7,128 research outputs found

    Technical note : TRACKFlow, a new versatile microscope system forfission track analysis

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    We here present TRACKFlow, a new system with dedicated modules for the fission track (FT) laboratory. It is based on the motorised Nikon Eclipse Ni-E upright microscope with the Nikon DS-Ri2 full frame camera and is embedded within the Nikon NIS-Elements Advanced Research software package. TRACKFlow decouples image acquisition from analysis to decrease schedule stress of the microscope. The system further has the aim of being versatile, adaptable to multiple preparation protocols and analysis approaches. It is both suited for small-scale laboratories and is also ready for upscaling to high-throughput imaging. The versatility of the system, based on the operators’ full access to the NIS-Elements package, exceeds that of other systems for FT and further expands to stepping away from the dedicated FT microscope towards a general microscope for Earth Sciences, including dedicated modules for FT research. TRACKFlow consists of a number of user-friendly protocols which are based on the well plate design that allows sequential scanning of multiple samples without the need of replacing the slide on the stage. All protocols include a sub-protocol to scan a map of the mount for easy navigation through the samples on the stage. Two protocols are designed for the External Detector Method (EDM) and the LA–ICP–MS apatite fission track (LAFT) approach, with tools for repositioning and calibration to the external detector. Two other tools are designed for large crystals, such as the Durango age standard and U-doped glass external detectors. These protocols generate a regular grid of points and inspect if each point is suitable for analysis. Both protocols also include an option to image each withheld point. One more protocol is included for the measurement of etch pit diameters and one last protocol prepares a list of coordinates for correlative microscopy. In a following phase of development TRACKFlow can be expanded towards fully autonomous calibration, grain detection and imaging

    The thermal history of the Western Irish onshore

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    We present here a low-temperature thermochronological study that combines the apatite fission-track and (U + Th)/He dating methods with a pseudo-vertical sampling approach to generate continuous and well-constrained temperature–time histories from the onshore Irish Atlantic margin. The apatite fission-track and (U + Th)/He ages range from the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous and the mean track lengths are relatively short. Thermal histories derived from inverse modelling show that following post-orogenic exhumation the sample profiles cooled to c. 75 °C. A rapid cooling event to surface temperatures occurred during the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous and was diachronous from north to south. It was most probably caused by c. 2.5 km of rift-shoulder related exhumation and can be temporally linked to the main stage of Mesozoic rifting in the offshore basins. A slow phase of reheating during the Late Cretaceous and Early Cenozoic is attributed to the deposition of a thick sedimentary sequence that resulted in c. 1.5 km of burial. Our data imply a final pulse of exhumation in Neogene times, probably related to compression of the margin. However, it is possible that an Early Cenozoic cooling event, compatible with our data but not seen in our inverse models, accounts for part of the Cenozoic exhumation

    Persistent topographic development along a strike-slip fault system: The Mount McKinley restraining bend

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    The Denali Fault is a major strike-slip fault extending from British Colombia, into western Alaska. Mount McKinley, at 6,114 m, is the highest peak in North America and is located to the south of a bend in the Denali Fault (Fig.1). To the north, at the apex of the bend in the fault, Peters Dome (3,221 m) is the highest peak and north-side peak elevations rapidly decrease moving away from the bend’s apex

    Measuring plume-related exhumation of the British Isles in Early Cenozoic times

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    Mantle plumes have been proposed to exert a first-order control on the morphology of Earth's surface. However, there is little consensus on the lifespan of the convectively supported topography. Here, we focus on the Cenozoic uplift and exhumation history of the British Isles. While uplift in the absence of major regional tectonic activity has long been documented, the causative mechanism is highly controversial, and direct exhumation estimates are hindered by the near-complete absence of onshore post-Cretaceous sediments (outside Northern Ireland) and the truncated stratigraphic record of many offshore basins. Two main hypotheses have been developed by previous studies: epeirogenic exhumation driven by the proto-Iceland plume, or multiple phases of Cenozoic compression driven by far-field stresses. Here, we present a new thermochronological dataset comprising 43 apatite fission track (AFT) and 102 (U–Th–Sm)/He (AHe) dates from the onshore British Isles. Inverse modelling of vertical sample profiles allows us to define well-constrained regional cooling histories. Crucially, during the Paleocene, the thermal history models show that a rapid exhumation pulse (1–2.5 km) occurred, focused on the Irish Sea. Exhumation is greatest in the north of the Irish Sea region, and decreases in intensity to the south and west. The spatial pattern of Paleocene exhumation is in agreement with the extent of magmatic underplating inferred from geophysical studies, and the timing of uplift and exhumation is synchronous with emplacement of the plume-related British and Irish Paleogene Igneous Province (BIPIP). Prior to the Paleocene exhumation pulse, the Mesozoic onshore exhumation pulse is mainly linked to the uplift and erosion of the hinterland during the complex and long-lived rifting history of the neighbouring offshore basins. The extent of Neogene exhumation is difficult to constrain due to the poor sensitivity of the AHe and AFT systems at low temperatures. We conclude that the Cenozoic topographic evolution of the British Isles is the result of plume-driven uplift and exhumation, with inversion under compressive stress playing a secondary role

