Dr. Brian Tucholke

brian-tucholkeOrganization: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Personal Biography: Born and raised in the natural geological laboratory known as the Black Hills of South Dakota, Brian Tucholke has been a geologist from the time he first crawled off his baby blanket and grabbed a fistful of dirt. He affirmed that career with a B.S. in Geology from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1968, followed by graduate study in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography, where he completed his Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics in 1973. Since giving up the bedrock stability of the western mountains for the rolling sea, he has been on 30 oceanographic research cruises and published more than 150 research papers, geologic maps, and books relating to the flow of abyssal currents, seafloor sedimentation, the paleoceanographic history of ocean basins, the structure and evolution of rifted continental margins, and the tectonics of mid-ocean ridges. The mark of his passage can often be seen in the imprint of his cowboy boots, several decrepit pairs of which he has buried at sea in oceans ranging from the North Atlantic to the Bellingshausen Sea off Antarctica.

Directed Study Topic: Geologic Evolution of the North Atlantic Ocean
Plate tectonics theory as developed over the past 4-5 decades has been a powerful tool for both explaining and predicting the structure and evolution of the Earth. In this directed study we will survey the basic tenets of plate tectonics and investigate how they have controlled the evolution of the North Atlantic Ocean basin. We will use geologic maps and apply general geologic principles to construct geologic cross sections from the eastern margin of North America out to the axis of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Using a map-series of plate reconstructions, we will examine North Atlantic basin structure, ocean circulation, and sedimentation patterns from the time of initial rifting in Late Triassic time up to the present. Finally, we will consider the structure of North Atlantic oceanic crust and how it is created at the axis of the present Mid-Atlantic Ridge.