Evolution of Crustal Paleo Flow Systems (Keck Foundation)

Peter Reiners, University of Arizona (PI). Mark Person (co-PI mark.person@nmt.edu)

This three year project Integrates multiple geologic, geophysical, hydrologic, and geochemical approaches (Figure 1) to assess the role basin-system-scale fluid (H2O, CO2, CH4) migration patterns over 10years on Cu and U ore mineralization and diagenesis within the Paradox Basin, Utah.

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Figure 1. Components of Keck Foundation Interdisciplinary Project between the University of Arizona and New Mexico Tech assessing Paleo Fluid Flow in the Paradox Basin.

We have assembled a team of geochemists, structural geologists, hydrogeologists, and economic geologists from the University of Arizona and New Mexico Tech as part of this project (Figure 2). We will have monthly team meetings via skype and annual meetings in person in Tucson and Moab.

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Figure 2. University of Arizona & NM Tech Research Team

As part of this project, co-PI Person and his student will developed a cross-sectional paleohydrologic model of the Paradox Basin using RIFT2D. The code will be used to simulate multi-phase fluid flow, heat, solute transport, and groundwater residence times during basin evolution. We will take into account subsidence, sedimentation, uplift, erosion, and salt tectonics during basin evolution (Figure 3).

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Figure 3. Structural evolution of Paradox Basin.

Simulated fluid flow events associated with the uncompahgre uplift to the east and internal fluid production due (illite-smectite dewatering, oil-gas-CO2 generation) will be compared to modern fluid age dates, salinity patterns and  dating of diagenetic cements and Cu-U ore formation (Figure 4).

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Figure 4. Paleoflow Meters: Copper and Uranium mineralization recording paleo flow events within Lisbon Valley, Paradox Basin.

Person seeks a PhD candidate to assist with the development and implementation of his basin scale hydrogeologic  model. The RA will need to assist Person in incorporating the physics of multi-phase fluids flow into RIFT2D. The student will also be tasked with developing data RIFT2D decks  representing the structural and paleohydrologic evolution of the Paradox Basin, Utah. Applicants with a quantitative background and experience in Fortran and Matlab programing will be given preference.

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