Earth Sciences - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Sequence stratigraphy and facies analysis of the viking formation in crossfield and adjacent areas, Alberta, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-03-18
Abstract: 

The Lower Cretaceous Viking Formation is a siliciclastic unit that accumulated in the Western Interior Seaway and produces hydrocarbons in the Crossfield and surrounding area. The study area encompasses Townships 24–31, Ranges 28W4 to 4W5 in Alberta, Canada. Sedimentological and ichnological observations of 54 cored wells, coupled with the analysis of 1415 geophysical well logs allowed the generation of a high-resolution sequence stratigraphic framework. The Viking Formation is subdivided into four discrete depositional sequences (Sequences 1-4), but this study focuses on Sequence 3, as it constitutes the main cored interval in the Crossfield area. Sequence 3 includes eleven sedimentary facies that are grouped into three facies associations (FA1-3). Deposits of FA1 correspond to the transgressive system tract. The overlying highstand system tract encompasses FA2 and FA3. FA3 contains the reservoir sandstone interval, and comprises sanding-upward successions interpreted to represent deposition in a mixed-process wave-dominated, fluvial-influenced symmetric delta.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
James MacEachern
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Implications of early halo type veins at the IKE copper-molybdenum-silver porphyry deposit, British Columbia, Canada: alteration studies as a guide to ore grade

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-17
Abstract: 

The IKE deposit is a Cu-Mo-Ag porphyry deposit located in the southern portion of the Canadian Cordillera in British Columbia, Canada. Significant amounts of early halo type (EHT) veins are found throughout the deposit, which are typically associated with deep-seated porphyry deposits. This project investigates the geochemical properties of EHT veins and how they relate to mineralization. Petrographic studies were carried out on EHT veins to identify the mineral and fluid inclusion assemblages in the EHT veins, and how IKE compares to other deposits. Cathodoluminescence studies confirm a large overprint of potassic alteration, with a limited expression of alteration zoning typically seen in porphyry deposits. Shortwave infrared spectroscopy was used to identify subtle geochemical changes in the alteration minerals. The primary mineral picks, white mica and chlorite absorption features, and illite crystallinity values were examined to qualitatively determine fluid composition and pathways in the deposit and aid in future exploration.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dan Marshall
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Integrated ichnological, sedimentological, and geochronological analysis of the Late Cretaceous Upper Nanaimo Group, Saltspring Island, B.C., Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-08
Abstract: 

Integrated ichnological, sedimentological, and geochronological investigation of the Late Cretaceous Nanaimo Group, Saltspring Island, B.C., Canada was undertaken to examine the existing lithostratigraphic mapping and facies characteristics of deep-water slope deposits. Maximum depositional ages from U-Pb dating of detrital zircon grains (N=3744) provide a geochronologic framework for facies relationships studied at a cm-scale over ~1500 m of stratigraphic thickness. Passive gamma-ray emissions (K, U and Th spectra) were collected using a hand-held gamma-ray scintillometer. The results of this integrated analysis suggests that: (1) almost all of the Cretaceous-aged strata in the study area belongs to the upper Nanaimo Group; (2) the youngest zircon grains in the earliest Nanaimo Basin are Middle Jurassic in age, indicating that further study of basin evolution is needed; and (3) integrated facies analysis of thin-bedded slope deposits provides improved criteria for recognizing their different subenvironments compared to employing sedimentological observations alone.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
James MacEachern
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Magmatic sources to volcanic gas emissions: Insight from the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, western Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-18
Abstract: 

