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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Resource Type
  • Doctoral Dissertation
Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


The Juglandaceae (walnuts, hickories, pecans) has one of the best-documented fossil records in the Northern Hemisphere. The oldest modern genus, Cyclocarya, today restricted to China, first appears in the late Paleocene (57 ma) of North Dakota, USA. Unlike walnuts and pecans that produce edible fruits dispersed by mammals, Cyclocarya fruits are small nutlets surrounded by a prominent circular wing, and are thought to be wind- or water-dispersed. The current study provides the first evidence that fossil fruits were different from modern forms in the number and organization of their attachment to reproductive branches, and in their anatomical structure. Unlike the …

Contributors
Taylor, Witt, Pigg, Kathleen B, Wojciechowski, Martin F, et al.
Created Date
2010

An array of north-striking, left-stepping, active normal faults is situated along the southwestern margin of the Gulf of California. This normal fault system is the marginal fault system of the oblique-divergent plate boundary within the Gulf of California. To better understand the role of upper-crustal processes during development of an obliquely rifted plate margin, gravity surveys were conducted across the normal-fault-bounded basins within the gulf-margin array and, along with optically stimulated luminescence dating of offset surfaces, fault-slip rates were estimated and fault patterns across basins were assessed, providing insight into sedimentary basin evolution. Additionally, detailed geologic and geomorphic maps were …

Contributors
Busch, Melanie Marie, Arrowsmith, Ramon, Reynolds, Stephen, et al.
Created Date
2011

Geoscience educators commonly teach geology by projecting a photograph in front of the class. Geologic photographs often contain animals, people, and inanimate objects that help convey the scale of features in the photograph. Although scale items seem innocuous to instructors and other experts, the presence of such items is distracting and has a profound effect on student learning behavior. To evaluate how students visually interact with distracting scale items in photographs and to determine if cueing or signaling is an effective means to direct students to pertinent information, students were eye tracked while looking at geologically-rich photographs. Eye-tracking data revealed …

Contributors
Coyan, Joshua Aaron, Reynolds, Stephen, Arrowsmith, Ramon, et al.
Created Date
2011

The San Andreas Fault (SAF) is the primary structure within a system of faults accommodating motion between the North American and Pacific plates. Physical models of faulting and characterizations of seismic hazard are informed by investigations of paleoseismology, slip distribution, and slip rate. The impact of earthquakes on people is due in large part to social vulnerability. This dissertation contributes an analysis about the relationships between earthquake hazard and social vulnerability in Los Angeles, CA and investigations of paleoseismology and fault scarp array complexity on the central SAF. Analysis of fault scarp array geometry and morphology using 0.5 m digital …

Contributors
Toke, Nathan A., Arrowsmith, J R, Boone, Christopher G, et al.
Created Date
2011

Chemical and mineralogical data from Mars shows that the surface has been chemically weathered on local to regional scales. Chemical trends and the types of chemical weathering products present on the surface and their abundances can elucidate information about past aqueous processes. Thermal-infrared (TIR) data and their respective models are essential for interpreting Martian mineralogy and geologic history. However, previous studies have shown that chemical weathering and the precipitation of fine-grained secondary silicates can adversely affect the accuracy of TIR spectral models. Furthermore, spectral libraries used to identify minerals on the Martian surface lack some important weathering products, including poorly-crystalline …

Contributors
Rampe, Elizabeth Barger, Sharp, Thomas G, Christensen, Phillip, et al.
Created Date
2011

Assessments for the threats posed by volcanic eruptions rely in large part on the accurate prediction of volcanic plume motion over time. That predictive capacity is currently hindered by a limited understanding of volcanic plume dynamics. While eruption rate is considered a dominant control on volcanic plume dynamics, the effects of variable eruption rates on plume rise and evolution are not well understood. To address this aspect of plume dynamics, I conducted an experimental investigation wherein I quantified the relationship between laboratory jet development and highly-variable discharge rates under conditions analogous to those which may prevail in unsteady, short-lived explosive …

Contributors
Chojnicki, Kirsten Noel, Clarke, Amanda, Williams, Stanley, et al.
Created Date
2012

The presence of a number of extinct radionuclides in the early Solar System (SS) is known from geochemical and isotopic studies of meteorites and their components. The half-lives of these isotopes are short relative to the age of the SS, such that they have now decayed to undetectable levels. They can be inferred to exist in the early SS from the presence of their daughter nuclides in meteoritic materials that formed while they were still extant. The extinct radionuclides are particularly useful as fine-scale chronometers for events in the early SS. They can also be used to help constrain the …

