COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Geosciences » Ashraf Uddin » Himalayan Research Lab » Projects


Projects funded by the US National Science Foundation are summarized below: 

Early collisional history in the Himalayas and the Indo-Burman ranges: This NSF-supported project includes integrated provenance, structural, and paleomagnetic studies to determine the location of the plate boundary between the NE corner of India (in Assam/Bangladesh) and Indochina during early Cenozoic time. Detailed provenance studies of the pre-Miocene sequences on both sides of the suspected plate boundary, including sandstone petrology, heavy-mineral analysis, mineral chemistry, single-grain geochronology, and isotopic analyses of selected mineral phases, will define the sediment sources of the two terranes and, in concert with our paleomagnetic and structural studies, will aid in reconstructing major elements of the early Tertiary collision. This work is being carried out in collaboration with Drs. Sam Bowring and Clark Burchfiel of MIT; Dr. John Geissman of University of New Mexico; Dr. Roy Odom of Florida State University; and Dr. J.N. Sarma of Dibrugarh University, Assam, India. Pranav Kumar, Mohammad Wahidur Rahman, Muhammad Shahadat Hossain, Subhadip Mandal and Raju Prasad Sitaula have completed Masters theses on part of this project. Currently, Md. Iftekhar Alam and Sonnet Wilson Gomes are working on part of this project.

Basin-wide stratigraphy of the Bengal basin: The most critical need in the mammoth Bengal basin of Bangladesh is to refine age constraints on the generally non-marine, poorly fossiliferous strata and to improve correlations across this frontier basin. This project is aimed at analyzing mineral phases to develop detrital geochronology and magnetic stratigraphy of Cenozoic strata in the Bengal basin and to compare results with existing paleontological determinations. The proposed research is critical in order to establish a robust, basin-wide stratigraphic framework for interpreting basin history, exploiting petroleum potential, and working out the detrital record of mountain-building in the eastern Himalayas. This work is being done in collaboration with Dr. Roy Odom of Florida State University; Dr. Neil Opdyke of University of Florida; Dr. John Garver of Union College, New York; and Dr. S. Humayun Akhter of Dhaka University. Within this project, Mr. Khandaker Zahid has recently completed a Masters thesis focusing mostly on Paleogene sediments of the Bengal basin.

Arsenic poisoning of groundwater from Bangladesh: (A) From a local study, we have found that sulfate-reducing bacteria play an important role removing As from groundwater. An in-situ bioremediation process has been successfully designed to remove dissolved metal contaminants from groundwater in Alabama. Similar field experiments are being conducted to remove arsenic from Bangladesh groundwater where the arsenic-poisoning crisis has been described as one of the most significant environmental health problems in the world. This microbiologic, geochemical and mineralogic research is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Dawn Castle of University of Tennessee and Dr. Kazi Matin Ahmed of University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mr. Jamey Turner has recently completed a Masters degree on the geochemical aspect of this project.

(B) A second phase of this recently awarded research investigates complex water-sediment-bacteria interaction in Bangladesh alluvial aquifers to determine the near-surface conditions that favor arsenic release and sequestration. Our research includes: 1) drilling and installation of new wells and collection of groundwater and solid aquifer materials for geochemical and mineralogical analyses; 2) collection of bacteria samples from groundwater and aquifer sediments for DNA sequencing;  3) collection of hypothesized authigenic carbonate and sulfide mineral phases to evaluate their role in controlling As mobility and groundwater geochemistry; and 4) an investigation of the behavior of As under artificially induced sulfate-reducing conditions for field bioremediation research.  Mr. M. Shamsudduha completed a Master's thesis on sediment composition, groundwater and sediment geochemistry in order to reconstruct mineralogical and geochemical profiles of alluvial sequences of the Ganges-Brahmaputra flood plains.

Last Updated: 05/26/2016