Matching Items (45)

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Differential movement across Byrd Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica as Indicated by (U-Th)/He thermochronology and geomorphology

Description

The Byrd Glacier region of Antarctica is important for understanding the tectonic development and landscape evolution of the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM). This outlet glacier crossing the TAM marks a major discontinuity in the Neoproterozoic-early Paleozoic Ross orogen. The region has

The Byrd Glacier region of Antarctica is important for understanding the tectonic development and landscape evolution of the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM). This outlet glacier crossing the TAM marks a major discontinuity in the Neoproterozoic-early Paleozoic Ross orogen. The region has not been geologically mapped in detail, but previous studies have inferred a fault to exist beneath and parallel to the direction of flow of Byrd Glacier. Thermochronologic analysis has never been undertaken across Byrd Glacier, and little is known of the exhumation history of the region. The objectives of this study are to assess possible differential movement across the inferred Byrd Glacier fault, to measure the timing of exhumation, and to gain a better overall understanding of the structural architecture of the TAM. Apatites and zircons separated from rock samples collected from various locations north and south of Byrd Glacier were dated using single-crystal (U- Th)/He analysis. Similar cooling histories were revealed with comparable exhumation rates of 0.03 ± 0.003 and 0.04 ± 0.03 mm/yr north and south of Byrd Glacier from apatite data and somewhat similar rates of 0.06 ± 0.008 and 0.04 ± 0.01 mm/yr north and south of Byrd Glacier from zircon data. Age vs. elevation regressions indicate a vertical offset of 1379 ± 159 m and 4000 ± 3466 m from apatite and zircon data. To assess differential movement, the Kukri Peneplain (a regional unconformity) was utilized as a datum. On-site photographs, Landsat imagery, and Aster Global DEM data were combined to map Kukri Peneplain elevation points north and south of Byrd Glacier. The difference in elevation of the peneplain as projected across Byrd Glacier shows an offset of 1122 ± 4.7 m. This study suggests a model of relatively uniform exhumation followed by fault displacement that uplifted the south side of Byrd Glacier relative to the north side. Combining apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He analysis along with remote geomorphologic analysis has provided an understanding of the differential movement and exhumation history of crustal blocks in the Byrd Glacier region. The results complement thermochronologic and geomorphologic studies elsewhere within the TAM providing more information and a new approach.

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Date Created
2011

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Utilizing science and technology to enhance a future planetary mission: applications to Europa

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A thorough understanding of Europa's geology through the synergy of science and technology, by combining geologic mapping with autonomous onboard processing methods, enhances the science potential of future outer solar system missions. Mapping outlines the current state of knowledge of

A thorough understanding of Europa's geology through the synergy of science and technology, by combining geologic mapping with autonomous onboard processing methods, enhances the science potential of future outer solar system missions. Mapping outlines the current state of knowledge of Europa's surface and near sub-surface, indicates the prevalence of distinctive geologic features, and enables a uniform perspective of formation mechanisms responsible for generating those features. I have produced a global geologic map of Europa at 1:15 million scale and appraised formation scenarios with respect to conditions necessary to produce observed morphologies and variability of those conditions over Europa's visible geologic history. Mapping identifies areas of interest relevant for autonomous study; it serves as an index for change detection and classification and aids pre-encounter targeting. Therefore, determining the detectability of geophysical activity is essential. Activity is evident by the presence of volcanic plumes or outgassing, disrupted surface morphologies, or changes in morphology, color, temperature, or composition; these characteristics reflect important constraints on the interior dynamics and evolutions of planetary bodies. By adapting machine learning and data mining techniques to signatures of plumes, morphology, and spectra, I have successfully demonstrated autonomous rule-based response and detection, identification, and classification of known events and features on outer planetary bodies using the following methods: 1. Edge-detection, which identifies the planetary horizon and highlights features extending beyond the limb; 2. Spectral matching using a superpixel endmember detection algorithm that identifies mean spectral signatures; and 3. Scale invariant feature transforms combined with supervised classification, which examines brightness gradients throughout an image, highlights extreme gradient regions, and classifies those regions based on a manually selected library of features. I have demonstrated autonomous: detection of volcanic plumes or jets at Io, Enceladus, and several comets, correlation between spectral signatures and morphological appearances of Europa's individual tectonic features, detection of ≤94% of known transient events on multiple planetary bodies, and classification of similar geologic features. Applying these results to conditions expected for Europa enables a prediction of the potential for detection and recommendations for mission concepts to increase the science return and efficiency of future missions to observe Europa.

