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NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (2022)

Paleoelevation reconstruction in hyper-arid settings – integrating triple oxygen and clumped isotope techniques in the Salar de Atacama Basin, Chile

Paleoelevation Hyper-arid Atacama Isotopes

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Titre : Paleoelevation reconstruction in hyper-arid settings – integrating triple oxygen and clumped isotope techniques in the Salar de Atacama Basin, Chile

Organismes NSF : EAR Division Of Earth Sciences

Durée : May 1, 2022 —April 30, 2024 (Estimated)

Résumé
Dr. Kristina L. Butler has been awarded an NSF EAR Postdoctoral Fellowship to carry out research and education activities related to climate and mountain building at the University of Washington and Brown University. The construction of high elevations through mountain building dramatically influences global and local climate, regional river and groundwater systems, and species diversification. Documenting the timing and rate at which regions of high elevation were built is key to connecting important Earth system processes to one another. However, regions of high elevation also tend to be some of the driest localities on Earth, which creates challenges in reconstructing the history of surface uplift. Traditional methods, used easily in temperate and tropical climates, can be less effective in dry, desert-like regions due the effect of evaporation. This project uses recently developed techniques to reconstruct surface elevation development from lacustrine carbonates, which record the history of mountain building in the Central Andes, South America. Focusing on one of the driest regions on Earth, the Salar de Atacama Desert, this study has the potential to demonstrate how new, emerging techniques can be applied to longstanding questions in Earth Science. The project will support field- and laboratory-based training and research opportunities for geoscience undergraduate students from traditionally underserved communities in both the United States and South America.

Accurate reconstruction of surface elevation histories remains a key challenge for Earth scientists, especially in regions of hyper-arid conditions where the effects of evaporation lead to inaccurate estimation of paleotemperature and paleoelevation using conventional δ 18O-based methods. Emerging triple oxygen isotope techniques show promise in constraining the degree of evaporative enrichment of δ 18O values of carbonate parent water inherent to lacustrine systems in hyper-arid endorheic settings. Principle investigator Kristina Butler will apply this new stable isotope methodology for paleoelevation reconstruction (Δ17O- δ 18O) complimented by temperature-based paleoaltimetry (Δ47) in collaboration with scientific advisers at Brown University and University of Washington. These complimentary methods will be used to document the development of high topography in the Central Andes. The objective of the project is to reconstruct the Miocene to recent surface elevation history in the Salar de Atacama Desert by integrating sedimentology, geochronology, and stable isotope techniques with the ultimate goal of defining the driving mechanisms for high topography and resolving conflicting surface elevation records in the Central Andes.

Bureau de recherche parrainé  : University of Washington

Financement : $174,000.00

National Science Foundation

Page publiée le 13 janvier 2022