Earth History from Sedimentary Rocks and Landforms

My work in and adjacent to the Andes Mountains originated within the decades-long, broad, multidisciplinary Cornell Andes Project, which focused on Neogene and modern mountain building in relation to plate tectonics and climate. In the 1980s through the 2000s, my work contributed to the definition of the Neogene tectonic history of the foreland sector of the Central Andes and the uplift history of the Central Andean Plateau.

Because the hyperarid forearc of northern Chile offers opportunities to appreciate an almost pure end-member earth surface in which tectonic activity is the cause of landforms, during the last decade this research line focused on the tectonic evolution of the forearc of the Central Andes.

Nevertheless, the unusual soils of the Atacama Desert are themselves fascinating records of long-term climate history. Intriguing histories of both Pleistocene climate variability and of the climate changes that created the Atacama Desert some 12 million years ago, and then repeatedly modified that environment, have been developed from study of the sedimentary basins and paleo-soils.

This field geologist needed a pandemic project, something both challenging and requiring no travel. Mine became the late glacial and post-glacial history of Ithaca, NY, focused on drainage evolution as the last phase of Pleistocene glaciation waned. Landform analyses and sedimentology of deposits formed below the ice and adjacent melting ice are the focus.


Related Publications

  • de Wet, Carol, Driscoll, Elizabeth, de Wet, Andrew, Godfrey, Linda, Jordan, Teresa, Luethje, Melina, Caterham, Catherine, and Mortlock, Richard, (resubmitted after successful review, 2022), Exceptional Preservation in Quaternary Atacama Desert Tufas: Evidence for Increased Groundwater and Surface Water in the Calama Basin, Atacama, Chile, submitted to The Depositional Record

  • Jordan, T.E., Quezada, A., Blanco, N., Jensen, A., Vásquez, Sepúlveda, F., 2022, Paleoenvironmental Evolution of a Forearc in Response to Forcings by Drainage, Climate, Volcanism, and Tectonics: the Quillagua Depocenter, Chile: Lithosphere, v. 2022, Article 1024844, p. 1–27.

  • Jordan, T.E., Blanco, N., Quezada, A., Jensen, A., Vásquez, P., and Sepúlveda, F., 2018, Comment on paper by Ritter et al. (2018), Evidence for multiple Plio-Pleistocene lake episodes in the hyperarid Atacama Desert: Quaternary Geochronology, v. 44, p. 1-12.

  • Rech, J., Currie, B.S., Jordan, T.E., Riquelme, R., Lehmann, S. B., Kirk-Lawlor, N.E., Li, S., and Gooley., J., 2019, Massive Middle Miocene gypsic paleosols in the Atacama Desert and the formation of the Central Andean rainshadow: Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters, v. 506, p. 184-194.
  • Cosentino, N.J., Morgan, J.P., and Jordan, T.E., 2018, Modeling trench sediment-controlled flow in subduction channels: Implications for the topographic evolution of the Central Andean forearc: Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth, v. 123, p. 9121-9135.
  • Cosentino, N. J., and Jordan, T. E., 2017, 87Sr/86Sr of calcium sulfate in ancient soils of hyperarid settings as a paleoaltitude proxy: Pliocene to Quaternary constraints for northern Chile (19.5-21.7°S): Tectonics, v. 36, p. 137-162, doi: 10.1002/2016TC004185
  • Jordan, T.E., Kirk-Lawlor, N. E., Blanco P., N., Rech, J.A., and Cosentino, N.J., 2014, Landscape modification in response to repeated onset of hyperarid paleoclimate states since 14 Ma, Atacama Desert, Chile, Geological Society of America Bulletin. 126:B30978-B30971, doi: 10.1130/B30978.1