'Archean pillow basalts as a paleoenvironmental record?' Undergraduate Research Project Application 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. Have a discussion with your supervisor about time/work expectations, keeping in mind that this is a 3-credit course (roughly, 10 hours per week for 12 weeks). Remember that a '396' course is an elective.

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.

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


Name: Boswell Wing

Email: boswell.wing [at] mcgill.ca (boswell dot wing at mcgill dot ca)

Phone: 514 398 6772


Supervisor's department: Earth and Planetary Sciences

Course number: EPSC396 (Earth and Planetary Science)


Term: Winter 2010-2011

Project start date: Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Project end date: Friday, April 8, 2011

Project title: Archean pillow basalts as a paleoenvironmental record?

Project description: The purpose of this project is to investigate whether Archean pillow basalts can be used as a paleoenvironmental record of the Archean sulfur cycle. Pillow basalts are of particular interest because we know that they occur at the bottom of the sea today, so we know that our samples represent the sea floor lithosphere-hydrosphere interface in the Archean. The Archean S cycle is of particular interest because multiple sulfur isotopes indicate a fully coupled S cycle among the Archean atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere. We will test whether pillow basalts can preserve a paleoenvironmental signal by performing center-to-rim S isotope transects through single pillows. We predict that the S isotope composition at the pillow rims will reflect Archean seawater, while the pillow center will have an S isotope composition closer to that of the mantle.
Our primary samples are from the Lumby Lake greenstone belt, Northern Ontario, which is ~2.9 Ga. I collected these samples in the field this summer, and am therefore familiar with the location and the context of the cores on the outcrop. We have three cores in a transect from the center to the rim of a pillow and one core from the boundary between two pillows. We plan to compare these cores to similar samples from the 2.7 Ga Abitibi greenstone belt, and to results from S isotopic studies from pillows that are actively forming in the present. This project will be able to track both the spatial and temporal distribution of pillow basalts as environmental records.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Other prerequisite, if applicable:

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): 50% participation in lab meetings and completion of progress reports; 50% final report

Other project information:

Project status - This project is: Taken; however students may contact the professor to discuss other possible '396' projects this term.

How students can apply: N/A; this project is filled.

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:

Unit chair/director/designate's signature: