Studying diffusion of hydrogen in nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs), like clinopyroxene, at low temperatures is a challenging task due to experimental and analytical difficulties. We applied a combination of hydrogen implantation to produce concentration gradients in natural diopside crystals with Nuclear Resonance Reaction Analysis (NRRA) measurements of nanoscale diffusion profiles. Thereby, we were able to conduct experiments at temperatures between 195 – 400 °C. Obtained diffusion rates show a consistent Arrhenius relation Ｄн = 5.47 (± 13.98) ·10⁻⁸ · exp (-115.64 (±11.5) kJ mol⁻¹/RT) m²s⁻¹. Notably, our results lie well within the range of extrapolations from high temperature experiments (≥ 600 °C) of previous studies. This implies that fast diffusion of hydrogen (compared to other elements) extends to low temperatures. We used these results in a non-isothermal diffusion model that simulates the ascent of crystals (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mm) along two representative geotherms (oceanic and continental) from 600 to 100 °C, to assess potential re-equilibration of H contents in clinopyroxene at low temperatures. Our model highlights the need to carefully consider boundary conditions, which are a function of P-T-𝘧O₂, that control the concentration gradient at the crystal’s rim. The results from this model allow an assessment when re-equilibration in dependence of crystal size and cooling rate must be considered. Fast ascent (e.g., kimberlitic melt) preserves initial hydrogen contents even in 0.5 mm size clinopyroxene crystals. However, dwelling at low temperatures (e.g., 300 °C) for several thousands of years (e.g., serpentinization) leads to extensive re-equilibration in 2 mm crystals.
The increasing use of the seasonally frozen and permafrost regions for civil engineering constructions and the effects of global warming on these regions have stimulated research on the behaviors of frozen soils. In the present study, the frost heave characteristics of a coarse-grained soil with volcanic nature was experimentally investigated. A large soil tank model was established in laboratory for this purpose. The effects of temperature boundary, external water supply, and water transfer type on the frost heave characteristics of the volcanic soil were studied, through a series of frost heave tests. The particle image velocimetry (PIV) technique was used to quantify the full field deformation of the soil specimen. The results suggest that temperature gradient inside the soil specimen is the driving force for the migration of pore water and vapor. The largest increment in water content generally agrees well with the frost penetration depth. The contribution of vapor to the frost heave of the Komaoka soil specimen is typically small. The applied seeding method, selected subset size, image-object space calibration, and calculation processes ensured accurate PIV results. Discussions regarding the presented experimental investigation and the employment of PIV technique for quantifying frozen soil deformation are summarized. These findings and discussions can provide valuable insights into the frost heave behavior of the studied soil in particular, as well as promote the application of PIV for frozen soil engineering.
The relative roles of parameters governing relative permeability, a crucial property for two-phase fluid flows, are incompletely known. To characterize the influence of viscosity ratio (M) and capillary number (Ca), we calculated relative permeabilities of nonwetting fluids (knw) and wetting fluids (kw) in a 3D model of Berea sandstone under steady-state condition using the lattice Boltzmann method. We show that knw increases and kw decreases as M increases due to the lubricating effect, locally occurred pore-filling behavior, and instability at fluid interfaces. We also show that knw decreases markedly at low Ca (log Ca < −1.25), whereas kw undergoes negligible change with changing Ca. An M–Ca–knw correlation diagram, displaying the simultaneous effects of M and Ca, shows that they cause knw to vary by an order of magnitude. The color map produced is useful to provide accurate estimates of knw in reservoir-scale simulations and to help identify the optimum properties of the immiscible fluids to be used in a geologic reservoir.
The flow of organic matter (OM) along rivers and its retention within floodplains are fundamental to the function of aquatic and riparian ecosystems and are significant components of terrestrial carbon storage and budgets. Carbon storage and ecosystem processing of OM largely depends upon hydrogeomorphic characteristics of streams and valleys. To examine the role of channel complexity on carbon dynamics in mountain streams, we (1) quantify organic carbon (OC) storage in sediment and wood along 24 forested stream reaches in the Rocky Mountains of CO, U.S.A., (2) employ six years of logjam surveys and examine related morphological factors that regulate sediment and carbon storage, and (3) utilize fluorescence spectroscopy to examine how the composition of OM in surface water and floodplain soil leachates is influenced by valley and channel morphology. We find that lower-gradient stream reaches in unconfined valley segments at high elevations store more OC per area than higher-gradient reaches in more confined valleys, and those at lower elevations. We find that limited storage of fine sediment and increased mineralization of OC in multithread channel reaches decrease storage per area compared to simpler single-thread channel reaches. Results suggest that the positive feedbacks between channel complexity and persistent channel-spanning logjams that force multiple channels to flow across valley bottoms limit the aggradation of floodplain fine sediment, and promote hotspots for the transformation of OM. These multithread hotspots likely increase ecosystem productivity and ecosystem services by filtering dissolved organic carbon with potential to decrease contaminants associated with organic matter from surface water.
Dislocation recovery experiments were conducted on predeformed olivine single crystals at temperatures of 1,450 to 1,760 K, room pressure, and oxygen partial pressures near the Ni-NiO buffer to determine the annihilation rate constants for (010) edge dislocations. The obtained rate constants were found to be comparable to those of previously determined  screw dislocations. The activation energies for the motion of both dislocations are identical. This result suggests that the motion of screw dislocations in olivine is not controlled by cross-slip but by the same rate-limiting process of the motion of edge dislocations, i.e., climb, under low-stress, high-temperature conditions. The diffusivity derived from dislocation climb indicates that dislocation recovery is controlled by Si pipe diffusion, rather than Si lattice diffusion. Our results suggest that the conventional climb-controlled model for olivine can be applied to motions of not only edge but also screw dislocations. Therefore, the previous proposed cross-slip model cannot explain the softness of asthenosphere.
Microcosm experiments using microbial mats can be useful at times to understand mineral precipitation induced by microorganisms and their extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Currently, the existing knowledge limits our ability to elucidate the interactions between microbes, which form communities as microbial mats, and minerals that precipitate in natural environments (e.g., lagoons, rivers, springs, soils). Much of the prior research did not consider entire microbial communities, despite recent evidence that microorganisms interact in a community-based way. This is especially relevant in extreme environments where the entire microbial communities are not yet known despite their relevance to biosignatures exploration on other planets. Here, we grew microbial mats on natural substrates in the laboratory to monitor changes in mat texture and mineral paragenesis. Several analytical techniques were used to compare mineral paragenesis in association with and without microbes. This paragenesis included major phases of chemical sedimentary deposits, such as gypsum, calcium carbonate, and some silicates, whose formation is traditionally linked to evaporative processes but was not in these experiments. In addition, some of the phases only precipitated within microbial mat samples and there were differences in mineral fabrics between mat samples and abiotic controls.
The Greater Caucasus (GC) Mountains within the central Arabia-Eurasia collision zone, are an archetypal example of a young collisional orogen. However, the mechanisms driving rock uplift and forming the topography of the range are controversial, with recent provocative suggestions that uplift of the western GC is strongly influenced by an isostatic response to slab detachment, whereas the eastern half has grown through shortening and crustal thickening. Testing this hypothesis is challenging because records of exhumation rates mostly come from the western GC, where slab detachment may have occurred. To address this data gap, we report 623 new, paired zircon U-Pb and (U-Th)/He ages from 7 different modern river sediments, spanning a ~400 km long gap in bedrock thermochronometer data. We synthesize these with prior bedrock thermochronometer data, recent catchment averaged 10Be cosmogenic exhumation rates, topographic analyses, structural observations, and plate reconstructions to evaluate the mechanisms growing the GC topography. We find no evidence of major differences in rates, timing of onset of cooling, or total amounts of exhumation across the possible slab edge, inconsistent with previous suggestions of heterogeneous drivers for exhumation along-strike. Comparison of exhumation across timescales highlight a potential acceleration, but one that appears to suggest a consistent northward shift of the locus of more rapid exhumation. Integration of these new datasets with simple models of orogenic growth suggest that the gross topography of the GC is explainable with traditional models of accretion, thickening, and uplift and does not require any additional slab-related mechanisms.
