Science and Engineering

University of Arizona

Peter Reiners, Joaquin Ruiz, George Davis, Steven Lingrey, Amanda Hughes, Isabel Fay Barton, Mark Barton, Jennifer McIntosh, Mark Person, Bob Krantz
Tuscon, AZ
June 2017


This interdisciplinary team from the University of Arizona and the New Mexico Institute of Technology will characterize the complex 300-million-year evolution of subsurface paleofluids, their dynamic sources and forcings, and the record of fluid-rock reactions in the Paradox Basin, a ~105 km region hosting diverse fluids and paleofluid flow manifestations.  Subsurface fluids move vast quantities of mass and heat in the Earth’s crust, facilitate exchange between the lithosphere and surface reservoirs, chemically and physically alter rocks over large scales, and provide humankind with critical energy and mineral resources.  Most crustal fluid studies have focused on individual types of fluids and flow events, typically from narrow, resource-oriented perspectives.  For the first time, our methodology will integrate geologic, geochemical, geochronologic, and hydrogeologic observations, analyses, and modeling to elucidate the emergent properties of long-lived paleofluid flow and establish a new benchmark to characterize and understand subsurface fluid-rock systems.  Such a broad, multi-perspective framework will enable interpretation of the lithologic record of paleofluids by relating sources, driving forces, compositions, reactive transport processes, and timing of different fluids, flow episodes, and fluid-rock reactions.  Such insight is essential to describe, understand, and predict the complex, dynamic, and coupled processes that characterize subsurface fluid-rock systems.

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