Matching Items (34)

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Modeling the mantle genesis of basalts from the Lassen Volcanic Center

Description

There are many outstanding questions regarding the petrologic processes that give rise to andesitic and basaltic magmas in subduction zones, including the specifics that govern their geographical distribution in a

There are many outstanding questions regarding the petrologic processes that give rise to andesitic and basaltic magmas in subduction zones, including the specifics that govern their geographical distribution in a given arc segment. Here I investigate the genesis of calc-alkaline and tholeiitic basalts from the Lassen Volcanic Center in order to determine the pressure, temperature, source composition, and method of melting that lead to the production of melt in the mantle below Lassen. To this aim, a suite of primitive basalts (i.e. SiO2<52 and Mg#>65) are corrected for fractional crystallization by adding minerals back to the bulk rock composition with the goal of returning them to a primary composition in equilibrium with the mantle. Thermobarometry of the primary melt compositions is conducted to determine temperature and pressure of melting, in addition to a forward mantle modeling technique to simulate mantle melting at varying pressures to constrain source composition and method of melting (batch vs. fractional). The results from the two techniques agree on an average depth of melt extraction of 36 km and a source composition similar to that of depleted mantle melted by batch melting. Although attempted for both calc-alkaline and tholeiitic basalts, the fractional crystallization correction and thus the pressure-temperature calculations were only successful for tholeiitic basalts due to the hydrous nature of the calc-alkaline samples. This leaves an opportunity to repeat this study with parameters appropriate for hydrous basalts, allowing for the comparison of calc-alkaline and tholeiitic melting conditions.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Solubility of Nitrogen in Stishovite: A Possible Storage Mechanism for Nitrogen in Earth's Deep Interior

Description

Though large amounts of nitrogen are allocated to the Earth's mantle, not much is known concerning how it is stored and transported. In this study, stishovite is proposed as a

Though large amounts of nitrogen are allocated to the Earth's mantle, not much is known concerning how it is stored and transported. In this study, stishovite is proposed as a host for nitrogen within the Earth's deep interior. Stishovite was synthesized and heated under nitrogen rich conditions using diamond-anvil cell equipment and double-sided laser heating. Synthesis pressures ranged from 16 to 44 GPa and temperatures centered at ~1800 K. Experimental products were removed from diamond anvil cells and analyzed for nitrogen content via SIMS and SEM/EDX analysis. Unit cell parameters were obtained through XRD analysis. N solubility in stishovite was calculated to be up to 1.54 wt % from SIMS data through the use of an ion implant and a relative sensitivity factor. XRD data indicated a decrease in unit cell volume at higher pressures, with the c-axis length showing larger compressibility than the a-axis length. Through SEM and EDX analysis, a uniformly low level of N was observed throughout the sample indicating that N was uniformly incorporated into the crystal structure of stishovite. The data suggests that, rather than existing separately from stishovite as a silicon or carbon nitride, N has substituted into the crystal structure of stishovite. Both O and N have largely similar atomic radii, with N being slightly smaller, indicating that N can substitute for O. With the levels of N observed in the experiment, it is implicated that the mantle has an extremely large storage capacity for N. Further experimentation, with the addition of TEM analysis, should be conducted in order to determine the effects of pressure and temperature on the solubility of N in stishovite. Additionally, substitution of N as HN into stishovite should be investigated as HN accounts for the charge imbalance seen when substituting N for O.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Characterizing Diurnal Density and Temperature Variations in the Martian Atmosphere Using Data/Model Comparisons

Description

This project focuses on using Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) density data for carbon dioxide, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen during deep dip campaigns 5, 6, and 8.

This project focuses on using Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) density data for carbon dioxide, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen during deep dip campaigns 5, 6, and 8. Density profiles obtained from NGIMS were plotted against simulated density profiles from the Mars Global Ionosphere-Thermosphere Model (MGITM). Averaged temperature profiles were also plotted for the three deep dip campaigns, using NGIMS data and MGITM output. MGITM was also used as a tool to uncover potential heat balance terms needed to reproduce the mean density and temperature profiles measured by NGIMS.

This method of using NGIMS data as a validation tool for MGITM simulations has been tested previously using dayside data from deep dip campaigns 2 and 8. In those cases, MGITM was able to accurately reproduce the measured density and temperature profiles; however, in the deep dip 5 and 6 campaigns, the results are not quite the same, due to the highly variable nature of the nightside thermosphere. MGITM was able to fairly accurately reproduce the density and temperature profiles for deep dip 5, but the deep dip 6 model output showed unexpected significant variation. The deep dip 6 results reveal possible changes to be made to MGITM to more accurately reflect the observed structure of the nighttime thermosphere. In particular, upgrading the model to incorporate a suitable gravity wave parameterization should better capture the role of global winds in maintaining the nighttime thermospheric structure.

