Research@Mines Archive:
February, 2022

Mines Wins NSF Grant to Study Impact of Ocean Floor Plate Tectonics on Climate Change

Dr. Gokce Ustunisik in her laboratory at South Dakota Mines.

The island splitting eruption of the Tonga Volcano in January caught the world’s attention with its explosive plume of ash and subsequent tsunami. Large volcanic eruptions like this can have impacts on the climate and carbon budget of earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

But some may not realize that many, if not most, volcanic eruptions on earth don’t happen on volcanic islands, rather they occur deep under water along oceanic rift zones. These rift zones are volcanic fissures that occur along tectonic boundaries where rising plumes of magma come to the surface and slowly push oceanic plates apart. The constant underwater eruptions along rift zones can also impact the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and ocean.

Dr Gokce Ustunisik in labFor scientists to understand and model the impacts of human caused climate change, they need to know all the sources and sinks for CO2 - including the amount of CO2 naturally produced by these oceanic rift zones. Better quantifying this amount can yield improved understanding of the impacts of anthropogenic climate change.

South Dakota Mines Assistant Professor and principal investigator Gokce Ustunisik Ph.D., ...

Last Edited 2/3/2022 03:22:57 PM [Comments (0)]

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