Synchrotron-based XANES data collected in situ on individual microfossils, at the submicrometre scale, are compared with data collected on modern microorganisms. Despite diagenetic temperatures of ~150–170 °C deduced from Raman data, the molecular signatures of some Gunflint organic microfossils have been exceptionally well preserved. Remarkably, amide groups derived from protein compounds can still be detected.
The authors used first-principles calculations and experiments to identify a highly stable, pyrite-structured iron oxide (FeO2) at 76 gigapascals and 1,800 kelvin that holds an excessive amount of oxygen. We show that the mineral goethite, FeOOH, which exists ubiquitously as ‘rust’ and is concentrated in bog iron ore, decomposes under the deep lower-mantle conditions to form FeO2 and release H2. The reaction could cause accumulation of the heavy FeO2-bearing patches in the deep lower mantle, upward migration of hydrogen, and separation of the oxygen and hydrogen cycles.
Arsenic-rich (arsenian) pyrite can contain up to tens of thousands of parts per million (ppm) of toxic heavy metals such as Hg, Tl, and Cd, although few data are available on their solid solubility behavior. When a compilation of Hg, Tl, and Cd analyses from different environments are plotted along with As in a M(Hg, Tl, and Cd)-As log-log space, the resulting wedge-shaped distribution of data points suggests that the solid solubility of the aforementioned metals is strongly dependent on the As concentration of pyrite.
Injection of CO2 in porous aquifers, where mineralization takes place via chemical reactions, is one possible long-term solution considered for storage of this greenhouse gas. This mineralization is investigated here experimentally in a confined geometry by injecting radially an aqueous solution of carbonate into a solution of calcium ions to produce solid calcium carbonate.
Ask most people what the hardest material on Earth is and they will probably answer “diamond”. Its name comes from the Greek word ἀδάμας (adámas) meaning “unbreakable” or “invincible” and is from where we get the word “adamant”.
Author's observations reveal that pseudomorphic mineral replacement (pMRR) is transport-controlled for this system and that convective fluid flows, caused by diffusioosmosis, play a key role in the ion transport process across the reaction-induced pores in the product phase.
Using Sulfolobus acidocaldarius a hyperthermophilic archaeon native to metal-enriched environments and possessing a cell envelope composed only of a S-layer and a lipid cell membrane, the authors describe a passive process of iron phosphate nucleation and growth within the S-layer of cells and cell-free S-layer “ghosts” during incubation in a Fe-rich medium, independently of metabolic activity.
The authors conclude that comets containing water enriched in deuterium contributed significantly <20% of the water in the Moon. Therefore, their work places important constraints on the types of objects impacting the Moon ~4.5–4.3 billion years ago and on the origin of water in the inner Solar System.
Opportunity’s rover wheels serendipitously excavated and overturned several small rocks from a Cook Haven fracture zone. Extensive measurement campaigns were conducted on two of them: Pinnacle Island and Stuart Island. These rocks have the highest concentrations of Mn and S measured to date by Opportunity and occur as a relatively bright sulfate-rich coating on basaltic rock, capped by a thin deposit of one or more dark Mn oxide phases intermixed with sulfate minerals.
The authors have analysed fluorine, chlorine and water in apatite crystals trapped at different stages of magma evolution, and in melt inclusions from clinopyroxene and biotite crystals expelled during an explosive eruption of the Campi Flegrei caldera, Italy, about 4,000 years ago.
Variable-temperature X-ray diffraction and 2H NMR spectroscopy of the smectite mineral, hectorite, containing interlayer Na+, K+, Cs+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Sr2+, and Pb2+ equilibrated at 43% relative humidity (RH) and mixed with 2H2O to form a paste provide a comprehensive picture of the structural environments and dynamics of interlayer 2H2O and the relationships of these properties to interlayer hydration state, the hydration energy and polarizability of the cation, temperature, and the formation of ice-1h in the interparticle pores.
California-based company Made In Space is investigating how to turn asteroids into giant autonomous spacecraft, as part of a long-term plan to enable space colonization by helping make off-Earth manufacturing economically viable.
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