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Date Created
2013

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Dating and Characterizing the Piedmont Fault in the North Virgin Mountains of Arizona

Description

Faults found in the arid to semi-arid Basin and Range Physiographic province of the southwestern US are given broad age definitions in terms of which features appear to be the oldest. Particularly in the northwestern corner of Arizona, detailed geomorphic

Faults found in the arid to semi-arid Basin and Range Physiographic province of the southwestern US are given broad age definitions in terms of which features appear to be the oldest. Particularly in the northwestern corner of Arizona, detailed geomorphic studies on the tectonic history and timing of faulting are not widespread. At the base of the Virgin Mountains in northwestern Arizona is a fault scarp along the Piedmont Fault line. This normal fault crosses a series of alluvial fans that are filled with sediments of ambiguous ages. Previous studies that were done in this region find a broad, Miocene age for the exhumation and uplift of these surfaces, with some indications of Laramide faulting history. However, specific fault characteristics and a time constraint of the tectonic history of the Piedmont Fault scarp has yet to be established. Here, we aim to determine the age, fault-slip rate, seismic history, and potential hazard of the fault scarp near Scenic and Littlefield, Arizona through structure from motion (SfM) modeling, which is a form of photogrammetry using a drone. In addition, we distinguish the climatic and tectonic influences on the geomorphology observed along the scarp through analysis along the fault line. With data collected from a ~500 m section of the fault, we present results from a digital elevation model (DEM) and orthophotos derived through the SfM modelling. Based on field observations and morphologic dating, we determine that the Piedmont Fault experiences an approximately continuous fault-slip and an earthquake recurrence interval in the range of 7,000 years. The approximate age of the scarp is 16.0 ka ± 5 kyr. Therefore, we conclude that the earthquake hazard posed to nearby cities is minimal but not nonexistent. Future work includes further analysis of fault profiles due to uncertainty in the present one and Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide (TCN) dating of samples taken from the tops of boulders in a residual debris flow sitting on faulted and unfaulted alluvia. Determining the ages for these boulder surfaces can hopefully further inform our knowledge of the tectonic activity present in the North Virgin Mountains.

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2020-12

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Investigating Late Amazonian Volcanotectonic Activity on Olympus Mons, Mars Using Flank Vents and Arcuate Graben

Description

Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars. Previous studies have focused on large scale features on Olympus Mons, such as the basal escarpment, summit caldera complex and aureole deposits. My objective was to identify and characterize previously

Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars. Previous studies have focused on large scale features on Olympus Mons, such as the basal escarpment, summit caldera complex and aureole deposits. My objective was to identify and characterize previously unrecognized and unmapped small scale features to understand the volcanotectonic evolution of this enormous volcano. For this study I investigated flank vents and arcuate graben. Flank vents are a common feature on composite volcanoes on Earth. They provide information on the volatile content of magmas, the propagation of magma in the subsurface and the tectonic stresses acting on the volcano. Graben are found at a variety of scales in close proximity to Martian volcanoes. They can indicate flexure of the lithosphere in response to the load of the volcano or gravitation spreading of the edifice. Using Context Camera (CTX), High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), High Resolution Stereo Camera Digital Terrain Model (HRSC DTM) and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data, I have identified and characterized the morphology and distribution of 60 flank vents and 84 arcuate graben on Olympus Mons. Based on the observed vent morphologies, I conclude that effusive eruptions have dominated on Olympus Mons in the Late Amazonian, with flank vents playing a limited role. The spatial distribution of flank vents suggests shallow source depths and radial dike propagation. Arcuate graben, not previously observed in lower resolution datasets, occur on the lower flanks of Olympus Mons and indicate a recent extensional state of stress. Based on spatial and superposition relationships, I have constructed a developmental sequence for the construction of Olympus Mons: 1) Construction of the shield via effusive lava flows.; 2) Formation of the near summit thrust faults (flank terraces); 3) Flank failure leading to scarp formation and aureole deposition; 4) Late Amazonian effusive resurfacing and formation of flank vents; 5) Subsidence of the caldera, waning volcanism and graben formation. This volcanotectonic evolution closely resembles that proposed on Ascraeus Mons. Extensional tectonism may continue to affect the lower flanks of Olympus Mons today.

