B.S., Geology, 1960, California Institute of Technology
Ph.D., Geology, 1964, University of California, Los Angeles
Current Research - Geochronology, Geochemistry and Crustal Evolution
My overall research interests are the application of U-Pb, Sm-Nd, and Rb-Sr geochronology and radiogenic isotope geochemistry to the evolution of Proterozoic continental crust, its tectonic history, and its role in Proterozoic supercontinent cycles. Specific regions of interest have included the Great Lakes area (Minnesota-Wisconsin-Upper Michigan-Ontario), northern Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories of Canada, basement rocks of the U.S. midcontinent, Proterozoic terranes in northeastern Brazil and pre-drift extensions into West Africa, southwestern parts of the Amazon craton, and portions of the Ross orogen in Antarctica. The major orogenic cycles span the interval from 2200 Ma to 500 Ma, and one of my goals is to relate coeval cycles in diverse continents to each other on a global scale (where justified) and sequential cycles in specific areas to modes of continental growth.
At present most of my effort is devoted to completing projects on Precambrian crustal evolution of northeastern Brazil and its relationship to the assembly of western Gondwana. This project has been supported by NSF for our part of the work (primarily geochronology and isotopic studies) and involves collaboration with several colleagues and students in Brazil. The onset of Department Chair administrative duties in 1999 has slowed, but not stopped progress, and new funding will be sought when reports for the first funding cycles are complete and new problems defined. I also have an on-going collaboration with a colleague in Cameroon to examine aspects of the same problem in western Africa. I have had a long interest in the Proterozoic crustal evolution of North America, and I am continuing that interest through a collaborative project on late Paleoproterozoic granites in Minnesota and Wisconsin with Dan Holm (Kent State) and Terry Boerboom (Minn. Geol. Survey), and I maintain a continuing interest in analysis of the buried basement of the midcontinent (as new samples are discovered). Finally, I am doing U-Pb analyses of zircons from the Ross orogen in Antarctica as part of a collaborative effort with Ed Stump (Arizona State). Active student projects involve studies in the midcontinent region, Brazil, and Wisconsin, and several other opportunities exist.
Geochronology and Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry
Precambrian Crustal Evolution
Regional field trips: Precambrian of Great Lakes Region
Van Schmus, W.R., 1995, Natural radioactivity of the Crust and Mantle, in T.J. Ahrens, ed., Global Earth Physics: A Handbook of Physical Constants. American Geophysical Union, AGU Reference Shelf 1, p. 283-291.
Babinski, M., Chemale, F., Jr., and Van Schmus, W.R., 1995, The Pb/Pb age of Minas Supergroup carbonate rocks, Quadrilatero Ferrifero, Brazil. Precambrian Research, v. 72, p. 235-245.
Van Schmus, W.R., Brito Neves, B.B., Hackspacher, P., and Babinski, M., 1995, U/Pb and Sm/Nd geochronolgic studies of eastern Borborema Province, northeastern Brazil: initial conclusions. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, v. 8, p. 267- 288.
Van Schmus, W.R., Bickford, M.E., and Turek, A., 1996, Proterozoic geology of the east-central midcontinent basement, in van der Pluijm, B.A., and Catacosinos, P., eds., Basement and basins of eastern North America. Geological Society of America Special Paper 308, p. 7-32.
Van Schmus, W.R., McKenna, L.W., Gonzales, D.A., Fetter, A.H., and Rowell, A.J., 1997, U-Pb Geochronology of Parts of the Pensacola, Thiel, and Queen Maud Mountains, Antarctica. In Ricci, C.A. (editor), The Antarctic Region: Geological Evolution and Processes, Terra Antarctica Publication, Siena, Italy, p. 187-200.
Condie, K. C., Latysh, N., Van Schmus, W.R., Kozuch, M, and Selverstone, J., 1999, Geochemistry, Nd and Sr isotopes, and U/Pb zircon ages of granitoid and meta- sedimentary xenoliths from the Navajo volcanic field, Four Corners area, southwestern United States, Chemical Geology, v. 156, p. 95- 133.
Barnes, M.A., Rohs, C.R., Anthony, E.Y., Van Schmus, W.R., and Denison, R.E., 1999, Isotopic and elemental chemistry of subsurface Precambrian igneous rocks, West Texas and eastern New Mexico. Rocky Mountain Geology, v. 34, p. 245-262.
Brito Neves, B.B., dos Santos, E.J., and Van Schmus, W.R., 2000, Tectonic history of the Borborema Province, Northeastern Brazil. In Cordani, U., Milani, E.J., Thomaz Filho, A., and Campos, D.A., eds., Tectonic evolution of South America, 31st International Geological Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, p. 151- 182.
Toteu, S.F., Van Schmus, W.R., Penaye, J., and Michard, A., 2001, New U-Pb and Sm- Nd data from north-central Camroon and its bearing on pre-Pan African history of central Africa. Precambrian Research, v. 108, p. 45-73.
Rowell, A.J., Van Schmus, W.R., Storey, B.C., Fetter, A.H., and Evans, K.R., 2001, Deep-water sedimentary rocks of the Pensacola Mountains, Antarctica, and implications for an Early to Middle Cambrian age for the main phase of the Ross orogeny. Journal of the Geological Society (London), v. 158, p. 295-308.
Geraldes, M.C., Van Schmus, W.R., Condie, K.C., Bell, S., Teixeira, W., and Babinski, M., 2001, Proterozoic geologic evolution of the SW part of the Amazonian craton in Mato Grosso state, Brazil. Precambrian Research, v. 111, p. 91-128.
Payolla, B.L., Bettencourt, J.S., Kozuch, M., Leite, W.B., Jr., Fetter, A.H., Van Schmus, W.R., 2002. Geological evolution of the basement rocks in the east-central part of the Rondônia tin province, SW Amazonian craton, Brazil: U-Pb and Sm-Nd isotopic constraints. Precambrian Research, v. 119, p. 141-169.
Van Schmus, W.R., Brito Neves, B.B., Williams, I.S., Hackspacher, P.C., Fetter, A.H., Dantas, E.L., and Babinski, M., 2003. Seridó Group of NE Brazil, a Late Neoproterozoic pre- to syn-collisional flysch basin in West Gondwanaland?: insights from SHRIMP U-Pb detrital zircon ages. Precambrian Research, in press.
Pinho, M.A.S.B., Chemale, F., Jr., Van Schmus, W.R., and Pinho, F.E.C., 2003, U-Pb and Sm-Nd evidence for 1.78 Ga magmatism in the Moriru region, Mato Grosso, Brazil: implications for province boundaries in the SW Amazon craton. Precambrian Research, in press.
Dantas, E.L., Van Schmus, W.R., Hackspacher, P.C., Fetter, A.H., Brito Neves, B.B., Cordani, U., Nutman, A.P., and Williams, I.S., 2003, The 3.4-3.5 Ga São José do Campestre massif, NE Brazil: remnants of the oldest crust in South America. Precambrian Research, in press.