Rockwall slope erosion is an important component of alpine landscape evolution, yet the role of climate and tectonics in driving this erosion remains unclear. We define the distribution and magnitude of periglacial rockwall slope erosion across 12 catchments in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in the Himalaya of northern India using cosmogenic 10Be concentrations in sediment from medial moraines. Beryllium-10 concentrations range from 0.5±0.04x104 to 260.0±12.5x104 at/g SiO2, which yield erosion rates between 7.6±1.0 and 0.02±0.04 mm/a. Between ~0.02 and ~8 m of rockwall slope erosion would be possible in this setting across a single millennium, and >2 km when extrapolated for the Quaternary period. This erosion affects catchment sediment flux and glacier dynamics, and helps to establish the pace of topographic change at the headwaters of catchments. We combine rockwall erosion records from the Himalaya of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand in India and Baltistan in Pakistan to create a regional erosion dataset. Rockwall slope erosion rates progressively decrease with distance north from the Main Central Thrust and into the interior of the orogen. The distribution and magnitude of this erosion is most closely associated with records of Himalayan denudation and rock uplift, where the highest rates of change are recorded in the Greater Himalaya sequences. This suggests that tectonically driven uplift, rather than climate, is a first order control on patterns of rockwall slope erosion in the northwestern Himalaya. Precipitation and temperature would therefore come as secondary controls.
Minerals are information-rich materials that offer researchers a glimpse into the evolution of planetary bodies. Thus it is important to extract, analyze, and interpret this abundance of information in order to improve our understanding of the planetary bodies in our solar system and the role our planet’s geosphere played in the origin and evolution of life. Over the past decades, data-driven efforts in mineralogy have seen a gradual increase. The development and application of data science and analytics methods to mineralogy, while extremely promising, has also been somewhat ad-hoc in nature. In order to systematize and synthesize the direction of these efforts, we introduce the concept of “Mineral Informatics”. Mineral Informatics is the next frontier for researchers working with mineral data. In this paper, we present our vision for Mineral Informatics, the X-Informatics underpinnings that led to its conception, the needs, challenges, opportunities, and future directions. The intention of this paper is not to create a new specific field or a sub-field as a separate silo, but to document the needs of researchers studying minerals in various contexts and fields of study, to demonstrate how the systemization and increased access to mineralogical data will increase cross- and interdisciplinary studies, and how data science and informatics methods are a key next step in integrative mineralogical studies.
The different olivine fabrics in ultramafic rocks have been widely used to discuss past tectonic settings, given that the olivine fabrics vary with pressure, temperature and water content. However, there are no researches that whether and how the olivine fabrics transform at different metamorphic stages in a natural rock during the process of deep subduction and exhumation. Yinggelisayi garnet lherzolites from South Altyn have experienced deep continental subduction and exhumation. The garnet lherzolites contain well-preserved residual protolith minerals, and near-peak (M1), granulite-facies retrograde (M2), and amphibolite-facies retrograde (M3) metamorphic mineral assemblages. Olivine grains in M1 formed at P–T conditions of 2.52–3.08 GPa, 1095–1136°C and low water contents (183–213 ppm H/Si), and showed  axes sub-normal to the foliation and  axes subparallel to the lineation, which is characteristic of B-type fabric ((010)). Olivine grains in M2 formed at P–T conditions of 1.31–1.80 GPa, 851–893°C and also low water contents (93–139 ppm H/Si), and exhibited  axes sub-normal to the foliation and  axes subparallel to the lineation, which is characteristic of A-type fabric ((010)). These observations suggest that olivine fabrics in HP-UHP metamorphosed ultramafic rocks are different in the near-peak and retrograde metamorphic stages, and also that the olivine fabrics can be transformed during deep continental subduction and exhumation. Therefore, the dispersed or no clear olivine fabric probably caused by multi-stage deformation and metamorphism, and the distinct olivine fabrics can be used as a clue to identify geological processes and better understand metamorphism and deformation during subduction and exhumation.
