PhD Defense: Forrest Horton

Event Date: 

Friday, June 5, 2015 -
10:00am to 1:00pm

Event Location: 

  • PSB-South 2711

Forrest Horton will present his PhD defense on Friday, June 5th at 10:00 AM in PSB-South 2711.  His defense will consist of three parts.  Part 1 is entitled: Himalayan gneiss dome formation in the middle crust and exhumation by normal faulting.  Part 2 is entitled: Focused radiogenic heating of middle crust to ultrahigh temperature in southern Madagascar.  Part 3 is entitled: Phosphorus derived from the weathering of large igneous provinces fertilized the Neoproterozoic ocean.

ABSTRACT:

Part 1: Himalayan gneiss dome formation in the middle crust and exhumation by normal faulting



Geochronology, thermochronology, and structural observations across Gianbul gneiss dome provide insight about the exhumation of middle crust in the India-Asia collision zone: Doming (i) initiated during the early stages of extension; (ii) was driven by a positive feedback among dehydration melting, buoyancy, and decompression; and (iii) culminated with the injection of anatectic melts into the upper levels of the dome. The dome was subsequently exhumed as part of a footwall block beneath a brittle normal fault.





Part 2: Focused radiogenic heating of middle crust to ultrahigh temperature in southern Madagascar



Focused internal heating led to melting, metamorphism, and crustal weakening during the Neoproterozoic continent-continent collision between East and West Gondwana. Numerical models based on chronologic and thermal constraints across southern Madagascar indicate that radioactive decay of thorium was the principal heat source responsible for regional metamorphism at temperatures >900° C in the middle to lower crust.





Part 3: Phosphorus derived from the weathering of large igneous provinces fertilized the Neoproterozoic ocean



The Neoproterozoic era was punctuated by profound tectonic, evolutionary, and environmental change. Biologic and climatic conditions may have been especially sensitive to fluxes of phosphorus (P) from the weathering of continental crust. Large igneous provinces?containing abundant P and highly susceptible to chemical weathering?occurred regularly during the breakup of the Rodinia supercontinent. An estimated bioavailable P flux to the ocean from the weathering of basalt peaked at ~720 Ma, immediately prior to rapid biologic diversification and the Sturtian glaciation; I postulate that the burial of organic carbon that resulted from this unprecedented P flux helped facilitate glaciation and triggered the oxidation of the ocean-atmosphere system.

Forrest Horton