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WHO: 

Me

WHAT: 

Current research, putting GFD and numerical modeling skills to use to expand the collective understanding of planetary climates.

WHEN: 

Project was born in late 2012, happening right now.

WHERE: 

The model simulates low-temperature (<100C) hydrothermal systems in upper oceanic crust. The research is conducted at the University of Chicago or at my house in 60608.

WHY: 

This work is to explore long-term climate regulation and geochemical exchange between the ocean and solid Earth. There is some evidence that funny geochemical stuff happens in different kinds of low-temperature alteration environments, but I'm building the first 2D reactive-transport model to really get to the bottom of it.




The model I am building simulates all of these things: 2D time-dependent hydrothermal flow, geochemical alteration of oceanic basalt, and crustal evolution by secondary alteration minerals. Operator splitting assures these processes are coupled effectively. Thanks to the marvels of parallel computing, spatially decoupled bits and pieces of the model run on different processors.



Here is the hydrothermal flow component of the model in action. PDEs that describe fluid motion, conservation of mass, and conservation of thermal energy are solved numerically over a 2D finite difference grid. This is the steady-state that is acheived by the boundary conditions outlined in the schematic above. In short, fluid flows from one sediment-free 'outcrop' to another.