Matching Items (27)

133583-Thumbnail Image.png

Dating Deep-Sea Pelagic Clays with Osmium Isotopes to Reconstruct Sources of Iron to the South Pacific Gyre over 90 Million Years

Description

Iron (Fe) scarcity limits biological productivity in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) ocean regions. Thus, the input, output and abundance of Fe in seawater likely played a critical role in shaping the

Iron (Fe) scarcity limits biological productivity in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) ocean regions. Thus, the input, output and abundance of Fe in seawater likely played a critical role in shaping the development of modern marine ecosystems and perhaps even contributed to past changes in Earth’s climate. Three sources of Fe—wind-blown dust, hydrothermal activity, and sediment dissolution—carry distinct Fe isotopic fingerprints, and can therefore be used to track Fe source variability through time. However, establishing the timing of this source variability through Earth’s history remains challenging because the major depocenters for dissolved Fe in the ocean lack well-established chronologies. This is due to the fact that they are difficult to date with traditional techniques such as biostratigraphy and radiometric dating. Here, I develop age models for sediments collected from the International Drilling Program Expedition 329 by measuring the Os (osmium) isotopic composition of the hydrogenous portion of the clays. These extractions enable dating of the clays by aligning the Os isotope patterns observed in the clays to those in a reference curve with absolute age constraints through the Cenozoic. Our preliminary data enable future development of chronologies for three sediment cores from the high-latitude South Pacific and Southern Oceans, and demonstrate a wider utility of this method to establish age constraints on pelagic sediments worldwide. Moreover, the preliminary Os isotopic data provides a critical first step needed to examine the changes in Fe (iron) sources and cycling on millions of years timescales. Fe isotopic analysis was conducted at the same sites in the South Pacific and demonstrates that there are significant changes in the sources of Fe to the Southern Ocean over the last 90 Ma. These results lay the groundwork for the exploration of basin-scale sources to Fe source changes, which will have implications for understanding how biological productivity relates to Fe source variability over geological timescales.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

Prokaryotic Cells Separated From Sediments are Suitable for Elemental Composition Analysis

Description

Cell-sediment separation methods can potentially enable determination of the elemental composition of microbial communities by removing the sediment elemental contribution from bulk samples. We demonstrate that a separation method can

Cell-sediment separation methods can potentially enable determination of the elemental composition of microbial communities by removing the sediment elemental contribution from bulk samples. We demonstrate that a separation method can be applied to determine the composition of prokaryotic cells. The method uses chemical and physical means to extract cells from benthic sediments and mats. Recovery yields were between 5% and 40%, as determined from cell counts. The method conserves cellular element contents to within 30% or better, as assessed by comparing C, N, P, Mg, Al, Ca, Ti, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Mo contents in Escherichia coli. Contamination by C, N, and P from chemicals used during the procedure was negligible. Na and K were not conserved, being likely exchanged through the cell membrane as cations during separation. V, Cr, and Co abundances could not be determined due to large (>100%) measurement uncertainties. We applied this method to measure elemental contents in extremophilic communities of Yellowstone National Park hot springs. The method was generally successful at separating cells from sediment, but does not discriminate between cells and detrital biological or noncellular material of similar density. This resulted in Al, Ti, Mn, and Fe contamination, which can be tracked using proxies such as metal:Al ratios. With these caveats, we present the first measurements, to our knowledge, of the elemental abundances of a chemosynthetic community. The communities have C:N ratios typical of aquatic microorganisms, are low in P, and their metal abundances vary between hot springs by orders of magnitude.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-07-01

149944-Thumbnail Image.png

A new analytical method for measuring hydrogen isotopes using GC-IRMS: applications to hydrous minerals

Description

A new analytical method is proposed for measuring the deuterium to hydrogen ratio (D/H) of non-stoichiometric water in hydrous minerals via pyrolysis facilitated gas-chromatography - isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS).

