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Research Interests and Accomplishments

Foreword

The composition of Earth’s atmosphere, the ocean, the Earth crust and upper mantle is the result of Earth’s evolution caused by different processes (tectonic, petrologic, geochemical, thermodynamic, etc) over the course of its life time. The main goals of geology and related sciences are to model the composition of the present Earth crust and upper mantle, as well as the stages of their evolution in the past, and prediction of the way they may evolve in the future. Trying to understand this constant evolution is impossible without modeling of the different processes in these regions in the past and present time. The key role for modeling the composition of the Earth crust and upper mantle belongs to the stability conditions of rocks and minerals, as well as different geochemical processes which make various transitions between rocks and minerals under different thermodynamic conditions possible. The thermodynamic conditions are crucial for such transitions between rocks, minerals, and even element condition (for example, the transition of 2-valency iron to its 3-valency state) to take place. Factors such as the incompatibility of some minerals under specific conditions also greatly influence rock composition. All these factors should be taken into account for modeling of the composition of the Earth and planetary materials.

Any geological process and its model must satisfy the laws of Mechanics, Gravity, and of Thermodynamics. Such processes as plate movement, subduction, obduction, rifting, thrusting, faulting, orogeny, folding require the presence of gigantic forces and pressures, the origin of which should be clearly defined. To uplift any crust block an upward force overcoming the forces of gravity is required. Thermodynamic conditions direct such processes as the origin and stability of rocks and minerals, melting of rocks, heat transfer, warming and cooling, convection, appearance of earthquakes, geochemical and ore depositional processes, origin of hydrocarbons and formation of oil and gas fields, metamorphism, glaciation, formation of evaporates, serpentinization, heat absorption, mass transfer, fluid migration, etc. Today it is not enough to present descriptive theoretical methods of research in place of facts for the modeling of geological processes; all research should be based on strong scientific evidence. It is necessary to combine different methods of geology and geophysics to better understand the dynamics of geological processes, the evolution of the continental and oceanic lithosphere, to build models of geological evolution in mountain and depression zones, and etc.

Arkady Pilchin's Main Research Interests Include

  • Markers, events and processes preceding the start of Plate Tectonics: causes of plate movement; processes of generation of forces capable of moving plates; thermodynamic conditions within and around moving plates; markers of plate movement; requirements for conditions within lithospheric plates and the asthenosphere for Plate Tectonics to take place.
  • Evolution of early Earth and the early Earth atmosphere: thermodynamic conditions before and during planetary accretion; formation of magma ocean; composition and thermodynamic conditions within the early Earth atmosphere; solidification of the magma ocean and change in atmospheric composition over its cooling; conditions required for formation of the water-ocean.
  • Markers, events, and processes during early Earth evolution: magma differentiation during solidification of magma ocean; formation of the forsterite layer; formation and growth of the early Lithosphere; metamorphic processes through time; thermodynamic conditions of granulites formation during the Precambrian; conditions of formation of Banded Iron formations (BIFs); conditions for transformation between ferrous and ferric iron (TFFI), etc.
  • Change of magma composition through time: change of iron content of magmas with time; iron content and TFFI in flood basalts; thermodynamic, mineralogical, petrologic and geochemical conditions of the formation of such specific igneous rocks as carbonatites, shoshonites, komatiites, boninites, etc.
  • Formation of the oceanic lithosphere and processes related to its activity: obduction of the oceanic lithosphere; formation of ophiolites; serpentinization of peridotites and other Mg-rich rocks and minerals; metamorphic processes related to activity of the oceanic lithosphere or its parts; formation of high and ultrahigh pressures; formation of low-T and high- and ultra-high-P rocks and minerals (eclogites, blueschists, coesite, microdiamonds, etc.); Conditions of formation of eclogites- and blueschists-facies rocks in orogenic belts.
  • All quantitative aspects of planetary studies with stress on causes of the origin and formation of overpressure and ultra-high pressure in regions of different tectonic types and different history of evolution for analysis of petrologic and mineral composition of a region, conditions for formation of melt and metamorphic processes at great depths, causes of tectonic processes, stability of rocks and minerals under specific thermodynamic conditions; experimental petrology.
  • Geology and geochemistry of economic mineral deposits. Hydrothermal alteration as a cause of the genesis of ore deposits.

Latest Accomplishments (2000-Present)

  • Developed model on the composition and evolution of the early Earth atmosphere (partially published).
  • Accomplished research on processes and events during formation of the early Earth lithosphere.
  • Accomplished research on thermodynamic conditions of granulites formation during the Precambrian (partially published).
  • Accomplished research on iron content of magmatic rocks through time and its relation to the heterogeneity of the mantle formed during the process of solidification of the magma-ocean (partially published).
  • Offered method of separation of eclogites by their composition and thermodynamic conditions of their formation.
  • Investigated role of transformation of ferrous iron to ferric iron on stability of rocks and minerals (partially published).
  • Investigated problems related to formation of Banded Iron Formations (BIFs).
  • Investigated conditions required for formation of the water-ocean (partially published).
  • Developed a complete thermodynamic theory of overpressure and ultra-high pressure formation in the earth crust and upper mantle. [Pilchin, A. N. and Eppelbaum, L. V., ´Some peculiarities of thermodynamic conditions of the Earth crust and upper mantle,´ 2000]
  • Developed a model of Earth evolution during the Precambrian (reported at Geological Society of America 2001 Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts).
  • Shown the relationship between climate change and floods (Reported at Geological Society of America 2000 Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada).

