Project

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Linking deep Earth and surface dynamics: the effects of erosion on magma productivity

Applicant Sternai Pietro
Number 168113
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.11.2016 - 31.10.2019
Approved amount 451'530.73
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Geology
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences
Geophysics
Geomorphology

Keywords (9)

erosion; numerical modeling; climate change; magma production; glaciation; sea level change; magmatism and volcanism; lithospheric strain; landscape evolution

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Très étudiées, les relations entre les cycles climatiques, l’érosion et les processus profonds, contrôlent l’évolution du paysage et des couches de surface de la Terre. La compréhension du forçage mutuel entre ces facteurs dominants, y compris les interactions avec l’activité humaine, a donc des grandes implications non seulement concernant la connaissance de l’évolution passé de notre planète, mais aussi pour les prévisions des changements environnementaux futurs en réponse, par example, au réchauffement climatique mondial actuel.
Lay summary

A aujourd’hui, la recherche a porté sur les effets des changements de charge lithosphérique liés à la formation/fonte de calotte glaciaires ou aux variations du niveau de la mer sur la production, transfert et éruption de magma et CO2. Cependant, les fjords, les surcreusements glaciaires et les vallées fluviatiles incisées sont témoins des grandes variations des taux d’érosion liées aux cycles climatiques. Comment le déchargement lithosphérique par l'érosion affecte-t-il les processus magmatiques en profondeur et leur expression à la surface? Cette question est primaire car la production de magma influence la fréquence et la magnitude des éruptions volcaniques ainsi que la répartition des dépôts minières. En outre, les émissions de CO2 volcaniques contribuent à l'effet de serre, alors que le climat et l'érosion modifient le paysage dans lequel nous vivons en générant des problèmes croissants liés aux évaluations des risques (inondations, glissements de terrain, séismes, etc.) et la gestion du territoire et des ressources naturelles.

Ce projet aborde cette question par le biais de la modélisation numérique appliquée à des cas naturels comportants des changements considérables de charge à la surface liés à l'érosion, mais pour lesquels un lien avec magmatisme n'a jamais été explorée.

Notre travail générera des informations inédites et essentielles quant aux interactions entre changement climatiques, évolution du paysage et activité volcanique. Les résultats permettront de conseiller le monde politique afin d’améliorer le monitoring environnemental ainsi que l'exploitation des ressources naturelles et de protéger la population contre les risques environnementaux.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 06.10.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Present-day uplift of the European Alps: Evaluating mechanisms and models of their relative contributions
Sternai Pietro, Sue Christian, Husson Laurent, Serpelloni Enrico, Becker Thorsten W., Willett Sean D., Faccenna Claudio, Di Giulio Andrea, Spada Giorgio, Jolivet Laurent, Valla Pierre, Petit Carole, Nocquet Jean-Mathieu, Walpersdorf Andrea, Castelltort Sébastien (2019), Present-day uplift of the European Alps: Evaluating mechanisms and models of their relative contributions, in Earth-Science Reviews, 190, 589-604.
Emplacement of metamorphic core complexes and associated geothermal systems controlled by slab rollback
(2018), Emplacement of metamorphic core complexes and associated geothermal systems controlled by slab rollback, in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 322.
Extensional crustal tectonics and crust-mantle coupling, a view from the geological record
(2018), Extensional crustal tectonics and crust-mantle coupling, a view from the geological record, in Earth-Science Reviews, 1187.
Mantle flow and deforming conti- nents: From India-Asia convergence to Pacific subduction
(2018), Mantle flow and deforming conti- nents: From India-Asia convergence to Pacific subduction, in Tectonics, 2887.
Re- stored topography of the Po Plain-Northern Adriatic region during the Messinian base-level drop - implications for the physiography and compartmentalisation of the paleo-Mediterranean basin
(2018), Re- stored topography of the Po Plain-Northern Adriatic region during the Messinian base-level drop - implications for the physiography and compartmentalisation of the paleo-Mediterranean basin, in Basin Research, 1247.
Magmatic pulse driven by sea-level changes associated with the Messinian salinity crisis
Sternai Pietro Caricchi L Garcia-Castellanos D Jolivet L Sheldrake T Castelltort S (2017), Magmatic pulse driven by sea-level changes associated with the Messinian salinity crisis, in Nature Geoscience, 1-5.
Magmatic Forcing of Ceneozoic Climate?
Sternai Pietro, LucaCaricchi, ClaudiaPasquero, Douwevan Hinsbergen, Eduardo Garzanti, SébastienCastelltor, Magmatic Forcing of Ceneozoic Climate?, in Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Pavia Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, EPFL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Institut for Geophysics, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH-Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
University of Milano-Bicocca Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
CSIC Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Division of Geology and Planetary Sciences, Caltech United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
University of Padova Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Universityé d'Orléans France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Earth Surface dynamics group, Department of Earth Science, ETH-Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
SGM Talk given at a conference Present-day uplift of the European Alps: mechanisms and relative contributions 01.12.2018 Berne, Switzerland Sternai Pietro;
EGU Talk given at a conference Magmatic effects of the Messinian salinity crisis and the potential implications for the Tyrrhenian geodynamics 09.04.2018 Vienna, Austria Sternai Pietro;
EGU Talk given at a conference The role of magmatism in the tectonic vs. climatic control on the Cenozoic evolution of the Earth’s surface: a key to the “chicken or egg” conundrum? 09.04.2018 Vienna, Austria Sternai Pietro;
AGU Talk given at a conference Increased magma production and volcanism triggered by the Messinian Salinity Crisis 11.12.2017 New Orleans, United States of America Sternai Pietro;
EGU Talk given at a conference Increased magma production and volcanism triggered by the Messinian Salinity Crisis 24.04.2017 Vienna, VIC, Austria Sternai Pietro;
EGU Talk given at a conference Mechanics of current Alpine uplift: any clear message? 24.04.2017 Vienna, VIC, Austria Sternai Pietro;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2016 Talk given at a conference Erosion changes throughout glacial cycles contribute to the magma production by continental unloading and associated volcanic activity 18.11.2016 Geneva, Switzerland Sternai Pietro;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
SteepestDescent 29.04.2017 Vienna, Post EGU meeting, Austria
How much does glacial isostatic adjustment contribute to earth system modeling? Session at EGU 2017 24.04.2017 Vienna, VIC, EGU, Austria

