Matching Items (68)

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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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Hydrothermal habitats: measurements of bulk microbial elemental composition, and models of hydrothermal influences on the evolution of dwarf planets

Description

Finding habitable worlds is a key driver of solar system exploration. Many solar

system missions seek environments providing liquid water, energy, and nutrients, the three ingredients necessary to sustain life.

Such environments include hydrothermal systems, spatially-confined systems where hot aqueous fluid circulates

Finding habitable worlds is a key driver of solar system exploration. Many solar

system missions seek environments providing liquid water, energy, and nutrients, the three ingredients necessary to sustain life.

Such environments include hydrothermal systems, spatially-confined systems where hot aqueous fluid circulates through rock by convection. I sought to characterize hydrothermal microbial communities, collected in hot spring sediments and mats at Yellowstone National Park, USA, by measuring their bulk elemental composition. To do so, one must minimize the contribution of non-biological material to the samples analyzed. I demonstrate that this can be achieved using a separation method that takes advantage of the density contrast between cells and sediment and preserves cellular elemental contents. Using this method, I show that in spite of the tremendous physical, chemical, and taxonomic diversity of Yellowstone hot springs, the composition of microorganisms there is surprisingly ordinary. This suggests the existence of a stoichiometric envelope common to all life as we know it. Thus, future planetary investigations could use elemental fingerprints to assess the astrobiological potential of hydrothermal settings beyond Earth.

Indeed, hydrothermal activity may be widespread in the solar system. Most solar system worlds larger than 200 km in radius are dwarf planets, likely composed of an icy, cometary mantle surrounding a rocky, chondritic core. I enhance a dwarf planet evolution code, including the effects of core fracturing and hydrothermal circulation, to demonstrate that dwarf planets likely have undergone extensive water-rock interaction. This supports observations of aqueous products on their surfaces. I simulate the alteration of chondritic rock by pure water or cometary fluid to show that aqueous alteration feeds back on geophysical evolution: it modifies the fluid antifreeze content, affecting its persistence over geological timescales; and the distribution of radionuclides, whose decay is a chief heat source on dwarf planets. Interaction products can be observed if transported to the surface. I simulate numerically how cryovolcanic transport is enabled by primordial and hydrothermal volatile exsolution. Cryovolcanism seems plausible on dwarf planets in light of images recently returned by spacecrafts. Thus, these coupled geophysical-geochemical models provide a comprehensive picture of dwarf planet evolution, processes, and habitability.

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2015

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Comparative evolution of the Shyok and Yarlung suture zones: implications for the collision Between India and Eurasia

Description

The collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates marked the onset of the rise of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen, but also brought about profound changes to the Earth's oceans and climate. The exact sequence of events that occurred during this

The collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates marked the onset of the rise of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen, but also brought about profound changes to the Earth's oceans and climate. The exact sequence of events that occurred during this collision is poorly understood, leading to a wide range of estimates of its age. The Indus and Yarlung sutures are generally considered to represent the final collision between India and Eurasia, and together form a mostly continuous belt that can be traced over 2000 km along strike. In the western portions of the orogen the Karakoram Fault introduces a key complexity to the study of timing of collision by offsetting the Indus and Yarlung sutures. Recent work has used the complexities introduced by the Karakoram Fault to suggest that the more northerly Shyok suture, not the Indus suture, represents the India-Eurasia collision zone. Estimates for timing of the India-Eurasia collision fall into one of three groups: 40-34 Ma, 55-50 Ma, and 66-60 Ma. Attempts to reconcile these models have thus far been unsuccessful. In order to provide additional data that might further clarify the timing and location of collision, studies have been performed along the Shyok suture in India and along the Yarlung suture in Tibet at Sangsang. A study along the Shyok suture argues that the suture formed between 92-85 Ma. This timing precludes an interpretation that the Shyok suture marks the location of the India-Eurasia collision. A second study demonstrates the utility of two new geochronometers, (U-Th)/Pb joaquinite and 40Ar/39Ar neptunite, that play an important role in unraveling the tectonic history of the Yarlung suture. A third study is an investigation of the structure and geochronology of the Sangsang ophiolite complex. Here, multiple (U-Th)/Pb and 40Ar/39Ar systems record magmatism and metamorphism spanning ca. 125-52 Ma. By tying these chronometers to tectonic process, a history is reconstructed of the southern margin of Tibet that includes Early Cretaceous to Late Cretaceous forearc rifting associated with mid ocean ridge subduction, Paleocene accretionary wedge uplift and erosion, and finally Eocene metasomatism and collision.

