Charles W ByersEmeritus Sedimentary Geology
My research interests lie along the boundary between sedimentology and paleontology. I have long been interested in the origin of shales: their depositional mechanisms and environments. Most of my work has dealt with the Interior Cretaceous section, with a few forays into the Paleozoic and Cenozoic. Most recently, a sedimentologic-geochemical study of the Mowry Shale in Wyoming has shown it was deposited by a combination of turbidity currents and pelagic settling. Along with shale studies, I have also pursued research into the deposition of the early Paleozoic orthoquartzite-carbonate suite of the craton, in collaboration with Emeritis Professor R.H. Dott, Jr. Our studies have shown that facies changes from eolian to marine depositional environments can be recognized within individual pure quartz sandstone formations. Our investigation of depositional environments of the Cambro-Ordovician strata in the northern Mississippi Valley has led to the development of a eustatic curve for the central craton. Conditions on the seafloor in Paleozoic time are revealed by physical sedimentary structures and also by the faunas and their biogenic structures. I have investigated the paleoecologic relations between the epifauna and infauna in Cambrian and Ordovician strata, as they bear on the history of biotic interaction.
Professional activities include President of Great Lakes Section, SEPM (1985-86).