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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
Doing Business As Name:Washington State University
PD/PI:
  • Sean Long
  • (509) 335-8868
  • sean.p.long@wsu.edu
Award Date:07/22/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 284,698
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 284,698
  • FY 2021=$284,698
Start Date:06/01/2022
End Date:05/31/2025
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: How do ultrahigh pressure metamorphic sheets form and exhume? A case study from the Tso Morari complex, India
Federal Award ID Number:2118117
DUNS ID:041485301
Parent DUNS ID:041485301
Program:Tectonics
Program Officer:
  • Audrey Huerta
  • (703) 292-7438
  • ahuerta@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:280 Lighty
City:PULLMAN
State:WA
ZIP:99164-1060
County:Pullman
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:05

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Washington State University
Street:280 Lighty
City:Pullman
State:WA
ZIP:99164-1060
County:Pullman
Country:US
Cong. District:05

Abstract at Time of Award

Ultrahigh pressure metamorphic rocks provide a rare opportunity to investigate Earth processes that occur at depths of c. 100 km at the onset of continental collisions. The Tso Morari complex in northern India represents one of the largest and youngest of these ultrahigh pressure terranes. The size and youth of this complex, coupled with analytical advances over the last decade, permit us to collect uniquely precise metamorphic pressures, temperatures, ages, and structural measurements across a wide geographic region. These spatially distributed datasets will allow us to discriminate among competing models for how such ultrahigh pressure rocks form and are exhumed during continental collisions. This work will advance science and US interests by supporting the directed research and education efforts of 2 PhD students and 2-6 undergraduate students. Additional educational benefits will accrue to as many as 25 geology majors per year at Boise State University in mineralogy and petrology classes, 25 geology majors per year at Washington State University in a structural geology class, and 1500 undergraduates per year at Washington State University in general geology classes. Both Boise State and Washington State Universities serve an unusual demographic with high Latino and military veteran student populations. Co-PI Long recruits students at local community colleges, which will allow research results and educational opportunities to be disseminated to a broader regional audience. Both PIs will also present results at the Wadia Institute, India, reaching a broad international demographic and advancing science internationally. Ultrahigh pressure metamorphic rocks form within or above the coesite stability field and are observed in many orogens. The mechanisms by which ultrahigh pressure rocks form and exhume is a long-standing problem in tectonics. Based on data collected from the Tso Morari complex in India, we will test two important hypotheses that derive from thermal-mechanical models of ultrahigh pressure metamorphism: 1) Ultrahigh pressure cycles (burial to peak P-T conditions and exhumation to ~1 GPa) occur in c. 5 Myr, and 2) Ultrahigh pressure rocks are buried, exhumed, and emplaced as coherent sheets. Specifically, we propose to answer the following questions: 1) At what time and at what pressure-temperature conditions were Tso Morari complex rocks metamorphosed, and how long did ultrahigh pressure metamorphism last? 2) At what time and at what pressure-temperature conditions did amphibolite-facies overprinting occur, and how long did the Tso Morari complex rocks remain hot? 3) What was the rate of cooling? 4) Over what temperature range did exhumation-related shearing occur? 5) What is the spatial distribution of pressure-temperature-deformation-time paths? Data collected will include pressure-temperature conditions using inclusion and rim thermobarometry, Lu-Hf ages on pre-ultrahigh pressure garnet cores and ultrahigh pressure garnet rims, U-Pb ages on any high-U rutile inclusions, 40Ar/39Ar ages of hornblende and muscovite, quartz c-axis opening angle thermometry, and diffusion modeling of chemical gradients in garnet. Pressure-temperature-deformation-time paths will be collected from at least 8 localities located at extremes along the subduction and exhumation transport directions. Systematic along-transport differences in these paths will discriminate whether the ultrahigh pressure unit was metamorphosed and exhumed as a coherent sheet (as currently assumed) or as multiple or complex structures. Results will be integrated with diverse thermal-mechanical models of UHP metamorphism using multiple chronometers in single or proximal outcrops to minimize geographic extrapolation, determine ages along- and across-strike, make direct comparisons to published thermal-mechanical models, and identify when mid-crustal emplacement of the Tso Morari complex occurred. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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