Matching Items (21)

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Dating Deep-Sea Pelagic Clays with Osmium Isotopes to Reconstruct Sources of Iron to the South Pacific Gyre over 90 Million Years

Description

Iron (Fe) scarcity limits biological productivity in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) ocean regions. Thus, the input, output and abundance of Fe in seawater likely played a critical role in shaping the development of modern marine ecosystems and perhaps even contributed to

Iron (Fe) scarcity limits biological productivity in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) ocean regions. Thus, the input, output and abundance of Fe in seawater likely played a critical role in shaping the development of modern marine ecosystems and perhaps even contributed to past changes in Earth’s climate. Three sources of Fe—wind-blown dust, hydrothermal activity, and sediment dissolution—carry distinct Fe isotopic fingerprints, and can therefore be used to track Fe source variability through time. However, establishing the timing of this source variability through Earth’s history remains challenging because the major depocenters for dissolved Fe in the ocean lack well-established chronologies. This is due to the fact that they are difficult to date with traditional techniques such as biostratigraphy and radiometric dating. Here, I develop age models for sediments collected from the International Drilling Program Expedition 329 by measuring the Os (osmium) isotopic composition of the hydrogenous portion of the clays. These extractions enable dating of the clays by aligning the Os isotope patterns observed in the clays to those in a reference curve with absolute age constraints through the Cenozoic. Our preliminary data enable future development of chronologies for three sediment cores from the high-latitude South Pacific and Southern Oceans, and demonstrate a wider utility of this method to establish age constraints on pelagic sediments worldwide. Moreover, the preliminary Os isotopic data provides a critical first step needed to examine the changes in Fe (iron) sources and cycling on millions of years timescales. Fe isotopic analysis was conducted at the same sites in the South Pacific and demonstrates that there are significant changes in the sources of Fe to the Southern Ocean over the last 90 Ma. These results lay the groundwork for the exploration of basin-scale sources to Fe source changes, which will have implications for understanding how biological productivity relates to Fe source variability over geological timescales.

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2018-05

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Environmental Impacts on Light Stable Isotope Systems

Description

Isotopic analyses of archaeological and modern materials are commonly used to reconstruct diet, climate, and habitat. This study analyzes 15 camelid samples from three sites (two archaeological, one modern) in South America to determine their carbon and nitrogen isotopic values

Isotopic analyses of archaeological and modern materials are commonly used to reconstruct diet, climate, and habitat. This study analyzes 15 camelid samples from three sites (two archaeological, one modern) in South America to determine their carbon and nitrogen isotopic values to further explore the relationship between stable isotopes and environments. Camelid individuals in the modern site of Cuenca, Ecuador had a diet of almost entirely C3 vegetation, while those in Chen Chen, Peru had slightly higher values, still consistent with C3 plants. Those in the higher altitude site of Pumapunku, Bolivia had higher δ13C values than expected, indicating they may have been foddered with a mixed diet. These isotopic data indicate that vegetation, and therefore herbivore diets, are influenced by altitude. Additionally, it was found that a positive linear relationship exists between δ15N values and aridity of a site. Results indicate that aspects of the environment such as aridity are reflected in isotopic signatures. These results contribute to the increasing amount of data on isotopic variation in South American camelids, both modern and archaeological.

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2016-05

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Soot black carbon dynamics in arid/urban ecosystem

Description

Black carbon (BC) is the product of incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. It is found ubiquitously in nature and is relevant to studies in atmospheric science, soil science, oceanography, and anthropology. Black carbon is best described using a

Black carbon (BC) is the product of incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. It is found ubiquitously in nature and is relevant to studies in atmospheric science, soil science, oceanography, and anthropology. Black carbon is best described using a combustion continuum that sub-classifies BC into slightly charred biomass, char, charcoal and soot. These sub-classifications range in particle size, formation temperature, and relative reactivity. Interest in BC has increased because of its role in the long-term storage of organic matter and the biogeochemistry of urban areas. The global BC budget is unbalanced. Production of BC greatly outweighs decomposition of BC. This suggests that there are unknown or underestimated BC removal processes, and it is likely that some of these processes are occurring in soils. However, little is known about BC reactivity in soil and especially in desert soil. This work focuses on soot BC, which is formed at higher temperatures and has a lower relative reactivity than other forms of BC. Here, I assess the contribution of soot BC to central AZ soils and use the isotopic composition of soot BC to identify sources of soot BC. Soot BC is a significant (31%) fraction of the soil organic matter in central AZ and this work suggests that desert and urban soils may be a storage reservoir for soot BC. I further identify previously unknown removal processes of soot BC found naturally in soil and demonstrate that soil soot BC undergoes abiotic (photo-oxidation) and biotic reactions. Not only is soot BC degraded by these processes, but its chemical composition is altered, suggesting that soot BC contains some chemical moieties that are more reactive than others. Because soot BC demonstrates both refractory and reactive character, it is likely that the structure of soot BC; therefore, its interactions in the environment are complex and it is not simply a recalcitrant material.

