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Publications in VIVO

Trower, Lizzy Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • I am a chemical sedimentologist: I study how and why chemical sediments form and lithify, with the goal of better understanding how chemical sedimentary rocks (e.g., carbonates, chert, iron formations) record chemical, physical, and biological paleoenvironmental conditions. Chemical sediments provide a key geobiological record – preserving a physical record of fossil life forms and depositional environments and a geochemical record of seawater and pore fluid chemistry. My research encompasses lab experiments, modeling, petrography, in situ geochemistry, and fieldwork, spanning modern environments to Precambrian time. My general philosophy is to use experiments and models to understand some key process, then move to a modern environment to test how well these models work in a natural system, and finally to apply what I have learned to the rock record to decipher something new about an ancient surface environment.


  • geobiology


selected publications


courses taught

  • GEOL 1020 - Dodos, Dinos, and Deinococcus: The History of a Habitable Planet
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2021
    Examines how the solid, fluid, and living Earth interact, how changes in the oceans, atmosphere and life reflect that interaction over the immensity of geologic time, and how the rock record is analyzed to reconstruct the co-evolution of Earth and life.
  • GEOL 4725 - Field Based Special Topics in Geoscience
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2019
    Explores selected geological subjects of special interest in a field setting. May be repeated up to 8 total credit hours. Same as GEOL 5725.
  • GEOL 5660 - Sedimentology & Geobiology of Carbonates
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020
    Carbonate sedimentary rocks are a significant component of the geobiological rock record, capturing a history of organisms and the environments they inhabit. This course will focus on how carbonate sediments are formed, deposited, and lithified and what influences the preservation and alteration of textural and geochemical signals. We will cover facies identification, interpreting depositional environment, and carbonate geochemistry, with a particular emphasis on recent advances and unanswered questions at the intersection of carbonates and geobiology, including the role of microbial carbonate precipitation and/or dissolution in the formation and degradation of stromatolites, carbonate mud, ooids, etc. Recommended prerequisite: prior coursework in Sedimentology.
  • GEOL 5700 - Geological Topics Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2020
    Offers seminar studies in geological subjects of special current interest. Primarily for graduate students, as departmental staff and facilities permit. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours provided that topics vary.
  • GEOL 5704 - Carbonates Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020
    Focuses broadly on the topic of carbonates, including sedimentology, geochemistry, and geobiology of carbonates. Each semester will have a distinct theme under these sub-topics. Students will be responsible for leading discussion on individual readings and will be able to provide input on both the theme and the individual reading selections. Upper-level GEOL majors can register with instructor approval.
  • GEOL 6310 - Sedimentary Petrology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021
    Covers interpretation of depositional and diagenetic history of sedimentary rocks as determined from thin-section studies. Department enforced prerequisites: GEOL 3010 and GEOL 3020 and GEOL 3430 or equivalents.


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