Matching Items (10)

(U-Th)/He Geochronology of Grains in Baked Zones to date Volcanism

Description

Many radioactive decay schemes employed in geochronology prove imprecise when placing accurate age constraints on young basalt flows. The (U-Th)/He systematics of detrital zircon and apatite within baked zones is

Many radioactive decay schemes employed in geochronology prove imprecise when placing accurate age constraints on young basalt flows. The (U-Th)/He systematics of detrital zircon and apatite within baked zones is examined as an alternative. Parent-daughter radioisotope ratios within grains from baked zones can completely reset if subjected to temperatures high enough and long enough for bulk diffusive loss. Presented here is the reproducibility of initial attempts to date flows by examining the (U-Th)/He geochronology of grains within baked zones. We examine grains from two localities within the San Francisco Volcanic Field and the Mormon Volcanic Field in northern Arizona. Thirteen zircon and apatite grains yielded from locality 2 collected from the uppermost 10 cm beneath a 7m flow of a basalt yield an apparent age of 4.39 ± 0.28 Ma (2σ), which is within range of published Middle Pliocene ages. Twenty-nine grains from locality 1 collected from the uppermost 20 cm beneath a 2 to 5m flow yield dates ranging from 0.47 ± 0.02 Ma to 892.77 ± 27.02 Ma, indicating the grains were partially reset or not reset at all. The degree to which grains are reset depends on a variety of factors detailed in this study. With these factors accounted for however, our study confirms application of this indirect dating technique is a useful tool for dating basaltic flows.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Analysis of spacecraft data for the study of diverse lunar volcanism and regolith maturation rates

Description

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft missions provide new data for investigating the youngest impact craters on Mercury and the Moon, along

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft missions provide new data for investigating the youngest impact craters on Mercury and the Moon, along with lunar volcanic end-members: ancient silicic and young basaltic volcanism. The LRO Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) in-flight absolute radiometric calibration used ground-based Robotic Lunar Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope data as standards. In-flight radiometric calibration is a small aspect of the entire calibration process but an important improvement upon the pre-flight measurements. Calibrated reflectance data are essential for comparing images from LRO to missions like MESSENGER, thus enabling science through engineering. Relative regolith optical maturation rates on Mercury and the Moon are estimated by comparing young impact crater densities and impact ejecta reflectance, thus empirically testing previous models of faster rates for Mercury relative to the Moon. Regolith maturation due to micrometeorite impacts and solar wind sputtering modies UV-VIS-NIR surface spectra, therefore understanding maturation rates is critical for interpreting remote sensing data from airless bodies. Results determined the regolith optical maturation rate on Mercury is 2 to 4 times faster than on the Moon. The Gruithuisen Domes, three lunar silicic volcanoes, represent relatively rare lunar lithologies possibly similar to rock fragments found in the Apollo sample collection. Lunar nonmare silicic volcanism has implications for lunar magmatic evolution. I estimated a rhyolitic composition using morphologic comparisons of the Gruithuisen Domes, measured from NAC 2-meter-per-pixel digital topographic models (DTMs), with terrestrial silicic dome morphologies and laboratory models of viscoplastic dome growth. Small, morphologically sharp irregular mare patches (IMPs) provide evidence for recent lunar volcanism widely distributed across the nearside lunar maria, which has implications for long-lived nearside magmatism. I identified 75 IMPs (100-5000 meters in dimension) in NAC images and DTMs, and determined stratigraphic relationships between units common to all IMPs. Crater counts give model ages from 18-58 Ma, and morphologic comparisons with young lunar features provided an additional age constraint of <100 Ma. The IMPs formed as low-volume basaltic eruptions significantly later than previous evidence of lunar mare basalt volcanism's end (1-1.2 Ga).

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Transitions in eruption style at silicic volcanoes: from stable domes to pyroclastic flows and explosive plumes

Description

Silicic volcanoes produce many styles of activity over a range of timescales. Eruptions vary from slow effusion of viscous lava over many years to violent explosions lasting several hours. Hazards

Silicic volcanoes produce many styles of activity over a range of timescales. Eruptions vary from slow effusion of viscous lava over many years to violent explosions lasting several hours. Hazards from these eruptions can be far-reaching and persistent, and are compounded by the dense populations often surrounding active volcanoes. I apply and develop satellite and ground-based remote sensing techniques to document eruptions at Merapi and Sinabung Volcanoes in Indonesia. I use numerical models of volcanic activity in combination with my observational data to describe the processes driving different eruption styles, including lava dome growth and collapse, lava flow emplacement, and transitions between effusive and explosive activity.