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2013

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An Archaeological Oxygen Isoscape of the Central Andes

Description

Accurately predicting local ranges of isotopic signatures in human populations is essential for answering questions about past migrations and mobility. While local ranges of δ18O can be estimated using modern baseline samples and precipitation models, there are many environmental

Accurately predicting local ranges of isotopic signatures in human populations is essential for answering questions about past migrations and mobility. While local ranges of δ18O can be estimated using modern baseline samples and precipitation models, there are many environmental and anthropogenic drivers that can cause these ranges to deviate from the ranges seen in human populations. This study performs a geostatistical meta-analysis on a large dataset (n = 1,370) of spatially contextualized archaeological δ18O samples from 30 publications in order to generate a predictive model of local human δ18O ranges in the Central Andes. Two models were generated, one using archaeological samples of both humans and fauna, and the other using only humans. The model using only human samples makes more accurate predictions, cautioning against the incorporation of faunal δ18O samples in studies of human provenance. The models are also compared against a model of δ18O values found in precipitation across the study area, and significant differences lead to the conclusion that precipitation models are insufficient for predicting local human δ18O ranges.

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2020-05

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Incorporation and preservation of molybdenum and uranium isotope variations in modern marine sediments

Description

Molybdenum and uranium isotope variations are potentially powerful tools for reconstructing the paleoredox history of seawater. Reliable application and interpretation of these proxies requires not only detailed knowledge about the fractionation factors that control the distribution of molybdenum and uranium

Molybdenum and uranium isotope variations are potentially powerful tools for reconstructing the paleoredox history of seawater. Reliable application and interpretation of these proxies requires not only detailed knowledge about the fractionation factors that control the distribution of molybdenum and uranium isotopes in the marine system, but also a thorough understanding of the diagenetic processes that may affect molybdenum and uranium isotopes entering the rock record. Using samples from the Black Sea water column, the first water column profile of 238U/235U variations from a modern euxinic basin has been measured. This profile allows the direct determination of the 238U/235U fractionation factor in a euxinic marine setting. More importantly however, these data demonstrate the extent of Rayleigh fractionation of U isotopes that can occur in euxinic restricted basins. Because of this effect, the offset of 238U/235U between global average seawater and coeval black shales deposited in restricted basins is expected to depend on the degree of local uranium drawdown from the water column, potentially complicating the interpretation 238U/235U paleorecords. As an alternative to the black shales typically used for paleoredox reconstructions, molybdenum and uranium isotope variations in bulk carbonate sediments from the Bahamas are examined. The focus of this work was to determine what processes, if any, fractionate molybdenum and uranium isotopes during incorporation into bulk carbonate sediments and their subsequent diagenesis. The results demonstrate that authigenic accumulation of molybdenum and uranium from anoxic and sulfidic pore waters is a dominant process controlling the concentration and isotopic composition of these sediments during early diagenesis. Examination of ODP drill core samples from the Bahamas reveals similar behavior for sediments during the first ~780ka of burial, but provides important examples where isolated cores and samples occasionally demonstrate additional fractionation, the cause of which remains poorly understood.

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2012

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A new analytical method for measuring hydrogen isotopes using GC-IRMS: applications to hydrous minerals

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A new analytical method is proposed for measuring the deuterium to hydrogen ratio (D/H) of non-stoichiometric water in hydrous minerals via pyrolysis facilitated gas-chromatography - isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS). Previously published analytical methods have reported a poorly understood

