Deardorff Receives Faculty Professional Development Grant to Research Lava Flow Textures

Posted on 7/16/2014 9:10:53 AM

Assistant professor Nick Deardorff, Department of Geoscience, received a PASSHE Faculty Professional Development Grant for his research on lava flow textures in Oregon.

Deardorff will work with undergraduate students in the field during summer 2014 and back on campus, processing collected data and using LiDAR to understand the history of emplacement of lava flows in central Oregon.


Few intermediate- to high-silica composition lava flows have been observed during emplacement limiting our understanding of their emplacement conditions, such as eruption rate, duration, and rheology (particularly viscosity). Alternatively, using measurements of surface features of solidified lava flows, researchers have developed a method to estimate lava flow emplacement rates and duration. The advent of high resolution digital topography allows researchers to remotely extract accurate measurements of flow morphologies and surface textures; however, determining viscosity still requires direct sampling. In this study, I intend to develop a method of remotely determining lava flow viscosity by relating the dominant wavelengths of lava surface folds to silica content and apparent viscosity. This proposal seeks funding for the acquisition of existing Lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) data sets, as well as support for field work, sample preparation, and geochemical analyses. The proposed funding would initiate my research program and create numerous undergraduate projects.

Department of Geoscience