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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24863

Title: Diapirism on Venus and the Early Earth and The thermal effect of fluid flows in AECL's Tunnel Sealing Experiment
Authors: Robin, Catherine M. I.
Advisor: Bailey, Richard
Department: Physics
Keywords: Archean crustal diapirism
geophysical fluids
nuclear waste disposal
Archean geodynamics
Venusian mantle convection
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Abstract: Flow instabilities occur at all scales in planetary systems. In this thesis we examine three cases of such instabilities, on three very different length scales. In the first part, we test the idea that Archean granite-greenstone belts (GGBs) form by crustal diapirism, or Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. GGBs are characterized by large granitic domes (50-100 km in diameter) embedded in narrow keel-shaped greenstones. They are ubiquitous in Archean (> 2.5 Ga) terrains, but rare thereafter. We performed finite element calculations for a visco-elastic, temperature-dependent, non-Newtonian crust under conditions appropriate for the Archean, which show that dense low-viscosity volcanics overlying a felsic basement will overturn diapirically in as little as 10 Ma, displacing as much as 60 % of the volcanics to the lower crust. This surprisingly fast overturn rate suggests that diapiric overturn dominated crustal tectonics in the hot conditions of the Early Earth, becoming less important as the Earth cooled. Moreover, the deposition of large volumes of wet basaltic volcanics to the lower crust may provide the source for the formation of the distinctly Archean granitic rocks which dominate Earth's oldest continents. The second part examines the origin of Venusian coronae, circular volcanic features unique to Venus. Coronae are thought to result from small instabilities (diapirs) from the core-mantle boundary, which are typical of stagnant-lid convection. However, most young coronae are located in a region surrounded by long-lived hotspots, typical of a more active style of mantle convection. Using analogue experiments in corn syrup heated from below, we show that the co-existence of diapirs and long-lived mantle plumes are a direct consequence of the catastrophic overturn of the cold Venusian lithosphere thought to have occurred ~ 700 Ma ago. In the last part we analyze the thermal effect of fluid flow through a full-scale experiment testing clay and concrete tunnel seals in a Deep Geological Repository for nuclear was finite element software, we were able to show that the formation of fissures in the heated chamber between the two seals effectively limited heat flow, and could explain the discrepancy between the predicted and measured temperatures.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24863
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Physics - Doctoral theses

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