A new analytical method is proposed for measuring the deuterium to hydrogen ratio (D/H) of non-stoichiometric water in hydrous minerals via pyrolysis facilitated gas-chromatography - isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS). Previously published analytical methods have reported a poorly understood nonlinear dependence of D/H on sample size, for which any accurate correction is difficult. This sample size effect been variously attributed to kinetic isotope fractionation within the mass spectrometer and peripheral instruments, ion source linearity issues, and an unstable H_3^+-factor or incorrect H_3^+-factor calculations. The cause of the sample size effect is here identified by examinations of individual chromatograms as well as bulk data from chromatographic peaks. It is here determined that it is primarily an artifact of the calculations employed by the manufacturer's computer program, used to both monitor the functions of the mass spectrometer and to collect data. Ancillary causes of the sample size effect include a combination of persistent background interferences and chromatographic separation of the isotopologues of molecular hydrogen. Previously published methods are evaluated in light of these findings. A new method of H_3^+-factor and D/H calculation is proposed which makes portions of the Isodat software as well as other published calculation methods unnecessary. Using this new method, D/H is measured in non-stoichiometric water in chert from the Cretaceous Edwards Group, Texas, as well as the Precambrian Kromberg Formation, South Africa, to assess hydrological conditions as well as to estimate the maximum average surface temperature during precipitation of the chert. Data from Cretaceous chert are consistent with previously published data and interpretations, based upon conventional analyses of large samples. Data from Precambrian chert are consistent with maximum average surface temperatures approaching 65°C during the Archean, instead of the much lower temperatures derived from erroneous methods of sample preparation and analysis. D/H is likewise measured in non-stoichiometric water in silicified basalt from the Precambrian Hooggenoeg Complex, South Africa. Data are shown to be consistent with D/H of the Archean ocean similar to present day values.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

151565-Thumbnail Image.png

MEMS harsh environment sensors for earth and space exploration

Description

Harsh environments have conditions that make collecting scientific data difficult with existing commercial-off-the-shelf technology. Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology is ideally suited for harsh environment characterization and operation due

Harsh environments have conditions that make collecting scientific data difficult with existing commercial-off-the-shelf technology. Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology is ideally suited for harsh environment characterization and operation due to the wide range of materials available and an incredible array of different sensing techniques while providing small device size, low power consumption, and robustness. There were two main objectives of the research conducted. The first objective was to design, fabricate, and test novel sensors that measure the amount of exposure to ionizing radiation for a wide range of applications including characterization of harsh environments. Two types of MEMS ionizing radiation dosimeters were developed. The first sensor was a passive radiation-sensitive capacitor-antenna design. The antenna's emitted frequency of peak-intensity changed as exposure time to radiation increased. The second sensor was a film bulk acoustic-wave resonator, whose resonant frequency decreased with increasing ionizing radiation exposure time. The second objective was to develop MEMS sensor systems that could be deployed to gather scientific data and to use that data to address the following research question: do temperature and/or conductivity predict the appearance of photosynthetic organisms in hot springs. To this end, temperature and electrical conductivity sensor arrays were designed and fabricated based on mature MEMS technology. Electronic circuits and the software interface to the electronics were developed for field data collection. The sensor arrays utilized in the hot springs yielded results that support the hypothesis that temperature plays a key role in determining where the photosynthetic organisms occur. Additionally, a cold-film fluidic flow sensor was developed, which is suitable for near-boiling temperature measurement. Future research should focus on (1) developing a MEMS pH sensor array with integrated temperature, conductivity, and flow sensors to provide multi-dimensional data for scientific study and (2) finding solutions to biofouling and self-calibration, which affects sensor performance over long-term deployment.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

152707-Thumbnail Image.png

Variability of elemental abundances in the local neighborhood and its effect on planetary systems

Description

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of elemental compositions amongst local stars and how this variation could affect possible planetary systems. Through calculating and analyzing the variation in elemental abundances of nearby stars, the actual range in stellar abundances can be determined using statistical methods. This research emphasizes the diversity of stellar elemental abundances and how that could affect the environment from which planets form. An intrinsic variation has been found to exist for almost all of the elements studied by most abundance-finding groups. Specifically, this research determines abundances for a set of 458 F, G, and K stars from spectroscopic planet hunting surveys for 27 elements, including: C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Y, Zr, Mo, Ba, La, Ce, Nd, Eu, and Hf. Abundances of the elements in many known exosolar planet host stars are calculated for the purpose investigating new ways to visualize how stellar abundances could affect planetary systems, planetary formation, and mineralogy. I explore the Mg/Si and C/O ratios as well as place these abundances on ternary diagrams with Fe. Lastly, I emphasize the unusual stellar abundance of τ Ceti. τ Ceti is measured to have 5 planets of Super-Earth masses orbiting in near habitable zone distances. Spectroscopic analysis finds that the Mg/Si ratio is extremely high (~2) for this star, which could lead to alterations in planetary properties. τ Ceti's low metallicity and oxygen abundance account for a change in the location of the traditional habitable zone, which helps clarify a new definition of habitable planets.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

152644-Thumbnail Image.png

Biogeochemistry science and education: part one, using non-traditional stable isotopes as environmental tracers : part two, identifying and measuring undergraduate misconceptions in biogeochemistry

Description

This dissertation is presented in two sections. First, I explore two methods of using stable isotope analysis to trace environmental and biogeochemical processes. Second, I present two related studies investigating

This dissertation is presented in two sections. First, I explore two methods of using stable isotope analysis to trace environmental and biogeochemical processes. Second, I present two related studies investigating student understanding of the biogeochemical concepts that underlie part one. Fe and Hg are each biogeochemically important elements in their own way. Fe is a critical nutrient for phytoplankton, while Hg is detrimental to nearly all forms of life. Fe is often a limiting factor in marine phytoplankton growth. The largest source, by mass, of Fe to the open ocean is windblown mineral dust, but other more soluble sources are more bioavailable. To look for evidence of these non-soil dust sources of Fe to the open ocean, I measured the isotopic composition of aerosol samples collected on Bermuda. I found clear evidence in the fine size fraction of a non-soil dust Fe source, which I conclude is most likely from biomass burning. Widespread adoption of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) has increased their importance as a source of environmental Hg. Isotope analysis would be a useful tool in quantifying this impact if the isotopic composition of Hg from CFL were known. My measurements show that CFL-Hg is isotopically fractionated, in a unique pattern, during normal operation. This fractionation is large and has a distinctive, mass-independent signature, such that CFL Hg can be uniquely identified from other sources. Misconceptions research in geology has been a very active area of research, but student thinking regarding the related field of biogeochemistry has not yet been studied in detail. From interviews with 40 undergraduates, I identified over 150 specific misconceptions. I also designed a multiple-choice survey (concept inventory) to measure understanding of these same biogeochemistry concepts. I present statistical evidence, based on the Rasch model, for the reliability and validity of this instrument. This instrument will allow teachers and researchers to easily quantify learning outcomes in biogeochemistry and will complement existing concept inventories in geology, chemistry, and biology.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

151140-Thumbnail Image.png

Incorporation and preservation of molybdenum and uranium isotope variations in modern marine sediments

Description

Molybdenum and uranium isotope variations are potentially powerful tools for reconstructing the paleoredox history of seawater. Reliable application and interpretation of these proxies requires not only detailed knowledge about the

Molybdenum and uranium isotope variations are potentially powerful tools for reconstructing the paleoredox history of seawater. Reliable application and interpretation of these proxies requires not only detailed knowledge about the fractionation factors that control the distribution of molybdenum and uranium isotopes in the marine system, but also a thorough understanding of the diagenetic processes that may affect molybdenum and uranium isotopes entering the rock record. Using samples from the Black Sea water column, the first water column profile of 238U/235U variations from a modern euxinic basin has been measured. This profile allows the direct determination of the 238U/235U fractionation factor in a euxinic marine setting. More importantly however, these data demonstrate the extent of Rayleigh fractionation of U isotopes that can occur in euxinic restricted basins. Because of this effect, the offset of 238U/235U between global average seawater and coeval black shales deposited in restricted basins is expected to depend on the degree of local uranium drawdown from the water column, potentially complicating the interpretation 238U/235U paleorecords. As an alternative to the black shales typically used for paleoredox reconstructions, molybdenum and uranium isotope variations in bulk carbonate sediments from the Bahamas are examined. The focus of this work was to determine what processes, if any, fractionate molybdenum and uranium isotopes during incorporation into bulk carbonate sediments and their subsequent diagenesis. The results demonstrate that authigenic accumulation of molybdenum and uranium from anoxic and sulfidic pore waters is a dominant process controlling the concentration and isotopic composition of these sediments during early diagenesis. Examination of ODP drill core samples from the Bahamas reveals similar behavior for sediments during the first ~780ka of burial, but provides important examples where isolated cores and samples occasionally demonstrate additional fractionation, the cause of which remains poorly understood.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

150742-Thumbnail Image.png

Stellar abundances in the solar neighborhood

Description

The only elements that were made in significant quantity during the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium, and to a lesser extent lithium. Depending on the initial mass of a

The only elements that were made in significant quantity during the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium, and to a lesser extent lithium. Depending on the initial mass of a star, it may eject some or all of the unique, newly formed elements into the interstellar medium. The enriched gas later collapses into new stars, which are able to form heavier elements due to the presence of the new elements. When we observe the abundances in a stellar regions, we are able to glean the astrophysical phenomena that occurred prior to its formation. I compile spectroscopic abundance data from 49 literature sources for 46 elements across 2836 stars in the solar neighborhood, within 150 pc of the Sun, to produce the Hypatia Catalog. I analyze the variability of the spread in abundance measurements reported for the same star by different surveys, the corresponding stellar atmosphere parameters adopted by various abundance determination methods, and the effect of normalizing all abundances to the same solar scale. The resulting abundance ratios [X/Fe] as a function of [Fe/H] are consistent with stellar nucleosynthetic processes and known Galactic thin-disk trends. I analyze the element abundances for 204 known exoplanet host-stars. In general, I find that exoplanet host-stars are not enriched more than the surrounding population of stars, with the exception of iron. I examine the stellar abundances with respect to both stellar and planetary physical properties, such as orbital period, eccentricity, planetary mass, stellar mass, and stellar color. My data confirms that exoplanet hosts are enriched in [Fe/H] but not in the refractory elements, per the self-enrichment theory for stellar composition. Lastly, I apply the Hypatia Catalog to the Catalog of Potentially Habitable Stellar Systems in order to investigate the abundances in the 1224 overlapping stars. By looking at stars similar to the Sun with respect to six bio-essential elements, I created maps that have located two ``habitability windows'' on the sky: (20.6hr, -4.8deg) and (22.6hr, -48.5deg). These windows may be of use in future targeted or beamed searches.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

