Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Watching Rocks Grow: Theory Explains Landscape Of Geothermal Springs

Date:
July 5, 2006
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have successfully modeled the spectacular landscapes seen at geothermal hot springs.

Simulation rendered by John Veysey and Nicholas Guttenberg.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have successfully modeled the spectacular landscapes seen at geothermal hot springs.

In work reported in Physical Review Letters on June 27, physics professor Nigel Goldenfeld and graduate students Pak Yuen Chan and John Veysey present a theoretical model that describes how hot spring water flows over the landscape, depositing calcium-carbonate minerals in the form of travertine. These deposits then dam and divert the water.

“The nonlinear feedback between these two effects inexorably leads to the visually striking landscapes seen throughout the world’s hot spring formations,” Goldenfeld said. “Remarkably, the resulting geological structures don’t depend on the rock structure or the mineral content – the statistical properties of the landscapes can be computed precisely.”

The Illinois team was able to analyze such complex landscapes by using novel computational tools that they related to more standard mathematical approaches.

Composed of a nested series of ponds and terraces, hot spring landscapes are not sculpted by the forces of erosion. Instead, the rocks actually grow at a rate of about 1 millimeter per day. The Illinois group’s model correctly simulates the way in which the landscape changes over time.

Hot springs comprise a complex ecosystem of interacting microbes, geochemistry and mineralogy. The rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate results in shifting flows, and in the sealing off of some springs and the eruption of new vents.

“Now that we understand the physical processes involved in how these rocks grow, we can address the way in which heat-loving microbes populate and influence the hot springs,” Veysey said.

This work was part of a multi-disciplinary project funded by the National Science Foundation to explore the geology and microbiology of the Mammoth Hot Springs complex.

Located near the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the world’s largest sites of travertine accumulation, and is seen by 3 million visitors every year. The travertine deposits at Mammoth Hot Springs are approximately 8,000 years old, 73 meters thick and cover more than 4 square kilometers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Watching Rocks Grow: Theory Explains Landscape Of Geothermal Springs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060705182251.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2006, July 5). Watching Rocks Grow: Theory Explains Landscape Of Geothermal Springs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060705182251.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Watching Rocks Grow: Theory Explains Landscape Of Geothermal Springs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060705182251.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) According to SEC filings, Yahoo gave ousted COO Henrique de Castro a $58 million severance package. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter, Apple Social Data Purchases Likely to Spur More Mergers and Acquisitions

Twitter, Apple Social Data Purchases Likely to Spur More Mergers and Acquisitions

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The social media data space is likely to see more mergers and acquisitions following Twitter Inc.'s acquisition of tweet analyzer Gnip Inc. on Tuesday and Apples Inc.'s purchase of Topsy Labs Inc. back in December. One firm in particular, the U.K.'s DataSift Inc., could be on the list of potential buyers. Among other social media startups that could be ripe for picking is Banjo, whose mobile app provides aggregated content by topic and location. Banjo could also be a good fit for Twitter. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins