Dr. Ashley Manning-Berg joined the EEPS Department in Fall 2018 as Visiting Assistant Professor.
Dr. Manning-Berg joins us from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she completed both her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Before earning her graduate degrees, she was a research geologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Engineer Research and Development Center. Ashley uses chemical sedimentary rocks to investigate ancient Earth surface environments and the effects of diagenesis in those environments. Her research has focused predominantly on Precambrian environments and the geochemical conditions of marginal marine environments and early Earth. Such geologic settings aid in our understanding of early life on Earth and provide analogs for potential extraterrestrial microbial life. To complete her research, Ashley uses a combination of petrographic and geochemical techniques. Her recent research determined limestone beds within the Mesoproterozoic Atar Group, Mauritania were calcitized evaporite beds. The presence of gypsum deposits at this time in Earth’s history provide constraints on the oxygenation of the Mesoproterozoic biosphere. Her most recent projects focus on understanding the extent to which early diagenetic mineral phases, specifically silica, preserve organic matter in terms of both morphology and organic geochemistry. Silicification can preserve exceptional microbial morphologies. Ashley’s research investigates whether the organic chemistry that was active at the time of silicification is also preserved. She is currently collaborating with the Astrobiogeochemistry Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to investigate the organic geochemistry preserved in silicified microbial mats of the Angmaat Formation, Baffin Island. Ashley is teaching EEPS 301/401 Principles of Stratigraphy and Sedimentation in Fall 2018.