Volcanoes are the surficial representation of the complex interplay of magmatic, crustal, and hydrothermal processes operating below the Earth’s surface. Studying volcanic deposits provides a unique snapshot into the composition of the deep mantle source. Melt inclusions, which are small pockets of magma trapped inside growing crystals, preserve multi-faceted records of magma petrogenesis. Additionally, the magma at depth contains a significant proportion of dissolved magmatic gases. Once these gases become saturated in the magma, they exsolve into a separate vapour phase and ascend quickly to the surface, where they are released as volcanic gases. The composition of gases at the surface can provide valuable insight into the composition of the magma at depth, as well as the shallow-level hydrothermal system. Volcanic gases are an important factor controlling whether an eruption is gentle and effusive, or violent and explosive. A greater amount of gas that separates at depth can trigger large, explosive eruptions (Devine et al., 1998; Shinohara, 2008). Therefore, gas detection at the surface is an essential monitoring tool for eruption forecasting. In this thesis, I begin with an in-depth look inside glassy and crystallized olivine-hosted melt inclusions and assess the nature of micron-scale solid phases occupying the vapour bubble. From here, major, volatile and trace element compositions of olivine-hosted melt inclusions from every centre along the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt (GVB) reveals a north to south transition from an enriched mantle signature, to a subduction-modified depleted mantle source. Finally, the recent re-discovery of fumaroles beneath the summit glacier of Mount Meager has prompted the first MultiGAS survey in the GVB. The plumes are H2S, CO2 and H2O rich, and hot enough to melt through the overlying ice. Can the basaltic magma, represented by melt inclusions, produce the volcanic gases currently emitted at the surface? To test this, two different gas modelling software (SolEx and MagmaSat) are used, along with original and recalculated (with the bubble components) as input parameters. The resulting molar ratios are compared with MultiGAS ratios of fumaroles. Overall, SolEx closed-system degassing using recalculated melt inclusions yields the best approximation to MultiGAS ratios. This thesis addresses a compositional knowledge gap within the GVB. By understanding both the distinct magmatic sources underlying the arc, as well as the composition of volcanic gases emanating from summit fumaroles, we gain a broad and comprehensive geochemical overview of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Glyn Williams-Jones
Severine Moune
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Engineering geological characterization of the 2014 Jure Nepal Landslide: An Integrated Field, Remote Sensing-Virtual/Mixed Reality Approach

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-16
Abstract: 

Characterization of unstable rock slopes can pose a high level of risk toward the geoscientist/engineer in the field due to inaccessibility and safety issues. During recent decades, rapidly developing remote sensing (RS) techniques, including Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS), Terrestrial Digital Photogrammetry (TDP), and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Structure-from-Motion (UAV-SfM) are being progressively employed for landslide investigation and risk assessment. These methods allow acquisition of three-dimensional (3D) data sets from previously inaccessible terrain with sub-centimeter accuracy. This research describes an innovative approach to investigate the preliminary engineering geological characterization of a large (~5.5 Mm3), destructive landslide that occurred on August 2nd, 2014 near Jure in Sindhupalchok, ~70 km northeast of Kathmandu, Nepal. Various methods have been employed including traditional field surveys, RS techniques and preliminary 2D/3D numerical modelling with the objective of understanding conditioning factors, slope failure mechanisms, and identifying/mitigating future hazards at the site. With four years of RS data, analysis of strength degradation and progressive weakening of the rock mass is investigated by linking process of erosion and deposition using 3D change detection algorithms. The slope is still potentially in an unstable state, undergoing progressive rockfalls/slides with the most recent major event (~20,000 m3) in August 2017. Results throughout this thesis, including 2D/3D rock engineering mapping and modelling have been integrated into an interactive 3D Virtual/Mixed Reality (VR/MR) Jure Landslide geodatabase model, enabling an immersive and enhanced engineering 3D geovisualization experience. A comparative 2D/3D, and VR/MR rockfall simulations has been undertaken and developed within an augmented reality Microsoft HoloLens. Moreover, this thesis concludes on how VR/MR techniques can be employed to conduct discontinuity mapping on virtual outcrops and provide a game-changing way that geoscientists can communicate landslide investigation and risk assessment in all stages of rock engineering.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Douglas Stead
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Paleoproterozoic tectonometamorphic evolution of the southeastern Rae craton margin

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-10
Abstract: 

