Matching Items (9)

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Can Porphyritic Chondrules Form in Planetary Embryo Bow Shocks?

Description

An exhaustive parameter study involving 133 dynamic crystallization experiments was conducted, to investigate the validity of the planetary embryo bow shock model by testing whether the cooling rates predicted by

An exhaustive parameter study involving 133 dynamic crystallization experiments was conducted, to investigate the validity of the planetary embryo bow shock model by testing whether the cooling rates predicted by this model are consistent with the most dominant chondrule texture, porphyritic. Results show that using coarse-grained precursors and heating durations ≤ 5 minutes at peak temperature, porphyritic textures can be reproduced at cooling rates ≤ 600 K/hr, rates consistent with planetary embryo bow shocks. Porphyritic textures were found to be commonly associated with skeletal growth, which compares favorably to features in natural chondrules from Queen Alexandra Range 97008 analyzed, which show similar skeletal features. It is concluded that the experimentally reproduced porphyritic textures are consistent with those of natural chondrules. This work shows heating duration is a major determinant of chondrule texture and the work further constrains this parameter by measuring the rate of chemical dissolution of relict grains. The results provide a robust, independent constraint that porphyritic chondrules were heated at their peak temperatures for ≤ 10 minutes. This is also consistent with heating by bow shocks. The planetary embryo bow shock model therefore remains a viable chondrule mechanism for the formation of the vast majority of chondrules, and the results presented here therefore strongly suggest that large planetary embryos were present and on eccentric orbits during the first few million years of the Solar System’s history.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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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

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Dynamics of Ices and Fluids on Mars and Kuiper Belt Objects

Description

The seasonal deposition of CO2 on the polar caps is one of the most dynamic processes on Mars and is a dominant driver of the global climate. Remote sensing temperature

The seasonal deposition of CO2 on the polar caps is one of the most dynamic processes on Mars and is a dominant driver of the global climate. Remote sensing temperature and albedo data were used to estimate the subliming mass of CO2 ice on south polar gullies near Sisyphi Cavi. Results showed that column mass abundances range from 400 - 1000 kg.m2 in an area less than 60 km2 in late winter. Complete sublimation of the seasonal caps may occur later than estimated by large-scale studies and is geographically dependent. Seasonal ice depth estimates suggested variations of up to 1.5 m in depth or 75% in porosity at any one time. Interannual variations in these data appeared to correlate with dust activity in the southern hemisphere. Correlation coefficients were used to investigate the relationship between frost-free surface properties and the evolution of the seasonal ice in this region. Ice on high thermal inertia units was found to disappear before any other ice, likely caused by inhibited deposition during fall. Seasonal ice springtime albedo appeared to be predominantly controlled by orientation, with north-facing slopes undergoing brightening initially in spring, then subliming before south-facing slopes. Overall, the state of seasonal ice is far more complex than globally and regionally averaged studies can identify.

The discovery of cryovolcanic features on Charon and the presence of ammonia hydrates on the surfaces of other medium-sized Kuiper Belt Objects suggests that cryovolcanism may be important to their evolution. A two-dimensional, center-point finite difference, thermal hydraulic model was developed to explore the behavior of cryovolcanic conduits on midsized KBOs. Conduits on a Charon-surrogate were shown to maintain flow through over 200 km of crust and mantle down to radii of R = 0.20 m. Radii higher than this became turbulent due to high viscous dissipation and low thermal conductivity. This model was adapted to explore the emplacement of Kubrik Mons. Steady state flow was achieved with a conduit of radius R = 0.02 m for a source chamber at 2.3 km depth. Effusion rates computed from this estimated a 122 - 163 Myr upper limit formation timescale.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Investigations of water-bearing environments on the Moon and Mars

Description

Water is a critical resource for future human missions, and is necessary for understanding the evolution of the Solar System. The Moon and Mars have water in various forms

Water is a critical resource for future human missions, and is necessary for understanding the evolution of the Solar System. The Moon and Mars have water in various forms and are therefore high-priority targets in the search for accessible extraterrestrial water. Complementary remote sensing analyses coupled with laboratory and field studies are necessary to provide a scientific context for future lunar and Mars exploration. In this thesis, I use multiple techniques to investigate the presence of water-ice at the lunar poles and the properties of martian chloride minerals, whose evolution is intricately linked with liquid water.

Permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) at the lunar poles may contain substantial water ice, but radar signatures at PSRs could indicate water ice or large block populations. Mini-RF radar and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) products were used to assess block abundances where radar signatures indicated potential ice deposits. While the majority of PSRs in this study indicated large block populations and a low likelihood of water ice, one crater – Rozhdestvenskiy N – showed indirect indications of water ice in its interior.

