CAREER: Magmatism in the African Western Rift: Lithospheric Structure and Melting Dynamics

Project: Research project

Project Details


9508112 Furman The goal of this project is to understand the genesis of alkalic volcanic rocks associated with continental extension in the African Western Rift. This research will use the geochemistry of young volcanic rocks to document interaction between asthenospheric and lithospheric melts and characterize the relative contributions from these two source reservoirs. The results of this project will help constrain global geodynamic models of source reservoir mixing, and will also advance understanding of the relationships between metasomatism, magmatism and rifting in continental environments. This proposal is part of a long-term research program that integrates field, geochemical, isotopic, experimental and geophysical data to determine the dynamics of melting and melt extraction in continental rifts. The African Rift was selected for detailed study because it is the type locality for rift-related magmatism. Comprehensive analysis of appropriate samples is critical to interpretation, and this research will provide the most robust data set for assessment of magma dynamics in the continental rift environment. The educational component of this proposal represents a focused effort to encourage participation of African-American students in the earth sciences. A middle/high school instructional unit (grades 7-9) will be developed on African geography and resources. This unit will be provide a counterbalance to current foci on the creative aspects of African heritage, by presenting a vehicle through which African-American students can express enthusiasm for science while still developing a sense of cultural identity. A college course for non-science majors will be developed with the same goal, but the material will be significantly more detailed and rigorous. Modern and creative pedagogical techniques will be used in developing educational materials for both courses.

Effective start/end date6/1/9511/12/98


  • National Science Foundation: $90,000.00


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