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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
  • Jeff Benowitz
  • (907) 474-7314
Award Date:06/28/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 57,554
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 57,554
  • FY 2020=$57,554
Start Date:07/01/2020
End Date:06/30/2021
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:EAGER: Collaborative Research: Mantle fluid contribution to springs along the Denali Fault System: Constraints on the crustal scale nature of the main strand and splays
Federal Award ID Number:2016336
DUNS ID:615245164
Parent DUNS ID:048679567
Program Officer:
  • Steven Whitmeyer
  • (703) 292-8552

Awardee Location

Street:West Ridge Research Bldg 008
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

The Denali Fault in Alaska is a >2000-km-long, active, predominately horizontal motion (strike-slip) fault zone associated with the boundary between the North American and the Pacific tectonic plates. Fault zones are breaks in the Earth’s crust that can act as conduits for transport of water from great depths (>20 miles). Major questions exist about how deeply this fault penetrates into the crust, how the multiple strands of the fault are connected at depth, and how the changes in the style of faulting along its trace impact the circulation of deep groundwater. To inform these unknowns, this study will examine the isotope geochemistry of springs that discharge along the Denali fault zone. Results will improve the understanding of the Denali Fault, particularly with respect to the depth and interconnectedness of fault strands, with important implications for earthquake hazards and the distribution of geothermal and mineral resources. This study fosters a new interdisciplinary collaboration between investigators in Alaska and Utah, and advances education and training for undergraduate students, including those from underrepresented groups. This one-year project will examine the helium isotope signature of springs discharging along the Denali Fault system and along splay thrust faults. The fault system transitions east-to-west from a transform fault to a continental strike-slip fault, and provides a system to test hypotheses on the nature of continental strike-slip faults and splay thrust faults as potential conduits for mantle-derived fluids. Helium isotope (3He/4He), carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen stable isotope, and water chemistry data from springs will constrain the contribution of mantle-derived fluids to test competing geophysics models on variations in the crustal scale of the Denali Fault system, the depth splay faults connect with the master strand of the Denali Fault, and possible influences of the underlying subducting slab geometry on fluid isotopic composition. For this exploratory study, ten springs were selected along the trace of the Denali Fault system in Alaska, including six CO2-rich springs that deposit travertine to maximize capturing signals from deep flow paths. In addition to advancing understanding of the structural and geochemical record of fluid-fault interaction, this study provides a framework for future helium isotopic analysis of additional springs along the Denali Fault system, other regional structures, and the tectonic-magmatic regime responsible for geothermal resources across Alaska. 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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