This award is under the International Postdoctoral Fellows Program, which enables U.S. scientists and engineers to conduct three to twelve months of research abroad at research centers of proven excellence. The program's awards provide opportunities for joint research, and the use of unique or complementary facilities, expertise and experimental conditions abroad. The actual financial support for this research will be from the U.S.-Brazil Cooperative Science Program. This award will support a twelve-month postdoctoral research visit by Dr. W. Dickson Cunningham of the University of Illinois at Urbana to work with Dr. Fernando Flecha Alkmim at the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Brazil. This research project involves the study of the tectonic evolution of the eastern edge of Brazilian Shield. The project addresses important questions concerning the structural significance of the Brasiliano (=Pan African) mobile belt and the tectonic relationship of the Precambrian basement of the Mantiqueira province to the Sao Francisco craton. The project has important implications for understanding processes of Precambrian continental amalgamation and the structural evolution of South America. The structural geology of the Mantiqueria province is poorly known and existing maps of the region emphasize Brasiliano trends in the province. Recent reconnaissance investigations by UFOP and the University of Illinois researchers indicate that the region contains evidence for an older basement terrane containing Transamazonian (2.0 b.y) age structures. If this is correct, it will totally change perceptions of the pre-Gondwana geology of the eastern margin of South America. The Mantiqueira province may correlate better with West African cratons than with South American cratons. The Brasiliano belt may mark a Late Proterozoic suture superimposed on older Transamazonian trends. To address these issues, Dr. Cunningham plans to conduct a detailed structural analysis combined with detailed petrographic studies, satellite imagery analysis, topographic studies and geochronological sampling along three east- west transects between Ouro Preto and the Atlantic coast. A multi-disciplinary approach using these techniques has never before been applied to tectonic problems in eastern Brazil. The award recommendation provides funds to cover international travel, a stipend for twelve months and a small travel allowance for in-country travel and field work.

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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
United States
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