Matching Items (10)

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Compositionally-distinct ultra-low velocity zones on Earth’s core-mantle boundary

Description

The Earth’s lowermost mantle large low velocity provinces are accompanied by small-scale ultralow velocity zones in localized regions on the core-mantle boundary. Large low velocity provinces are hypothesized to be

The Earth’s lowermost mantle large low velocity provinces are accompanied by small-scale ultralow velocity zones in localized regions on the core-mantle boundary. Large low velocity provinces are hypothesized to be caused by large-scale compositional heterogeneity (i.e., thermochemical piles). The origin of ultralow velocity zones, however, remains elusive. Here we perform three-dimensional geodynamical calculations to show that the current locations and shapes of ultralow velocity zones are related to their cause. We find that the hottest lowermost mantle regions are commonly located well within the interiors of thermochemical piles. In contrast, accumulations of ultradense compositionally distinct material occur as discontinuous patches along the margins of thermochemical piles and have asymmetrical cross-sectional shape. Furthermore, the lateral morphology of these patches provides insight into mantle flow directions and long-term stability. The global distribution and large variations of morphology of ultralow velocity zones validate a compositionally distinct origin for most ultralow velocity zones.

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  • 2017-08-02

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The Effect of the IRIS REU Program on Student Retention in Geoscience

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For the geoscience community to continue to grow, students need to be attracted to the field. Here we examine the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Research Experience for Undergraduates

For the geoscience community to continue to grow, students need to be attracted to the field. Here we examine the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program to understand how the participants' experiences' affects their interest in geoscience and educational and career goals. Eleven interns over two years (2013-2014) were interviewed prior to the start of their internship, after their internship, and after presenting their research at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting. This internship program is of particular interest because many of the interns come into the REU with non-geoscience or geophysics backgrounds (e.g., physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering). Both a priori and emergent codes are used to convert interview transcripts into quantitative data, which is analyzed alongside demographic information to understand how the REU influences their decisions. Increases in self-efficacy and exposure to multiple facets of geoscience research are expressed as primary factors that help shape their future educational and career goals. Other factors such as networking opportunities and connections during the REU also can play a role in their decision. Overall, REU participants who identified as geosciences majors solidified their decisions to pursue a career in geosciences, while participants who identified as non-geosciences majors were inclined to change majors, pursue geosciences in graduate school, or explore other job opportunities in the geosciences.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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The Mineralogy and Chemical Evolution of the Earth’s Deep Mantle

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The mineralogy of the deep mantle is one of the key factors for the chemical evolution of the Earth. The constituent minerals of the mantle rock control the physical properties

The mineralogy of the deep mantle is one of the key factors for the chemical evolution of the Earth. The constituent minerals of the mantle rock control the physical properties of the mantle, which have significant impacts on the large-scale processes occurring in the Earth's interior. In my PhD research, I adopted experimental approaches to investigate the mineralogy and the physical properties of the Earth's materials in the deep mantle by using the diamond anvil cells (DACs) combined with in-situ X-ray diffraction techniques.

First, I found that Ca-bearing bridgmanite can be stable in the deeper part of the Earth's lower mantle where temperature is sufficiently high. The dissolution of calcium into bridgmanite can change the physical properties of the mantle, such as compressibility and viscosity. This study suggests a new mineralogical model for the lower mantle, which is composed of the two layers depending on whether calcium dissolves in bridgmanite or forms CaSiO3 perovskite as a separate phase.

Second, I investigated the mineralogy and density of the subducting materials in the Archean at the P-T conditions near 670 km-depth. The experiments suggest that the major phases of Archean volcanic crust is majoritic garnet and ringwoodite in the P-T conditions of the deep transition zone, which become bridgmanite with increasing pressure. The density model showed that Archean volcanic crust would have been denser than the surrounding mantle, promoting sinking into the lower mantle regardless of the style of the transportation in the Archean.

Lastly, I further investigated the mineralogies and densities of the ancient volcanic crusts for the Archean and Proterozoic at the P-T conditions of the lower mantle. The experiments suggest that the mineralogy of the ancient volcanic crusts is composed mostly of bridgmanite, which is systemically denser than the surrounding lower mantle. This implies that the ancient volcanic crusts would have accumulated at the base of the mantle because of their large density and thickness. Therefore, the distinctive chemistry of the ancient volcanic crusts from the surrounding mantle would have given a rise to the chemical heterogeneities in the region for billions of years.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Constraining Source Models, Underlying Mechanisms, and Hazards Associated with Slow Slip Events: Insight from Space-Borne Geodesy and Seismology

Description

The movement between tectonic plates is accommodated through brittle (elastic) displacement on the plate boundary faults and ductile permanent deformation on the fault borderland. The elastic displacement along the fault

The movement between tectonic plates is accommodated through brittle (elastic) displacement on the plate boundary faults and ductile permanent deformation on the fault borderland. The elastic displacement along the fault can occur in the form of either large seismic events or aseismic slip, known as fault creep. Fault creep mainly occurs at the deep ductile portion of the crust, where the temperature is high. Nonetheless, aseismic creep can also occur on the shallow brittle portion of the fault segments that are characterized by frictionally weak material, elevated pore fluid pressure, or geometrical complexity. Creeping segments are assumed to safely release the accumulated strain(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992)(Kodaira et al., 2004; Rice, 1992) on the fault and also impede propagation of the seismic rupture. The rate of aseismic slip on creeping faults, however, might not be steady in time and instead consist of successive periods of acceleration and deceleration, known as slow slip events (SSEs). SSEs, which aseismically release the strain energy over a period of days to months, rather than the seconds to minutes characteristic of a typical earthquake, have been interpreted as earthquake precursors and as possible triggering factor for major earthquakes. Therefore, understanding the partitioning of seismic and aseismic fault slip and evolution of creep is fundamental to constraining the fault earthquake potential and improving operational seismic hazard models. Thanks to advances in tectonic geodesy, it is now possible to detect the fault movement in high spatiotemporal resolution and develop kinematic models of the creep evolution on the fault to determine the budget of seismic and aseismic slip.

In this dissertation, I measure the decades-long time evolution of fault-related crustal deformation along the San Andrea Fault in California and the northeast Japan subduction zone using space-borne geodetic techniques, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). The surface observation of deformation combined with seismic data set allow constraining the time series of creep distribution on the fault surface at seismogenic depth. The obtained time-dependent kinematic models reveal that creep in both study areas evolves through a series of SSEs, each lasting for several months. Using physics-based models informed by laboratory experiments, I show that the transient elevation of pore fluid pressure is the driving mechanism of SSEs. I further investigate the link between SSEs and evolution of seismicity on neighboring locked segments, which has implications for seismic hazard models and also provides insights into the pattern of microstructure on the fault surface. I conclude that while creeping segments act as seismic rupture barriers, SSEs on these zones might promote seismicity on adjacent seismogenic segments, thus change the short-term earthquake forecast.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Hydrogen in the Nominally Anhydrous Phases and Possible Hydrous Phases in the Lower Mantle

Description

The transport of hydrogen to the Earth’s deep interior remains uncertain. The upper mantle minerals have very low hydrogen solubilities (hundreds of ppm). The hydrogen storage capability in

The transport of hydrogen to the Earth’s deep interior remains uncertain. The upper mantle minerals have very low hydrogen solubilities (hundreds of ppm). The hydrogen storage capability in the transition zone minerals (2 wt%) is high compared to those of the upper mantle. The hydrogen storage in the lower mantle is not well known. The main minerals in the lower mantle bridgmanite and ferropericlase have very low hydrogen storage capacities (less than 20 ppm). In order to further understand the hydrogen storage in the lower mantle, a series of experiments had been conducted to simulate the environment similar to the Earth’s mantle. The experiments with hydrous Mg2SiO4 ringwoodite (Rw) show that it converts to crystalline dense hydrous silica, stishovite (Stv) or CaCl2-type SiO2(mStv), containing ∼1 wt% H2O together with bridgmanite (Brd) and MgO at the pressure-temperature conditions expected for lower mantle depths between approximately 660 to 1600 km. Brd would break down partially to dense hydrous silica (6–25 mol%) and(Mg,Fe)O in mid-mantle regions with 0.05–0.27 wt% H2O. The hydrous stishovite has a CaCl2 structure, which is common among hydrous minerals in the lower mantle. Based on this observation, I hypothesize the existence of hydrous phases in the lower mantle. The experiments found a new hexagonal iron hydroxide (η-Fe12O18+x/2Hx) between the stability fields of the epsilon and pyrite-type FeOOH at 60–80 GPa and high temperature. The new phase contains less H2O, limiting the H2O transport from the shallow to the deep mantle in the Fe–O–H system. Possible hydrogen storage in Ca-perovskite was studied. CaPv could contain 0.5–1 wt% water and the water in CaPv could distort the crystal structure of CaPv from cubic to tetragonal structure. In conclusion, hydrogen can be stored in hydrous stishovite in the shallower depth of the lower mantle. At greater depth, the new η phase and pyrite-type phase would take over the hydrogen storage. The role of CaPv in deep water storage needs to be considered in future studies.

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Date Created
  • 2019

Using micro-scale observations to understand large-scale geophysical phenomena: examples from seismology and mineral physics

Description

Earthquake faulting and the dynamics of subducting lithosphere are among the frontiers of geophysics. Exploring the nature, cause, and implications of geophysical phenomena requires multidisciplinary investigations focused at a range

Earthquake faulting and the dynamics of subducting lithosphere are among the frontiers of geophysics. Exploring the nature, cause, and implications of geophysical phenomena requires multidisciplinary investigations focused at a range of spatial scales. Within this dissertation, I present studies of micro-scale processes using observational seismology and experimental mineral physics to provide important constraints on models for a range of large-scale geophysical phenomena within the crust and mantle.

The Great Basin (GB) in the western U.S. is part of the diffuse North American-Pacific plate boundary. The interior of the GB occasionally produces large earthquakes, yet the current distribution of regional seismic networks poorly samples it. The EarthScope USArray Transportable Array provides unprecedented station density and data quality for the central GB. I use this dataset to develop an earthquake catalog for the region that is complete to M 1.5. The catalog contains small-magnitude seismicity throughout the interior of the GB. The spatial distribution of earthquakes is consistent with recent regional geodetic studies, confirming that the interior of the GB is actively deforming everywhere and all the time. Additionally, improved event detection thresholds reveal that swarms of temporally-clustered repeating earthquakes occur throughout the GB. The swarms are not associated with active volcanism or other swarm triggering mechanisms, and therefore, may represent a common fault behavior.

Enstatite (Mg,Fe)SiO3 is the second most abundant mineral within subducting lithosphere. Previous studies suggest that metastable enstatite within subducting slabs may persist to the base of the mantle transition zone (MTZ) before transforming to high-pressure polymorphs. The metastable persistence of enstatite has been proposed as a potential cause for both deep-focus earthquakes and the stagnation of slabs at the base of the MTZ. I show that natural Al- and Fe-bearing enstatite reacts more readily than previous studies and by multiple transformation mechanisms at conditions as low as 1200°C and 18 GPa. Metastable enstatite is thus unlikely to survive to the base of the MTZ. Additionally, coherent growth of akimotoite and other high-pressure phases along polysynthetic twin boundaries provides a mechanism for the inheritance of crystallographic preferred orientation from previously deformed enstatite-bearing rocks within subducting slabs.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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

Description

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

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Neotectonics of Java, Indonesia: crustal deformation in the overriding plate of an orthogonal subduction system

Description

Shallow earthquakes in the upper part of the overriding plate of subduction zones can be devastating due to their proximity to population centers despite the smaller rupture extents than

Shallow earthquakes in the upper part of the overriding plate of subduction zones can be devastating due to their proximity to population centers despite the smaller rupture extents than commonly occur on subduction megathrusts that produce the largest earthquakes. Damaging effects can be greater in volcanic arcs like Java because ground shaking is amplified by surficial deposits of uncompacted volcaniclastic sediments. Identifying the upper-plate structures and their potential hazards is key for minimizing the dangers they pose. In particular, the knowledge of the regional stress field and deformation pattern in this region will help us to better understand how subduction and collision affects deformation in this part of the overriding plate. The majority of the upper plate deformation studies have been focused on the deformation in the main thrusts of the fore-arc region. Study of deformation within volcanic arc is limited despite the associated earthquake hazards. In this study, I use maps of active upper-plate structures, earthquake moment tensor data and stress orientation deduced from volcano morphology analysis to characterize the strain field of Java arc. In addition, I use sandbox analog modeling to evaluate the mechanical factors that may be important in controlling deformation. My field- and remotely-based mapping of active faults and folds, supplemented by results from my paleoseismic studies and physical models of the system, suggest that Java’s deformation is distributed over broad areas along small-scale structures. Java is segmented into three main zones based on their distinctive structural patterns and stress orientation. East Java is characterized by NW-SE normal and strike-slip faults, Central Java has E-W folds and thrust faults, and NE-SW strike-slip faults dominate West Java. The sandbox analog models indicate that the strain in response to collision is partitioned into thrusting and strike-slip faulting, with the dominance of margin-normal thrust faulting. My models test the effects of convergence obliquity, geometry, preexisting weaknesses, asperities, and lateral strength contrast. The result suggest that slight variations in convergence obliquity do not affect the deformation pattern significantly, while the margin shape, lateral strength contrast, and perturbation of deformation from asperities each have a greater impact on deformation.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Flexible Thermoelectric Generators and 2-D Graphene pH Sensors for Wireless Sensing in Hot Spring Ecosystem

Description

Energy harvesting from ambient is important to configuring Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) for environmental data collecting. In this work, highly flexible thermoelectric generators (TEGs) have been studied and fabricated to

Energy harvesting from ambient is important to configuring Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) for environmental data collecting. In this work, highly flexible thermoelectric generators (TEGs) have been studied and fabricated to supply power to the wireless sensor notes used for data collecting in hot spring environment. The fabricated flexible TEGs can be easily deployed on the uneven surface of heated rocks at the rim of hot springs. By employing the temperature gradient between the hot rock surface and the air, these TEGs can generate power to extend the battery lifetime of the sensor notes and therefore reduce multiple batteries changes where the environment is usually harsh in hot springs. Also, they show great promise for self-powered wireless sensor notes. Traditional thermoelectric material bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) and advanced MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) thin film techniques were used for the fabrication. Test results show that when a flexible TEG array with an area of 3.4cm2 was placed on the hot plate surface of 80°C in the air under room temperature, it had an open circuit voltage output of 17.6mV and a short circuit current output of 0.53mA. The generated power was approximately 7mW/m2.

On the other hand, high pressure, temperatures that can reach boiling, and the pH of different hot springs ranging from <2 to >9 make hot spring ecosystem a unique environment that is difficult to study. WSN allows many scientific studies in harsh environments that are not feasible with traditional instrumentation. However, wireless pH sensing for long time in situ data collection is still challenging for two reasons. First, the existing commercial-off-the-shelf pH meters are frequent calibration dependent; second, biofouling causes significant measurement error and drift. In this work, 2-dimentional graphene pH sensors were studied and calibration free graphene pH sensor prototypes were fabricated. Test result shows the resistance of the fabricated device changes linearly with the pH values (in the range of 3-11) in the surrounding liquid environment. Field tests show graphene layer greatly prevented the microbial fouling. Therefore, graphene pH sensors are promising candidates that can be effectively used for wireless pH sensing in exploration of hot spring ecosystems.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Mechanical Modeling of Natural and Anthropogenic Fluid-Rock Interactions: Volcano Deformation and Induced Seismicity

Description

The dynamic Earth involves feedbacks between the solid crust and both natural and anthropogenic fluid flows. Fluid-rock interactions drive many Earth phenomena, including volcanic unrest, seismic activities, and hydrological responses.

The dynamic Earth involves feedbacks between the solid crust and both natural and anthropogenic fluid flows. Fluid-rock interactions drive many Earth phenomena, including volcanic unrest, seismic activities, and hydrological responses. Mitigating the hazards associated with these activities requires fundamental understanding of the underlying physical processes. Therefore, geophysical monitoring in combination with modeling provides valuable tools, suitable for hazard mitigation and risk management efforts. Magmatic activities and induced seismicity linked to fluid injection are two natural and anthropogenic processes discussed in this dissertation.

Successful forecasting of the timing, style, and intensity of a volcanic eruption is made possible by improved understanding of the volcano life cycle as well as building quantitative models incorporating the processes that govern rock melting, melt ascending, magma storage, eruption initiation, and interaction between magma and surrounding host rocks at different spatial extent and time scale. One key part of such models is the shallow magma chamber, which is generally directly linked to volcano’s eruptive behaviors. However, its actual shape, size, and temporal evolution are often not entirely known. To address this issue, I use space-based geodetic data with high spatiotemporal resolution to measure surface deformation at Kilauea volcano. The obtained maps of InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) deformation time series are exploited with two novel modeling schemes to investigate Kilauea’s shallow magmatic system. Both models can explain the same observation, leading to a new compartment model of magma chamber. Such models significantly advance the understanding of the physical processes associated with Kilauea’s summit plumbing system with potential applications for volcanoes around the world.

The unprecedented increase in the number of earthquakes in the Central and Eastern United States since 2008 is attributed to massive deep subsurface injection of saltwater. The elevated chance of moderate-large damaging earthquakes stemming from increased seismicity rate causes broad societal concerns among industry, regulators, and the public. Thus, quantifying the time-dependent seismic hazard associated with the fluid injection is of great importance. To this end, I investigate the large-scale seismic, hydrogeologic, and injection data in northern Texas for period of 2007-2015 and in northern-central Oklahoma for period of 1995-2017. An effective induced earthquake forecasting model is developed, considering a complex relationship between injection operations and consequent seismicity. I find that the timing and magnitude of regional induced earthquakes are fully controlled by the process of fluid diffusion in a poroelastic medium and thus can be successfully forecasted. The obtained time-dependent seismic hazard model is spatiotemporally heterogeneous and decreasing injection rates does not immediately reduce the probability of an earthquake. The presented framework can be used for operational induced earthquake forecasting. Information about the associated fundamental processes, inducing conditions, and probabilistic seismic hazards has broad benefits to the society.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018