Chloride deposits indicate regions where the last substantial liquid water existed on Mars. Major ion abundances and expected precipitation sequences of terrestrial chloride brines could provide context for assessing the provenance of martian chloride deposits. Chloride minerals are most readily distinguished in the far-infrared (45+ μm), where their fundamental absorption features are strongest. Multiple chloride compositions and textures were characterized in far-infrared emission for the first time. Systematic variations in the spectra were observed; these variations will allow chloride mineralogy to be determined and large variations in texture to be constrained.

In the present day, recurring slope lineae (RSL) may indicate water flow, but fresh water is not stable on Mars. However, dissolved chloride could allow liquid water to flow transiently. Using Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) data, I determined that RSL are most likely not fed by chloride-rich brines on Mars. Substantial amounts of salt would be consumed to produce a surface water flow; therefore, these features are therefore thought to instead be surface darkening due to capillary wicking.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Timescales and Characteristics of Magma Generation in Earth and Exoplanets

Description

Volcanic eruptions are serious geological hazards; the aftermath of the explosive eruptions produced at high-silica volcanic systems often results in long-term threats to climate, travel, farming, and human life. To

Volcanic eruptions are serious geological hazards; the aftermath of the explosive eruptions produced at high-silica volcanic systems often results in long-term threats to climate, travel, farming, and human life. To construct models for eruption forecasting, the timescales of events leading up to eruption must be accurately quantified. In the field of igneous petrology, the timing of these events (e.g. periods of magma formation, duration of recharge events) and their influence on eruptive timescales are still poorly constrained.

In this dissertation, I discuss how the new tools and methods I have developed are helping to improve our understanding of these magmatic events. I have developed a method to calculate more accurate timescales for these events from the diffusive relaxation of chemical zoning in individual mineral crystals (i.e., diffusion chronometry), and I use this technique to compare the times recorded by different minerals from the same Yellowstone lava flow, the Scaup Lake rhyolite.

I have also derived a new geothermometer to calculate magma temperature from the compositions of the mineral clinopyroxene and the surrounding liquid. This empirically-derived geothermometer is calibrated for the high FeOtot (Mg# = 56) and low Al2O3 (0.53–0.73 wt%) clinopyroxene found in the Scaup Lake rhyolite and other high-silica igneous systems. A determination of accurate mineral temperatures is crucial to calculate magmatic heat budgets and to use methods such as diffusion chronometry. Together, these tools allow me to paint a more accurate picture of the conditions and tempo of events inside a magma body in the millennia to months leading up to eruption.

Additionally, I conducted petrological experiments to determine the composition of hypothetical exoplanet partial mantle melts, which could become these planets’ new crust, and therefore new surface. Understanding the composition of an exoplanet’s crust is the first step to understanding chemical weathering, surface-atmosphere chemical interactions, the volcanic contribution to any atmosphere present, and biological processes, as life depends on these surfaces for nutrients. The data I have produced can be used to predict differences in crust compositions of exoplanets with similar bulk compositions to those explored herein, as well as to calibrate future exoplanet petrologic models.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Structure and asymmetry in simulations of supernova explosions

Description

There are many lines of evidence for anisotropy at all scales in the explosions of core collapse supernovae, e.g. visual inspection of the images of resolved supernova remnants, polarization measurements,

There are many lines of evidence for anisotropy at all scales in the explosions of core collapse supernovae, e.g. visual inspection of the images of resolved supernova remnants, polarization measurements, velocity profiles, "natal kicks" of neutron stars, or spectroscopic observations of different regions of remnants. Theoretical stability considerations and detailed numerical simulations have shown that Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) instabilities arise in the star after the explosion, which leads to the early fragmentation of parts of the ejecta. The clumps thus created are of interest to a variety of topics, one of them being the formation environment of the solar system. There is a high probability that the solar system formed in the vicinity of a massive star that, shortly after its formation, exploded as a core collapse supernova. As argued in this thesis as well as other works, a core collapse supernova generally is a good candidate for chemically enriching the forming solar system with material. As forming proto--planetary systems in general have a high probability of being contaminated with supernova material, a method was developed for detecting tracer elements indicative supernova contamination in proto--planetary systems.The degree of the anisotropy of the supernova explosion can have dramatic effects on the mode of delivery of that material to the solar system, or proto--planetary systems in general. Thus it is of particular interest to be able to predict the structure of the supernova ejecta. Numerical simulations of the explosions of core collapse supernovae were done in 3 dimensions in order to study the formation of structure. It is found that RT instabilities result in clumps in the He- and C+O rich regions in the exploding star that are overdense by 1-2 orders of magnitude. These clumps are potential candidates for enriching the solar system with material. In the course of the further evolution of the supernova remnant, these RT clumps are likely to evolve into ejecta knots of the type observed in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Effect of disk structure on the distribution of water in protoplanetary disks and planets