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Date Created
2015

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Neotectonics of Java, Indonesia: crustal deformation in the overriding plate of an orthogonal subduction system

Description

Shallow earthquakes in the upper part of the overriding plate of subduction zones can be devastating due to their proximity to population centers despite the smaller rupture extents than commonly occur on subduction megathrusts that produce the largest earthquakes.

Shallow earthquakes in the upper part of the overriding plate of subduction zones can be devastating due to their proximity to population centers despite the smaller rupture extents than commonly occur on subduction megathrusts that produce the largest earthquakes. Damaging effects can be greater in volcanic arcs like Java because ground shaking is amplified by surficial deposits of uncompacted volcaniclastic sediments. Identifying the upper-plate structures and their potential hazards is key for minimizing the dangers they pose. In particular, the knowledge of the regional stress field and deformation pattern in this region will help us to better understand how subduction and collision affects deformation in this part of the overriding plate. The majority of the upper plate deformation studies have been focused on the deformation in the main thrusts of the fore-arc region. Study of deformation within volcanic arc is limited despite the associated earthquake hazards. In this study, I use maps of active upper-plate structures, earthquake moment tensor data and stress orientation deduced from volcano morphology analysis to characterize the strain field of Java arc. In addition, I use sandbox analog modeling to evaluate the mechanical factors that may be important in controlling deformation. My field- and remotely-based mapping of active faults and folds, supplemented by results from my paleoseismic studies and physical models of the system, suggest that Java’s deformation is distributed over broad areas along small-scale structures. Java is segmented into three main zones based on their distinctive structural patterns and stress orientation. East Java is characterized by NW-SE normal and strike-slip faults, Central Java has E-W folds and thrust faults, and NE-SW strike-slip faults dominate West Java. The sandbox analog models indicate that the strain in response to collision is partitioned into thrusting and strike-slip faulting, with the dominance of margin-normal thrust faulting. My models test the effects of convergence obliquity, geometry, preexisting weaknesses, asperities, and lateral strength contrast. The result suggest that slight variations in convergence obliquity do not affect the deformation pattern significantly, while the margin shape, lateral strength contrast, and perturbation of deformation from asperities each have a greater impact on deformation.

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Date Created
2016

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Ponds, flows, and ejecta of impact cratering and volcanism: a remote sensing perspective of a dynamic Moon

Description

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with similar morphologies including ponds and flows of impact melt and

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with similar morphologies including ponds and flows of impact melt and lava around the central crater. Ejecta from both impact and volcanic craters can also include a high percentage of melted rock. Using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) images, crucial details of these landforms are finally revealed, suggesting a much more dynamic Moon than is generally appreciated. Impact melt ponds and flows at craters as small as several hundred meters in diameter provide empirical evidence of abundant melting during the impact cratering process (much more than was previously thought), and this melt is mobile on the lunar surface for a significant time before solidifying. Enhanced melt deposit occurrences in the lunar highlands (compared to the mare) suggest that porosity, target composition, and pre-existing topography influence melt production and distribution. Comparatively deep impact craters formed in young melt deposits connote a relatively rapid evolution of materials on the lunar surface. On the other end of the spectrum, volcanic eruptions have produced the vast, plains-style mare basalts. However, little was previously known about the details of small-area eruptions and proximal volcanic deposits due to a lack of resolution. High-resolution images reveal key insights into small volcanic cones (0.5-3 km in diameter) that resemble terrestrial cinder cones. The cones comprise inter-layered materials, spatter deposits, and lava flow breaches. The widespread occurrence of the cones in most nearside mare suggests that basaltic eruptions occur from multiple sources in each basin and/or that rootless eruptions are relatively common. Morphologies of small-area volcanic deposits indicate diversity in eruption behavior of lunar basaltic eruptions driven by magmatic volatiles. Finally, models of polar volatile behavior during impact-heating suggest that chemical alteration of minerals in the presence of liquid water is one possible outcome that was previously not thought possible on the Moon.

