Matching Items (5)

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Evidence of Equifinality in Tafoni Genesis

Description

Backscattered electron microscopy, in tandem with energy dispersive X-ray analysis, reveals evidence that multiple processes work in tandem to generate tafoni development in Oman, Papago Park and Picketpost Mountain, AZ. Carbonate precipitation into Papago Park sedimentary breccia wedges apart the

Backscattered electron microscopy, in tandem with energy dispersive X-ray analysis, reveals evidence that multiple processes work in tandem to generate tafoni development in Oman, Papago Park and Picketpost Mountain, AZ. Carbonate precipitation into Papago Park sedimentary breccia wedges apart the host rock, and then dissolves to leave behind uncemented fragments. Oman tafoni also show evidence of carbonate precipitation as a wedging agent, in addition to dissolution of the host carbonate rock and a possible role for organics that occupy some pore spaces. Tafoni in Picketpost Mountain welded tuff displays evidence of multiple processes including: dissolution of glassy groundmass; biotite splitting surrounding minerals; reprecipitation of a variant of silica glaze; and erosion of the tuff after the rock weakens sufficiently. All three sites have in common the synergism of chemical and physical processes operating at the micron scale, where dissolution opens space for physical wedging to operate by carbonate precipitation and biotite splitting. The execution of multiple processes to generate a common form supports the idea of equifinality in tafoni formation.

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2015-12

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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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Students' understanding of weathering and erosion

Description

Conceptual change has been a large part of science education research for several decades due to the fact that it allows teachers to think about what students' preconceptions are and how to change these to the correct scientific conceptions. To

Conceptual change has been a large part of science education research for several decades due to the fact that it allows teachers to think about what students' preconceptions are and how to change these to the correct scientific conceptions. To have students change their preconceptions teachers need to allow students to confront what they think they know in the presence of the phenomena. Students then collect and analyze evidence pertaining to the phenomena. The goal in the end is for students to reorganize their concepts and change or correct their preconceptions, so that they hold more accurate scientific conceptions. The purpose of this study was to investigate how students' conceptions of the Earth's surface, specifically weathering and erosion, change using the conceptual change framework to guide the instructional decisions. The subjects of the study were a class of 25 seventh grade students. This class received a three-week unit on weathering and erosion that was structured using the conceptual change framework set by Posner, Strike, Hewson, and Gertzog (1982). This framework starts by looking at students' misconceptions, then uses scientific data that students collect to confront their misconceptions. The changes in students' conceptions were measured by a pre concept sketch and post concept sketch. The results of this study showed that the conceptual change framework can modify students' preconceptions of weathering and erosion to correct scientific conceptions. There was statistical significant difference between students' pre concept sketches and post concept sketches scores. After examining the concept sketches, differences were found in how students' concepts had changed from pre to post concept sketch. Further research needs to be done with conceptual change and the geosciences to see if conceptual change is an effective method to use to teach students about the geosciences.

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Date Created
2011

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Meteorites on Mars as planetary research tools with special considerations for Martian weathering processes

Description

The occurrence of exogenic, meteoritic materials on the surface of any world presents opportunities to explore a variety of significant problems in the planetary sciences. In the case of Mars, meteorites found on its surface may help to 1) constrain

The occurrence of exogenic, meteoritic materials on the surface of any world presents opportunities to explore a variety of significant problems in the planetary sciences. In the case of Mars, meteorites found on its surface may help to 1) constrain atmospheric conditions during their time of arrival; 2) provide insights into possible variabilities in meteoroid type sampling between Mars and Earth space environments; 3) aid in our understanding of soil, dust, and sedimentary rock chemistry; 4) assist with the calibration of crater-age dating techniques; and 5) provide witness samples for chemical and mechanical weathering processes. The presence of reduced metallic iron in approximately 88 percent of meteorite falls renders the majority of meteorites particularly sensitive to oxidation by H2O interaction. This makes them excellent markers for H2O occurrence. Several large meteorites have been discovered at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs). Significant morphologic characteristics interpretable as weathering features in the Meridiani suite of iron meteorites include a 1) large pit lined with delicate iron protrusions suggestive of inclusion removal by corrosive interaction; 2) differentially eroded kamacite and taenite lamellae on three of the meteorites, providing relative timing through cross-cutting relationships with deposition of 3) an iron oxide-rich dark coating; and 4) regmaglypted surfaces testifying to regions of minimal surface modification; with other regions in the same meteorites exhibiting 5) large-scale, cavernous weathering. Iron meteorites found by Mini-TES at both Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater have prompted laboratory experiments designed to explore elements of reflectivity, dust cover, and potential oxide coatings on their surfaces in the thermal infrared using analog samples. Results show that dust thickness on an iron substrate need be only one tenth as great as that on a silicate rock to obscure its infrared signal. In addition, a database of thermal emission spectra for 46 meteorites was prepared to aid in the on-going detection and interpretation of these valuable rocks on Mars using Mini-TES instruments on both MER spacecraft. Applications to the asteroidal sciences are also relevant and intended for this database.

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Date Created
2011

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Amorphous weathering products: evidence for basalt-water interactions and the relevance to paleo-environments on Mars

Description

Amorphous phases are detected over large regions of the Martian surface from orbit and in more localized deposits by rovers on the surface. Amorphous silicates can be primary or secondary in origin, both having formed through very different processes, so

Amorphous phases are detected over large regions of the Martian surface from orbit and in more localized deposits by rovers on the surface. Amorphous silicates can be primary or secondary in origin, both having formed through very different processes, so the unambiguous identification of these phases is important for understanding the geologic history of Mars. Secondary amorphous silicates are poorly understood and underrepresented in spectral libraries because they lack the long-range structural order that makes their crystalline counterparts identifiable in most analytical techniques. Fortunately, even amorphous materials have some degree of short-range order so that distinctions can be made with careful characterization.

Two sets of laboratory experiments were used to produce and characterize amorphous weathering products under probable conditions for the Martian surface, and one global spectral analysis using thermal-infrared (TIR) data from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument was used to constrain variations in amorphous silicates across the Martian surface. The first set of experiments altered crystalline and glassy basalt samples in an open system under strong (pH 1) and moderate (pH 3) acidic conditions. The second set of experiments simulated a current-day Martian weathering scenario involving transient liquid water where basalt glass weathering solutions, formed in circumneutral (pH ~5.5 and 7) conditions, were rapidly evaporated, precipitating amorphous silicates. The samples were characterized using visible and near-infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy, TIR spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray diffraction (XRD).

All experiments formed amorphous silicate phases that are new to spectral libraries. Moderately acidic alteration experiments produced no visible or spectral evidence of alteration products, whereas exposure of basalt glass to strongly acidic fluids produced silica-rich alteration layers that are spectrally consistent with VNIR and TIR spectra from the circum-polar region of Mars, indicating this region has undergone acidic weathering. Circum-netural pH basalt weathering solution precipitates are consistent with amorphous materials measured by rovers in soil and rock surface samples in Gale and Gusev Craters, suggesting transient water interactions over the last 3 billion years. Global spectral analyses determine that alteration conditions have varied across the Martian surface, and that alteration has been long lasting.

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2016