My project has once again evolved and changed slightly, just in time for me to realize that I have a lot of work to do if I want to finish it in less than 4 months before I return to the US. After talking with Dr. Reich and Daniele (the grad student I have been working with) about the possible options, I have started working on a project to hopefully publish in a scientific journal if I can write a good paper on my findings. I will be doing a geochemical study of surficial waters in the Southern Volcanic Zone (SVZ) of Chile. Daniele collected water samples from hot springs, rivers, etc back in 2013-15 so I have the chemical data from 30 thermal springs to work with. The goal of this project is to do a complete study of the waters of the SVZ, which has not been done before, in order to examine the different processes controlling the speciation and characteristics of the waters throughout the region. So far I have grouped the samples into two groups based on element concentrations, pH, and temperature: Acid-sulfate waters and neutral NaCl waters. After comparing the locations of the samples to the two major fault systems I found that all of the acid-sulfate waters are found in the northern part of SVZ. So that was an interesting find that I will attempt to explain as I progress with the research. Water types, like the acid-sulfate and NaCl, are directly affected by permeability, bedrock geology, magma chemistry, and structural controls, so I will be studying the affects of each of those factors. I will also be comparing elemental ratios to get an idea of magma/fluid residence time in the reservoir and how much crustal and groundwater contamination is present. I only recently began this project, so I’m confident that it will evolve as I delve deeper into it.
So, I am sifting through chemical data and making a lot of graphs and scatter plots to see if any of the chemical species show some sort of trend or correlation with each other. This SVZ surficial waters project is great because I have all the data necessary to complete it, unlike the Tolhuaca project I was working on before. I have been writing the Geologic Background section and parts of the Introduction for the paper but know that I have a long ways to go before I will even be close to submitting the first drafts. I also need to think about which scientific journal I will submit it to, because that effects the reader audience and goals of the paper. I hope to submit the manuscript to a journal before the end of the year (ideally before I come home in December!!). So wish me luck!