Contributors
Spivak-Birndorf, Lev Jacob, Wadhwa, Meenakshi, Hervig, Richard, et al.
Created Date
2012

The present understanding of the formation and evolution of the earliest bodies in the Solar System is based in large part on geochemical and isotopic evidences contained within meteorites. The differentiated meteorites (meteorites originating from bodies that have experienced partial to complete melting) are particularly useful for deciphering magmatic processes occurring in the early Solar System. A rare group of differentiated meteorites, the angrites, are uniquely suited for such work. The angrites have ancient crystallization ages, lack secondary processing, and have been minimally affected by shock metamorphism, thus allowing them to retain their initial geochemical and isotopic characteristics at the …

Contributors
Sanborn, Matthew Edward, Wadhwa, Meenakshi, Hervig, Richard, et al.
Created Date
2012

Early spacecraft missions to Mars, including the Marnier and Viking orbiters and landers revealed a morphologically and compositionally diverse landscape that reshaped widely held views of Mars. More recent spacecraft including Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Mars Exploration Rovers have further refined, enhanced, and diversified our understanding of Mars. In this dissertation, I take a multiple-path approach to planetary and Mars science including data analysis and instrument development. First, I present several tools necessary to effectively use new, complex datasets by highlighting unique and innovative data processing techniques that allow for the regional …

Contributors
Edwards, Christopher Scott, Christensen, Philip R, Bell, James, et al.
Created Date
2012

Molybdenum and uranium isotope variations are potentially powerful tools for reconstructing the paleoredox history of seawater. Reliable application and interpretation of these proxies requires not only detailed knowledge about the fractionation factors that control the distribution of molybdenum and uranium isotopes in the marine system, but also a thorough understanding of the diagenetic processes that may affect molybdenum and uranium isotopes entering the rock record. Using samples from the Black Sea water column, the first water column profile of 238U/235U variations from a modern euxinic basin has been measured. This profile allows the direct determination of the 238U/235U fractionation factor …

Contributors
Romaniello, Stephen, Anbar, Ariel, Hartnett, Hilairy, et al.
Created Date
2012

The tectonic significance of the physiographic transition from the low-relief Tibetan plateau to the high peaks, rugged topography and deep gorges of the Himalaya is the source of much controversy. Some workers have suggested the transition may be structurally controlled (e.g. Hodges et al., 2001), and indeed, the sharp change in geomorphic character across the transition strongly suggests differential uplift between the Himalayan realm and the southernmost Tibetan Plateau. Most Himalayan researchers credit the South Tibetan fault system (STFS), a family of predominantly east-west trending, low-angle normal faults with a known trace of over 2,000 km along the Himalayan crest …

Contributors
Mcdermott, Jeni Amber, Hodges, Kip V, Whipple, Kelin X, et al.
Created Date
2012

Geologic field trips are among the most beneficial learning experiences for students as they engage the topic of geology, but they are also difficult environments to maximize learning. This action research study explored one facet of the problems associated with teaching geology in the field by attempting to improve the transition of undergraduate students from a traditional laboratory setting to an authentic field environment. Utilizing an artificial outcrop, called the GeoScene, during an introductory college-level non-majors geology course, the transition was studied. The GeoScene was utilized in this study as an intermediary between laboratory and authentic field based experiences, allowing …

Contributors
Wilson, Meredith, Jimenez-Castellanos, Oscar, Gonzalez, Gustavo, et al.
Created Date
2012

Future robotic and human missions to the Moon and Mars will need in situ capabilities to characterize the mineralogy of rocks and soils within a microtextural context. Such spatially-correlated information is considered crucial for correct petrogenetic interpretations and will be key observations for assessing the potential for past habitability on Mars. These data will also enable the selection of the highest value samples for further analysis and potential caching for return to Earth. The Multispectral Microscopic Imager (MMI), similar to a geologist's hand lens, advances the capabilities of current microimagers by providing multispectral, microscale reflectance images of geological samples, where …

Contributors
Núñez, Jorge Ivan, Farmer, Jack D., Christensen, Philip R., et al.
Created Date
2012

