2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Geology & Geophysics

Dr. Scott Borg
Program Manager


NSF/OPP 00-87919
Station: McMurdo Station
RPSC POC: Mike McClanahan
Research Site(s): Allan Hills, Coombs Hills

Ferrar basaltic tuff-breccias formed by direct eruption: Evaluating an hypothesis
Dr. David H. Elliot
Ohio State University
Geological Sciences

Deploying Team Members: Tim Cully . David H Elliot . Craig B Grimes
Research Objectives: The Jurassic pyroclastic rocks that constitute the Mawson Formation in south Victoria Land are unique in terms of the thickness and areal extent of tuff-breccia formed by explosive interaction in the sub-surface between magma and water in aquifers. They appear to represent a new style of eruption in which mixtures of volcanic particles, sedimentary debris from the aquifers and water are erupted directly from vents, forming mass-flows that may accumulate to great thickness given the right topographic setting.

The goal of this project is to evaluate the hypothesis of eruption-fed debris flows. The objectives are to understand the paleovolcanology of these tuff-breccias, the time-dependent changes in location of the magma/water interaction and the processes of eruption and accumulation, and the tectonic setting in which the volcanic activity occurred.

Field Season Overview:
Project team members will travel by helicopter from McMurdo Station to Mount Dearborn where they will establish a field camp and travel on foot to examine geological structures and collect rocks. Team members will move their camp to Allan Hills and make day trips from there by helicopter to collect rocks. The team members will return by helicopter to McMurdo Station. Rock samples will be returned to the home institution for analysis.