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Featured submissions

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

  • Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Volumes 37-44 (2002-2009) are now publicly available in the repository.
  • Radiocarbon, Volumes 1-54 (1959-2012) are now publicly available in the repository.
  • Theses from Spring/Summer 2020 Honors College graduates are now publicly available in the repository.


  • Triassic–Jurassic Accretionary History and Tectonic Origin of Stikinia From U-Pb Geochronology and Lu-Hf Isotope Analysis, British Columbia

    George, S.W.M.; Nelson, J.L.; Alberts, D.; Greig, C.J.; Gehrels, G.E.; Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2021)
    The timing of assembly and tectonic origins of terranes in the northern Cordillera of Alaska, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest are debated. Stikinia, a long-lived arc terrane, has an enigmatic regional Mesozoic accretionary history and its tectonic origins remain unconstrained. Zircon U-Pb geochronology and Lu-Hf isotopic data on Triassic–Jurassic sedimentary and igneous rocks from central Stikinia shed light on the terrane-scale effects of a latest Triassic–Early Jurassic collision between Stikinia and pericratonic Yukon-Tanana terrane. Main age peaks from central Stikinia are 250–160 Ma, reflecting ongoing Mesozoic arc-related igneous activity within Stikinia. Comparison of isotopic evolution and unconformity development between central Stikinia and northern Stikinia (Whitehorse trough) provide new constraints on regional latest Triassic–earliest Jurassic deformation. We attribute the shortening-related deformation to variable along-strike interactions during end-on collision with the Yukon-Tanana terrane, with significant crustal thickening at the northern apex of Stikinia that did not persist farther south. A small pre-Devonian zircon population is significant, as the oldest exposed rocks in Stikinia are Early Devonian. Pre-Devonian age peaks differ from those of the northern Yukon-Tanana terrane, but resemble zircons from southern Wrangellia. These zircons are likely multi-cyclic, derived from crust that originated in the Arctic region near the northern end of the Caledonide orogeny. We suggest that Stikinia was an independent crustal block prior to latest Triassic onset of collision with Yukon-Tanana terrane. The ongoing, end-on collision in turn promoted oroclinal assembly of the peri-Laurentian terranes. © 2021. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
  • Late Eocene Record of Hydrology and Temperature From Prydz Bay, East Antarctica

    Tibbett, E.J.; Scher, H.D.; Warny, S.; Tierney, J.E.; Passchier, S.; Feakins, S.J.; Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona (John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2021)
    The Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT) marks the onset of Antarctic glaciation at 33.7 Ma. Although the benthic oxygen isotope record defines the major continental ice sheet expansion, recent sedimentary and geochemical evidence suggests the presence of earlier ephemeral ice sheets. Sediment cores from Ocean Drilling Program Legs 119 and 188 in Prydz Bay provide an archive of conditions in a major drainage system of East Antarctica. We study biomarker and microfossil evidence to discern how the vegetation and climate shifted between 36 and 33 Ma. Pollen was dominated by reworked Permian Glossopterid gymnosperms; however, penecontemporaneous Eocene pollen assemblages indicate that some vegetation survived the glacial advances. At the EOT, brGDGT soil biomarkers indicate abrupt cooling from 13°C to 8°C and soil pH increases from 6.0 to 6.7, suggesting drying which is further supported by plant wax hydrogen and carbon isotopic shifts of 20‰ and 1.1‰, respectively, and evidence for drying from weathering proxies. Although the terrestrial soil biomarker influx mostly precludes the use of TEX86, we find sea surface temperatures of 12°C in the late Eocene cooling to 8°C at the EOT. Marine productivity undergoes a sustained increase after the glacial advance, likely promoted by enhanced ocean circulation. Between the two glacial surge events of the Priabonian Oxygen Maximum at 37.3 Ma and the EOT at 33.7 Ma, we observe warming of 2–5°C at 35.7 and 34.7 Ma, with increase in penecontemporaneous pollen and enhanced marine productivity, capturing the last flickers of Antarctic warmth. © 2021. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
  • Intermediate Aerosol Loading Enhances Photosynthetic Activity of Croplands

