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Students selected one of six stratigraphic units that nominally could contribute quartzite clasts to a Tertiary conglomerate in southern Nevada. They read Goetze and Lewis's (1994) paper on using trace element geochemistry on quartz sands then performed a literature search related to their unit and read relevant papers related to their unit. Students collected samples from their stratigraphic unit and prepared them for microprobe analysis. They reduced the data from their samples and then analyzed the data as a combined set to determine if their units geochemical signature was unique compared to other units. They then statistically compared their unit to the clasts of unknown origin from the Tertiary conglomerate. This project gave the students experience in finding conducting a literature search, collecting and preparing samples for analyses, manipulating data within Excel, comparing data statistically, explaining their data to other students int he class, and preparing talks and a poster.
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