Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Nature Geoscience contents: March 2017 Volume 10 Number 4 pp241-321

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April 2017 Volume 10, Issue 4

News and Views
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To probe a core   p241
Hidden under many kilometres of silicate mantle material, the cores of Earth and other planets are hard to investigate. The Psyche spacecraft, designed to visit a metal body that may be a core stripped of its mantle, could bring a close-up view.



Limited Late Antique cooling   pp242 - 243
Samuli Helama, Phil D. Jones & Keith R. Briffa
See also: Letter by Buntgen et al. | Correspondence by Buntgen et al.

Reply to 'Limited Late Antique cooling'   p243
Ulf Buntgen, Vladimir S. Myglan, Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, Michael McCormick, Nicola Di Cosmo et al.
See also: Correspondence by Helama et al.

News and Views


Plate tectonics: When ancient continents collide   pp245 - 246
Clare Warren
The geological record preserves scant evidence for early plate tectonics. Analysis of eclogites — metamorphic rocks formed in subduction zones — in the Trans-Hudson mountain belt suggests modern-style subduction may have operated 1,800 million years ago.
See also: Article by Weller & St-Onge

Atmospheric chemistry: Warming or cooling dust?   pp246 - 248
Paul Ginoux
Mineral dust particles interact with solar and terrestrial radiation. Statistical analyses of observational data and global simulations reveal that atmospheric dust is coarser than previously thought, and could cause warming of the atmosphere.
See also: Article by Kok et al.

Greenhouse gases: Warming from freezing soils   pp248 - 249
Klaus Butterbach-Bahl & Benjamin Wolf
Freezing and thawing of soils leads to large pulses of nitrous oxide release. An empirical model shows that cropland winter nitrous oxide emissions are substantial, calling for a revision of the global nitrous oxide budget.
See also: Article by Wagner-Riddle et al.

Planetary science: A nickel for your planet's thoughts   pp249 - 251
Paolo A. Sossi
Variability of iron isotopes among planetary bodies may reflect their accretion or differentiation histories. Experiments suggest nickel may be the ingredient controlling iron isotope signatures, supporting fractionation during core formation.
See also: Article by Elardo & Shahar

Volcanology: Vulcan rule beneath the sea   pp251 - 253
Deborah Kelley
Over 70% of the volcanism on Earth occurs beneath an ocean veil. Now, robotic- and fibre-optic-based technologies are beginning to reveal this deep environment and identify subaqueous volcanoes as rich sources of sulfur, carbon dioxide and life.

Climate science: Far-flung effects of Arctic warming   pp253 - 254
James A. Screen
Arctic warming affects weather and climate thousands of miles to the south. Scientists are split on how large this effect is.

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Complexity in estimating past and future extreme short-duration rainfall   pp255 - 259
Xuebin Zhang, Francis W. Zwiers, Guilong Li, Hui Wan & Alex J. Cannon
The atmosphere can hold more water in a warming climate, which may lead to more extreme rainfall events. An analysis suggests that links ofrainfall extremes with daily temperature variations do not provide a reliable basis for projections.



Electrification of sand on Titan and its influence on sediment transport   pp260 - 265
J. S. Mendez Harper, G. D. McDonald, J. Dufek, M. J. Malaska, D. M. Burr et al.
Frictional charging of granular materials may readily occur on Saturn's moon Titan. Laboratory experiments under Titan-like conditions suggest that the resulting electrostatic forces are strong enough to affect sand transport on Titan.

An ongoing satellite-ring cycle of Mars and the origins of Phobos and Deimos   pp266 - 269
Andrew J. Hesselbrock & David A. Minton
The moon Phobos is spiralling inwards towards its disintegration to eventually form a ring around Mars from which new moons may form. Simulations suggest that this is just the latest of multiple ring-moon cycles over the history of Mars.

