Schmidt invited to present at national meeting

January 27, 2010

PLAINVIEW – Newly armed with his Ph.D., David Schmidt will present much of his doctoral research at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting this April in Branson, Miss.

Schmidt, assistant professor of geology in Wayland Baptist University’s School of Mathematics and Sciences, completed his doctoral work at Texas Tech University in May of 2009. Technically, the degree isn’t all that new, but he says he is still getting used to the idea.

“I’m still trying to soak it in,” he said.

Schmidt completed his doctorate work by studying sediment layers within the KT boundary at Big Bend National Park. The KT boundary is a well-known boundary of sedimentary layer among geological scientists.

“This is a well-known boundary because it coincides with the extinction of the dinosaurs,” Schmidt said. “Globally, there is a lot of evidence for a catastrophic event, like an impact from a meteorite.”

Conversely, however, Schmidt found that the layer in Big Bend shows no evidence of such a catastrophic event.

“We don’t see certain signatures that you see around the world to suggest a catastrophic event,” he said. “Instead, we see gradual conditions where there is not a drastic or abrupt change in climates or things like that.”

Interestingly, Big Bend is one of the closest research sites to the proposed impact site of the Yucatan Peninsula. 

“We are trying to piece together a little more complete history of this particular time period in Big Bend to just add another piece to the puzzle,” Schmidt said. “We are trying to see other possibilities.”

Schmidt is continuing his research and has plans to publish his findings. He said that is the next step in his process and he and his research advisor at Tech are currently working toward that goal.

Schmidt has been teaching geology at Wayland since the fall of 2007. He joined the faculty in the spring of 2008. He is also the faculty advisor and sponsor of the Wayland Baptist University Geological Society.