Both effusive and explosive eruptions have occurred recently at Merapi volcano. I use satellite thermal images to identify variations during the 2006 effusive eruption and a numerical model of magma ascent to explain the mechanisms that controlled those variations. I show that a nearby tectonic earthquake may have triggered the peak phase of the eruption by increasing the overpressure and bubble content of the magma and that the frequency of pyroclastic flows is correlated with eruption rate. In 2010, Merapi erupted explosively but also shifted between rapid dome-building and explosive phases. I explain these variations by the heterogeneous addition of CO2 to the melt from bedrock under conditions favorable to transitions between effusive and explosive styles.

At Sinabung, I use photogrammetry and satellite images to describe the emplacement of a viscous lava flow. I calculate the flow volume (0.1 km3) and average effusion rate (4.4 m3 s-1) and identify active regions of collapse and advance. Advance rate was controlled by the effusion rate and the flow’s yield strength. Pyroclastic flow activity was initially correlated to the decreasing flow advance rate, but was later affected by the underlying topography as the flow inflated and collapsed near the vent, leading to renewed pyroclastic flow activity.

This work describes previously poorly understood mechanisms of silicic lava emplacement, including multiple causes of pyroclastic flows, and improves the understanding, monitoring capability, and hazard assessment of silicic volcanic eruptions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Heat and mass transfer on planetary surfaces

Description

Planetary surface studies across a range of spatial scales are key to interpreting modern and ancient operative processes and to meeting strategic mission objectives for robotic planetary science exploration. At

Planetary surface studies across a range of spatial scales are key to interpreting modern and ancient operative processes and to meeting strategic mission objectives for robotic planetary science exploration. At the meter-scale and below, planetary regolith conducts heat at a rate that depends on the physical properties of the regolith particles, such as particle size, sorting, composition, and shape. Radiometric temperature measurements thus provide the means to determine regolith properties and rock abundance from afar. However, heat conduction through a matrix of irregular particles is a complicated physical system that is strongly influenced by temperature and atmospheric gas pressure. A series of new regolith thermal conductivity experiments were conducted under realistic planetary surface pressure and temperature conditions. A new model is put forth to describe the radiative, solid, and gaseous conduction terms of regolith on Earth, Mars, and airless bodies. These results will be used to infer particle size distribution from temperature measurements of the primitive asteroid Bennu to aid in OSIRIS-REx sampling site selection. Moving up in scale, fluvial processes are extremely influential in shaping Earth's surface and likely played an influential role on ancient Mars. Amphitheater-headed canyons are found on both planets, but conditions necessary for their development have been debated for many years. A spatial analysis of canyon form distribution with respect to local stratigraphy at the Escalante River and on Tarantula Mesa, Utah, indicates that canyon distribution is most closely related to variations in local rock strata, rather than groundwater spring intensity or climate variations. This implies that amphitheater-headed canyons are not simple markers of groundwater seepage erosion or megaflooding. Finally, at the largest scale, volcanism has significantly altered the surface characteristics of Earth and Mars. A field campaign was conducted in Hawaii to investigate the December 1974 Kilauea lava flow, where it was found that lava coils formed in an analogous manner to those found in Athabasca Valles, Mars. The location and size of the coils may be used as indicators of local effusion rate, viscosity, and crustal thickness.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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The ancient rocky surfaces of Mars: analysis of spacecraft data and the development of laboratory instrumentation

Description

Early spacecraft missions to Mars, including the Marnier and Viking orbiters and landers revealed a morphologically and compositionally diverse landscape that reshaped widely held views of Mars. More recent spacecraft

Early spacecraft missions to Mars, including the Marnier and Viking orbiters and landers revealed a morphologically and compositionally diverse landscape that reshaped widely held views of Mars. More recent spacecraft including Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Mars Exploration Rovers have further refined, enhanced, and diversified our understanding of Mars. In this dissertation, I take a multiple-path approach to planetary and Mars science including data analysis and instrument development. First, I present several tools necessary to effectively use new, complex datasets by highlighting unique and innovative data processing techniques that allow for the regional to global scale comparison of multiple datasets. Second, I present three studies that characterize several processes on early Mars, where I identify a regional, compositionally distinct, in situ, stratigraphically significant layer in Ganges and Eos Chasmata that formed early in martian history. This layer represents a unique period in martian history where primitive mantle materials were emplaced over large sections of the martian surface. While I originally characterized this layer as an effusive lava flow, based on the newly identified regional or global extent of this layer, I find the only likely scenario for its emplacement is the ejecta deposit of the Borealis Basin forming impact event. I also re-examine high thermal inertia, flat-floored craters identified in Viking data and conclude they are typically more mafic than the surrounding plains and were likely infilled by primitive volcanic materials during, or shortly after the Late Heavy Bombardment. Furthermore, the only plausible source for these magmas is directly related to the impact process, where mantle decompression melting occurs as result of the removal of overlying material by the impactor. Finally, I developed a new laboratory microscopic emission and reflectance spectrometer designed to help improve the interpretation of current remote sensing or in situ data from planetary bodies. I present the design, implementation, calibration, system performance, and preliminary results of this instrument. This instrument is a strong candidate for the next generation in situ rover instruments designed to definitively assess sample mineralogy and petrology while preserving geologic context.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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The formation and degradation of planetary surfaces: impact features and explosive volcanic landforms on the Moon and Mars