Formation of recurring slope lineae on Mars by rarefied gas-triggered granular flows   pp270 - 273
Frédéric Schmidt, François Andrieu, François Costard, Miroslav Kocifaj & Alina G. Meresescu
Transient streaks on Martian slopes have been attributed to liquid water. Simulations show that a dry avalanche process involving the flow of gas in the Martian soil due to temperature contrasts can instead explain these recurring features.

Smaller desert dust cooling effect estimated from analysis of dust size and abundance   pp274 - 278
Jasper F. Kok, David A. Ridley, Qing Zhou, Ron L. Miller, Chun Zhao et al.
The radiative effect of desert dust depends in part on its size. An integrative analysis of observed and modelled dust size and abundance reveals that atmospheric dust is coarser, and less cooling, than previously thought.
See also: News and Views by Ginoux

Globally important nitrous oxide emissions from croplands induced by freeze-thaw cycles   pp279 - 283
Claudia Wagner-Riddle, Katelyn A. Congreves, Diego Abalos, Aaron A. Berg, Shannon E. Brown et al.
Large fluxes of nitrous oxide occur when frozen soils thaw. Field measurements and mathematical models suggest that freeze-thaw events are responsible for 17 to 28% of nitrous oxide emitted from agricultural soils globally.
See also: News and Views by Butterbach-Bahl & Wolf

Sensitivity of grassland productivity to aridity controlled by stomatal and xylem regulation   pp284 - 288
A. G. Konings, A. P. Williams & P. Gentine
Grass species vary in their regulation of water use. Remote-sensing data reveal that productivity is more sensitive to atmospheric moisture than precipitation deficits, especially in grasslands where plants loosely regulate water use.

Mobility and persistence of methane in groundwater in a controlled-release field experiment   pp289 - 294
Aaron G. Cahill, Colby M. Steelman, Olenka Forde, Olukayode Kuloyo, S. Emil Ruff et al.
Most monitoring of methane well leakage focuses on emissions of methane gas to the atmosphere. In a controlled-release field experiment, significant methane also persisted in aquifer groundwater due to lateral migration along bedding planes.

A lower limit to atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the past 800,000 years   pp295 - 298
E. D. Galbraith & S. Eggleston
Atmospheric CO2 levels varied across glacial-interglacial cycles. An analysis of ice-core CO2 identifies a lower limit to glacial CO2 concentrations, which may reflect a negative biosphere feedback to decreasing CO2 levels.

Tremor-rich shallow dyke formation followed by silent magma flow at Bárðarbunga in Iceland   pp299 - 304
Eva P. S. Eibl, Christopher J. Bean, Kristin S. Vögfjord, Yingzi Ying, Ivan Lokmer et al.
Magma movement is thought to trigger volcanic tremor. However, analysis of seismic data suggests that tremor prior to the Barðarbunga eruption in Iceland instead marked the crust cracking open, whereas subsequent magma flow was seismically silent.

Record of modern-style plate tectonics in the Palaeoproterozoic Trans-Hudson orogen   pp305 - 311
O. M. Weller & M. R. St-Onge
The timing of onset of modern-style plate tectonics on Earth is unclear. Identification of eclogite rocks—typically formed during subduction—in the Trans-Hudson orogen implies modern-style tectonics may have been active 1,830 million years ago.
See also: News and Views by Warren

Stabilization of body-centred cubic iron under inner-core conditions   pp312 - 316
Anatoly B. Belonoshko, Timofei Lukinov, Jie Fu, Jijun Zhao, Sergio Davis et al.
The crystal structure of iron under the extreme pressures and temperatures of Earth's core is debated. Numerical simulations suggest that the body-centred cubic structure of iron is stable under inner-core conditions.

Non-chondritic iron isotope ratios in planetary mantles as a result of core formation   pp317 - 321
Stephen M. Elardo & Anat Shahar
Planetary materials reveal variation in iron isotope composition across planetary bodies. Experiments suggest that this variation can be explained by varying degrees of fractionation during core formation, depending on temperature.
See also: News and Views by Sossi

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