One of the largest but poorly understood tectonic boundaries in North America is the Snowbird Tectonic Zone (STZ), which separates the Rae and Hearne cratons. Significant tectonothermal reworking of Neoarchean protoliths in the STZ occurred at ca. 2.55 Ga and 1.9 Ga, however, substantial uncertainty persists with regard to the nature and extent of that metamorphism. This thesis focuses on a poorly studied portion of the STZ and adjacent crustal domains within Northwest Territories in order to better understand the nature of 1.9 Ga tectonometamorphism. New mapping revealed a 300 km long and up to 20 km wide crustal-scale shear zone, the Wholdaia Lake shear zone (WLsz). Analysis of hanging wall metasedimentary units returned a new depositional age of 1.98-1.94 Ga. These metasedimentary units, and much of the STZ in the south Rae, were buried and partially melted by ca. 1.92 Ga and began to exhume 7-10 kbar, granulite-facies rocks between 1.92 and 1.90 Ga. Continued amphibolite-facies exhumation of crustal domains was accommodated by the WLsz and other localized extensional shear zones between 1.90 and 1.86 Ga. Much of this high-grade margin was at the surface by 1.83 Ga when new volcanic supracrustal material was deposited. Petrological investigation and Lu-Hf garnet dating of multiple metamorphic assemblages in a mafic granulite from the WLsz has revealed high-grade age components at 2.11 and 1.87 Ga, whereas zircon U-Pb age components are 2.6 and 1.89 Ga. These results highlight a high-grade event at 2.11 Ga not recorded by U-Pb zircon analysis during a poorly understood time of possible extension in the Rae craton. Mapping, U-Pb zircon and titanite geochronology along the STZ at Kasba Lake demonstrates continuity of rock types, isotopic ages and overall shear zone character for >200 km of strike length. Pervasive high-strain occurred between 1.9 and 1.84 Ga within a panel between the Rae and Hearne cratons without obvious coeval metamorphism; however, Archean metamorphism and deformation are also preserved in this region. This panel may be a sliver of Rae crust that was highly strained but never reached high-grade conditions at 1.9-1.8 Ga but likely contributed to exhumation of the STZ region.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
H. Daniel Gibson
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Merging earth science with environmental education for teachers through inquiry, constructivist and place-based learning

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-04
Abstract: 

Recognizing the importance of interdisciplinarity and effective pedagogical implementation, Earth science is incorporated into three of the six modules of an Environmental Education course (EDU452) at Simon Fraser University for teachers, through inquiry, constructivist and place-based learning. The case study research encompasses two pilots with 52 participants in summer 2018 and 2019. Field observations, interviews and pre- and post-course surveys (MESEES) were employed to evaluate the course effectiveness and pedagogies. EDU452 increased students’ recognition of Earth Science being fundamental and relevant. Inquiry learning promoted engagement, yet careful design of overarching questions and guidance adjusted according to individual’s pre-existing knowledge and the conceptual difficulty are recommended. Constructivist and place-based learning are widely accepted by the participants for offering personal ownership of learning, engaging experiences, impactful visuals, and local relevance of knowledge. Conceptual and experiential learners have different understandings of the role of Earth Science. An integrated teaching strategy is believed to enhance the congruency across subjects.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Eileen van der Flier Keller
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

The influence of bedrock geology on glacier dynamics in the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-27
Abstract: 

Glacier surges are characterized by order-of-magnitude increases in flow that can be sustained for months to years, facilitated by a dramatic increase in basal water pressure that permits rapid sliding. An explanation for the non-random geographical distribution of surge-type glaciers and the underlying causes of surges remain the source of speculation. Glacier surges are dynamic end-members of glacier behaviour that showcase fundamental processes operating under all warm-based glaciers. Providing an explanation for the distribution and mechanisms of surging will allow us to better predict the role and responses of glaciers in a warming climate. The primary objective of this research is to understand the relationship between geological substrates and surge-type glaciers. A second objective is to understand the more general relationships between bedrock properties and the physical and chemical processes of glacial erosion. Using data from 11 surge-type and 9 non-surge-type glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains of Yukon, Canada, I investigate geological variables that represent system inputs, such as bedrock mineralogy and fracture characteristics, and system outputs such as meltwater chemistry and the grain size and mineralogy of proglacial river suspended sediments. I find that glacier surging is correlated with bedrock fracture spacing and the grain size of suspended sediments. I propose that bedrock fracture spacing controls the rate of clast production, and therefore the distribution of a clast-rich till-transition zone, which provides the excess friction necessary for the development of an ice reservoir prior to surging. Within a given climate envelope and mass-balance regime, this conceptual model can help to explain the geographical distribution of surge-type glaciers. Through a mineralogical analysis of electrically fragmented bedrock samples and proglacial suspended sediment samples, I observe that primary minerals are comminuted to sub-micron sizes, and grain rounding appears to be shaping medium-silt size grains and smaller. Finally, I find that chemical alteration of sediment and clay mineral precipitation could be mechanisms to explain the characteristically low silica in glacier meltwaters. Through this work, I have highlighted some of the ways in which the geological substrate can drive subglacial physical and chemical erosion and thus, glacier dynamics.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gwenn Flowers
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Surficial geology, stratigraphy, and placer deposits of the Ruby Range, Yukon Territory