Description

Impact cratering and volcanism are two fundamental processes that alter the surfaces of the terrestrial planets. Though well studied through laboratory experiments and terrestrial analogs, many questions remain regarding how

Impact cratering and volcanism are two fundamental processes that alter the surfaces of the terrestrial planets. Though well studied through laboratory experiments and terrestrial analogs, many questions remain regarding how these processes operate across the Solar System. Little is known about the formation of large impact basins (>300 km in diameter) and the degree to which they modify planetary surfaces. On the Moon, large impact basins dominate the terrain and are relatively well preserved. Because the lunar geologic timescale is largely derived from basin stratigraphic relations, it is crucial that we are able to identify and characterize materials emplaced as a result of the formation of the basins, such as light plains. Using high-resolution images under consistent illumination conditions and topography from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), a new global map of light plains is presented at an unprecedented scale, revealing critical details of lunar stratigraphy and providing insight into the erosive power of large impacts. This work demonstrates that large basins significantly alter the lunar surface out to at least 4 radii from the rim, two times farther than previously thought. Further, the effect of pre-existing topography on the degradation of impact craters is unclear, despite their use in the age dating of surfaces. Crater measurements made over large regions of consistent coverage using LROC images and slopes derived from LROC topography show that pre-existing topography affects crater abundances and absolute model ages for craters up to at least 4 km in diameter.

On Mars, small volcanic edifices can provide valuable insight into the evolution of the crust and interior, but a lack of superposed craters and heavy mantling by dust make them difficult to age date. On Earth, morphometry can be used to determine the ages of cinder cone volcanoes in the absence of dated samples. Comparisons of high-resolution topography from the Context Imager (CTX) and a two-dimensional nonlinear diffusion model show that the forms observed on Mars could have been created through Earth-like processes, and with future work, it may be possible to derive an age estimate for these features in the absence of superposed craters or samples.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Remote sensing of Martian sedimentary deposits and lunar pyroclastic deposits

Description

On Mars, sedimentary deposits reveal a complex history of water- and wind-related geologic processes. Central mounds – kilometer-scale stacks of sediment located within craters – occur across Mars, but the

On Mars, sedimentary deposits reveal a complex history of water- and wind-related geologic processes. Central mounds – kilometer-scale stacks of sediment located within craters – occur across Mars, but the specific processes responsible for mound formation and subsequent modification are still uncertain. A survey of central mounds within large craters was conducted. Mound locations, mound offsets within their host craters, and relative mound heights were used to address various mound formation hypotheses. The results suggest that mound sediments once filled their host craters and were later eroded into the features observed today. Mounds offsets from the center of their host crater imply that wind caused the erosion of central mounds. An in depth study of a single central mound (Mt. Sharp within Gale crater) was also conducted. Thermal Emission Imaging System Visible Imaging Subsystem (THEMIS-VIS) mosaics in grayscale and false color were used to characterize the morphology and color variations in and around Gale crater. One result of this study is that dunes within Gale crater vary in false color composites from blue to purple, and that these color differences may be due to changes in dust cover, grain size, and/or composition. To further investigate dune fields on Mars, albedo variations at eight dune fields were studied based on the hypothesis that a dune’s ripple migration rate is correlated to its albedo. This study concluded that a dune’s minimum albedo does not have a simple correlation with its ripple migration rate. Instead, dust devils remove dust on slow-moving and immobile dunes, whereas saltating sand caused by strong winds removes dust on faster-moving dunes.