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Interview at RTS Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 26.09.2017 Geneva, Switzerland Sternai Pietro;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Et si les changements climatiques pouvaient réveiller les volcans RTS Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland International Western Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland 2017

Abstract

One of the most important recent advances in Earth Sciences has been the recognition of feedbacks between climate, erosion processes and the deep Earth geodynamics at different space and time scales. The waxing and waning of ice sheets during the late-Cenozoic and associated sea level changes, for example, modulate the loading state of the lithosphere and mantle at depth. To date, research focused on the effect of lithospheric loading/unloading by ice and sea level changes on the production, transfer and eruption of magma and CO2. However, deep fjords, glacial over-deepened valleys and the ubiquitous low-stand fluvial incisions on shelves around the world testify for intense erosion associated with sea level changes and ice building/melting. Because the density of rocks is two to three times larger than that of water and ice, even comparatively small amounts of erosion affect significantly the lithospheric unloading and it associated magmatism and CO2 production. I identify this as a fundamental research opportunity that this proposal aims to address: how does lithospheric unloading by erosion affect the magmatic processes at depth and their surface expression? This question is of primary importance because the production of magma is known to influence the frequency and magnitude of volcanic eruptions and the distribution of ore deposits. Furthermore, volcanic CO2 emissions contribute to greenhouse effects, while climate and erosion modify the landscape we live in, also rising issues related to hazard assessments (e.g., flooding, land-sliding, etc.) and management of the territory and natural resources. Thus, understanding the mutual forcing between climate, erosion and magmatism, including the interactions with human life, has great implications for our planet’s habitability and predictions of future environmental conditions in response to current global climate warming.I propose to tackle this question through forward numerical modelling applied to natural case studies in which perturbations of the surface load have been documented, but for which a link with magmatism has not been explored. The research project, in particular, will involve three main actions.1)Implementation of a current landscape evolution model with more advanced sub-glacial dynamics including sediment entrainment, transport and deposition.2)Modeling of mantle melting in response to two extreme Cenozoic unloading and magmatic events, on which existing data elicited controversies: the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (~56 Ma) and the Messinian salinity crisis (5.97-5.33 Ma). 3)Joint application of the newly implemented landscape evolution and geodynamic models to assess the forcing on the Quaternary evolution of the Southern Andean volcanic arc dictated by latitudinal variations of climate and erosion.Existing datasets relating to spatial-temporal variations of the surface load and magmatic activity will allow for cross-calibration of the numerical setups and validation of the numerical results.This project is cut-edge and has sound basis outlined in a recent publication in collaboration with researchers from the University of Geneva and the ETH-Zürich (Sternai et al., 2016), in which we show that erosion throughout glacial-interglacial cycles is indeed able to modulate the sub-continental magma productivity. The wide implications of this finding on our understanding of the couplings between global climate change and the solid Earth call for more detailed quantifications of this recently recognized link, to which I aspire through this research proposal. The project promotes an innovative approach consisting in coupling research of the Earth’s surface and deep dynamics, which have traditionally operated distinctly. Crossing usual disciplinary boundaries ensures high visibility to the proposed research from the broad Earth Science community.
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