Erin DiMaggio

Ph.D. Candidate in Geological Sciences

sese logo Arizona State University
School of Earth and Space Exploration
17711 South Rural Road, PSF 686
Tempe, AZ 85287-1404
office: Interdisciplinary A 121
phone: (480) 965-4053
email:
erin.dimaggio@asu.edu
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- Research in Ethiopiaacacia -
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My Ph.D. research project is focused on investigating the tectonic, stratigraphy, and volcanic deposits in a region called eastern Ledi-Geraru located in southern Afar Depression, Ethiopia. The area is significant for its exposures of fossiliferous sedimentary deposits from the Pliocene to Pleistocene (5.3 - .01 Ma) that are well known because they yield abundant fossils and artifacts of early humans, including  the famous Australopithecus afarensis specimens 'Lucy' and 'Selam'. This region is also important because it lies in a triple rift junction between oceanic spreading centers and continental rifting, and is volcanically active.

My project targets a time period (ca. 2.9-2.7 Ma) that corresponds to important biologic, climatic, and tectonic events, but where we do not have a good sedimentary record of these events. The methods i employ include geologic mapping, stratigraphic analysis, tephrochronology (40Ar/39Ar dating technique using minerals from volcanic ash), and tephrostratigraphy (the geochemical correlation of volcanic ash in a stratigraphy section). The results of this research will contribute to understanding past environments in East Africa and how they varied with time - variations that may have significantly influenced faunal populations, including early humans. This work also provides insight into the timing of tectonic, climatic, and volcanic processes controlling the development of an active region of the Afar Depression where continental crust is heavily stretched.


Publications:

DiMaggio, E.N., Campisano, C.J., Arrowsmith, J.R., Reed, K.E., Swisher, C.C., III, and Lockwood, C.A., 2008, Correlation and stratigraphy of the BKT-2 volcanic complex in west-central Afar, Ethiopia, in Quade, J., and Wynn, J.G., eds., The Geology of Early Humans in the Horn of Africa: Geological Society of America Special Paper 446, doi: 10.1130/2008.2446(07). -download .pdf-










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Roman, D.C., Campisano, C., Quade, J., DiMaggio, E., Arrowsmith, J R., and Feibel, C., 2008, Composite tephrostratigraphy of the Dikika, Gona, Hadar, and Ledi-Geraru project areas, northern Awash, Ethiopia, in Quade, J., and Wynn, J.G., eds., The Geology of Early Humans in the Horn of Africa: Geological Society of America Special Paper 446, doi: 10.1130/2008.2446(05). -download .pdf-

Dupont-Nivet, G., Sier, M., Campisano, C.J., Arrowsmith, R., DiMaggio, E., Reed, K., Lockwood, C., Franke, C., and Hüsing, S., 2008, Magnetostratigraphy of the eastern Hadar Basin (Ledi-Geraru research area, Ethiopia) and implications for hominin paleoenvironments, in Quade, J., and Wynn, J.G., eds., The Geology of Early Humans in the Horn of Africa: Geological Society of America Special Paper 446, doi: 10.1130/2008.2446(03). -download .pdf-

DiMaggio, E.N., 2007, Volcanic and stratigraphic characterization of Pliocene tephra from the Ledi-Geraru region of Afar, Ethiopia [MS. thesis]: Arizona State University, 120 p. -download .pdf-


animals


Pictures from field work in the Afar Depression, Ethiopia



Measuring a strat section in the badlands of the
Middle Ledi.


Guards, guides, and friends Has Hamado (...rest in peace) and Ali Yessen. Back at camp on my last day in the field.



Afar friends keeping me company while I hide from the sun and take notes about large glassy volcanic deposits.


The Mile River.




The ultimate in notebook/clipboard protection.



An ostrich running past a small volcanic dome.



Helping out with paleomag sampling.


Food preparation for the field.