Matching Items (19)

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Drilling to investigate processes in active tectonics and magmatism

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Coordinated drilling efforts are an important method to investigate active tectonics and magmatic processes related to faults and volcanoes. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) recently sponsored a series of

Coordinated drilling efforts are an important method to investigate active tectonics and magmatic processes related to faults and volcanoes. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) recently sponsored a series of workshops to define the nature of future continental drilling efforts. As part of this series, we convened a workshop to explore how continental scientific drilling can be used to better understand active tectonic and magmatic processes. The workshop, held in Park City, Utah, in May 2013, was attended by 41 investigators from seven countries. Participants were asked to define compelling scientific justifications for examining problems that can be addressed by coordinated programs of continental scientific drilling and related site investigations. They were also asked to evaluate a wide range of proposed drilling projects, based on white papers submitted prior to the workshop.
Participants working on faults and fault zone processes highlighted two overarching topics with exciting potential for future scientific drilling research: (1) the seismic cycle and (2) the mechanics and architecture of fault zones. Recommended projects target fundamental mechanical processes and controls on faulting, and range from induced earthquakes and earthquake initiation to investigations of detachment fault mechanics and fluid flow in fault zones. Participants working on active volcanism identified five themes: the volcano eruption cycle; eruption sustainability, near-field stresses, and system recovery; eruption hazards; verification of geophysical models; and interactions with other Earth systems. Recommended projects address problems that are transferrable to other volcanic systems, such as improved methods for identifying eruption history and constraining the rheological structure of shallow caldera regions. Participants working on chemical geodynamics identified four major themes: large igneous provinces (LIPs), ocean islands, continental hotspot tracks and rifts, and convergent plate margins (subduction zones).
This workshop brought together a diverse group of scientists with a broad range of scientific experience and interests. A particular strength was the involvement of both early-career scientists, who will initiate and carry out these new research programs, and more senior researchers with many years of experience in scientific drilling and active tectonics research. Each of the themes and questions outlined above has direct benefits to society, including improving hazard assessment, direct monitoring of active systems for early warning, renewable and non-renewable resource and energy exploitation, and predicting the environmental impacts of natural hazards, emphasizing the central role that scientific drilling will play in future scientific and societal developments.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12-22

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Hail formation triggers rapid ash aggregation in volcanic plumes

Description

During explosive eruptions, airborne particles collide and stick together, accelerating the fallout of volcanic ash and climate-forcing aerosols. This aggregation process remains a major source of uncertainty both in ash

During explosive eruptions, airborne particles collide and stick together, accelerating the fallout of volcanic ash and climate-forcing aerosols. This aggregation process remains a major source of uncertainty both in ash dispersal forecasting and interpretation of eruptions from the geological record. Here we illuminate the mechanisms and timescales of particle aggregation from a well-characterized ‘wet’ eruption. The 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, incorporated water from the surface (in this case, a glacier), which is a common occurrence during explosive volcanism worldwide. Observations from C-band weather radar, fall deposits and numerical modelling demonstrate that hail-forming processes in the eruption plume triggered aggregation of ∼95% of the fine ash and stripped much of the erupted mass out of the atmosphere within 30 min. Based on these findings, we propose a mechanism of hail-like ash aggregation that contributes to the anomalously rapid fallout of fine ash and occurrence of concentrically layered aggregates in volcanic deposits.

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Date Created
  • 2015-08-03

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Tecolote Cinder Cone Ballistics: Volcanic Bomb Formation and Dynamics

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Cinder cones are common volcanic structures that occur in fields, and on the flanks of shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas. Because they are common structures, they have a significant possibility