    Geochemical constraints on the Hadean environment from mineral fingerprints of prokaryotes

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    The environmental conditions on the Earth before 4 billion years ago are highly uncertain, largely because of the lack of a substantial rock record from this period. During this time interval, known as the Hadean, the young planet transformed from an uninhabited world to the one capable of supporting, and inhabited by the first living cells. These cells formed in a fluid environment they could not at first control, with homeostatic mechanisms developing only later. It is therefore possible that present-day organisms retain some record of the primordial fluid in which the first cells formed. Here we present new data on the elemental compositions and mineral fingerprints of both Bacteria and Archaea, using these data to constrain the environment in which life formed. The cradle solution that produced this elemental signature was saturated in barite, sphene, chalcedony, apatite, and clay minerals. The presence of these minerals, as well as other chemical features, suggests that the cradle environment of life may have been a weathering fluid interacting with dry-land silicate rocks. The specific mineral assemblage provides evidence for a moderate Hadean climate with dry and wet seasons and a lower atmospheric abundance of CO2 than is present today.Fil: Novoselov, Alexey A.. Universidad de Concepción; ChileFil: Silva, Dailto. Universidade Estadual de Campinas; BrasilFil: Schneider, Jerusa. Universidade Estadual de Campinas; BrasilFil: Abrevaya, Ximena Celeste. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciónes Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio. - Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio; ArgentinaFil: Chaffin, Michael S.. State University Of Colorado Boulder; Estados UnidosFil: Serrano, Paloma. Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre For Polar And Marine Research,; AlemaniaFil: Navarro, Margareth Sugano. Universidade Estadual de Campinas; BrasilFil: Conti, Maria Josiane. André Tosello Institute; BrasilFil: Souza Filho, Carlos Roberto de. Universidade Estadual de Campinas; Brasi

    Fine-scale analysis of biomineralized mollusc teeth using FIB and TEM

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    When it comes to mineral synthesis, there is a lot we can learn from nature. Although we can synthesize a range of materials in the laboratory, the experimental conditions are often constrained to particular ranges of temperature, pH, etc. Biological systems, on the other hand, seem to be able to produce individual minerals and complex composite mineral structures under a variety of conditions, many of which are far from those applied to create their synthetic counterparts. Understanding how nature does this could provide a means to produce novel biomimetic materials with potential applications in a diverse range of fields from medicine to materials engineering

    New insights from low-temperature thermochronology into the tectonic and geomorphologic evolution of the south-eastern Brazilian highlands and passive margin

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    The South Atlantic passive margin along the south-eastern Brazilian highlands exhibits a complex landscape, including a northern inselberg area and a southern elevated plateau, separated by the Doce River valley. This landscape is set on the Proterozoic to early Paleozoic rocks of the region that once was the hot core of the Aracuaf orogen, in Ediacaran to Ordovician times. Due to the break-up of Gondwana and consequently the opening of the South Atlantic during the Early Cretaceous, those rocks of the Aracuaf orogen became the basement of a portion of the South Atlantic passive margin and related southeastern Brazilian highlands. Our goal is to provide a new set of constraints on the thermo-tectonic history of this portion of the south-eastern Brazilian margin and related surface processes, and to provide a hypothesis on the geodynamic context since break-up. To this end, we combine the apatite fission track (AFT) and apatite (U-Th)/He (AHe) methods as input for inverse thermal history modelling. All our AFT and AHe central ages are Late Cretaceous to early Paleogene. The AFT ages vary between 62 Ma and 90 Ma, with mean track lengths between 12.2 mu m and 13.6 mu m. AHe ages are found to be equivalent to AFT ages within uncertainty, albeit with the former exhibiting a lesser degree of confidence. We relate this Late Cretaceous-Paleocene basement cooling to uplift with accelerated denudation at this time. Spatial variation of the denudation time can be linked to differential reactivation of the Precambrian structural network and differential erosion due to a complex interplay with the drainage system. We argue that posterior large-scale sedimentation in the offshore basins may be a result of flexural isostasy combined with an expansion of the drainage network. We put forward the combined compression of the Mid-Atlantic ridge and the Peruvian phase of the Andean orogeny, potentially augmented through the thermal weakening of the lower crust by the Trindade thermal anomaly, as a probable cause for the uplift. (C) 2019, China University of Geosciences (Beijing) and Peking University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V