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2016

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Fluorine partitioning between nominally anhydrous minerals (olivine, clinopyroxene, and plagioclase) and silicate melt using secondary ion mass spectrometry and newly synthesized basaltic fluorine microanalytical glass standards

Description

Fluorine (F) is a volatile constituent of magmas and hydrous mantle minerals. Compared to other volatile species, F is highly soluble in silicate melts, allowing F to remain in the melt during magma differentiation and rendering F less subject to

Fluorine (F) is a volatile constituent of magmas and hydrous mantle minerals. Compared to other volatile species, F is highly soluble in silicate melts, allowing F to remain in the melt during magma differentiation and rendering F less subject to disturbance during degassing upon magma ascent. Hence, the association between fluorine in basalts and fluorine in the mantle source region is more robust than for other volatile species. The ionic radius of F- is similar to that of OH- and O2-, and F may substitute for hydroxyl and oxygen in silicate minerals and melt. Fluorine is also incorporated at trace levels within nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs) such as olivine, clinopyroxene, and plagioclase. Investigating the geochemical behavior of F in NAMs provides a means to estimate the pre-eruptive F contents of degassed magmas and to better understand the degassing behavior of H. The partition coefficients of F were determined for clinopyroxene, olivine, plagioclase, and hornblende within melts of olivine-minette, augite-minette, basaltic andesite, and latite compositions. The samples analyzed were run products from previously-published phase-equilibria experiments. Fluorine was measured by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) using an 16O- primary beam and detection of negative secondary ions (19F-, 18O-, 28Si-). SIMS ion intensities are converted to concentrations by analyzing matrix-matched microanalytical reference materials and constructing calibration curves. For robust F calibration standards, five basaltic glasses (termed Fba glasses) were synthesized in-house using a natural tholeiite mixed with variable amounts of CaF2. The Fba glasses were characterized for F content and homogeneity, using both SIMS and electron-probe microanalysis (EPMA), and used as F standards. The partition coefficients for clinopyroxene (0.04-028) and olivine (0.01-0.16) varied with melt composition such that DF (olivine-minette) < DF (augite-minette) < DF (basaltic andesite) < DF (latite). Crystal chemical controls were found to influence the incorporation of F into clinopyroxene, but none were found that affected olivine. Fluorine partitioning was compared with that of OH within clinopyroxenes, and the alumina content of clinopyroxene was shown to be a strong influence on the incorporation of both anions. Fluorine substitution into both olivine and clinopyroxene was found to be strongly controlled by melt viscosity and degree of melt polymerization.

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2012

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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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Date Created
2012

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Theoretical and experimental studies of cryogenic and hydrothermal organic geochemistry

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This dissertation examines two topics of emerging interest in the field of organic geochemistry. The topic of the first portion of the dissertation is cold organic geochemistry on Saturn's moon Titan. Titan has an atmosphere and surface that are rich

This dissertation examines two topics of emerging interest in the field of organic geochemistry. The topic of the first portion of the dissertation is cold organic geochemistry on Saturn's moon Titan. Titan has an atmosphere and surface that are rich in organic compounds. Liquid hydrocarbons exist on the surface, most famously as lakes. Photochemical reactions produce solid organics in Titan's atmosphere, and these materials settle onto the surface. At the surface, liquids can interact with solids, and geochemical processes can occur. To better understand these processes, I developed a thermodynamic model that can be used to calculate the solubilities of gases and solids in liquid hydrocarbons at cryogenic temperatures. The model was parameterized using experimental data, and provides a good fit to the data. Application of the model to Titan reveals that the equilibrium composition of surface liquids depends on the abundance of methane in the local atmosphere. The model also indicates that solid acetylene should be quite soluble in surface liquids, which implies that acetylene-rich rocks should be susceptible to chemical erosion, and acetylene evaporites may form on Titan. In the latter half of this dissertation, I focus on hot organic geochemistry below the surface of the Earth. Organic compounds are common in sediments. Burial of sediments leads to changes in physical and chemical conditions, promoting organic reactions. An important organic reaction in subsurface environments is decarboxylation, which generates hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide from simple organic acids. Fundamental knowledge about decarboxylation is required to better understand how the organic and inorganic compositions of sediments evolve in response to changing geochemical conditions. I performed experiments with the model compound phenylacetic acid to obtain information about mechanisms of decarboxylation in hydrothermal fluids. Patterns in rates of decarboxylation of substituted phenylacetic acids point to a mechanism that proceeds through a ring-protonated zwitterion of phenylacetic acid. In contrast, substituted sodium phenylacetates exhibit a different kinetic pattern, one that is consistent with the formation of the benzyl anion as an intermediate. Results from experiments with added hydrochloric acid or sodium hydroxide, and deuterated water agree with these interpretations. Thus, speciation dictates mechanism of decarboxylation.

