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team barbeau

we study sediments and their sources to understand the Earth system

About Us.

My students, collaborators, and I study the sedimentary record, which we use to better understand the evolution of tectonic plates, mountain belts, ocean and atmospheric circulation, climate, and biogeography over geologic timescales. We primarily use field geology and laser-ablation U-Pb zircon geochronology to meet these challenges. 

About Me.

I am a field geologist, clastic sedimentary geologist, and U-Pb geochronologist. I am an Associate Professor in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of South Carolina, where I lead its Geology & Geophysics program, and serve as the Geology Field Camp Director. I collect data in the Center for Elemental Mass-Spectrometry, and am responsible for our Rock Preparation Facility. I teach field-based introductory geology for geoscience majors, an undergraduate sedimentary geology course, geology field camp, and a regional tectonics graduate course. I have served as a Pearce Faculty Fellow of the South Carolina Honors College, and on the Editorial Board of Geology

CV, November 2023


Romano et al. (2023) has been published in Papers in Paleontology. Therein we present U-Pb zircon data from tuffs within the Miocene-Quaternary succession of northwestern Argentina composed of the Huayquerías, Tunuyán and Bajada Grande formations, which we use along with new biostratigraphic data to refine the age and biostratigraphy of the Huayquerian Stage chronostratigraphy, pertinent to accurate understanding of the South America Land Mammal Ages (SALMAs), and related problems in South American paleobiology. Specifically this work enables the establishment of numerical ages for several first (FAD) and last (LAD) appearance datums of important fossil groups, constraints on the timing of faunal turnover, and the establishment of a new biozone that offers promise as a correlation tool to other parts of South America. 

Ruiz-Ramoni et al. (2023) has been published in Journal of South American Earth Sciences. Therein we present the first U-Pb zircon data from tuffs within the Miocene-Pleistocene Salicas Formation of northwestern Argentina. These numerical ages provide critical spatial-temporal constraints on the South American Land Mammal Ages (SALMA) and the invaluable fossil content within the Cenozoic stratigraphy of southern South America. These integrated paleobiologic and geochronologic data could have significant implications for understanding the paleobiology of South America, whose land animal groups spent most of the past 70 million years isolated from other continents until the Great American Biotic Interchange, about 3 million years ago. 

Stubbins et al. (2023) has been published in Nature Communications. Therein we use detrital-zircon geochronology to show that the provenance of eolian sediments in central Argentina has not changed significantly since the Miocene, and that the onset of the Pampean eolian system seems to coincide with that of the Chinese Loess Plateau, hinting at a global climate driving mechanism.

Khanna et al. (2023) was published in Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. Therein we present compositional and geochronologic data from late Archean granitoids that occur below the Deccan Traps of west central India. These data provide important insight into tectonic and petrogenetic processes at work during an early part of Earth's history.

Bruner et al. (2023) was published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin. Therein we present U-Pb detrital-zircon age distributions for Pleistocene and Holocene loess and dune deposits from the Pampean eolian system of central Argentina. These data provide insight into the sources and pathways of wind-deposited sediment in an influential part of Earth's climate system. 

Pullen et al. (2022) was published in Nature Communications. Therein we present U-Pb detrital-zircon age distributions from the Tucumán mountain loess from Tafí del Valle, Argentina. These data definitively tie this important Pleistocene alpine wind deposit to sources to the northwest and west in the Puna Plateau -- and indicate they were not derived from the south or east, as other climate models have suggested -- and provide constraints on sediment transport pathways during a dramatic portion of Earth's climate history.

LaMaskin et al. (2022) was published in Geological Society of America Bulletin. Therein we present U-Pb zircon age distributions from Jurassic sedimentary rocks the Klamath Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, USA. These provenance data indicate sediment contributions from local sources, and therefore do not support the collision of exotic terranes.  

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