Description

The composition of planets and their volatile contents are intimately connected to the structure and evolution of their parent protoplanetary disks. The transport of momentum and volatiles is often parameterized

The composition of planets and their volatile contents are intimately connected to the structure and evolution of their parent protoplanetary disks. The transport of momentum and volatiles is often parameterized by a turbulent viscosity parameter $\alpha$, which is usually assumed to be spatially and temporally uniform across the disk. I show that variable $\alpha$(r,z) (where $r$ is radius, and $z$ is height from the midplane) attributable to angular momentum transport due to MRI can yield disks with significantly different structure, as mass piles up in the 1-10 AU region resulting in steep slopes of p $>$ 2 here (where p is the power law exponent in $\Sigma \propto r^{-p}$). I also show that the transition radius (where bulk mass flow switches from inward to outward) can move as close in as 3 AU; this effect (especially prominent in externally photoevaporated disks) may significantly influence the radial water content available during planet formation.

I then investigate the transport of water in disks with different variable α profiles. While radial temperature profile sets the location of the water snowline (i.e., inside of which water is present as vapor; outside of which, as ice on solids), it is the rates of diffusion and drift of small icy solids and diffusion of vapor across the snow line that determine the radial water distribution. All of these processes are highly sensitive to local $\alpha$. I calculate the effect of radially varying α on water transport, by tracking the abundance of vapor in the inner disk, and fraction of ice in particles and larger asteroids beyond the snow line. I find one α profile attributable to winds and hydrodynamical instabilities, and motivated by meteoritic constraints, to show considerable agreement with inferred water contents observed in solar system asteroids.

Finally, I calculate the timing of gap formation due to the formation of a planet in disks around different stars. Here, I assume that pebble accretion is the dominant mechanism for planetary growth and that the core of the first protoplanet forms at the water snow line. I discuss the dependence of gap timing to various stellar and disk properties.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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High Spatial Resolution 40Ar/39Ar Geochronology of Lunar Impact Melt Rocks

Description

Impact cratering has played a key role in the evolution of the solid surfaces of Solar System bodies. While much of Earth’s impact record has been erased, its Moon preserves

Impact cratering has played a key role in the evolution of the solid surfaces of Solar System bodies. While much of Earth’s impact record has been erased, its Moon preserves an extensive history of bombardment. Quantifying the timing of lunar impact events is crucial to understanding how impacts have shaped the evolution of early Earth, and provides the basis for estimating the ages of other cratered surfaces in the Solar System.

Many lunar impact melt rocks are complex mixtures of glassy and crystalline “melt” materials and inherited clasts of pre-impact minerals and rocks. If analyzed in bulk, these samples can yield complicated incremental release 40Ar/39Ar spectra, making it challenging to uniquely interpret impact ages. Here, I have used a combination of high-spatial resolution 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and thermal-kinetic modeling to gain new insights into the impact histories recorded by such lunar samples.

To compare my data to those of previous studies, I developed a software tool to account for differences in the decay, isotopic, and monitor age parameters used for different published 40Ar/39Ar datasets. Using an ultraviolet laser ablation microprobe (UVLAMP) system I selectively dated melt and clast components of impact melt rocks collected during the Apollo 16 and 17 missions. UVLAMP 40Ar/39Ar data for samples 77135, 60315, 61015, and 63355 show evidence of open-system behavior, and provide new insights into how to interpret some complexities of published incremental heating 40Ar/39Ar spectra. Samples 77115, 63525, 63549, and 65015 have relatively simple thermal histories, and UVLAMP 40Ar/39Ar data for the melt components of these rocks indicate the timing of impact events—spanning hundreds of millions of years—that influenced the Apollo 16 and 17 sites. My modeling and UVLAMP 40Ar/39Ar data for sample 73217 indicate that some impact melt rocks can quantitatively retain evidence for multiple melt-producing impact events, and imply that such polygenetic rocks should be regarded as high-value sampling opportunities during future exploration missions to cratered planetary surfaces. Collectively, my results complement previous incremental heating 40Ar/39Ar studies, and support interpretations that the Moon experienced a prolonged period of heavy bombardment early in its history.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013