'Chert lubrication - implications for earthquakes in the continental crust' - EPSC 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Christie Rowe

Supervisor's Email: christie.rowe [at] mcgill.ca

Supervisor's Phone: 514-451-2769

Supervisor's Website: http://eps.mcgill.ca/~crowe/

Supervisor's department: Earth and Planetary Sciences

Course number: EPSC 396 (Earth and Planetary Science)

Term: Fall 2013-2014

Project start date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Project end date: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Project title: Chert lubrication - implications for earthquakes in the continental crust

Project description (50-100 words suggested): Silica lubrication has been observed in friction experiments on chert, quartzite and granite, however, the microscale mechanics and grinding-facilitated chemical reactions responsible for the lubrication are not understood. This research project involves the characterization of wear materials and sliding surface of experimentally sheared chert samples, using Raman spectroscopy, FTIR, and electron microprobe analyses, and interpreting these observations to understand phases of silica present, particle size, and microstructure. The student will compare these results to the (very limited) previous studies and discuss the potential relevance for earthquake mechanics.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade):

  • 25% Data collection: Raman spectroscopy and FTIR data, and microprobe observations as needed. Previous microprobe studies will be provided to the student for additional material for the report.
  • 75% = Report, in three parts (can be submitted sequentially for feedback):
    • 25% Data report: Documentation of all data collection, including instruments used, methods used, and instrumental and analytical uncertainties, presentation of data in graphical or tabular form as appropriate, and report of any notable events, observations, or conditions during data collection
    • 25% Data interpretation: Analysis of Raman, FTIR and microprobe data. Reporting of grain size and microstructure, discussion of evidence for phases of silica or other materials, comparison between samples formed at different strain rates, spatial distribution of wear products and microstructures on sample surfaces.   Compare to previous reports of silica friction studies.
    • 25% Discussion of relevance for crustal earthquakes – discussion of the role of slip rate in producing wear material, comparison of experimental conditions to natural conditions in brittle faults, etc.

Other project information: FTIR and Raman spectroscopy will be performed under the supervision of Mark Andrews, McGill Chemistry.

Project status: This project is taken. The professor has no more '396' projects this term.

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves NEITHER animal subjects, nor human subjects, nor biohazardous substances, nor radioactive materials, nor handling chemicals, nor using lasers.