Iron Formations - BIF) that could represent the oldest sedimentary rocks in the world.

This research project will examine a set of recently collected samples from Porpoise Cove, which is located on the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt, looking specifically at BIFs. The sample set contains a pair of BIF lithologies that, although they were found within a meter of each other in the field, are two distinct rock types and likely represent different environments of formation. Both these rocks have significant sulfide layers that are easily visible to the naked eye. Light microscopy, whole-rock x-ray fluorescence analysis, scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, and total sulfur isotope analysis will be used to fully characterize the sample set. The ultimate goal is to determine the depositional conditions of these rocks (i.e. chemical sedimentary versus hydrothermal influences) in order to better understand the context in which the sulfide layers were established. As sulfur isotopes have the potential to act as ‘biosignatures’, the results from this project will help to inform the search for the traces of Earth’s most primitive life.
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: