Matching Items (10)

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Refining lunar impact chronology through high spatial resolution 40Ar/39Ar dating of impact melts

Description

Quantitative constraints on the ages of melt-forming impact events on the Moon are based primarily on isotope geochronology of returned samples. However, interpreting the results of such studies can often

Quantitative constraints on the ages of melt-forming impact events on the Moon are based primarily on isotope geochronology of returned samples. However, interpreting the results of such studies can often be difficult because the provenance region of any sample returned from the lunar surface may have experienced multiple impact events over the course of billions of years of bombardment. We illustrate this problem with new laser microprobe [superscript 40]Ar/[superscript 39]Ar data for two Apollo 17 impact melt breccias. Whereas one sample yields a straightforward result, indicating a single melt-forming event at ca. 3.83 Ga, data from the other sample document multiple impact melt–forming events between ca. 3.81 Ga and at least as young as ca. 3.27 Ga. Notably, published zircon U/Pb data indicate the existence of even older melt products in the same sample. The revelation of multiple impact events through [superscript 40]Ar/[superscript 39]Ar geochronology is likely not to have been possible using standard incremental heating methods alone, demonstrating the complementarity of the laser microprobe technique. Evidence for 3.83 Ga to 3.81 Ga melt components in these samples reinforces emerging interpretations that Apollo 17 impact breccia samples include a significant component of ejecta from the Imbrium basin impact. Collectively, our results underscore the need to quantitatively resolve the ages of different melt generations from multiple samples to improve our current understanding of the lunar impact record, and to establish the absolute ages of important impact structures encountered during future exploration missions in the inner Solar System.

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  • 2015-02-12

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VOLUME APPROXIMATIONS OF LASER PIT ABLATIONS

Description

Radiometric dating estimates the age of rocks by comparing the concentration of a decaying radioactive isotope to the concentrations of the decay byproducts. Radiometric dating has been instrumental in the

Radiometric dating estimates the age of rocks by comparing the concentration of a decaying radioactive isotope to the concentrations of the decay byproducts. Radiometric dating has been instrumental in the calculation of the Earth's age, the Moon's age, and the age of our solar system. Geochronologists in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU use radiometric dating extensively in their research, and have very specific procedures, hardware, and software to perform the dating calculations. Researchers use lasers to drill small holes, or ablations, in rock faces, collect the masses of various isotopes using a mass spectrometer, and scan the pit with an interferometer, which records the z heights of the pit on an x-y grid. This scan is then processed by custom-made software to determine the volume of the pit, which then is used along with the isotope masses and known decay rates to determine the age of the rock. My research has been focused on improving this volume calculation through computational geometry methods of surface reconstruction. During the process, I created an web application that reads interferometer scans, reconstructs a surface from those scans with Poisson reconstruction, renders the surface in the browser, and calculates the volume of the pit based on parameters provided by the researcher. The scans are stored in a central cloud datastore for future analysis, allowing the researchers in the geochronology community to collaborate together on scans from various rocks in their individual labs. The result of the project has been a complete and functioning application that is accessible to any researcher and reproducible from any computer. The 3D representation of the scan data allows researchers to easily understand the topology of the pit ablation and determine early on whether the measurements of the interferometer are trustworthy for the particular ablation. The volume calculation by the new software also reduces the variability in the volume calculation, which hopefully indicates the process is removing noise from the scan data and performing volume calculations on a more realistic representation of the actual ablation. In the future, this research will be used as the groundwork for more robust testing and closer approximations through implementation of different reconstruction algorithms. As the project grows and becomes more usable, hopefully there will be adoption in the community and it will become a reproducible standard for geochronologists performing radiometric dating.

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  • 2016-05

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

Description

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

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

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  • 2014-05

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Evidence for Plio-Pleistocene north-south extension at the southern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, Nyalam region

Description

The southern Tibetan Plateau margin between ~ 83E and 86.5E is defined by an abrupt change from the low-relief Tibetan Plateau to the rugged topography and deep gorges of the

The southern Tibetan Plateau margin between ~ 83E and 86.5E is defined by an abrupt change from the low-relief Tibetan Plateau to the rugged topography and deep gorges of the Himalaya. This physiographic transition lies well to the north of active thrusting, and thus, the mechanism responsible for the distinct topographic break remains the focus of much debate. While numerous studies have utilized thermochronology to examine the exhumation history of the Himalaya, few have done so with respect to variations across the Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau transition. In this work, we examine the nature of the transition where it is accessible and well-defined in the Nyalam valley of south-central Tibet. We employ several new and previously published thermochronologic datasets (with a closure temperature range of ~ 70C–300C) in conjunction with river incision patterns inferred by the longitudinal profile of the Bhote Kosi River. The results reveal a sharp change in cooling rate at ~ 3.5 Ma at a location corresponding to a pronounced river knickpoint representing a sharp increase in river gradient and presumably incision rate (a proxy for rock uplift). Margin retreat models for the physiographic transition are inconsistent with the cooling pattern revealed by low-temperature thermochronologic data. Models invoking passive uplift of the upper crust over a midcrustal ramp and associated duplex to account for the physiographic transition do not explain the observed break in cooling rate there, although they may explain a suggesting in the thermochronologic data of progressively increasing exhumation rates south of the transition. The simplest model consistent with all observations is that passive uplift is augmented by contemporaneous differential uplift across a young (Pliocene-Quaternary) normal fault at the physiographic transition. Drawing on observations elsewhere, we hypothesize that similar structural relationships may be characteristic of the Tibetan Plateau-Himalaya transition from ~83E – 86.5E.

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  • 2013-05-30

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Evidence for Pleistocene Low-Angle Normal Faulting in the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri Region, Nepal

Description

North-south-directed extension on the South Tibetan Fault System (STFS) played an important role in Himalayan tectonics of the Miocene Period, and it is generally assumed that orogen-perpendicular extension ceased in

North-south-directed extension on the South Tibetan Fault System (STFS) played an important role in Himalayan tectonics of the Miocene Period, and it is generally assumed that orogen-perpendicular extension ceased in this orogenic system before the Pliocene. However, previous work in the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalaya of central Nepal revealed evidence for local Pleistocene reactivation of the basal STFS structure in this area (the Annapurna Detachment). New structural mapping and (U-Th)/He apatite and zircon thermochronology in this region further document the significance of Pleistocene N-S extension in this sector of the Himalaya. Patterns of (U-Th)/He accessory-mineral ages are not disrupted across the reactivated segment of the STFS basal detachment, indicating that Pleistocene offset was limited. In contrast, the trace of a N-dipping, low-angle detachment in the hanging wall of the reactivated Annapurna Detachment—formerly linked to the STFS, but here named the Dhaulagiri Detachment—coincides with an abrupt break in the cooling-age pattern in two different drainages ∼20 km apart, juxtaposing Miocene hanging-wall dates against Pleistocene footwall dates. Our observations, combined with previous fission-track data from the region, provide direct evidence for significant N-S extension in the central Himalaya as recently as the Pleistocene.

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  • 2015-03-01

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Flexural bending of southern Tibet in a retro foreland setting

Description

The highest elevation of the Tibetan Plateau, lying 5,700 m above sea level, occurs within the part of the Lhasa block immediately north of the India-Tibet suture zone (Yarlung Zangbo

The highest elevation of the Tibetan Plateau, lying 5,700 m above sea level, occurs within the part of the Lhasa block immediately north of the India-Tibet suture zone (Yarlung Zangbo suture zone, YZSZ), being 700 m higher than the maximum elevation of more northern parts of the plateau. Various mechanisms have been proposed to explain this differentially higher topography and the rock uplift that led to it, invoking crustal compression or extension. Here we present the results of structural investigations along the length of the high elevation belt and suture zone, which rather indicate flexural bending of the southern margin of the Lhasa block (Gangdese magmatic belt) and occurrence of an adjacent foreland basin (Kailas Basin), both elements resulting from supra-crustal loading of the Lhasa block by the Zangbo Complex (Indian plate rocks) via the Great Counter Thrust. Hence we interpret the differential elevation of the southern margin of the plateau as due originally to uplift of a forebulge in a retro foreland setting modified by subsequent processes. Identification of this flexural deformation has implications for early evolution of the India-Tibet continental collision zone, implying an initial (Late Oligocene) symmetrical architecture that subsequently transitioned into the present asymmetrical wedge architecture.

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  • 2015-07-15

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Chronology of Planetesimal Differentiation Based on the Timing of Achondrite Formation in the Early Solar System

Description

During the early Solar System many physiochemical processes were taking place that would shape the formation and evolution of rocky bodies. Growth of these rocky objects was rapid, with some

During the early Solar System many physiochemical processes were taking place that would shape the formation and evolution of rocky bodies. Growth of these rocky objects was rapid, with some growing to sizes of 10s – 1000s km (“planetesimals”) in the first few million years. Because these objects formed early, they contained sufficient 26Al (an isotope of Al with a short half-life of ~705,000 yrs) to heat the interiors to melting temperatures, resulting in the formation of the first igneous rocks in nascent Solar System. Depending on the size and time of accretion, some bodies experienced high degrees of melting (with some having global magma oceans) while others experienced lower degrees of partial melting, and yet others did not experience any melting at all. These varying degrees of heating and melting processes on early-formed planetesimals produced a variety of achondritic meteorite types. These achondrites have bulk compositions ranging from ultramafic to basaltic, with some rare types having more highly “evolved” (i.e., high-SiO2) compositions. Determining the detailed chronology of their formation with fine time resolution is key for understanding the earliest stages of planet formation, and there are high resolution chronometers that are ideally suited for this application. Three such chronometers (i.e., the 26Al-26Mg, 53Mn-53Cr, and 207Pb-206Pb chronometers) are the focus of this work. Based on investigations of these chronometers in several achondritic meteorites, the implications for the formation and evolution of planetesimals in the early Solar System will be discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Comparative evolution of the Shyok and Yarlung suture zones: implications for the collision Between India and Eurasia

Description

The collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates marked the onset of the rise of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen, but also brought about profound changes to the Earth's oceans and

The collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates marked the onset of the rise of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen, but also brought about profound changes to the Earth's oceans and climate. The exact sequence of events that occurred during this collision is poorly understood, leading to a wide range of estimates of its age. The Indus and Yarlung sutures are generally considered to represent the final collision between India and Eurasia, and together form a mostly continuous belt that can be traced over 2000 km along strike. In the western portions of the orogen the Karakoram Fault introduces a key complexity to the study of timing of collision by offsetting the Indus and Yarlung sutures. Recent work has used the complexities introduced by the Karakoram Fault to suggest that the more northerly Shyok suture, not the Indus suture, represents the India-Eurasia collision zone. Estimates for timing of the India-Eurasia collision fall into one of three groups: 40-34 Ma, 55-50 Ma, and 66-60 Ma. Attempts to reconcile these models have thus far been unsuccessful. In order to provide additional data that might further clarify the timing and location of collision, studies have been performed along the Shyok suture in India and along the Yarlung suture in Tibet at Sangsang. A study along the Shyok suture argues that the suture formed between 92-85 Ma. This timing precludes an interpretation that the Shyok suture marks the location of the India-Eurasia collision. A second study demonstrates the utility of two new geochronometers, (U-Th)/Pb joaquinite and 40Ar/39Ar neptunite, that play an important role in unraveling the tectonic history of the Yarlung suture. A third study is an investigation of the structure and geochronology of the Sangsang ophiolite complex. Here, multiple (U-Th)/Pb and 40Ar/39Ar systems record magmatism and metamorphism spanning ca. 125-52 Ma. By tying these chronometers to tectonic process, a history is reconstructed of the southern margin of Tibet that includes Early Cretaceous to Late Cretaceous forearc rifting associated with mid ocean ridge subduction, Paleocene accretionary wedge uplift and erosion, and finally Eocene metasomatism and collision.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Radiation Damage and Helium Diffusion in Mineral Chronometers

Description

A mineral’s helium content reflects a balance between two competing processes: accumulation by radioactive decay and temperature-dependent diffusive loss. (U-Th)/He dating of zircon and other uranium and thorium-bearing minerals provides

A mineral’s helium content reflects a balance between two competing processes: accumulation by radioactive decay and temperature-dependent diffusive loss. (U-Th)/He dating of zircon and other uranium and thorium-bearing minerals provides insight into the temperature histories of rocks at or near Earth’s surface that informs geoscientists’ understanding of tectonic and climate-driven exhumation, magmatic activity, and other thermal events. The crystal structure and chemistry of minerals affect helium diffusion kinetics, recorded closure temperatures, and interpretations of (U-Th)/He datasets. I used empirical and experimental methods to investigate helium systematics in two minerals chronometers: zircon and xenotime.

The same radioactivity that makes zircon a valuable chronometer damages its crystal structure over time and changes zircon helium kinetics. I used a zircon, titanite, and apatite (U-Th)/He dataset combined with previously published data and a new thermal model to place empirical constraints on the closure temperature for helium in a suite of variably damaged zircon crystals from the McClure Mountain syenite of Colorado. Results of this study suggest that the widely-used zircon damage accumulation and annealing model (ZRDAAM) does not accurately predict helium closure temperatures for a majority of the dated zircons. Detailed Raman maps of Proterozoic zircon crystals from the Lyon Mountain Granite of New York document complex radiation damage zoning. Models based on these results suggest that most ancient zircons are likely to exhibit intracrystalline variations in helium diffusivity due to radiation damage zoning, which may, in part, explain discrepancies between my empirical findings and ZRDAAM.

Zircon crystallography suggests that helium diffusion should be fastest along the crystallographic c-axis. I used laser depth profiling to show that diffusion is more strongly anisotropic than previously recognized. These findings imply that crystal morphology affects the closure temperature for helium in crystalline zircon. Diffusivity and the magnitude of diffusive anisotropy decrease with low doses of radiation damage.

Xenotime would make a promising (U-Th)/He thermochronometer if its helium kinetics were better known. I performed classic step-wise degassing experiments to characterize helium diffusion in xenotime FPX-1. Results suggest that this xenotime sample is sensitive to exceptionally low temperatures (∼50 °C) and produces consistent (U-Th)/He dates.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Differential movement across Byrd Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica as Indicated by (U-Th)/He thermochronology and geomorphology

Description

The Byrd Glacier region of Antarctica is important for understanding the tectonic development and landscape evolution of the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM). This outlet glacier crossing the TAM marks a major

The Byrd Glacier region of Antarctica is important for understanding the tectonic development and landscape evolution of the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM). This outlet glacier crossing the TAM marks a major discontinuity in the Neoproterozoic-early Paleozoic Ross orogen. The region has not been geologically mapped in detail, but previous studies have inferred a fault to exist beneath and parallel to the direction of flow of Byrd Glacier. Thermochronologic analysis has never been undertaken across Byrd Glacier, and little is known of the exhumation history of the region. The objectives of this study are to assess possible differential movement across the inferred Byrd Glacier fault, to measure the timing of exhumation, and to gain a better overall understanding of the structural architecture of the TAM. Apatites and zircons separated from rock samples collected from various locations north and south of Byrd Glacier were dated using single-crystal (U- Th)/He analysis. Similar cooling histories were revealed with comparable exhumation rates of 0.03 ± 0.003 and 0.04 ± 0.03 mm/yr north and south of Byrd Glacier from apatite data and somewhat similar rates of 0.06 ± 0.008 and 0.04 ± 0.01 mm/yr north and south of Byrd Glacier from zircon data. Age vs. elevation regressions indicate a vertical offset of 1379 ± 159 m and 4000 ± 3466 m from apatite and zircon data. To assess differential movement, the Kukri Peneplain (a regional unconformity) was utilized as a datum. On-site photographs, Landsat imagery, and Aster Global DEM data were combined to map Kukri Peneplain elevation points north and south of Byrd Glacier. The difference in elevation of the peneplain as projected across Byrd Glacier shows an offset of 1122 ± 4.7 m. This study suggests a model of relatively uniform exhumation followed by fault displacement that uplifted the south side of Byrd Glacier relative to the north side. Combining apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He analysis along with remote geomorphologic analysis has provided an understanding of the differential movement and exhumation history of crustal blocks in the Byrd Glacier region. The results complement thermochronologic and geomorphologic studies elsewhere within the TAM providing more information and a new approach.

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Date Created
  • 2011