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2016

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Introducing a terrestrial carbon pool in desert bedrock mountains

Description

Growth of the Phoenix metropolitan area led to exposures of the internal bedrock structure of surrounding semi-arid mountain ranges as housing platforms or road cuts. Such exposures in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts reveal the presence of sedimentary calcium carbonate

Growth of the Phoenix metropolitan area led to exposures of the internal bedrock structure of surrounding semi-arid mountain ranges as housing platforms or road cuts. Such exposures in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts reveal the presence of sedimentary calcium carbonate infilling the pre-existing fracture matrix of the bedrock. Field surveys of bedrock fractures filled with carbonate (BFFC) reveal an average of 0.079 +/- 0.024 mT C/m2 stored in the upper 2 m of analyzed bedrock exposures. Back-scattered electron microscopy images indicate the presence of carbonate at the micron scale, not included in this estimation. Analysis of the spatial extent of bedrock landforms in arid and semi-arid regions worldwide suggests that ~1485 GtC could potentially be stored in the upper 2 m horizon of BFFCs. Radiocarbon dating obtained at one of the sites indicates it is likely that some of the carbonate was flushed into the bedrock system during glacial wet pulses, and is stored on Pleistocene timescales or longer. Strontium isotope analysis at the same site suggest the potential for a substantial cation contribution from weathering of the local bedrock, indicating the potential exists for sequestration of atmospheric carbon in BFFCs. Rates of carbon release from BFFCs are tied to rates of erosion of bedrock ranges in desert climates.

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Date Created
2013

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Plio-Pleistocene north-south and east-west extension at the southern margin of the Tibetan Plateau

Description

The tectonic significance of the physiographic transition from the low-relief Tibetan plateau to the high peaks, rugged topography and deep gorges of the Himalaya is the source of much controversy. Some workers have suggested the transition may be structurally controlled

The tectonic significance of the physiographic transition from the low-relief Tibetan plateau to the high peaks, rugged topography and deep gorges of the Himalaya is the source of much controversy. Some workers have suggested the transition may be structurally controlled (e.g. Hodges et al., 2001), and indeed, the sharp change in geomorphic character across the transition strongly suggests differential uplift between the Himalayan realm and the southernmost Tibetan Plateau. Most Himalayan researchers credit the South Tibetan fault system (STFS), a family of predominantly east-west trending, low-angle normal faults with a known trace of over 2,000 km along the Himalayan crest (e.g. Burchfiel et al., 1992), with defining the southern margin of the Tibetan Plateau in the Early Miocene. Inasmuch as most mapped strands of the STFS have not been active since the Middle Miocene (e.g., Searle & Godin, 2003), modern-day control of the physiographic transition by this fault system seems unlikely. However, several workers have documented Quaternary slip on east-west striking, N-directed extensional faults, of a similar structural nature but typically at a different tectonostratigraphic level than the principal STFS strand, in several locations across the range (Nakata, 1989; Wu et al., 1998; Hurtado et al., 2001). In order to explore the nature of the physiographic transition and determine its relationship to potential Quaternary faulting, I examined three field sites: the Kali Gandaki valley in central Nepal (~28˚39'54"N; 83˚35'06"E), the Nyalam region of south-central Tibet (28°03'23.3"N, 86°03'54.08"E), and the Ama Drime Range in southernmost Tibet (87º15'-87º50'E; 27º45'-28º30'N). Research in each of these areas yielded evidence of young faulting on structures with normal-sense displacement in various forms: the structural truncation of lithostratigraphic units, distinctive fault scarps, or abrupt changes in bedrock cooling age patterns. These structures are accompanied by geomorphic changes implying structural control, particularly sharp knickpoints in rivers that drain from the Tibetan Plateau, across the range crest, and down through the southern flank of the Himalaya. Collectively, my structural, geomorphic, and thermochronometric studies confirm the existence of extensional structures near the physiographic transition that have been active more recently than 1.5 Ma in central Nepal, and over the last 3.5 Ma in south-central Tibet. The structural history of the Ama Drime Range is complex and new thermochronologic data suggest multiple phases of E-W extension from the Middle Miocene to the Holocene. Mapping in the accessible portions of the range did not yield evidence for young N-S extension, although my observations do not preclude such deformation on structures south of the study area. In contrast, the two other study areas yielded direct evidence that Quaternary faulting may be controlling the position and nature of the physiographic transition across the central Tibetan Plateau-Himalaya orogenic system.