Yamato and Brun (Nature Geoscience 10, 46-50, 2017) claimed that metamorphic data from global (ultra)high-pressure ((U)HP) rocks exhibit an unusual linear relation, between peak pressure and pressure drop, which challenges current interpretation of P-T-t paths but supports their model invoking excessive overpressures. If their model holds, most research on (U)HP rocks since their discovery would require serious reconsideration. Here, I demonstrate that their model requires critical assumptions that are neither justified by the principles of rock mechanics in the context of realistic geologic settings nor consistent with microstructures of (U)HP rocks. Furthermore, contrary to their claim, the global (U)HP data can be readily explained in the current framework but are inconsistent with their model prediction.
An upper-crustal intrusive network in the 201.5 Ma, rift-related Central Atlantic Magmatic Province is exposed in the western Newark basin (PA, USA). Alpha-MELTS modeling was used to track magma evolution starting with initial pyroxene crystallization at depth (1000-500 MPa); plagioclase crystallized during ascent in the upper crust. For magma emplaced at 5-6 km depth (170 MPa), six MELTS models were generated to bracket different composition, H2O (1-3 wt.%), and crystallinity (28-49 vol.%). Corresponding magma viscosities evolved from 3 to 1624 Pa-sec (predicted using Giordano et. al 2008; Moitra and Gonnermann 2014). Detailed crystal mush structures in a diabase sill are revealed in a dimension stone quarry. Ubiquitous asymmetric modal layers a few mm thick comprising plag-rich layers (PRL, 75% modal plag) overlying more pyx-rich layers outline the tops of hundreds of dm-m scale flow lobes in the quarry. Tabular plag in PRL show shape-preferred orientations, tiling, and pressure shadows around larger pyx that resemble analog experiments on particle slurries and indicate flow with limited mechanical compaction. During magma emplacement, recursive interactions of propagation, sorting, and crystallization self-organized as flow lobes with plag entrained and aligned along lobe tops. Our calculations show plag separation can reduce bimodal suspension viscosity; a positive feedback likely enhanced by shear thinning and crystal alignments. EDS analyses and X-ray maps show that plag has oscillatory-zoned cores (An82-67) with patchy-zoned mantles (An67) filled in by An66-63. In PRL, plag are cemented together by An62-55; Na-rich rims occur next to qtz-Kspar pockets. By the end of cementation, PRL liquid volume was significantly reduced to 11-18% compared with 28-45% in overall magma based on MELTS models for An62-55 plag. Diabase suspension viscosity increased to >6000 Pa-sec; PRL viscosity cannot be modeled by equations based on random packing. PRL with aligned interlocking crystals were more rigid and less permeable than surrounding diabase. Upward flow of magma after modal layer development was channelized into pipes truncated and deflected by PRL. Thus, lateral flow during emplacement developed sub-vertical heterogeneities that exemplify complex mush rheology over m-scale distances.
Himalaya glaciers are invariably covered by supra-glacial debris. Of the glaciers, the Chhota Shigri Glacier (CSG) in the western Himalaya is basically debris-free yet has the highest melt rate compared to other central and eastern Himalayan glaciers. Here, utilizing osmium isotopic composition and major and trace element geochemistry of cryoconite — a dark-colored aggregate of mineral and organic materials —and glacial surface materials on the ablation zone of the CSG, we show that the surface of CSG is essentially free of anthropogenically emitted particles, contrary to many previous findings. Given this and the lack of debris, we conclude that the high melting rate in CSG is primarily related to the increase of the Earth’s near-surface temperature in direct response to global warming. Thus, monitoring the ice mass loss is further critical given the water source to millions of people.