Cinder cones are common volcanic structures that occur in fields, and on the flanks of shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas. Because they are common structures, they have a significant possibility of impacting humans and human environments. As such, there is a need to analyze cinder cones to get a better understanding of their eruptions and associated hazards. I will approach this analysis by focusing on volcanic bombs and ballistics, which are large clots of lava that are launched from the volcanic vent, follow ballistic trajectories, and can travel meters to a few kilometers from their source (e.g. Fagents and Wilson 1993; Waitt et al. 1995).
Tecolote Volcano in the Pinacate Volcanic Field in Mexico contains multiple vents within a horseshoe-shaped crater that have all produced various ejecta (Zawacki et al. 2019). The objectives of this research are to map ballistic distribution to understand the relationship between the source vent or vents and the bombs and ballistics that litter the region around Tecolote, and interpret the eruption conditions that ejected those bombs by using their distributions, morphologies, and fine-scale textures.
The findings of this work are that these bombs are apparently from the last stages of the eruption, succeeding the final lava flows. The interiors and exteriors of the bombs display different cooling rates which can are indicated by the fabric found within. Using this, certain characteristics of the bombs during eruption were extrapolated. The ‘cow pie’ bombs were determined to be the least viscous or contained a higher gas content at the time of eruption. Whereas the ribbon/rope bombs were determined to be the most viscous or contained a lesser gas content. Looking at the Southern Bomb Field site, it is dominated by large bombs that were during flight were molded into aerodynamic shapes. The Eastern Rim site is dominated by smaller bombs that appeared to be more liquid during the eruption. This difference in the two sites is a probable indication of at least two different eruptive events of different degrees of explosivity. Overall, aerodynamic bombs are more common and extend to greater distances from the presumed vent (up to 800 m), while very fluidal bombs are uncommon beyond 500 meters. Fluidal bombs (‘cow pie’, ‘ribbon’, ‘rope/spindle’) show a clear trend in decreasing size with distance from vent, whereas the size-distance trend is less dramatic for the aerodynamic bombs.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Modeling the effect of urbanization on climate and dust generation over desert cities

Description

Understanding and predicting climate changes at the urban scale have been an important yet challenging problem in environmental engineering. The lack of reliable long-term observations at the urban scale makes

Understanding and predicting climate changes at the urban scale have been an important yet challenging problem in environmental engineering. The lack of reliable long-term observations at the urban scale makes it difficult to even assess past climate changes. Numerical modeling plays an important role in filling the gap of observation and predicting future changes. Numerical studies on the climatic effect of desert urbanization have focused on basic meteorological fields such as temperature and wind. For desert cities, urban expansion can lead to substantial changes in the local production of wind-blown dust, which have implications for air quality and public health. This study expands the existing framework of numerical simulation for desert urbanization to include the computation of dust generation related to urban land-use changes. This is accomplished by connecting a suite of numerical models, including a meso-scale meteorological model, a land-surface model, an urban canopy model, and a turbulence model, to produce the key parameters that control the surface fluxes of wind-blown dust. Those models generate the near-surface turbulence intensity, soil moisture, and land-surface properties, which are used to determine the dust fluxes from a set of laboratory-based empirical formulas. This framework is applied to a series of simulations for the desert city of Erbil across a period of rapid urbanization. The changes in surface dust fluxes associated with urbanization are quantified. An analysis of the model output further reveals the dependence of surface dust fluxes on local meteorological conditions. Future applications of the models to environmental prediction are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Unsteady jet dynamics with implications for volcanic plumes

Description

Assessments for the threats posed by volcanic eruptions rely in large part on the accurate prediction of volcanic plume motion over time. That predictive capacity is currently hindered by a

Assessments for the threats posed by volcanic eruptions rely in large part on the accurate prediction of volcanic plume motion over time. That predictive capacity is currently hindered by a limited understanding of volcanic plume dynamics. While eruption rate is considered a dominant control on volcanic plume dynamics, the effects of variable eruption rates on plume rise and evolution are not well understood. To address this aspect of plume dynamics, I conducted an experimental investigation wherein I quantified the relationship between laboratory jet development and highly-variable discharge rates under conditions analogous to those which may prevail in unsteady, short-lived explosive eruptions. I created turbulent jets in the laboratory by releasing pressurized water into a tank of still water. I then measured the resultant jet growth over time using simple video images and particle image velocimetry (PIV). I investigated jet behavior over a range of jet Reynolds numbers which overlaps with estimates of Reynolds numbers for short-duration volcanic plumes. By analysis of the jet boundary and velocity field evolution, I discovered a direct relationship between changes in vent conditions and jet evolution. Jet behavior evolved through a sequence of three stages - jet-like, transitional, and puff-like - that correlate with three main injection phases - acceleration, deceleration and off. While the source was off, jets were characterized by relatively constant internal velocity distributions and flow propagation followed that of a classical puff. However, while the source was on, the flow properties - both in the flows themselves and in the induced ambient flow - changed abruptly with changes at the source. On the basis of my findings for unsteady laboratory jets, I conclude that variable eruption rates with characteristic time scales close to eruption duration have first-order control over volcanic plume evolution. Prior to my study, the significance of this variation was largely uncharacterized as the volcanology community predominately uses steady eruption models for interpretation and prediction of activity. My results suggest that unsteady models are necessary to accurately interpret behavior and assess threats from unsteady, short-lived eruptions.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Degassing processes at persistently active explosive volcanoes