A new analytical method is proposed for measuring the deuterium to hydrogen ratio (D/H) of non-stoichiometric water in hydrous minerals via pyrolysis facilitated gas-chromatography - isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS). Previously published analytical methods have reported a poorly understood nonlinear dependence of D/H on sample size, for which any accurate correction is difficult. This sample size effect been variously attributed to kinetic isotope fractionation within the mass spectrometer and peripheral instruments, ion source linearity issues, and an unstable H_3^+-factor or incorrect H_3^+-factor calculations. The cause of the sample size effect is here identified by examinations of individual chromatograms as well as bulk data from chromatographic peaks. It is here determined that it is primarily an artifact of the calculations employed by the manufacturer's computer program, used to both monitor the functions of the mass spectrometer and to collect data. Ancillary causes of the sample size effect include a combination of persistent background interferences and chromatographic separation of the isotopologues of molecular hydrogen. Previously published methods are evaluated in light of these findings. A new method of H_3^+-factor and D/H calculation is proposed which makes portions of the Isodat software as well as other published calculation methods unnecessary. Using this new method, D/H is measured in non-stoichiometric water in chert from the Cretaceous Edwards Group, Texas, as well as the Precambrian Kromberg Formation, South Africa, to assess hydrological conditions as well as to estimate the maximum average surface temperature during precipitation of the chert. Data from Cretaceous chert are consistent with previously published data and interpretations, based upon conventional analyses of large samples. Data from Precambrian chert are consistent with maximum average surface temperatures approaching 65°C during the Archean, instead of the much lower temperatures derived from erroneous methods of sample preparation and analysis. D/H is likewise measured in non-stoichiometric water in silicified basalt from the Precambrian Hooggenoeg Complex, South Africa. Data are shown to be consistent with D/H of the Archean ocean similar to present day values.

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2011

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Uranium isotope variations in nature: mechanisms, applications, and implications

Description

Historically, uranium has received intense study of its chemical and isotopic properties for use in the nuclear industry, but has been largely ignored by geoscientists despite properties that make it an intriguing target for geochemists and cosmochemists alike. Uranium was

Historically, uranium has received intense study of its chemical and isotopic properties for use in the nuclear industry, but has been largely ignored by geoscientists despite properties that make it an intriguing target for geochemists and cosmochemists alike. Uranium was long thought to have an invariant 238U/235U ratio in natural samples, making it uninteresting for isotopic work. However, recent advances in mass spectrometry have made it possible to detect slight differences in the 238U/235U ratio, creating many exciting new opportunities for U isotopic research. Using uranium ore samples from diverse depositional settings from around the world, it is shown that the low-temperature redox transition of uranium (U6+ to U4+) causes measurable fractionation of the 238U/235U ratio. Moreover, it is shown experimentally that a coordination change of U can also cause measurable fractionation in the 238U/235U ratio. This improved understanding of the fractionation mechanisms of U allows for the use of the 238U/235U ratio as a paleoredox proxy. The 238U/235U ratios of carbonates deposited spanning the end-Permian extinction horizon provide evidence of pronounced and persistent widespread ocean anoxia at, or immediately preceding, the extinction boundary. Variable 238U/235U ratios correlated with proxies for initial Cm/U in the Solar System's earliest objects demonstrates the existence of 247Cm in the early Solar System. Proof of variable 238U/235U ratios in meteoritic material forces a substantive change in the previously established procedures of Pb-Pb dating, which assumed an invariant 238U/235U ratio. This advancement improves the accuracy of not only the Pb-Pb chronometer that directly utilizes the 238U/235U ratio, but also for short-lived radiometric dating techniques that indirectly use the 238U/235U ratio to calculate ages of Solar System material.

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2011

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Biogeochemistry science and education: part one, using non-traditional stable isotopes as environmental tracers : part two, identifying and measuring undergraduate misconceptions in biogeochemistry

Description

This dissertation is presented in two sections. First, I explore two methods of using stable isotope analysis to trace environmental and biogeochemical processes. Second, I present two related studies investigating student understanding of the biogeochemical concepts that underlie part one.

This dissertation is presented in two sections. First, I explore two methods of using stable isotope analysis to trace environmental and biogeochemical processes. Second, I present two related studies investigating student understanding of the biogeochemical concepts that underlie part one. Fe and Hg are each biogeochemically important elements in their own way. Fe is a critical nutrient for phytoplankton, while Hg is detrimental to nearly all forms of life. Fe is often a limiting factor in marine phytoplankton growth. The largest source, by mass, of Fe to the open ocean is windblown mineral dust, but other more soluble sources are more bioavailable. To look for evidence of these non-soil dust sources of Fe to the open ocean, I measured the isotopic composition of aerosol samples collected on Bermuda. I found clear evidence in the fine size fraction of a non-soil dust Fe source, which I conclude is most likely from biomass burning. Widespread adoption of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) has increased their importance as a source of environmental Hg. Isotope analysis would be a useful tool in quantifying this impact if the isotopic composition of Hg from CFL were known. My measurements show that CFL-Hg is isotopically fractionated, in a unique pattern, during normal operation. This fractionation is large and has a distinctive, mass-independent signature, such that CFL Hg can be uniquely identified from other sources. Misconceptions research in geology has been a very active area of research, but student thinking regarding the related field of biogeochemistry has not yet been studied in detail. From interviews with 40 undergraduates, I identified over 150 specific misconceptions. I also designed a multiple-choice survey (concept inventory) to measure understanding of these same biogeochemistry concepts. I present statistical evidence, based on the Rasch model, for the reliability and validity of this instrument. This instrument will allow teachers and researchers to easily quantify learning outcomes in biogeochemistry and will complement existing concept inventories in geology, chemistry, and biology.