    Wang, X.; Wang, C.; Wu, J.; Miao, G.; Chen, M.; Chen, S.; Wang, S.; Guo, Z.; Wang, Z.; Wang, B.; et al. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2021)
    Aerosols can affect crop photosynthesis by altering radiation and meteorological conditions. By combining field observations, mechanistic modeling, and satellite-retrieved solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF), we assessed aerosols' impacts on crop photosynthesis from leaf to regional scale. We found that the initial increase in aerosol optical depth (AOD) enhanced photosynthesis of sun leaves, shade leaves, and canopy, which reached their maximum at AOD = 0.76, 1.13, and 0.93, respectively, and then decreased. Aerosol-induced changes in radiation regime and the concurrent high relative humidity led to such nonlinear responses. Similarly, the SIF of croplands in the North China Plain (NCP) also showed a bell-shaped response to aerosols. The optimal AOD level at which SIF reached the maximum value varied from 0.56 to 1.04, depending on the background meteorological conditions. Approximately 76%–90% of the NCP exceeded the optimal AOD level, suggesting that stringent aerosol pollution control could promote cropland productivity in this region. © 2021. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
  • Extreme Precipitation Across Adjacent Burned and Unburned Watersheds Reveals Impacts of Low Severity Wildfire on Debris-Flow Processes

    McGuire, L.A.; Youberg, A.M.; Rengers, F.K.; Abramson, N.S.; Ganesh, I.; Gorr, A.N.; Hoch, O.; Johnson, J.C.; Lamom, P.; Prescott, A.B.; et al. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2021)
    In steep landscapes, wildfire-induced changes to soil and vegetation can lead to extreme and hazardous geomorphic responses, including debris flows. The wildfire-induced mechanisms that lead to heightened geomorphic responses, however, depend on many site-specific factors including regional climate, vegetation, soil texture, and soil burn severity. As climate and land use change drive changes in fire regime, there is an increasing need to understand how fire alters geomorphic responses, particularly in areas where fire has been historically infrequent. Here, we examine differences in the initiation, magnitude, and particle-size distribution of debris flows that initiated within the area burned by the 2019 Woodbury Fire in central Arizona, USA, and those that initiated in a nearby unburned area. Despite similar rainfall intensities, unburned watersheds were less likely to produce debris flows. Debris flows in unburned areas initiated from both runoff and shallow landslides, while debris flows only initiated from runoff-related processes in the burned area. The grain-size distribution making up the matrix of debris-flow deposits within the burned area generally had a lower ratio of sand to silt relative to debris flows that initiated in the unburned area, though there were no systematic differences in the coarse fraction of debris-flow sediment between burned and unburned areas. Results help expand our ability to predict postwildfire debris-flow activity in a wider range of settings, specifically the Sonoran Desert ecoregion, and provide general insight into the impact of wildfire on geomorphic processes in steep terrain. © 2021. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
  • The Preservation of Climate-Driven Landslide Dams in Western Oregon

    Struble, W.T.; Roering, J.J.; Burns, W.J.; Calhoun, N.C.; Wetherell, L.R.; Black, B.A.; Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona; Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2021)
    Bedrock landsliding, including the formation of landslide dams, is a predominant geomorphic process in steep landscapes. Clarifying the importance of hydrologic and seismic mechanisms for triggering deep-seated landslides remains an ongoing effort, and formulation of geomorphic metrics that predict dam preservation is crucial for quantifying secondary landslide hazards. Here, we identify >200 landslide-dammed lakes in western Oregon and utilize dendrochronology and enhanced 14C dating (“wiggle matching”) of “ghost forests” to establish slope failure timing at 20 sites. Our dated landslide dataset reveals bedrock landsliding has been common since the last Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake in January 1700 AD. Our study does not reveal landslides that date to 1700 AD. Rather, we observe temporal clustering of at least four landslides in the winter of 1889/1890 AD, coincident with a series of atmospheric rivers that generated one of the largest regionally recorded floods. We use topographic and field analyses to assess the relation between dam preservation and topographic characteristics of the impounded valleys. In contrast to previous studies, we do not observe systematic scaling between dam size and upstream drainage area, though dam stability indices for our sites correspond with “stable” dams elsewhere. Notably, we observe that dams are preferentially preserved at drainage areas of ∼1.5 to 13 km2 and valley widths of ∼25 to 80 m, which may reflect the reduced downstream influence of debris flows and the accumulation of mature conifer trees upstream from landslide-dammed lake outlets. We suggest that wood accumulation upstream of landslide dams tempers large stream discharges, thus inhibiting dam incision. © 2021. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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