Snapshot: From the Office of Emmy Smith


“By carefully documenting where these fossils are occurring in sedimentary rocks and collecting complementary geochemical datasets, we can start to piece together a picture of what environments these strange early forms of life lived and died in.”

Emmy Smith, Assistant Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences

Smith, a field geologist and sedimentologist, is referring to tubular body fossils and strange soft-bodied fossils called Ediacaran biota that are the earliest known forms of macroscopic complex life (see striated shape in lower left­—found in southwestern Nevada) that are about 550 million years old. Also in her lab are (clockwise) a topographical map; a field notebook in which to record GPS coordinates, sample collection data, and observations; and a Brunton compass, used to measure fault and bedding planes.

photo of objects in Professor Emmy Smith's office