CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 24, 2002
UI researcher receives $258,000 NSF grant to continue ancient climate
Luis Gonzalez, associate professor of geoscience in the University of Iowa
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and his research team have received
a three-year, $258,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to
continue studying ancient rainfall patterns.
"The grant is to continue our studies of the Cretaceous rain patterns,
in particular, a time slice know as the Albian (about 100 million years ago),
believed to be one of the warmest and wettest parts of the Cretaceous,"
says Gonzalez, project principal investigator. "Our earlier studies,
funded by a prior NSF grant, have led us to find that in the region known
as the Western Interior Basin, basically a sea that extended from Texas all
the way to Alaska, the amount of rainfall in Iowa, Minnesota and portions
of Canada was much greater than what we see today in tropical rain forests.
The grant extends our studies south into the tropics."
Co-principal investigators on the project are Robert Brenner, associate
professor, and Greg Ludvigson and Brian Witzke, adjunct associate professors,
in the UI department of geoscience.
Gonzalez, who also directs the university's Paul H. Nelson Stable Isotope
Laboratory, says one of the goals of the project is to use the knowledge gained
by studying past greenhouse gas eras to develop more accurate and reliable
forecasting of the impacts of future global greenhouse conditions. The project
will use the isotope laboratory to analyze rock samples collected from sites
in Texas, Mexico and Columbia. The team's findings will be published in an
upcoming issue of the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.