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-06-07
Abstract: 

The Quaternary history of the central Ruby Range, southwest Yukon, was studied through 1:50,000 scale surficial mapping and stratigraphic analysis. Stratigraphy in Gladstone Creek provides evidence for at least two glaciations of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet’s (CIS) St. Elias lobe, during marine oxygen isotope stages 2 and 4. Significant ice was produced from cirques and ice caps within the Ruby Range that likely contributed to the CIS incursion within Gladstone Creek. Advances from Ruby Range cirques appear to have preceded CIS advances and are preferentially preserved in stratigraphy due to lower base-levels associated with their advance. Stratigraphic units are constrained by tephrochronology, luminescence, and radiocarbon dating. 10Be dating on erratics suggests alpine glacier readvances occurred in Raft and Rockslide creeks at 13.7 ± 0.9 ka, significantly later than the last glacial maximum of the CIS. Placer deposits in Gladstone Creek have been reworked by repeated cycles of glaciation resulting in complex stratigraphic distributions, generally occurring on bedrock and false bedrock surfaces. Gold appears to be sourced from both epithermal mineralization in Kluane schist, as well as gold-rich porphyry mineralization in the Ruby Range batholith.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Brent Ward
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

The characterization of slope damage using an integrated remote sensing-numerical modelling approach

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-05-27
Abstract: 

The stability of slopes is controlled by geological structures, lithology, rock mass quality, and hydrogeological conditions. Additionally, the occurrence of exogenic and endogenic processes may weaken the rock mass forming the slope, promoting instability. Slope deformation is associated with the formation of a range of internal and external features, such as tension cracks, rock mass dilation, and rockfall, referred to as “slope damage”. In this research, state-of-the-art remote sensing techniques, including terrestrial and airborne laser scanning, digital photogrammetric methods, high-resolution photography, infrared thermography, and hyperspectral imaging, are employed to characterize slope damage features both spatially and temporally. New innovative measures of slope damage are introduced. Processes and mechanisms controlling the formation and distribution of slope damage are highlighted at selected major landslides using advanced numerical modelling techniques, including distinct element, hybrid finite-discrete element, and lattice-spring scheme methods. Innovative uses of remote sensing data as a constraint for 3D modelling of slope damage are presented. This research clearly demonstrates that several geological factors control the formation, distribution, and evolution of slope damage, with the results being summarised in a slope damage interaction matrix format. It is clearly shown that the characterization of slope damage, combined with remote sensing datasets and numerical modelling results, allows reinterpretation of slope deformation and failure mechanisms of selected landslides in rock and soil. The recognition and importance of interaction between kinematics, geological structures and damage on the long-term evolution of the Downie Slide and Hope Slide (BC) is clearly demonstrated. The important role of brittle fracture propagation on the kinematics of the 2014 San Leo landslide (Italy) on the 2014 slope failure is highlighted. The geomorphic controls on external spatio-temporal slope damage at the Ten Mile Slide (BC) is emphasised using new damage measures. This research highlights the need to include slope damage mapping techniques as a standard procedure in rock slope characterization, in order to obtain important insights on the mechanisms and processes that affect the stability, deformation, and failure of rock slopes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Doug Stead
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.