text-only page produced automatically by Usablenet Assistive Skip all navigation and go to page content Skip top navigation and go to directorate navigation Skip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
design element
Search Awards
Recent Awards
Presidential and Honorary Awards
About Awards
Grant Policy Manual
Grant General Conditions
Cooperative Agreement Conditions
Special Conditions
Federal Demonstration Partnership
Policy Office Website

Award Abstract #1338842

FESD Type I Proposal: Continent-island arc fluctuations: Linking deep Earth dynamics to long-term climate

Division Of Ocean Sciences
divider line
Initial Amendment Date: August 2, 2013
divider line
Latest Amendment Date: June 23, 2014
divider line
Award Number: 1338842
divider line
Award Instrument: Continuing grant
divider line
Program Manager: Candace O. Major
OCE Division Of Ocean Sciences
GEO Directorate For Geosciences
divider line
Start Date: September 1, 2013
divider line
End Date: August 31, 2018 (Estimated)
divider line
Awarded Amount to Date: $4,210,000.00
divider line
Investigator(s): Cin-Ty Lee ctlee@rice.edu (Principal Investigator)
Adrian Lenardic (Co-Principal Investigator)
Gerald Dickens (Co-Principal Investigator)
Jade Star Lackey (Co-Principal Investigator)
Rajdeep Dasgupta (Co-Principal Investigator)
divider line
Sponsor: William Marsh Rice University
6100 MAIN ST
Houston, TX 77005-1827 (713)348-4820
divider line
NSF Program(s): Front in Earth Sys Dynamics
divider line
Program Reference Code(s): 1530, 1573, 1620
divider line
Program Element Code(s): 8016


The over-arching theme of this study is to better understand what drives long-term climate change, specifically oscillations between greenhouse and icehouse states over timescales of 100 My. These climatic oscillations, integrated over Earth?s history, profoundly influenced the evolution of life and the surface of the Earth. To first order, variations in the CO2 budget of the ocean-atmosphere-biosphere system drive climatic variation over timescales greater than 10 My: because of the greenhouse effect of CO2 in the atmosphere, Earth?s surface temperature warms when atmospheric CO2 is high and cools when CO2 levels are low, all other variables (like albedo) being equal. The C content of the Earth?s exogenic system, over long timescales, is controlled by volcanic inputs from the Earth?s interior and outputs from the exogenic system via sediment burial and subduction. Long-term climate variability is thus intimately linked to whole Earth carbon cycling, that is, the cycling of C between the endogenic and exogenic systems. Exactly how and why these inputs and outputs have changed through time is the question.

This study will focus on the most recent greenhouse-icehouse transition. This begins with the Cretaceous to early Cenozoic (150-60 My) greenhouse interval when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, atmospheric CO2 pressure was possibly 4-8 times higher than today, polar ice caps were absent, and much of Earth?s economically viable hydrocarbon source rocks were generated. In contrast, the mid-Cenozoic (~55 My to present) was characterized by cooler surface temperatures, polar ice sheets, lower atmospheric CO2, and the proliferation of mammals. We will evaluate a number of hypotheses for elevated CO2 during the Cretaceous. These include enhanced carbonate subduction and subsequent output of CO2 through arc volcanoes, enhanced oceanic crust production, and an increase in the frequency of episodic flood basalts. In particular, we will also explore a new hypothesis that CO2 inputs into the exogenic system are strongly influenced by secular changes in the nature of subduction zone volcanoes. During periods of enhanced continental arc activity, carbonate sediments stored on the continents over Earth?s history, are magmatically liberated, whereas during periods dominated by island arc activity the CO2 inputs return to baseline levels because of the smaller volumes of carbonates in the oceanic upper plate. The transition from Cretaceous greenhouse to mid-Cenozoic icehouse conditions may have coincided with a decline in the number of continental arc volcanoes, suggesting that there may also be a mechanism driving long term oscillations between the nature of subduction zones. The goal of this study is to evaluate the relative importance of all these potential sources of CO2 so that a more complete model of the whole Earth carbon cycle can be developed. We are specifically interested in how deep Earth dynamics modulates these sources of CO2. To test these hypotheses and place bounds on each of these processes, we have assembled an interdisciplinary team to quantify the stability of carbonates in the shallow crust and in the deep parts of subduction zones, map out how the distribution of arc volcanoes and the extent of magmatic decarbonation has changed through time, quantify global volcanic inputs of CO2, and develop a model for long-term climate evolution coupled to the cycling of C between the deep Earth and the exogenic system.


Note:  When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

(Showing: 1 - 10 of 16)
  Show All

Lee, C-T A, Morton, D. M. "High silica granites: terminal porosity and crystal settling,," Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v.409, 2015, p. 23.

Holland, J., Smith, D., Surpless, B., Loewy, S.L., and Lackey, J.S. "Intrusive History and Petrogenesis of the Ash Mountain Complex, Sierra Nevada, California (USA)," Geosphere, v.9, 2013, p. 691.

Farner, M. J., Lee, C.-T. A., Putirka, K. D.,. "Mafic-felsic magma mixing limited by reactive processes: a case study of biotite-rich rinds on mafic enclaves," Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, v.393, 2014, p. 49. 

Lee, C.-T. A., Lee, T.-C. & Wu, C.-T.,. "Modeling the compositional evolution of recharging, evacuating, and fractionating (REFC) magma chambers: implications for differentiation of arc magmas.," Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta,, 2013. 

Duncan, M. S. & Dasgupta, R.. "CO2 solubility and speciation in rhyolitic, sediment partial melts at 1.5-3.0 GPa ? Implications for carbon flux in subduction zones," Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v.124, 2014, p. 328. 

Lee, C-T A, Lackey, J. S.,. "Arc magmatism, crustal carbonates, and long-term climate variability," Elements, v.11, 2015, p. 125. 

Slotnick, B. S., Lauretano, V., Backman, J., Dickens, G. R., Sluijs, A., Lourens, L.. "Early Paleogene variations in the calcite compensation depth: new constraints using old boreholes across Ninetyeast Ridge in the Indian Ocean," Climates of the past, v.11, 2015, p. 43. 

Tsuno, K. & Dasgupta, R. "Fe-Ni-Cu-C-S phase relations at high pressures and temperatures ? The role of sulfur in carbon storage and diamond stability at mid- to deep- upper mantle.," Earth Planetary Science Letters, v.412, 2015, p. 132. 

Lee, C.-T. A., Bachmann. "How important is the role of crystal fractionation in making intermediate magmas? Insights from Zr and P systematics," Earth Planet Sci. Letters, v.393, 2014, p. 266. 

Cooper, C. M., Moresi, L.-N. & Lenardic, A.. "Effects of continental configuration on mantle heat loss," Geophys. Res. Lett, v.40, 2013. 

(Showing: 1 - 10 of 16)
  Show All


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



Print this page
Back to Top of page
Research.gov  |  USA.gov  |  National Science Board  |  Recovery Act  |  Budget and Performance  |  Annual Financial Report
Web Policies and Important Links  |  Privacy  |  FOIA  |  NO FEAR Act  |  Inspector General  |  Webmaster Contact  |  Site Map
National Science Foundation Logo
The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749
  Text Only Version