Accomplishments of 1990s

  • Origin of the ocean crust activity and its obduction in Regions of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean (reported at Geological Society of America 1999 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, and 1998 Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario).
  • Developed Ophiolite and Carbonate databases using ORACLE relational database management system (reported at Geological Society of America 1998 Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario).
  • Origin of the ocean crust activity and its obduction in the Appalachian Region (reported at Geological Society of America 1998 Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario).
  • Formation of Plagioclase in the Early Precambrian and the origin of anorthosites (reported at 17th General Meeting of International Mineralogical Association 1998, Toronto).
  • Instability of some iron-containing minerals under low temperature conditions (reported at 17th General Meeting of International Mineralogical Association 1998, Toronto).
  • Tectonic evolution of the Cyprus area during the Mesozoic period (reported at the Third International Conference on the Geology of the Eastern Mediterranean, Nicosia, Cyprus 1998).
  • Determination of the lower edges of magnetized bodies using geothermal data (published in Geophysics Journal International, Vol. 128, pp. 167 - 174).
  • Carbonatites and other carbonate rocks as indicators of formation of peridotites and periods of ophiolite activity (reported at 1997 Geological Association of Canada - Mineralogical Association of Canada Joint annual meeting, Ottawa).
  • On the origin of hydrocarbons (reported at 1997 59th EAGE Conference and Technical Exhibition, Genève, Switzerland).
  • Tectonic evolution and some petrologic peculiarities of the Alps-Mediterranean region and Baltic Shield (reported at 1996 58th EAGE Conference and Technical Exhibition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
  • Some tectonic and petrologic peculiarities of the formation of the Grenville and Superior Provinces (reported at 1996 Geological Association of Canada - Mineralogical Association of Canada Joint annual meeting).
  • Geothermal investigations in the Dead Sea Rift zone, Israel (Published in Journal of petroleum Geology, Vol. 19(4), pp. 425-444 and Reported at 1995 Annual Meeting of Israel Geological Society).
  • Heat absorption in sedimentary layers in some areas of the US and Canada (reported at 1995 AAPG Mid-Continent Section meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma).
  • The geothermal state of sedimentary cover of South and Central Alberta and Willistone basin (reported at 1995 Geological Association of Canada and Mineralogical Association of Canada joint annual meeting No. 20 in Victoria, British Columbia).

Earlier Accomplishments

  • Author of 15 patents in the earth sciences
  • Author of over 100 scientific publications
  • Developed a New coordinate system for analysis of P-T conditions (thermodynamic studies)
  • Developed a theory of pressure calculation using geothermal data
  • Developed a theory of loading and unloading pressure in the earth crust and upper mantle strata
  • Developed a theory of heat absorption in sedimentary strata
  • Developed a theory of the origin of mud volcanoes and salt domes
  • Developed a theory of the influence of the thermodynamic conditions on the gravity field and velocity gap
  • Developed a theory of the influence of instability of iron oxides under different thermodynamic conditions on the magnetic field
  • Developed a theory of the origin of high and ultrahigh pressures causing main tectonic processes
  • Developed a theory of a consecutive chain of processes (ophiolites activity, evaporites deposition, igneous activity) in regions of ocean crust and orogenic activity
  • Developed a theory of the origin of evaporites
  • Developed a geodynamic model of the Great Caucasus
  • Developed Ophiolite and Carbonate databases using ORACLE
  • Developed a theory of the origin of carbonatites
  • Developed a theory of the origins of anorthosites
  • Developed methods of earthquake prognosis using thermodynamic data
  • Developed methods of temperature calculation at different depths of Sedimentary Basins
  • Developed methods of geothermal analysis of depression regions using the horizontal geothermal gradient to find buried faults
  • Developed methods for determining the lower edges of magnetized bodies using geothermal data
  • Developed methods of calculating overpressure in sedimentary strata
  • Developed methods of determining pressure
  • Developed method of determining stress type
  • Developed methods of searching for hydrocarbon deposits using geothermal data
  • Developed method of calculating heat production
  • Developed methods of calculating hydrocarbon reserves
  • Co-author of Geothermal Map of the Caucasus
  • Co-author of USSR Ministry of Geology instructions for calculation and prognosis of stratum overpressure in oil and gas fields
  • Analysis of geophysical and geological data from Kola and Saatly overdeep boreholes
  • Study of heat absorption in sedimentary cover of some depression areas of the US, Canada, Soviet Union, and Israel
  • Study of thermodynamic conditions and crust structure of such regions as the Caucasus, Kura Depression, South Caspian Depression, Western Turkmenian Depression, Fergana Depression, all oil and gas provinces of the USSR, Israel, Middle East, Alps, Mediterranean, Appalachians, Greenville Province, Canadian Shield, Baltic Shield, Urals
  • Study of crust structure and evolution, igneous activity, metamorphic grades, petrologic and mineralogical peculiarities, thermodynamic conditions, tectonic peculiarities in such Mountain regions as the Appalachians, Alps, Caucasus, Tien Shan, Cordillera, Scandinavian and Scotland Caledonides, Taurus, Zagros, Dinarics, Carpathians
  • Study of the position of the Moho discontinuity in the regions of Caucasus, Israel, and Eastern Mediterranean
  • Study of petrologic and mineralogical peculiarities of Archean rocks formation and composition, and drastic change in type of rocks and rock-forming minerals in the Early Proterozoic
  • Study of thrust formation origin, ocean crust activity, and development of ophiolite belts