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2012

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The effects of chemical weathering on thermal-infrared spectral data and models: implications for aqueous processes on the Martian surface

Description

Chemical and mineralogical data from Mars shows that the surface has been chemically weathered on local to regional scales. Chemical trends and the types of chemical weathering products present on the surface and their abundances can elucidate information about past

Chemical and mineralogical data from Mars shows that the surface has been chemically weathered on local to regional scales. Chemical trends and the types of chemical weathering products present on the surface and their abundances can elucidate information about past aqueous processes. Thermal-infrared (TIR) data and their respective models are essential for interpreting Martian mineralogy and geologic history. However, previous studies have shown that chemical weathering and the precipitation of fine-grained secondary silicates can adversely affect the accuracy of TIR spectral models. Furthermore, spectral libraries used to identify minerals on the Martian surface lack some important weathering products, including poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates like allophane, thus eliminating their identification in TIR spectral models. It is essential to accurately interpret TIR spectral data from chemically weathered surfaces to understand the evolution of aqueous processes on Mars. Laboratory experiments were performed to improve interpretations of TIR data from weathered surfaces. To test the accuracy of deriving chemistry of weathered rocks from TIR spectroscopy, chemistry was derived from TIR models of weathered basalts from Baynton, Australia and compared to actual weathering rind chemistry. To determine how specific secondary silicates affect the TIR spectroscopy of weathered basalts, mixtures of basaltic minerals and small amounts of secondary silicates were modeled. Poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates were synthesized and their TIR spectra were added to spectral libraries. Regional Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data were modeled using libraries containing these poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates to test for their presence on the Mars. Chemistry derived from models of weathered Baynton basalts is not accurate, but broad chemical weathering trends can be interpreted from the data. TIR models of mineral mixtures show that small amounts of crystalline and amorphous silicate weathering products (2.5-5 wt.%) can be detected in TIR models and can adversely affect modeled plagioclase abundances. Poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates are identified in Northern Acidalia, Solis Planum, and Meridiani. Previous studies have suggested that acid sulfate weathering was the dominant surface alteration process for the past 3.5 billion years; however, the identification of allophane indicates that alteration at near-neutral pH occurred on regional scales and that acid sulfate weathering is not the only weathering process on Mars.

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Date Created
2011

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

Description

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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Date Created
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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Date Created
2011

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Exploring the history of India-Eurasia collision and subsequent deformation in the Indus Basin, NW Indian Himalaya

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Understanding the evolution of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen is important because of its purported effects on global geodynamics, geochemistry and climate. It is surprising that the timing of initiation of this canonical collisional orogen is poorly constrained, with estimates ranging from

Understanding the evolution of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen is important because of its purported effects on global geodynamics, geochemistry and climate. It is surprising that the timing of initiation of this canonical collisional orogen is poorly constrained, with estimates ranging from Late Cretaceous to Early Oligocene. This study focuses on the Ladakh region in the northwestern Indian Himalaya, where early workers suggested that sedimentary deposits of the Indus Basin molasse sequence, located in the suture zone, preserve a record of the early evolution of orogenesis, including initial collision between India and Eurasia. Recent studies have challenged this interpretation, but resolution of the issue has been hampered by poor accessibility, paucity of robust depositional age constraints, and disputed provenance of many units in the succession. To achieve a better understanding of the stratigraphy of the Indus Basin, multispectral remote sensing image analysis resulted in a new geologic map that is consistent with field observations and previously published datasets, but suggests a substantial revision and simplification of the commonly assumed stratigraphic architecture of the basin. This stratigraphic framework guided a series of new provenance studies, wherein detrital U-Pb geochronology, 40Ar/39Ar and (U-Th)/He thermochronology, and trace-element geochemistry not only discount the hypothesis that collision began in the Early Oligocene, but also demonstrate that both Indian and Eurasian detritus arrived in the basin prior to deposition of the last marine limestone, constraining the age of collision to older than Early Eocene. Detrital (U-Th)/He thermochronology further elucidates the thermal history of the basin. Thus, we constrain backthrusting, thought to be an important mechanism by which Miocene convergence was accommodated, to between 11-7 Ma. Finally, an unprecedented conventional (U-Th)/He thermochronologic dataset was generated from a modern river sand to assess steady state assumptions of the source region. Using these data, the question of the minimum number of dates required for robust interpretation was critically evaluated. The application of a newly developed (U-Th)/He UV-laser-microprobe thermochronologic technique confirmed the results of the conventional dataset. This technique improves the practical utility of detrital mineral (U-Th)/He thermochronology, and will facilitate future studies of this type.

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Date Created
2011