Brendon J. Quirk, PhD Candidate
Quaternary Geology and Geochronology

 

Research

I consider myself a Quaternary Geologist and Geochronologist who focuses on problems in the areas of glacial geology, paleoclimate, geomorphology, and geologic hazards. Currently, I am working on three interconnected projects with several collaborators.

First, I am establishing the first range-wide Late Pleistocene glacial chronology for the Wasatch Range of Utah using cosmogenic berllyium-10 exposure dating on glacial deposits and erosional surfaces. We are using these chronological data and mapping to give spatiotemporal control for glacier modeling and paleoclimate reconstructions using a variant of the Plummer & Phillips (2002) model.
(Collaborators: Jeffrey R. Moore, Benjamin J.C. Laabs, Mitchell A. Plummer, Marc W. Caffee).

Second, I am working with National Park Service at Timpanogos Cave National Monument on a project to reconstruct Late Pleistocene climate from stalagmites. The record will consist of U-series age-calibrated stable isotope (O,C) and trace element data collected from multiple stalagmites collected throughout the cave system.
(Collaborators: Jeffrey R. Moore, Diego Fernandez, Andy Armstrong, Gabriel J. Bowen, Jessica L. Oster).

Lastly, as part of a recent successful EarthScope Awards for Geochronology Student Research (AGeS) Program award I am looking to test the hypothesis that six of the largest rock avalanches in Utah were coeval with and therefore likely triggered by known large magnitude earthquakes along the Wasatch and other Quaternary faults. To do this, we again use cosmogenic exposure dating (chlorine-36, beryllium-10) to determine the age of the rock avalanche deposits and compare to the relatively well dated paleoseismic record.
(Collaborators: Jeffrey R. Moore, Patricia Pedersen, Benjamin J. C., Laabs, Nathaniel Lifton, Marc W. Caffee, ).

 

Education

University of Utah, PhD Geology, 2019 (expected)

State University of New York at Geneseo, B.A. Geological Science, 2012

 

Employment

University of Utah, Department of Geology & Geophysics, LA-ICP-MS Laboratory Technician, 2017-Present

Teaching Assistant, University of Utah, Salt Lake City UT, 2014-Present

University Teaching Assistant, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2016-2017

Geologist/Assistant Project Manager, Precision Environmental Services Inc., Ballston Spa NY, 2013-2014

Field Technician, Test America Inc., Albany NY, 2012-2013

Laboratory/Field Assistant, SUNY Geneseo, Cosmogenic Nuclide Preparation Laboratory (CNPL), Geneseo NY, 2011-2012

Teaching Assistant, SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo NY, 2010-2011

 

Publications

Quirk, B.J., Moore, J.R., Laabs, B.J.C., Plummer, M.A., Caffee, M.W. 2018. Termination II, Last Glacial Maximum, and Lateglacial chronologies and paleoclimate from Big Cottonwood Canyon, Wasatch Mountains, Utah. Geological Society of America Bulletin, doi: 10.1130/B31967.1

Quirk, B.J., Moore, J.R., Laabs, B.J.C., Pedersen, P., Lifton, N. A., Caffee, M.W., 2018. Assessing the possible co-seismic nature of paleo-rock avalanches in the Intermountain Seismic Belt, Utah. Invited talk, Utah Quaternary Fault Parameters Working Group, Salt Lake City, Utah, 13-15 Feb.

Quirk, B.J., Moore, J.R., Laabs, B.J.C., Plummer, M.A., Taylor, J., 2017. Wasatch Range, UT Glacier Reconstructions for the Last Glacial Maximum and Lateglacial. Paper No. 341-7, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 49, no. 6.

Quirk, B.J., Moore, J.R., Laabs, B.J.C., Plummer, M.A., Taylor, J., 2017. Wasatch Range, UT Glacier Reconstructions for the Last Glacial Maximum and Lateglacial. Paper No. 341-7, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 49, no. 6.

Geimer, P.R., Moore, J.R., Thorne, M.S., Quirk, B.J., 2016. Modal Analysis of Two Bridges, Bryce Canyon National Park. Absract S43A-2816, presented at 2016 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 12-16 Dec.

Quirk, B.J., Moore, J.R., Laabs, B.J.C., Plummer, M.A., Caffee, M.W., 2016. Pleistocene glacial history and climate in the Wasatch Range, UT: insights from cosmogenic exposure dating and glacier modeling. Abstract #286164, presented at 2016 annual meeting, Geological Society of America, Denver, Corado, 25-28 Sep.

Quirk, B. J., Moore, J.R., Laabs, B.J.C., Caffee, M.W., Plummer, M.A., 2015. Late Pleistocene glacial chronology and paleoclimate of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Wasatch Range, Utah. Abstract EP53A-0997, presented at 2015 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 14-18 Dec.

Laabs, B.J.C.,Leonard, E.M.,Plummer, M.A., Quirk, B., Wistort, M.W., Caffee, M.W., 2013, A cosmogenic 10Be chronology of the last Pleistocene glaciation in the northernmost U.S. Rocky Mountains and inferences of climate change. Abstracts with Programs, Geological Society of America, 45 (7)

Quirk, B.J., Laabs, B.J.C., Leonard, E.M., Caffee, M.W., 2012. Cosmogenic 10Be Exposure Age of the Cut Bank Creek terminal moraine, Glacier National Park, MT. Abstract C53A-0824, presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 3-7 Dec

Leonard, E.M., Laabs, B.J.C., Plummer, M.A., Huss, E., Spiess, V.M., Mackall, B.T., Jacobsen, R.E., and Quirk, B., 2012. Climate along the crest of the US Rocky Mountains during the last glaciation: preliminary insights from numerical modeling of paleoglaciers. Abstract PP51A-2106, presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 3-7 Dec.

 

Service and outreach

Uinta-Wasatch Field Camp 50th Anniversary Field Trip Leader

Co-founder Informal Graduate Student Seminar, University of Utah (2016-present)

Vice President Sigma Gamma Epsilon, SUNY Geneseo (2011-2012)

Science outreach program at elementary school (Geneseo Central School District) Assisted with the judging of student planned and executed science fair projects.

 

Teaching

Geomorphology

Field Methods

Intro to Geological Engineering

Earth Systems

Mineralogy & Petrology for Engineers


*Oberaletsch Glacier, Swiss Alps, 2016