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2014

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Identifying the Origin and Evolution of Groundwater in the Salt River Valley and Applications for Better Water Well Design: A Stable Isotopic Approach

Description

Stable isotopes were measured in the groundwaters of the Salt River Valley basin in central Arizona to explore the utility of stable isotopes for sourcing recharge waters and engineering better well designs. Delta values for the sampled groundwaters range from

Stable isotopes were measured in the groundwaters of the Salt River Valley basin in central Arizona to explore the utility of stable isotopes for sourcing recharge waters and engineering better well designs. Delta values for the sampled groundwaters range from -7.6‰ to -10‰ in 18O and -60‰ to -91‰ in D and display displacements off the global meteoric water line indicative of surficial evaporation during river transport into the area. Groundwater in the basin is all derived from top-down river recharge; there is no evidence of ancient playa waters even in the playa deposits. The Salt and Verde Rivers are the dominant source of groundwater for the East Salt River valley- the Agua Fria River also contributes significantly to the West Salt River Valley. Groundwater isotopic compositions are generally more depleted in 18O and D with depth, indicating past recharge in cooler climates, and vary within subsurface aquifer layers as sampled during well drilling. When isotopic data were evaluated together with geologic and chemical analyses and compared with data from the final well production water it was often possible to identify: 1) which horizons are the primary producers of groundwater flow and how that might change with time, 2) the chemical exchange of cations and anions via water-rock interaction during top-down mixing of recharge water with older waters, 3) how much well production might be lost if arsenic-contributing horizons were sealed off, and 4) the extent to which replacement wells tap different subsurface water sources. In addition to identifying sources of recharge, stable isotopes offer a new and powerful approach for engineering better and more productive water wells.

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Date Created
2010

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The petrogenesis of angrites and martian meteorites inferred from isotope and trace element systematics

Description

The present understanding of the formation and evolution of the earliest bodies in the Solar System is based in large part on geochemical and isotopic evidences contained within meteorites. The differentiated meteorites (meteorites originating from bodies that have experienced partial

The present understanding of the formation and evolution of the earliest bodies in the Solar System is based in large part on geochemical and isotopic evidences contained within meteorites. The differentiated meteorites (meteorites originating from bodies that have experienced partial to complete melting) are particularly useful for deciphering magmatic processes occurring in the early Solar System. A rare group of differentiated meteorites, the angrites, are uniquely suited for such work. The angrites have ancient crystallization ages, lack secondary processing, and have been minimally affected by shock metamorphism, thus allowing them to retain their initial geochemical and isotopic characteristics at the time of formation. The scarcity of angrite samples made it difficult to conduct comprehensive investigations into the formation history of this unique meteorite group. However, a dramatic increase in the number of angrites recovered in recent years presents the opportunity to expand our understanding of their petrogenesis, as well as further refine our knowledge of the initial isotopic abundances in the early Solar System as recorded by their isotopic systematics. Using a combination of geochemical tools (radiogenic isotope chronometers and trace element chemistry), I have investigated the petrogenetic history of a group of four angrites that sample a range of formation conditions (cooling histories) and crystallization ages. Through isotope ratio measurements, I have examined a comprehensive set of long- and short-lived radiogenic isotope systems (26Al-26Mg, 87Rb-87Sr, 146Sm-142Nd, 147Sm-143Nd, and 176Lu-176Hf) within these four angrites. The results of these measurements provide information regarding crystallization ages, as well as revised estimates for the initial isotopic abundances of several key elements in the early Solar System. The determination of trace element concentrations in individual mineral phases, as well as bulk rock samples, provides important constraints on magmatic processes occurring on the angrite parent body. The measured trace element abundances are used to estimate the composition of the parent melts of individual angrites, examine crystallization conditions, and investigate possible geochemical affinities between various angrites. The new geochemical and isotopic measurements presented here significantly expand our understanding of the geochemical conditions found on the angrite parent body and the environment in which these meteorites formed.

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2012