Undergraduate Honors Theses


Experimental Observation for Ooid Nucleation on Quartz Grains

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Geological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth J. Trower

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian M. Hynek

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey C. Cameron


Ooids are fascinating carbonate grains. What insights they can provide for Earth history, are still yet to be completely understood. Potential areas of interest include ancient seawater chemistry and the role of biotic factors in carbonate precipitation. Understanding the how and why of ooid formation remains an active area of research. This study examines the effect of nucleus composition on calcium carbonate precipitation for ooid growth. Abrasion mills were used to nucleate ooids onto quartz grains of multiple sizes. Low overall precipitation levels, as evidenced by both Camsizer imaging, and scanning electron microscope element mapping and imaging, may indicate an abrasion rate higher than anticipated, despite an experimental design intended to limit abrasion. When compared to experiments using ooids in the same size fraction, a preference for precipitation was observed among quartz grains of intermediate size. This is suggests nucleus composition may be a contributing factor in ooid growth.

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