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Ashton Flinders

M.S. Student - Ocean Mapping
603.862.3438 (tel)
603.862.0839 (fax)

Ashton Flinders is pursuing an M.S. degree in Ocean Engineering at CCOM/JHC. Ashton has B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Applied Physics from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls, and an M.S. degree in Geophysics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research at the University of Hawaii focused on a gravity survey of the islands of Kauai and Niihau (Hawaiian Island Chain) that he conducted between May and September of 2008. He also partook in a one-month research cruise in September of 2007 to study the variation in the gravitational field around the two islands. He integrated these new surveys with a past land survey of Niihau, and four additional marine cruises. His research revealed two positive residual gravity anomalies, one over Kauai’s Lihue Basin, the other offshore between Kauai and Niihau. These highs indicate a local zone of high-density crust that Ashton attributes to olivine cumulates in a solidified magma reservoir. Offsets between both island's residual gravity highs and their previous presumed geologic centers indicate that the islands were much larger and more asymmetric than previously thought. Furthermore, he performed geophysical inversions on the residual gravity data to estimate the volumes of the magma chambers beneath each island. He combined his gravity work with previous geochemistry and geological mapping done on the islands in order to explain the islands early evolutionary history.