    A geochemical study of the winonaites: Evidence for limited partial melting and constraints on the precursor composition

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    The winonaites are primitive achondrites which are associated with the IAB iron meteorites. Textural evidence implies heating to at least the Fe, Ni–FeS cotectic, but previous geochemical studies are ambiguous about the extent of silicate melting in these samples. Oxygen isotope evidence indicates that the precursor material may be related to the carbonaceous chondrites. Here we analysed a suite of winonaites for modal mineralogy and bulk major- and trace-element chemistry in order to assess the extent of thermal processing as well as constrain the precursor composition of the winonaite-IAB parent asteroid. Modal mineralogy and geochemical data are presented for eight winonaites. Textural analysis reveals that, for our sub-set of samples, all except the most primitive winonaite (Northwest Africa 1463) reached the Fe, Ni–FeS cotectic. However, only one (Tierra Blanca) shows geochemical evidence for silicate melting processes. Tierra Blanca is interpreted as a residue of small-degree silicate melting. Our sample of Winona shows geochemical evidence for extensive terrestrial weathering. All other winonaites studied here (Fortuna, Queen Alexander Range 94535, Hammadah al Hamra 193, Pontlyfni and NWA 1463) have chondritic major-element ratios and flat CI-normalised bulk rare-earth element patterns, suggesting that most of the winonaites did not reach the silicate melting temperature. The majority of winonaites were therefore heated to a narrow temperature range of between ∼1220 (the Fe, Ni–FeS cotectic temperature) and ∼1370 K (the basaltic partial melting temperature). Silicate inclusions in the IAB irons demonstrate partial melting did occur in some parts of the parent body (Ruzicka and Hutson, 2010), thereby implying heterogeneous heat distribution within this asteroid. Together, this indicates that melting was the result of internal heating by short-lived radionuclides. The brecciated nature of the winonaites suggests that the parent body was later disrupted by a catastrophic impact, which allowed the preservation of the largely unmelted winonaites. Despite major-element similarities to both ordinary and enstatite chondrites, trace-element analysis suggests the winonaite parent body had a carbonaceous chondrite-like precursor composition. The parent body of the winonaites was volatile-depleted relative to CI, but enriched compared to the other carbonaceous classes. The closest match are the CM chondrites; however, the specific precursor is not sampled in current meteorite collections

    Tectonic control on southern Sierra Nevada topography, California

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    In this study we integrate the apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronometric technique with geomorphic, structural, and stratigraphic studies to pursue the origin and evolution of topographic relief related to extensive late Cenozoic faulting in the southern Sierra Nevada. The geomorphology of this region reflects a transition from a vast region to the north characterized by nonequilibrium fluvial modification of a relict low-relief landscape, little affected by internal deformation, to a more complex landscape affected by numerous faults. Regionally, the relict landscape surface is readily resolved by age-elevation relationships of apatite He ages coupled to geomorphology. These relationships can be extended into the study area and used as a structural datum for the resolution of fault offsets and related tilting. On the basis of 63 new apatite He ages and stratigraphic data from proximal parts of the San Joaquin basin we resolve two sets of normal faults oriented approximately N–S and approximately NW. Quaternary west-side-up normal faulting along the N–S Breckenridge–Kern Canyon zone has resulted in a southwest step over from the Owens Valley system in the controlling structure on the regional west tilt of Sierran basement. This zone has also served as a transfer structure partitioning Neogene-Quaternary extension resulting from normal displacements on the NW fault set. This fault system for the most part nucleated along Late Cretaceous structures with late Cenozoic remobilization representing passive extension by oblate flattening as the region rose and stretched in response to the passage of a slab window and the ensuing delamination of the mantle lithosphere from beneath the region
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