The societal importance of geothermal energy is significantly increasing because of its low carbon-dioxide footprint. However, geothermal exploration is also subject to high risks. For a better assessment of these risks, extensive parameter studies are required that improve the understanding of the subsurface. This yields computationally demanding analyses. Often this is compensated by constructing models with a small vertical extent. This paper demonstrates that this leads to entirely boundary-dominated and hence uninformative models. It demonstrates the indispensable requirement to construct models with a large vertical extent to obtain informative models with respect to the model parameters. For this quantitative investigation, global sensitivity studies are essential since they also consider parameter correlations. To compensate for the computationally demanding nature of the analyses, a physics-based machine learning approach is employed, namely the reduced basis method, instead of reducing the physical dimensionality of the model. The reduced basis method yields a significant cost reduction while preserving the physics and a high accuracy, thus providing a more efficient alternative to considering, for instance, a small vertical extent. The reduction of the mathematical instead of physical space leads to less restrictive models and, hence, maintains the model prediction capabilities. The combination of methods is used for a detailed investigation of the influence of model boundary settings in typical regional-scale geothermal simulations and highlights potential problems.
The paleogeographic evolution of the western USA Great Basin from the Late Cretaceous to the Cenozoic is critical to understanding how the Cordillera at this latitude transitioned from Mesozoic shortening to Cenozoic extension. According to a widely applied model, Cenozoic extension was driven by collapse of elevated crust supported by crustal thicknesses that were potentially double the present ~30–35 km. This model is difficult to reconcile with more recent estimates of moderate regional extension (≤ 50%) and the discovery that most high-angle, basin–range faults slipped rapidly ca. 17 Ma, tens of millions of years after crustal thickening occurred. Here we integrate new and existing geochronology and geologic mapping in the Elko area of northeast Nevada, one of the few places in the Great Basin with substantial exposures of Paleogene strata. We improve age control for strata that have been targeted for studies of regional paleoelevation and paleoclimate across this critical time span. In addition, a regional compilation of the ages of material within a network of middle Cenozoic paleodrainages developed across the Great Basin shows that the age of basal paleovalley fill decreases southward roughly synchronous with voluminous ignimbrite flareup volcanism that swept south across the region ca. 45–20 Ma. Integrating these datasets with the regional record of faulting, sedimentation, erosion, and magmatism, we suggest that volcanism was accompanied by an elevation increase that disrupted drainage systems and shifted the continental divide east into central Nevada from its Late Cretaceous location along the Sierra Nevada arc. The north–south Eocene–Oligocene drainage divide defined by mapping of paleovalleys may thus have evolved as a dynamic feature that propagated southward with magmatism. Despite some local faulting, the northern Great Basin became a vast, elevated volcanic tableland that persisted until dissection by Basin and Range faulting that began ca. 21–17 Ma. Based on this more detailed geologic framework, it is unlikely that Basin and Range extension was driven by Cretaceous crustal overthickening; rather, pre-existing crustal structure was just one of several factors that that led to Basin and Range faulting after ca. 17 Ma—in addition to thermal weakening of the crust associated with Cenozoic magmatism, thermally supported elevation, and changing boundary conditions. Because these causal factors evolved long after crustal thickening ended, during final removal and fragmentation of the shallowly subducting Farallon slab, they are compatible with normal (~45–50 km) thickness crust beneath the Great Basin prior to extension and do not require development of a strongly elevated, Altiplano-like region during Mesozoic shortening.
