Clay Campbell is a 2017-2021 Self Graduate Fellow and structural geologist pursuing a Ph.D. in geology at The University of Kansas. Campbell received a B.S. (2013) in geology from the University of Arizona and an M.S. (2017) in geology from the University of Kansas. Campbell is interested in understanding the driving tectonic mechanisms responsible for the growth and destruction of orogenic plateaus. Based on preliminary data, Clay believes a plateau may have grown suddenly in central Turkey ~23 million years ago only to have collapsed to near sea-level shortly after. Findings from Clay’s work challenges ideas regarding slow and systematic mountain growth. Instead, his work favors rapid changes in elevation and topography on timescales of less than 10 million years, driven by nebulous processes deep within the Earth's interior. In August Clay will travel back to Central Turkey to continue collecting data supporting these provocative ideas. Clay hopes to collaborate with KU paleontologists in order to connect the growth and destruction of Turkey’s late and enigmatic orogenic plateau to ancient Turkish river systems that may have facilitated the migration of early primates into Africa.
Mentor: Michael H. Taylor, Professor, Geology