Description

Among volcanic gases, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is by far the most commonly measured. More than a monitoring proxy for volcanic degassing, SO2 has the potential to alter climate patterns.

Among volcanic gases, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is by far the most commonly measured. More than a monitoring proxy for volcanic degassing, SO2 has the potential to alter climate patterns. Persistently active explosive volcanoes are characterized by short explosive bursts, which often occur at periodic intervals numerous times per day, spanning years to decades. SO2 emissions at those volcanoes are poorly constrained, in large part because the current satellite monitoring techniques are unable to detect or quantify plumes of low concentration in the troposphere. Eruption plumes also often show high concentrations of ash and/or aerosols, which further inhibit the detection methods. In this work I focus on quantifying volcanic gas emissions at persistently active explosive volcanoes and their variations over short timescales (minutes to hours), in order to document their contribution to natural SO2 flux as well as investigate the physical processes that control their behavior.

In order to make these measurements, I first develop and assemble a UV ground-based instrument, and validate it against an independently measured source of SO2 at a coal-burning power plant in Arizona. I establish a measurement protocol and demonstrate that the instrument measures SO2 fluxes with < 20 % error. Using the same protocol, I establish a record of the degassing patterns at Semeru volcano (Indonesia), a volcano that has been producing cycles of repeated explosions with periods of minutes to hours for the past several decades. Semeru produces an average of 21-71 tons of SO2 per day, amounting to a yearly output of 8-26 Mt.

Using the Semeru data, along with a 1-D transient numerical model of magma ascent, I test the validity of a model in which a viscous plug at the top of the conduit produces cycles of eruption and gas release. I find that it can be a valid hypothesis to explain the observed patterns of degassing at Semeru. Periodic behavior in such a system occurs for a very narrow range of conditions, for which the mass balance between magma flux and open-system gas escape repeatedly generates a viscous plug, pressurizes the magma beneath the plug, and then explosively disrupts it.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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The Sentinel-Arlington Volcanic Field, Arizona

Description

ABSTRACT

The Sentinel-Arlington Volcanic Field (SAVF) is the Sentinel Plains lava field and associated volcanic edifices of late Cenozoic alkali olivine basaltic lava flows and minor tephra deposits near the Gila

ABSTRACT

The Sentinel-Arlington Volcanic Field (SAVF) is the Sentinel Plains lava field and associated volcanic edifices of late Cenozoic alkali olivine basaltic lava flows and minor tephra deposits near the Gila Bend and Painted Rock Mountains, 65 km-100km southwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The SAVF covers ~600 km2 and consists of 21+ volcanic centers, primarily low shield volcanoes ranging from 4-6 km in diameter and 30-200 m in height. The SAVF represents plains-style volcanism, an emplacement style and effusion rate intermediate between flood volcanism and large shield-building volcanism. Because of these characteristics, SAVF is a good analogue to small-volume effusive volcanic centers on Mars, such as those seen the southern flank of Pavonis Mons and in the Tempe Terra region of Mars. The eruptive history of the volcanic field is established through detailed geologic map supplemented by geochemical, paleomagnetic, and geochronological analysis.

