Seth Burgess, U.S. Geological Survey

Using High-Precision Geochronology to Test the Link Between Magmatism and Mass Extinction

  • DINNER MEETING - Tuesday, February 10, 2015
  • Location: Stanford University

  • 5:30 PM-Social (3/4) Hour, Hartley (in Mitchell Earth Sciences)
  • 6:15 PM-Dinner, Hartley
  • 7:30 PM-Meeting, Hartley

    Map and driving instructions

    Anyone wishing to attend the lecture only is welcome at no cost.

    This will be the 451st meeting since 1954


    Photo of large sill; tiny geologist for scale

    Broad temporal coincidence between select Phanerozoic instances of mass extinction and large igneous province (LIP) magmatism has led many to hypothesize a causal link between the two. Testing the plausibility of this connection depends on the tempo of both and their relative timing. Thus, dating the records of mass extinction and magmatism with the maximum possible precision and accuracy is critical. This presentation will detail the application of U/Pb thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) geochronology to (1) volcanic ash beds intercalated with the fossil record of the end-Permian mass extinction, and (2) lava flows, sills, and pyroclastic rocks of the Siberian Traps LIP. New dates permit a revised calculation of the tempo of magmatism and mass extinction and allow resolution of their relative timing.

    About the Speaker

    photo of Seth in the field
    Seth Burgess

    Seth Burgess was raised in northern California in the once sleepy town of Healdsburg. Seth attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for an undergraduate in Soil Science, and San José State University for a master's in Geology. Seth completed his Ph.D. work in the Spring of 2014 in the Isotope Geochemistry lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is now a Mendenhall Postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Geologic Survey Volcano Science Center in Menlo Park, Calif.

    Reservations: The preferred way to make reservations is simply to email Mike Diggles at by Feb. 8, tell him you will attend, commit to pay, and bring your payment to the meeting. Mike always emails a confirmation; if you don’t get one, assume email crashed yet again and email him a second time. A check made to “PGS” is preferred, payable at the meeting.

    If you want to pay in advance:

    Everyone (including Stanford folks now) Please make dinner reservations by Feb. 8. Contact Mike Diggles, at U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, MS-910 Menlo Park, CA 94025, Tel.: (650) 329-5404. Send check made out to “PGS” to Mike.

    Dinner and the social hour is $35.00; this includes $5 that we use to help pay for students who are only $8.00 (also partially subsidized thanks to the School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University (Note, no-show reservations owe the full price).

    Doris, whose wonderful crew prepares our meals, asked that we let you know that people who are late RSVPing and people who show up without a reservation will be welcome but that they may be eating on paper plates with plastic utensils (food supply permitting).

    Dues for Academic Year 2014-2015 ($10.00) should be sent to Mike Diggles, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, MS-910, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Mike’s phone: (650) 329-5404.

    Officers: Brad Buerer, President; Sarah Nagorsen, Vice President; Mike Diggles, Secretary-Treasurer; Elizabeth Miller, PGS Stanford University Coordinator

    map showing Mitchell

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    PGS cartoon by Rick Blakely

    Date created: January 16, 2015
    Last modified: June 6, 2015
    Created by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster-Secretary-Treasurer, PGS.

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