This project reveals that there still exist many unknowns about the structure and dynamics of the night side of the Martian atmosphere, as well as significant diurnal variations in density. Further study is needed to uncover these unknowns and their role in atmospheric mass loss.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Active dust devils on Mars: a comparison of six spacecraft landing sites

Description

Dust devils have proven to be commonplace on Mars, although their occurrence is unevenly distributed across the surface. They were imaged or inferred by all six successful landed spacecraft: the

Dust devils have proven to be commonplace on Mars, although their occurrence is unevenly distributed across the surface. They were imaged or inferred by all six successful landed spacecraft: the Viking 1 and 2 Landers (VL-1 and VL-2), Mars Pathfinder Lander, the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and the Phoenix Mars Lander. Comparisons of dust devil parameters were based on results from optical and meteorological (MET) detection campaigns. Spatial variations were determined based on comparisons of their frequency, morphology, and behavior. The Spirit data spanning three consecutive martian years is used as the basis of comparison because it is the most extensive on this topic. Average diameters were between 8 and 115 m for all observed or detected dust devils. The average horizontal speed for all of the studies was roughly 5 m/s. At each site dust devil densities peaked between 09:00 and 17:00 LTST during the spring and summer seasons supporting insolation-driven convection as the primary formation mechanism. Seasonal number frequency averaged ~1 dust devils/ km2/sol and spanned a total of three orders of magnitude. Extrapolated number frequencies determined for optical campaigns at the Pathfinder and Spirit sites accounted for temporal and spatial inconsistencies and averaged ~19 dust devils/km2/sol. Dust fluxes calculated from Pathfinder data (5x10-4 kg/m2/s and 7x10-5 kg/m2/s) were well with in the ranges calculated from Spirit data (4.0x10-9 to 4.6x10-4 kg/m2/s for Season One, 5.2x10-7 to 6.2x10-5 kg/m2/s during Season Two, and 1.5x10-7 to 1.6x10-4 kg/m2/s during Season Three). Based on the results a campaign is written for improvements in dust devil detection at the Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) site. Of the four remaining candidate MSL sites, the dusty plains of Gale crater may potentially be the site with the highest probability of dust devil activity.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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High-resolution Martian soil thickness derived from yearly surface temperatures

Description

The temperature of a planet's surface depends on numerous physical factors, including thermal inertia, albedo and the degree of insolation. Mars is a good target for thermal measurements because the

The temperature of a planet's surface depends on numerous physical factors, including thermal inertia, albedo and the degree of insolation. Mars is a good target for thermal measurements because the low atmospheric pressure combined with the extreme dryness results in a surface dominated by large differences in thermal inertia, minimizing the effect of other physical properties. Since heat is propagated into the surface during the day and re-radiated at night, surface temperatures are affected by sub-surface properties down to several thermal skin depths. Because of this, orbital surface temperature measurements combined with a computational thermal model can be used to determine sub-surface structure. This technique has previously been applied to estimate the thickness and thermal inertia of soil layers on Mars on a regional scale, but the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System "THEMIS" instrument allows much higher-resolution thermal imagery to be obtained. Using archived THEMIS data and the KRC thermal model, a process has been developed for creating high-resolution maps of Martian soil layer thickness and thermal inertia, allowing investigation of the distribution of dust and sand at a scale of 100 m/pixel.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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

Description

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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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The effect of Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities on the thickness of undifferentiated crust on Kuiper Belt objects like Charon

Description

In this thesis I model the thermal and structural evolution of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and explore their ability to retain undifferentiated crusts of rock and ice over geologic timescales.

In this thesis I model the thermal and structural evolution of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and explore their ability to retain undifferentiated crusts of rock and ice over geologic timescales. Previous calculations by Desch et al. (2009) predicted that initially homogenous KBOs comparable in size to Charon (R ~ 600 km) have surfaces too cold to permit the separation of rock and ice, and should always retain thick (~ 85 km) crusts, despite the partial differentiation of rock and ice inside the body. The retention of a thermally insulating, undifferentiated crust is favorable to the maintenance of subsurface liquid and potentially cryovolcanism on the KBO surface. A potential objection to these models is that the dense crust of rock and ice overlying an ice mantle represents a gravitationally unstable configuration that should overturn by Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) instabilities. I have calculated the growth rate of RT instabilities at the ice-crust interface, including the effect of rock on the viscosity. I have identified a critical ice viscosity for the instability to grow significantly over the age of the solar system. I have calculated the viscosity as a function of temperature for conditions relevant to marginal instability. I find that RT instabilities on a Charon-sized KBO require temperatures T > 143 K. Including this effect in thermal evolution models of KBOs, I find that the undifferentiated crust on KBOs is thinner than previously calculated, only ~ 50 km. While thinner, this crustal thickness is still significant, representing ~ 25% of the KBO mass, and helps to maintain subsurface liquid throughout most of the KBO's history.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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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

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016