Matching Items (61)

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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

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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

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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Geochemical Modeling of the Yellowstone Mixing Zone

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In this study, the influence of fluid mixing on temperature and geochemistry of hot spring fluids is investigated. Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is home to a diverse range of hot

In this study, the influence of fluid mixing on temperature and geochemistry of hot spring fluids is investigated. Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is home to a diverse range of hot springs with varying temperature and chemistry. The mixing zone of interest in this paper, located in Geyser Creek, YNP, has been a point of interest since at least the 1960’s (Raymahashay, 1968). Two springs, one basic (~pH 7) and one acidic (~pH 3) mix together down an outflow channel. There are visual bands of different photosynthetic pigments which suggests the creation of temperature and chemical gradients due to the fluids mixing. In this study, to determine if fluid mixing is driving these changes of temperature and chemistry in the system, a model that factors in evaporation and cooling was developed and compared to measured temperature and chemical data collected downstream. Comparison of the modeled temperature and chemistry to the measured values at the downstream mixture shows that many of the ions, such as Cl⁻, F⁻, and Li⁺, behave conservatively with respect to mixing. This indicates that the influence of mixing accounts for a large proportion of variation in the chemical composition of the system. However, there are some chemical constituents like CH₄, H₂, and NO₃⁻, that were not conserved, and the concentrations were either depleted or increased in the downstream mixture. Some of these constituents are known to be used by microorganisms. The development of this mixing model can be used as a tool for predicting biological activity as well as building the framework for future geochemical and computational models that can be used to understand the energy availability and the microbial communities that are present.

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  • 2021-05

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Modelling Geochemical and Geobiological Consequences of Low-Temperature Continental Serpentinization

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The hydrous alteration of ultramafic rocks, known as serpentinization, produces some of the most reduced (H2 >1 mmolal) and alkaline (pH >11) fluids on Earth. Serpentinization can proceed even at

The hydrous alteration of ultramafic rocks, known as serpentinization, produces some of the most reduced (H2 >1 mmolal) and alkaline (pH >11) fluids on Earth. Serpentinization can proceed even at the low-temperature conditions (<50°C) characteristic of most of Earth’s continental aquifers, raising questions on the limits of life deep in the subsurface and the magnitude in the flux of reduced volatiles to the surface. In this work, I explored the compositions and consequences of fluids and volatiles found in three low-temperature serpentinizing environments: (1) active hyperalkaline springs in ophiolites, (2) modern shallow and deep peridotite aquifers, and (3) komatiitic aquifers during the Archean.

Around 140 fluids were sampled from the Oman ophiolite and analyzed for their compositions. Fluid compositions can be accounted for by thermodynamic simulations of reactions accompanying incipient to advanced stages of serpentinization, as well as by simulations of mass transport processes such as fluid mixing and mineral leaching. Thermodynamic calculations were also used to predict compositions of end-member fluids representative of the shallow and deep peridotite aquifers that were ultimately used to quantify energy available to various subsurface chemolithotrophs. Calculations showed that sufficient energy and power supply can be available to support deep-seated methanogens. An additional and a more diverse energy supply can be available when surfacing deep-seated fluids mix with shallow groundwater in discharge zones of the subsurface fluid pathway. Finally, the consequence of the evolving continental composition during the Archean for the global supply of H2 generated through komatiite serpentinization was quantified. Results show that the flux of serpentinization-generated H2 could have been a significant sink for O2 during most of the Archean. This O2 sink diminished greatly towards the end of the Archean as komatiites became less common and helped set the stage for the Great Oxidation Event. Overall, this study provides a framework for exploring the origins of fluid and volatile compositions, including their redox state, that can result from various low-temperature serpentinizing environments in the present and past Earth and in other rocky bodies in the solar system.

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  • 2020

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Hydrogen isotopic systematics of nominally anhydrous phases in martian meteorites

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Hydrogen isotope compositions of the martian atmosphere and crustal materials can provide unique insights into the hydrological and geological evolution of Mars. While the present-day deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio (D/H) of the

Hydrogen isotope compositions of the martian atmosphere and crustal materials can provide unique insights into the hydrological and geological evolution of Mars. While the present-day deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio (D/H) of the Mars atmosphere is well constrained (~6 times that of terrestrial ocean water), that of its deep silicate interior (specifically, the mantle) is less so. In fact, the hydrogen isotope composition of the primordial martian mantle is of great interest since it has implications for the origin and abundance of water on that planet. Martian meteorites could provide key constraints in this regard, since they crystallized from melts originating from the martian mantle and contain phases that potentially record the evolution of the H2O content and isotopic composition of the interior of the planet over time. Examined here are the hydrogen isotopic compositions of Nominally Anhydrous Phases (NAPs) in eight martian meteorites (five shergottites and three nakhlites) using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS).