150749-Thumbnail Image.png

Element use and acquisition strategies in biological soil crusts

Description

Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are critical components of arid and semiarid environments and provide the primary sources of bioavailable macronutrients and increase micronutrient availability to their surrounding ecosystems. BSCs are

Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are critical components of arid and semiarid environments and provide the primary sources of bioavailable macronutrients and increase micronutrient availability to their surrounding ecosystems. BSCs are composed of a variety of microorganisms that perform a wide range of physiological processes requiring a multitude of bioessential micronutrients, such as iron, copper, and molybdenum. This work investigated the effects of BSC activity on soil solution concentrations of bioessential elements and examined the microbial production of organic chelators, called siderophores. I found that aluminum, vanadium, copper, zinc, and molybdenum were solubilized in the action of crusts, while nickel, zinc, arsenic, and zirconium were immobilized by crust activity. Potassium and manganese displayed behavior consistent with biological removal and mobilization, whereas phosphorus and iron solubility were dominated by abiotic processes. The addition of bioavailable nitrogen altered the effects of BSCs on soil element mobilization. In addition, I found that the biogeochemical activites of BSCs were limited by molybdenum, a fact that likely contributes to co-limitation by nitrogen. I confirmed the presence of siderophore producing microbes in BSCs. Siderophores are low-molecular weight organic compounds that are released by bacteria to increase element solubility and facilitate element uptake; siderophore production is likely the mechanism by which BSCs affect the patterns I observed in soil solution element concentrations. Siderophore producers were distributed across a range of bacterial groups and ecological niches within crusts, suggesting that siderophore production influences the availability of a variety of elements for use in many physiological processes. Four putative siderophore compounds were identified using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry; further attempts to characterize the compounds confirmed two true siderophores. Taken together, the results of my work provide information about micronutrient cycling within crusts that can be applied to BSC conservation and management. Fertilization with certain elements, particularly molybdenum, may prove to be a useful technique to promote BSC growth and development which would help prevent arid land degradation. Furthermore, understanding the effects of BSCs on soil element mobility could be used to develop useful biomarkers for the study of the existence and distribution of crust-like communities on ancient Earth, and perhaps other places, like Mars.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

156998-Thumbnail Image.png

A Study of Ethnogeological Knowledge and Other Traditional Scientific Knowledge in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic

Description

Ethnogeology is the scientific study of human relationships with the Earth as a system, typically conducted within the context of a specific culture. Indigenous or historically resident people may

Ethnogeology is the scientific study of human relationships with the Earth as a system, typically conducted within the context of a specific culture. Indigenous or historically resident people may perceive local places differently from outside observers trained in the Western tradition. Ethnogeologic knowledge includes traditional indigenous knowledge (alternatively referred to as traditional ecological knowledge or TEK), which exceeds the boundaries of non-Indigenous ideas of physical characteristics of the world, tends to be more holistic, and is culturally framed. In this ethnogeological study, I have implemented several methods of participatory rapid assessment (PRA) from the discipline of field ethnography to collect culturally framed geological knowledge, as well to measure the authenticity of the knowledge collected. I constructed a cultural consensus model (CCM) about karst as a domain of knowledge. The study area is located in the karst physiographic region of the Caribbean countries of the Dominican Republic (DR) and Puerto Rico (PR). Ethnogeological data collected and analyzed using CCM satisfied the requirements of a model where I have found statistically significance among participant’s agreement and competence values. Analysis of the competence means in the population of DR and PR results in p < 0.05 validating the methods adapted for this study. I discuss the CCM for the domain of karst (in its majority) that is shared among consultants in the countries of PR and the DR that is in the form of metaphors and other forms of culturally framed descriptions. This work continuing insufficient representation of minority groups such as Indigenous people, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Hispanic/Latinxs in the Earth Sciences.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018