School of Earth Sciences - Theses

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    Aerosol contributions to speleothem geochemistry
    Dredge, Jonathan ( 2014)
    There is developing interest in cave aerosols due to the increasing awareness of their impacts on the cave environment and speleothems. This study presents the first multidisciplinary investigation into cave aerosols and their potential contribution to speleothem geochemistry. Aerosols are shown to be sourced from a variety of external emission processes, and transported into cave networks. Both natural (marine sea-spray, terrestrial dust) and anthropogenic (e.g. vehicle emissions) aerosol emissions are detected throughout caves. Internal cave aerosol production by human disruption has also been shown to be of importance in caves open to the public. Aerosols produced from floor sediment suspension and release from clothing causes short term high amplitude aerosol suspension events. Cave aerosol transport, distribution and deposition are highly variable depending on cave situation. Cave morphology, ventilation, and environmental conditions will influence how aerosols are distributed through cave networks. Aerosol deposition monitoring in Obir Cave, Austria has shown the significance of cave chamber size in aerosol transport, with large open chambers presenting higher levels of deposition. Modern monitoring of suspended aerosol concentrations, CO2 and temperature in Gough’s Cave, Cheddar Gorge have presented a strong relationship with cave ventilation processes. Temporal variations of aerosol levels have demonstrated the ability of aerosol monitoring to record seasonal ventilation shifts, beyond anthropogenic influences. Aerosol minima (based on 24 hours) provide a representation of natural aerosol baseline conditions without diurnal anthropogenic influences. Aerosols have shown a quicker recovery to natural background levels when compared to CO2 and T, making aerosols a sensitive and effective monitoring tool. When used in combination with more established monitoring methods, suspended aerosol monitoring is a beneficial addition to cave environmental studies. Theoretical modelling and calculations based on modern aerosol monitoring have established that aerosol contributions are highly variable. In some instances, modern aerosol supply is sufficient to account for speleothem geochemistry concentrations entirely. Aerosol contributions are of greatest significance under slow growth or hiatus scenarios and high aerosol deposition scenarios. Geochemical and stratigraphical analysis of a flowstone core from Gibraltar has highlighted the importance of hiatus events for future aerosol studies. Hiatus events provide a unique opportunity to investigate the type and amount of aerosol deposition and accumulation. Marine aerosol contributions have been quantified in the Gibraltar flowstone core and account for 18.5% of speleothem Sr. Sr isotopic analysis has confirmed the significance of marine aerosol contributions. Flowstone analysis has also demonstrated the ability of speleothems to record shifts in the supply of highly radiogenic terrestrial dust. Bio-aerosol deposits and bacterial colonisation have been identified as a potential source of trace element bioaccumulation and flowstone coloration in Yarrangobilly Caves, Australia. Bio-aerosols have shown to be deposited throughout cave networks. Inorganic aerosol deposition may provide a nutrient supply to cave surfaces allowing for, and sustaining microbial colonisation. 
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    A structural analysis of Wanna, South Australia: the comparative behaviour of Mafic dykes and granite during deformation
    Bales, Thomasin ( 1996)
    Strain localisation that produces varying foliation development, folding, and patterns of boudinage has led to structural features within, and between, the two main lithologies at Wanna, South Australia at amphibolite facies, these lithologies being the megacrystic granite gneiss of the Donington Granitoid Suite, and the Tournefort dykes which cross-cut the gneiss. The structural elements differ between, and within each lithology-for example, the megacrystic granite gneiss has a reasonably pervasive foliation, whereas deformation features in the Tournefort dykes tend to be localised into areas of high strain. Cross-cutting relationships are used to constrain the temporal relationships between structural elements, and the development of the different structural features explained in terms of rheological behaviour of the lithologies. The relative rheological behaviour of the principal lithologies was thus found to vary over space, as well as over time. Geothermometry of mafic assemblages was used to constrain the temperatures at which different structural features developed, which were all found to be in the order of about 720°C and occurring under fluid-rich, upper amphibolite conditions.