Impact craters are ubiquitous throughout the Solar System, formed by one of the principal processes responsible for surface modification of terrestrial planets and solid bodies (i.e., asteroids, icy moons). The impact cratering process is well studied, particularly on the Moon and Mercury, where the results remain uncomplicated by atmospheric effects, plate tectonics, or interactions with water and ices. Crater measurements, used to determine relative and absolute ages for geologic units by relating the cumulative crater frequency per unit area to radiometrically-determined ages from returned samples, are sensitive to the solar incidence angle of images used for counts. Earlier work is …

Contributors
Ostrach, Lillian Rose, Robinson, Mark S, Bell Iii, James F, et al.
Created Date
2013

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft missions provide new data for investigating the youngest impact craters on Mercury and the Moon, along with lunar volcanic end-members: ancient silicic and young basaltic volcanism. The LRO Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) in-flight absolute radiometric calibration used ground-based Robotic Lunar Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope data as standards. In-flight radiometric calibration is a small aspect of the entire calibration process but an important improvement upon the pre-flight measurements. Calibrated reflectance data are essential for comparing images from LRO to missions like …

Contributors
Braden, Sarah Elizabeth, Robinson, Mark S, Bell, James F, et al.
Created Date
2013

Sedimentary basins in the Afar Depression, Ethiopia archive the progression of continental breakup, record regional changes in east African climate and volcanism, and host what are arguably the most important fossiliferous strata for studying early human evolution and innovation. Significant changes in rift tectonics, climate, and faunal assemblages occur between 3-2.5 million years ago (Ma), but sediments spanning this time period are sparse. In this dissertation, I present the results of a geologic investigation targeting sediments between 3-2.5 Ma in the central and eastern Ledi Geraru (CLG and ELG) field areas in the lower Awash Valley, using a combination of …

Contributors
Dimaggio, Erin Nicole, Arrowsmith, J Ramon, Whipple, Kelin X, et al.
Created Date
2013

A fundamental gap in geomorphic scholarship regards fluvial terraces in small desert drainages and those terraces associated with integrating drainages. This dissertation analyzes four field-based case studies within the Sonoran Desert, south-central Arizona, with the overriding purpose of developing a theory to explain the formative processes and spatial distribution of fluvial terraces in the region. Strath terraces are a common form (Chapters 2, 3, 4) and are created at the expense of bounding pediments that occur on the margins of constraining mountainous drainage boundaries (Chapters 1, 2, 3). Base-level fluctuations of the major drainages cause the formation of new straths …

Contributors
Larson, Phillip Herman, Dorn, Ron I, Schmeeckle, Mark, et al.
Created Date
2013

Sedimentary basins are defined by extensional tectonics. Rugged mountain ranges stand in stark relief adjacent to muted structural basins filled with sediment. In simplest terms, this topography is the result of ranges uplifted along normal faults, and this uplift drives erosion within upland drainages, shedding sediment into subsiding basins. In southeastern Arizona's Basin and Range province extensional tectonics waned at approximately 3-5 Myr, and the region's structural basins began transitioning from internal to external drainage, forming the modern Gila River fluvial network. In the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, some basins of the Central Depression remain internally drained while others …

Contributors
Jungers, Matthew Cross, Heimsath, Arjun M, Whipple, Kelin, et al.
Created Date
2014

The taxonomic and metabolic profile of the microbial community inhabiting a natural system is largely determined by the physical and geochemical properties of the system. However, the influences of parameters beyond temperature, pH and salinity have been poorly analyzed with few studies incorporating the comprehensive suite of physical and geochemical measurements required to fully investigate the complex interactions known to exist between biology and the environment. Further, the techniques used to classify the taxonomic and functional composition of a microbial community are fragmented and unwieldy, resulting in unnecessarily complex and often non-consilient results. This dissertation integrates environmental metagenomes with extensive …

Contributors
Alsop, Eric Bennie, Raymond, Jason, Anbar, Ariel, et al.
Created Date
2014

Impact cratering has played a crucial role in the surface development of the inner planets. Constraining the timing of this bombardment history is important in understanding the origins of life and our planet's evolution. Plate tectonics, active volcanism, and vegetation hinder the preservation and identification of existing impact craters on Earth. Providing age constraints on these elusive structures will provide a deeper understanding of our planet's development. To do this, (U-Th)/He thermochronology and in situ 40Ar/39Ar laser microprobe geochronology are used to provide ages for the Haughton and Mistastin Lake impact structures, both located in northern Canada. While terrestrial impact …

Contributors
Young, Kelsey, Hodges, Kip V, Asphaug, Erik I, et al.
Created Date
2014