The Sumatran fault is an arc-parallel dextral strike-slip fault that accommodates much of the right-lateral component of oblique subduction of the Indian-Australian plate beneath the Sunda plate. The 1900-km-long fault is divided into multiple segments, some of which ruptured the surface during the moderate to large historical earthquakes. The northern Sumatran fault in Aceh Province has not ruptured in the past 120 years and is considered a seismic gap. Since 2012, we have mapped the northern Sumatran fault based on the ALOS (Advanced Land Observing Satellite) PRISM (Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping) satellite images. We also conducted several campaigns of geologic fieldworks. The Sumatran fault in the study area is composed of the Aceh and Seulimeum segments. Both segments exhibit conspicuous tectonic landforms, including fault scarps, aligned saddles, offset streams, and linear valleys. The Aceh segment does not show clear geomorphic evidence of late Quaternary movement north of 5°27’N, and the Seulimeum segment appears to accommodate much of the right-lateral motion. We conducted a trenching survey of the Seulimeum segment at Lamtamot, where the fault offsets fluvial terraces. We identified geologic evidence of four surface-rupturing events that occurred after AD1265-1365 and before AD1892. The average recurrence interval of the surface-rupturing earthquake is calculated at 130-210 years. At least 120 years, close to the shortest estimated average recurrence interval, have passed since the last faulting event. We estimate that the probability of a massive earthquake on the northernmost Sumatran fault is high.
Since the start of production in 1968 in the Groningen gas field (Netherlands) considerable land subsidence (>30 cm) has occurred above the field. Variability in reservoir compaction has led to earthquakes on reactivated Mesozoic age reservoir faults. Even though the impact of this seismicity (MW ≤3.6) on society has been large, due to substantial structural damage to buildings, surface deformation induced by the co-seismic slip has been too small to detect using geodetic data. It is possible that differential compaction across faults is not only accommodated by seismic slip, but also by aseismic slip (e.g., creep). Aseismically slipping reservoir faults would relax the stresses in the reservoir and, thus, reduce the severity of the seismicity. In this study we explore the potential occurrence of aseismic slip on the reservoir faults. We perform a sensitivity analysis to investigate whether aseismic slip on the different reservoir faults has the capacity to produce detectable surface signals. We use the analytical Okada (1992) model of slip on a discrete dislocation in a uniform elastic half-space to simulate the deformations originating from slip on a wide range of fault geometries, representing the variability in the field. Unsurprisingly, laterally extensive faults with strong compaction contrasts across them (large differential slip magnitudes) produce the largest surface signals. To determine which potentially aseismically slipping faults produce surface signals that could be detectable in persistent scatterer InSAR time series, we analyze the surface patterns for large differential displacements across large length scales, since InSAR observations are most sensitive to spatially extensive patterns with high spatial gradients. We use the results of the sensitivity analysis to guide our search for patterns originating from aseismically slipping reservoir faults in PS-InSAR time series data of the Groningen area. First results show that these specific patterns are rare, indicating that the amount of aseismic slip is limited. For faults lacking surface signals related aseismic slip, the results of sensitivity analysis are used to determine upper limits for the aseismic differential slip magnitudes.
Over the last several decades, the study of Earth surface processes has progressed from a descriptive science to an increasingly quantitative one due to advances in theoretical, experimental, and computational geosciences. The importance of geomorphic forecasts has never been greater, as technological development and global climate change threaten to reshape the landscapes that support human societies and natural ecosystems. Here we explore best practices for developing socially-relevant forecasts of Earth surface change, a goal we are calling “earthcasting”. We suggest that earthcasts have the following features: they focus on temporal (~1 to ~100 years) and spatial (~1 m to ~10 km) scales relevant to planning; they are designed with direct involvement of stakeholders and public beneficiaries through the evaluation of the socioeconomic impacts of geomorphic processes; and they generate forecasts that are clearly stated, testable, and include quantitative uncertainties. Earthcasts bridge the gap between Earth surface researchers and decision-makers, stakeholders, researchers from other disciplines, and the general public. We investigate the defining features of earthcasts and evaluate some specific examples. This paper builds on previous studies of prediction in geomorphology by recommending a roadmap for (i) generating earthcasts, especially those based on modeling; (ii) transforming a subset of geomorphic research into earthcasts; and (iii) communicating earthcasts beyond the geomorphology research community. Earthcasting exemplifies the social benefit of geomorphology research, and it calls for renewed research efforts toward further understanding the limits of predictability of Earth surface systems and processes, and the uncertainties associated with modeling geomorphic processes and their impacts.