Carbon Storage in Deep Aquifers:
Graduate student Biniam Zerai & Research Assistant Britt Hanson
Injection of CO2 from point sources, such as power plants, into deep sedimentary formations is one potential way to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. My research group is studying the reactions between the injected carbon dioxide and the formation minerals and brines. These reactions influence how much CO2 dissolves in the brine and whether or not the CO2 is converted to stable, immobile carbonate minerals. Mineral-brine-CO2 reactions also can contribute to leaking of CO2 from the aquifer by causing dissolution that expands high-flow-rate escape paths to the surface. Currently we are focusing on the Cambrian Rose Run sandstone, a deep saline aquifer beneath Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Our work includes stratigraphic characterization, geochemical modeling, and mineral-brine-CO2 reaction experiments. The work is funded by the Ohio Coal Development Organization. Click here for more information.
Flow Through Porous Media and Multiphase Flow
Graduate students Mike Oliver and Biniam Zerai
I collaborate with Dr. Jai Kadambi of the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering to study flow through porous media. Our group uses microParticle Image Velocimetry and other image capture and analysis techniques to obtain quantitative data on single and multiphase flow through transparent rock models. Along with collaborators at the Department of Energy, West Virginia University, and Purdue University we use these data to test computer simulations of porous flow. This work is funded by the Ohio Coal Development Organization and the Department of Energy. Click here for more information.
Holocene History of Lake Erie
Graduate student Zach Jencks & Research Assistant Britt Hanson
I collaborate with Dr. Enriqueta Barrera on this research. The history of Lake Erie since the end of the last ice age is recorded in sedimentary, magnetic, and geochemical properties of long sediment cores we collected from the eastern and central basins. These cores show coordinated changes in magnetic susceptibility, grainsize, carbonate and organic carbon content, and stable isotope composition of shell carbonate at approximately 4000 years BP. The timing of those changes coincides both with a reoganization of drainage patterns in the Great Lakes and the mid-Holocene climate transition, which has been interpreted as the result of a change in atmopsheric circulation and the seasonal distribution of rainfal. We are studying the cores in more detail both to extend the record and to investigate the impact of hydrologic and climatic change on the health of the lake. This research is funded by the Lake Erie Protection Fund and the Environmental Protection Agency. Click here for more information.
The Sedimentary Record of Earth History and Global Change Events
Ancient sedimentary successions provide the long term record of Earth history, including events which have no modern analog. I study terminal Proterozoic sedimentary rocks of Namibia, which record some of the most profound climatic, biologic, oceanographic, and tectonic events in the history of the Earth, including severe, possibly global glaciations, the amalgamation of the supercontinent Gondwana, and the evolution of complex animal life. My work in Namibia integrates sequence stratigraphy, carbon isotope chemostratigraphy, and geochemical fingerprinting of ash beds to piece together a detailed, three-dimensional sedimentary record of events. This record is necessary for testing hypotheses about how sedimentary basins respond to sealevel change and tectonic flexure and how the geochemistry of the oceans evolve leading into and coming out of severe glaciations. Detailed stratigraphic frameworks are crucial to correctly ordering fossil data in order to constrain rates of biological evolution and test hypotheses about how relate change relates to environmental upheaval. My work on Ordovician epeiric sea carbonates of the mid-continent U.S. focuses on the end of one of the warmest periods in Earth history when shallow seas covered most of the continents. I try to understand the the processes that controlled the production, redistribution, deposition, and diagenesis of these carbonates, which have no modern analogs, so that we can better use them to reconstruct past oceanographic and climatic change.