Paleomagnetic analyses were completed on 473 oriented core samples from 58 sites. Mean inclination and declination directions were calculated from 8-12 samples at each site. Fifty sites revealed well-grouped natural remanent magnetization vectors after applying alternating field demagnetization. Thirty-nine sites had reversed polarity, eleven had normal polarity. Fifteen unique paleosecular variation inclination and declination directions were identified, six were represented by more than one site with resultant vectors that correlated within a 95% confidence interval. Four reversed sites were radiometrically dated to the Matuyama Chron with ages ranging from 1.08 ± 0.15 Ma to 2.37 ± 0.02 Ma; and one normal polarity site was dated to the Olduvai normal excursion at 1.91 ± 0.59 Ma. Paleomagnetic correlations within a 95% confidence interval were used to extrapolate radiogenic dates. Results reveal 3-5 eruptive stages over ~1.5 Ma in the early Pleistocene and that the SAVF dammed and possibly diverted the lower Gila River multiple times. Preliminary modeling of the median clast size of the terrace deposits suggests a maximum discharge of ~11300 cms (~400,000 cfs) was necessary to transport observed sediment load, which is larger than the historically recorded discharge of the modern Gila River.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Ponds, flows, and ejecta of impact cratering and volcanism: a remote sensing perspective of a dynamic Moon

Description

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with similar morphologies including ponds and flows of impact melt and lava around the central crater. Ejecta from both impact and volcanic craters can also include a high percentage of melted rock. Using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) images, crucial details of these landforms are finally revealed, suggesting a much more dynamic Moon than is generally appreciated. Impact melt ponds and flows at craters as small as several hundred meters in diameter provide empirical evidence of abundant melting during the impact cratering process (much more than was previously thought), and this melt is mobile on the lunar surface for a significant time before solidifying. Enhanced melt deposit occurrences in the lunar highlands (compared to the mare) suggest that porosity, target composition, and pre-existing topography influence melt production and distribution. Comparatively deep impact craters formed in young melt deposits connote a relatively rapid evolution of materials on the lunar surface. On the other end of the spectrum, volcanic eruptions have produced the vast, plains-style mare basalts. However, little was previously known about the details of small-area eruptions and proximal volcanic deposits due to a lack of resolution. High-resolution images reveal key insights into small volcanic cones (0.5-3 km in diameter) that resemble terrestrial cinder cones. The cones comprise inter-layered materials, spatter deposits, and lava flow breaches. The widespread occurrence of the cones in most nearside mare suggests that basaltic eruptions occur from multiple sources in each basin and/or that rootless eruptions are relatively common. Morphologies of small-area volcanic deposits indicate diversity in eruption behavior of lunar basaltic eruptions driven by magmatic volatiles. Finally, models of polar volatile behavior during impact-heating suggest that chemical alteration of minerals in the presence of liquid water is one possible outcome that was previously not thought possible on the Moon.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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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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Date Created
  • 2018

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Investigation into the geodynamics of planetary ice-ocean systems: application to Jupiter's icy moon Europa

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The Jovian moon Europa's putative subsurface ocean offers one of the closest astrobiological targets for future exploration. It’s geologically young surface with a wide array of surface features aligned with

The Jovian moon Europa's putative subsurface ocean offers one of the closest astrobiological targets for future exploration. It’s geologically young surface with a wide array of surface features aligned with distinct surface composition suggests past/present geophysical activity with implications for habitability. In this body of work, I propose a hypothesis for material transport from the ocean towards the surface via a convecting ice-shell. Geodynamical modeling is used to perform numerical experiments on a two-phase water-ice system to test the hypotheses. From these models, I conclude that it is possible for trace oceanic chemistry, entrapped into the newly forming ice at the ice-ocean phase interface, to reach near-surface. This new ice is advected across the ice-shell and towards the surface affirming a dynamical possibility for material transport across the ice-ocean system, of significance to astrobiological prospecting. Next, I use these self-consistent ice-ocean models to study the thickening of ice-shell over time. Europa is subject to the immense gravity field of Jupiter that generates tidal heating within the moon. Analysis of cases with uniform and localized internal tidal heating reveal that as the ice-shell grows from a warm initial ocean, there is an increase in the size of convection cells which causes a dramatic increase in the growth rate of the ice-shell. Addition of sufficient amount of heat also results in an ice-shell at an equilibrium thickness. Localization of tidal heating as a function of viscosity controls the equilibrium thickness. These models are then used to understand how compositional heterogeneity can be created in a growing ice-shell. Impurities (e.g. salts on the surface) that enter the ice-shell get trapped in the thickening ice-shell by freezing. I show the distribution pattern of heterogeneities that can form within the ice-shell at different times. This may be of potential application in identifying the longevity and mobility of brine pockets in Europa's ice-shell which are thought to be potential habitable niches.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017