This study presents a total of 113 individual analyses of H2O contents and hydrogen isotopic compositions of NAPs in the shergottites Zagami, Los Angeles, QUE 94201, SaU 005, and Tissint, and the nakhlites Nakhla, Lafayette, and Yamato 000593. The hydrogen isotopic variation between and within meteorites may be due to one or more processes including: interaction with the martian atmosphere, magmatic degassing, subsolidus alteration (including shock), and/or terrestrial contamination. Taking into consideration the effects of these processes, the hydrogen isotope composition of the martian mantle may be similar to that of the Earth. Additionally, this study calculated upper limits on the H2O contents of the shergottite and nakhlite parent melts based on the measured minimum H2O abundances in their maskelynites and pyroxenes, respectively. These calculations, along with some petrogenetic assumptions based on previous studies, were subsequently used to infer the H2O contents of the mantle source reservoirs of the depleted shergottites (200-700 ppm) and the nakhlites (10-100 ppm). This suggests that mantle source of the nakhlites is systematically drier than that of the depleted shergottites, and the upper mantle of Mars may have preserved significant heterogeneity in its H2O content. Additionally, this range of H2O contents is not dissimilar to the range observed for the Earth’s upper mantle.

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  • 2015

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Mechanistic studies of hydrothermal organic geochemistry

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The hydrothermal chemistry of organic compounds influences many critical geological processes, including the formation of oil and gas reservoirs, the degradation and transport of organic matter in sedimentary basins, metabolic

The hydrothermal chemistry of organic compounds influences many critical geological processes, including the formation of oil and gas reservoirs, the degradation and transport of organic matter in sedimentary basins, metabolic cycles in the deep subsurface biosphere, and possibly prebiotic organic synthesis related to the origin of life. In most previous studies of hydrothermal organic reactions the emphasis has been mainly on determining reaction product distributions, studies that provide detailed mechanistic information or direct evidence for specific reaction intermediates are rare. To develop a better understanding, I performed hydrothermal experiments with model ketone compound dibenzylketone (DBK), which serves as a quite useful tool to probe the bond breaking and forming processes in hydrothermal geochemical transformations. A careful study of reaction kinetics and products of DBK in Chapter 2 of this dissertation reveals reversible and irreversible reaction pathways, and provides evidence for competing ionic and radical reaction mechanisms. The majority of the observed products result from homolytic carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bond cleavage and secondary coupling reactions of the benzyl and related radical intermediates.

In the third chapter of the dissertation, a novel hydrothermal photochemical method is studied, which enabled in situ independent generation of the relevant radicals and effectively separated the radical and ionic reactions that occur simultaneously in pure thermal reactions. In the following chapter, I focus on the role of minerals on ketone hydrothermal reactions. Minerals such as quartz and corundum have no detectable effect on DBK, whereas magnetite, hematite, and troilite all increase ketone reactivity to various extents. The influence of these iron-bearing minerals can be attributed to the mineral surface catalysis or the solution chemistry change that is presumably caused by dissolved inorganic species from minerals. In addition, some new discoveries on strong oxidizing effect of copper (II) ion under hydrothermal conditions are described in the latter chapter of the dissertation, where examples of clean and rapid reactions that converted alcohols to aldehyde and aldehydes to carboxylic acids are included.

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  • 2014

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Hydrothermal organic reduction and deoxygenation

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Organic reactions in natural hydrothermal settings have relevance toward the deep carbon cycle, petroleum formation, the ecology of deep microbial communities, and potentially the origin of life. Many reaction

Organic reactions in natural hydrothermal settings have relevance toward the deep carbon cycle, petroleum formation, the ecology of deep microbial communities, and potentially the origin of life. Many reaction pathways involving organic compounds under geochemically relevant hydrothermal conditions have now been characterized, but their mechanisms, in particular those involving mineral surface catalysis, are largely unknown. The overall goal of this work is to describe these mechanisms so that predictive models of reactivity can be developed and so that applications of these reactions beyond geochemistry can be explored. The focus of this dissertation is the mechanisms of hydrothermal dehydration and catalytic hydrogenation reactions. Kinetic and structure/activity relationships show that elimination occurs mainly by the E1 mechanism for simple alcohols via homogeneous catalysis. Stereochemical probes show that hydrogenation on nickel occurs on the metal surface. By combining dehydration with and catalytic reduction, effective deoxygenation of organic structures with various functional groups such as alkenes, polyols, ketones, and carboxylic acids can be accomplished under hydrothermal conditions, using either nickel or copper-zinc alloy. These geomimetic reactions can potentially be used in biomass reduction to generate useful fuels and other high value chemicals. Through the use of earth-abundant metal catalysts, and water as the solvent, the reactions presented in this dissertation are a green alternative to current biomass deoxygenation/reduction methods, which often use exotic, rare-metal catalysts, and organic solvents.

