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K-State Today

November 14, 2018

Geology department seminar Nov. 15 to feature Stephen Hasiotis

Submitted by Angelina Butler

The geology department in K-State's College of Arts and Sciences welcomes Stephen Hasiotis, professor of geology at the University of Kansas. Hasiotis studies organism-media interactions and their implications for paleontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleoenvironments, paleoecology, paleopedology, paleohydrology and paleoclimate.

Hasiotis will present "Ichnology in the Analysis of Modern and Ancient Sedimentary Systems," at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in 213 Thompson Hall.

Ichnology is the study of organism behavior and its products, trace fossils. A trace fossil results from an organism interacting with a medium in an environment that generates a three-dimensional physical structure. The organism, medium, environment, and 3D physical structure are scale independent in a sedimentologic and stratigraphic framework. Trace fossils are excellent proxies for interpreting the physicochemical and surficial processes preserved in the sedimentary rock record as they represent a type of hidden biodiversity — diversity not represented by body fossils in a particular stratigraphic unit or time interval. Trace fossils are often used for reconstructing marine and continental environments, ecosystem structure and paleoclimate. Trace fossils also are used in marine and continental sequence stratigraphy as their occurrence can represent discontinuity surfaces, some of which are regional in extent and serve as significant surfaces, such as sequence boundaries and flooding surfaces. Ichnology is a major tool for reconstructing Earth history with applications in academic and industrial pursuits. The integration of ichnologic, paleontologic, sedimentologic and stratigraphic evidence can reveal previously unimaginable interpretations of past environments, ecosystems and climates and more accurately characterize sandbodies and mudrocks in such a way to understand their role and correlation as reservoirs and seals in search for petroleum and gas resources.