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Date Created
2012

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Desert fluvial terraces and their relationship with basin development in the Sonoran Desert, basin and range: case studies from south-central Arizona

Description

A fundamental gap in geomorphic scholarship regards fluvial terraces in small desert drainages and those terraces associated with integrating drainages. This dissertation analyzes four field-based case studies within the Sonoran Desert, south-central Arizona, with the overriding purpose of developing a

A fundamental gap in geomorphic scholarship regards fluvial terraces in small desert drainages and those terraces associated with integrating drainages. This dissertation analyzes four field-based case studies within the Sonoran Desert, south-central Arizona, with the overriding purpose of developing a theory to explain the formative processes and spatial distribution of fluvial terraces in the region. Strath terraces are a common form (Chapters 2, 3, 4) and are created at the expense of bounding pediments that occur on the margins of constraining mountainous drainage boundaries (Chapters 1, 2, 3). Base-level fluctuations of the major drainages cause the formation of new straths at lower elevations. Dramatic pediment adjustment and subsequent regrading follows (Chapter 3), where pediments regrade to strath floodplains. This linkage between pediments and their distal straths is termed the pediment-strath relationship. Stability of the base level of the major drainage leads to lateral migration and straths are carved at the expense of bounding pediments through an erosional asymmetry facilitated by differential rock decay between the channel bank and bed. Fill terraces occur within the Salt River drainage basin as a result of the integration processes that connect formerly endorheic basins (Chapter 4). The topographic, spatial, and sedimentologic relationship of the Stewart Mountain terrace (Chapter 4) points to a different genetic origin than the lower terraces in this basin. The high Stewart Mountain fill terrace records the initial integration of this river. The strath terraces inset below the Stewart Mountain terrace are a result of the pediment-strath relationship. These case studies also reveal that the under-addressed drainage processes of piracy and overflow have significant impacts in the evolution of drainages the lead to both strath and fill terrace formation in this region.

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Date Created
2013

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Earthquake geology, hazard, urban form and social vulnerability along the San Andreas Fault

Description

The San Andreas Fault (SAF) is the primary structure within a system of faults accommodating motion between the North American and Pacific plates. Physical models of faulting and characterizations of seismic hazard are informed by investigations of paleoseismology, slip distribution,

The San Andreas Fault (SAF) is the primary structure within a system of faults accommodating motion between the North American and Pacific plates. Physical models of faulting and characterizations of seismic hazard are informed by investigations of paleoseismology, slip distribution, and slip rate. The impact of earthquakes on people is due in large part to social vulnerability. This dissertation contributes an analysis about the relationships between earthquake hazard and social vulnerability in Los Angeles, CA and investigations of paleoseismology and fault scarp array complexity on the central SAF. Analysis of fault scarp array geometry and morphology using 0.5 m digital elevation models along 122 km of the central SAF reveals significant variation in the complexity of SAF structure. Scarp trace complexity is measured by scarp separation, changes in strike, fault trace gaps, and scarp length per SAF kilometer. Geometrical complexity in fault scarp arrays indicates that the central SAF can be grouped into seven segments. Segment boundaries are controlled by interactions with subsidiary faults. Investigation of an offset channel at Parkfield, CA yields a late Holocene slip rate of 26.2 +6.4/- 4.3 mm/yr. This rate is lower than geologic measurements on the Carrizo section of the SAF and rates implied by far-field geodesy. However, it is consistent with historical observations of slip at Parkfield. Paleoseismology at Parkfield indicates that large earthquakes are absent from the stratigraphic record for at least a millennia. Together these observations imply that the amount of plate boundary slip accommodated by the main SAF varies along strike. Contrary to most environmental justice analyses showing that vulnerable populations are spatially-tied to environmental hazards, geospatial analyses relating social vulnerability and earthquake hazard in southern California show that these groups are not disproportionately exposed to the areas of greatest hazard. Instead, park and green space is linked to earthquake hazard through fault zone regulation. In Los Angeles, a parks poor city, the distribution of social vulnerability is strongly tied to a lack of park space. Thus, people with access to financial and political resources strive to live in neighborhoods with parks, even in the face of forewarned risk.

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Date Created
2011