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  • 2018

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Microanalysis for Oxygen Fugacity by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry

Description

Oxygen fugacity (ƒO2) is a thermodynamic variable used to represent the redox state of a material or a system. It is equivalent to the partial pressure of oxygen in a

Oxygen fugacity (ƒO2) is a thermodynamic variable used to represent the redox state of a material or a system. It is equivalent to the partial pressure of oxygen in a particular environment corrected for the non-ideal behavior of the gas. ƒO2 is often used to indicate the potential for iron to occur in a more oxidized or reduced state at a particular temperature and pressure in a natural system. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) is a powerful analytical instrument that can be used to analyze elemental and isotopic compositional information about microscopic features within solid materials. SIMS analyses of the secondary ion energy distribution of semi-pure metals demonstrate that the energy spectrum of individual mass lines can provide information about alterations in its surface environment.

The application of high-resolution (see Appendix C) energy spectrum calibrations to natural ilmenite led to the investigation of zirconium (90Zr+) and niobium (93Nb+) as potential indicators of sample ƒO2. Energy spectrum measurements were performed on an array of ilmenite crystals from the earth’s upper mantle retrieved from kimberlites and from a reduced meteorite. In all studied materials, variability in the peak shape and width of the energy spectra has been correlated with inferred sample ƒO2. The best descriptor of this relationship is the full-width at half-maximum (FWHM; see Appendix C) of the energy spectra for each sample. It has been estimated that a 1eV change in the FWHM of 93Nb+ energy spectra is roughly equivalent to 1 log unit ƒO2. Simple estimates of precision suggest the FWHM values can be trusted to  1eV and sample ƒO2 can be predicted to ±1 log unit, assuming the temperature of formation is known.

The work of this thesis also explores the applicability of this technique beyond analysis of semi-pure metals and ilmenite crystals from kimberlites. This technique was applied to titanium oxides experimentally formed at known ƒO2 as well as an ilmenite crystal that showed compositional variations across the grain (i.e., core to rim chemical variations). Analyses of titanium oxides formed at known ƒO2 agree with the estimation that 1 eV change in the FWHM of 93Nb+ is equivalent to ~1 log unit ƒO2 (in all cases but one); this is also true for analyses of a natural ilmenite crystal with compositional variations across the grain.

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  • 2019

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Chronology of Planetesimal Differentiation Based on the Timing of Achondrite Formation in the Early Solar System

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During the early Solar System many physiochemical processes were taking place that would shape the formation and evolution of rocky bodies. Growth of these rocky objects was rapid, with some

During the early Solar System many physiochemical processes were taking place that would shape the formation and evolution of rocky bodies. Growth of these rocky objects was rapid, with some growing to sizes of 10s – 1000s km (“planetesimals”) in the first few million years. Because these objects formed early, they contained sufficient 26Al (an isotope of Al with a short half-life of ~705,000 yrs) to heat the interiors to melting temperatures, resulting in the formation of the first igneous rocks in nascent Solar System. Depending on the size and time of accretion, some bodies experienced high degrees of melting (with some having global magma oceans) while others experienced lower degrees of partial melting, and yet others did not experience any melting at all. These varying degrees of heating and melting processes on early-formed planetesimals produced a variety of achondritic meteorite types. These achondrites have bulk compositions ranging from ultramafic to basaltic, with some rare types having more highly “evolved” (i.e., high-SiO2) compositions. Determining the detailed chronology of their formation with fine time resolution is key for understanding the earliest stages of planet formation, and there are high resolution chronometers that are ideally suited for this application. Three such chronometers (i.e., the 26Al-26Mg, 53Mn-53Cr, and 207Pb-206Pb chronometers) are the focus of this work. Based on investigations of these chronometers in several achondritic meteorites, the implications for the formation and evolution of planetesimals in the early Solar System will be discussed.

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  • 2020

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Metal Organic Interactions at Hydrothermal Conditions: Useful Transformations Through Geomimicry

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Organic compounds are influenced by hydrothermal conditions in both marine and terrestrial environments. Sedimentary organic reservoirs make up the largest share of organic carbon in the carbon cycle, leading to

Organic compounds are influenced by hydrothermal conditions in both marine and terrestrial environments. Sedimentary organic reservoirs make up the largest share of organic carbon in the carbon cycle, leading to petroleum generation and to chemoautotrophic microbial communities. There have been numerous studies on the reactivity of organic compounds in water at elevated temperatures, but these studies rarely explore the consequences of inorganic solutes in hydrothermal fluids. The experiments in this thesis explore new reaction pathways of organic compounds mediated by aqueous and solid phase metals, mainly Earth-abundant copper. These experiments show that copper species have the potential to oxidize benzene and toluene, which are typically viewed as unreactive. These pathways add to the growing list of known organic transformations that are possible in natural hydrothermal systems. In addition to the characterization of reactions in natural systems, there has been recent interest in using hydrothermal conditions to facilitate organic transformations that would be useful in an applied, industrial or synthetic setting. This thesis identifies two sets of conditions that may serve as alternatives to commonplace industrial processes. The first process is the oxidation of benzene with copper to form phenol and chlorobenzene. The second is the copper mediated dehalogenation of aryl halides. Both of these processes apply the concepts of geomimicry by carrying out organic reactions under Earth-like conditions. Only water and copper are needed to implement these processes and there is no need for exotic catalysts or toxic reagents.

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  • 2020

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

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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

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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Date Created
  • 2011