On the Moon, explosive volcanic deposits within Oppenheimer crater that were emplaced ballistically were investigated. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Diviner Radiometer mid-infrared data, LRO Camera images, and Chandrayaan-1 orbiter Moon Mineralogy Mapper near-infrared spectra were used to test the hypothesis that the pyroclastic deposits in Oppenheimer crater were emplaced via Vulcanian activity by constraining their composition and mineralogy. The mineralogy and iron-content of the pyroclastic deposits vary significantly (including examples of potentially very high iron compositions), which indicates variability in eruption style. These results suggest that localized lunar pyroclastic deposits may have a more complex origin and mode of emplacement than previously thought.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Highly explosive mafic volcanism: the role of volatiles

Description

Explosive mafic (basaltic) volcanism is not easily explained by current eruption models, which predict low energy eruptions from low viscosity magma due to decoupling of volatiles (gases). Sunset Crater volcano

Explosive mafic (basaltic) volcanism is not easily explained by current eruption models, which predict low energy eruptions from low viscosity magma due to decoupling of volatiles (gases). Sunset Crater volcano provides an example of an alkali basalt magma that produced a highly explosive sub-Plinian eruption. I investigate the possible role of magmatic volatiles in the Sunset Crater eruption through study of natural samples of trapped volatiles (melt inclusions) and experiments on mixed-volatile (H2O-CO2) solubility in alkali-rich mafic magmas.

I conducted volatile-saturated experiments in six mafic magma compositions at pressures between 400 MPa and 600 MPa to investigate the influence of alkali elements (sodium and potassium) on volatile solubility. The experiments show that existing volatile solubility models do not accurately describe CO2 solubility at mid-crustal depths. I calculate thermodynamic fits for solubility in each composition and calibrate a general thermodynamic model for application to other mafic magmas. The model shows that the relative percent abundances of sodium, calcium, and potassium have the greatest influence on CO2 solubility in mafic magmas.

I analyzed olivine-hosted melt inclusions (MIs) from Sunset Crater to investigate pre-eruptive volatiles. I compared the early fissure activity to the sub-Plinian eruptive phases. The MIs are similar in major element and volatile composition suggesting a relatively homogeneous magma. The H2O content is relatively low (~1.2 wt%), whereas the dissolved CO2 content is high (~2300 ppm). I explored rehomogenization and Raman spectroscopy to quantify CO2 abundance in MI vapor bubbles. Calculations of post-entrapment bubble growth suggest that some MI bubbles contain excess CO2. This implies that the magma was volatile-saturated and MIs trapped exsolved vapor during their formation. The total volatile contents of MIs, including bubble contents but excluding excess vapor, indicate pre-eruptive magma storage from 10 km to 18 km depth.

The high CO2 abundance found in Sunset Crater MIs allowed the magma to reach volatile-saturation at mid-crustal depths and generate overpressure, driving rapid ascent to produce the explosive eruption. The similarities in MIs and volatiles between the fissure eruption and the sub-Plinian phases indicate that shallow-level processes also likely influenced the final eruptive behavior.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Impact-related processes on Mercury and the Moon

Description

Impact craters are ubiquitous throughout the Solar System, formed by one of the principal processes responsible for surface modification of terrestrial planets and solid bodies (i.e., asteroids, icy moons). The

Impact craters are ubiquitous throughout the Solar System, formed by one of the principal processes responsible for surface modification of terrestrial planets and solid bodies (i.e., asteroids, icy moons). The impact cratering process is well studied, particularly on the Moon and Mercury, where the results remain uncomplicated by atmospheric effects, plate tectonics, or interactions with water and ices. Crater measurements, used to determine relative and absolute ages for geologic units by relating the cumulative crater frequency per unit area to radiometrically-determined ages from returned samples, are sensitive to the solar incidence angle of images used for counts. Earlier work is quantitatively improved by investigating this important effect and showing that absolute model ages are most accurately determined using images with incidence angles between 65° and 80°, and equilibrium crater diameter estimates are most accurate at ~80° incidence angle. A statistical method is developed using crater size-frequencies to distinguish lunar mare age units in the absence of spectral differences. Applied to the Moon, the resulting areal crater densities confidently identify expansive units with >300–500 my age differences, distinguish non-obvious secondaries, and determine that an area >1×104 km2 provides statistically robust crater measurements. This areal crater density method is also applied to the spectrally-homogeneous volcanic northern smooth plains (NSP) on Mercury. Although crater counts and observations of embayed craters indicate that the NSP experienced at least two resurfacing episodes, no observable age units are observed using areal crater density measurements, so smooth plains emplacement occurred over a relatively short timescale (<500 my). For the first time, the distribution of impact melt on Mercury and the Moon are compared at high resolution. Mercurian craters with diameters ≥30 km have a greater areal extent of interior melt deposits than similarly sized lunar craters, a result consistent with melt-generation model predictions. The effects of shaking on compositional sorting within a granular regolith are experimentally tested, demonstrating the possibility of mechanical segregation of particles in the lunar regolith. These results provide at least one explanation toward understanding the inconsistencies between lunar remote sensing datasets and are important for future spacecraft sample return missions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013