Trainees

Jamie Cutts

PhD student
University of British Columbia

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. My research career thus far has been focussed on using various geochronological techniques to constrain the timing and duration of processes involved during orogenesis (mountain building). This research interest first began with a B.Sc honours project investigating ophiolite emplacement in the Newfoundland Appalachians. I followed this up with an M.Sc that involved dating and characterizing a suite of syn-tectonic plutons that were emplaced during the height of orogenesis in the Grenville Province of Ontario.

My PhD research began in January 2015 under the supervision of Drs. Matthijs Smit and James Scoates and is focussed on constraining the rate at which a terrane of continental crust in Norway was subducted to mantle depths during the Caledonian orogeny and also to determine how quickly it was exhumed. This field site acts as an ancient proxy for what may be occurring deep in the Himalayas. My research uses two relatively recent chronologic techniques, Lu-Hf garnet geochronology and micro-analytical U-Pb rutile geochronology; preliminary results are so far indicating striking similarities between the Himalayas and my field site. Another aspect of my research involves using the Lu-Hf garnet method as an ultra-high temperature thermo-chronometer to study orogenic peridotites in the Western Gneiss Complex. These fragments of the mantle have a protracted history spanning ~3 billion years and although these rocks have been extensively studied, the advent of the Lu-Hf technique has the potential to reveal an entirely new history for these remarkable rocks.

Doing a graduate degree is not only about research but should also strive to build a network and a skill-set that will follow you throughout your career. MAGNET has been a remarkable in enabling travel to workshops and conferences, providing a unique environment to improve our teaching skills, and above all has connected a diverse group of researchers across the country that can benefit from each other’s expertise and knowledge.

Blog: http://geoarchaeo.com/