Focuses


2017

Inland waters under threat

Nature Geoscience (November 2017)

This focus presents a collection of articles and opinion pieces from Nature Geoscience about the sustainability of inland aquatic systems; the hydrological, chemical and biological functions they provide to ecosystems; their influence on biogeochemical cycles and the threats they face in the Anthropocene due to human demands and climate change.

Core science

Nature Geoscience (April 2017)

With only geophysical data to help us probe the centre of the Earth, the properties and dynamo-generating dynamics of Earth's metal-rich core remain poorly understood. In this web focus, we present a collection of articles and opinion pieces that offer insights into the composition, evolution and inner workings of the cores of Earth and other differentiated planetary bodies.

Marine iron cycling

Nature Geoscience (March 2017)

Iron is a vital micronutrient in the marine environment, and variations in the supply and transformation of this element can alter ocean productivity. In this web focus, we present a collection of articles that examine the modern marine iron cycle and assess how iron cycling has varied through time.

2016

Permafrost

Nature Geoscience (September 2016)

Nearly one-quarter of the land in the Northern Hemisphere is underlain by permafrost. As this frozen soil melts, it releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and also alters surface hydrology. In this focus, we present a collection of research and comment pieces that look at the current effects of melting permafrost and assess how this vast carbon store could influence climate in the future.

Collection: Volcanoes and climate

The year 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the year without a summer caused by the 1815 Tambora eruption. Today it may be celebrated for its effects on art and literature, but it also resulted in famine and suffering around the globe. While the biggest volcanic eruptions – including large igneous provinces like the Siberian Traps – are known to be linked to climate upheaval and even mass extinctions, emerging work shows that under the right conditions, smaller eruptions or series of eruptions can also affect climate. This collection explores the historical records of climate and ecological change associated with volcanic activity, as well as the factors that control the climate effects of an eruption.

Collection: Targeting 1.5 °C

In December 2015, representatives from 195 nations met in Paris to negotiate an international agreement to combat climate change. The resulting 'Paris Agreement' codified an aspiration to limit the level of global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels — lower than the previously generally agreed target of 2 °C. From a research standpoint, a more ambitious temperature target poses many questions that could draw scientific and intellectual attention and resources. Furthermore, the timescales in which researchers must decide how to engage with this new policy context is very short. This joint collection draws together content from Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience and Nature to provide perspectives on how research might move forward and how it can best inform decisions about limiting climate warming.

Ocean conveyor and climate

Nature Geoscience (July 2016)

The ocean overturning circulation has been compared to a conveyor belt that transports heat and salt, as well as carbon and other elements around the globe. The initial schematic of this global ocean circulation has been enriched with added loops and more sophisticated pathways. But the vertical exchange of water between surface and abyss in the northern North Atlantic and the high southern latitudes continues to be an important determinant of the vigour of the circulation. In this focus, we present a collection of research articles and opinion pieces that explore the interplay between ocean overturning in the north and south and climate change.

Groundwater

Nature Geoscience (February 2016)

A vast store of freshwater that circulates beneath the land surface is increasingly tapped to serve the water needs of human communities. Groundwater represents the largest component of the active hydrological cycle and its movement through the subsurface affects many aspects of the Earth system. In this focus, we present a collection of research papers and opinion pieces that discuss the influence of groundwater on hydrological, environmental and geological processes.

2015

Budgeting for climate change

Nature Geoscience (December 2015)

Policymakers are meeting in Paris for the latest round of international climate talks. They are aiming to agree a deal that will push the world onto a significantly lower emissions path. In this joint web Focus, Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change present a series of overview articles and opinion pieces that explore how the world's carbon budget is being spent, and what needs to be done to catalyse transformational change.

For a collection of content across the Nature journals, please see here

Sustainability on Earth

Nature Geoscience (September 2015)

Seventeen goals to ensure the sustainable development of the planet have been identified by the world's political leaders, and they are ready to be adopted at a Summit in New York on 25 to 27 September. The challenges encompass environmental, economic and social aspects of one overarching aim: to allow humanity to thrive without depleting the Earth's resources. We present a collection of opinion pieces and primary research articles that illustrate the enormity and range of the tasks ahead.

Snowball Earth

Nature Geoscience (September 2015)

Ice sheets expanded into the tropics at least three times in Earth's history, covering the bulk — if not all — of the globe in ice. These Snowball Earth events reflect massive and unique perturbations to the Earth's climate-carbon system. In this focus, we bring together research and opinion pieces that explore the causes and consequences of Snowball Earth glaciations.

Geoscience accessibility

Nature Geoscience (August 2015)

Reforms in science education are aiming to teach scientists the skills they need for the twenty-first century, as documented in a Nature Special (nature.com/stem). It is important, too, to provide opportunities in the sciences for bright students from all backgrounds. In this web focus, we present a collection of opinion pieces that introduce a range of ideas for breaking down barriers to engaging in the geociences.

Tambora bicentenary

Nature Geoscience (April 2015)

In April 1815, the eruption of Tambora Volcano in Indonesia — one of the largest in recorded history — blasted ash and gases into the atmosphere purportedly causing widespread cooling and crop failure. 200 years on, the dynamics and effects of the Tambora eruption continue to fascinate and inform understanding of other giant eruptions in the past and future. In this Web Focus, we bring together a collection of opinion pieces that discuss current understanding of the Tambora event and other giant eruptions, and their impacts on society and the environment.

The genesis of metal resources

Nature Geoscience (March 2015)

The demand for metals continues to grow, driven by the development of new technologies and the need for infrastructure to sustain ever-increasing populations. With improved understanding of the processes that transport and accumulate metals into economically viable deposits, we can target new places for exploration. In this Web Focus, we bring together a collection of primary research articles and opinion pieces that advance our understanding of how and where metals become enriched in Earth's crust and discuss strategies for their extraction.

2014

The Redfield ratio at 80

Nature Geoscience (December 2014)

In 1934, Alfred Redfield discovered that the ratio of carbon to nitrogen to phosphorus is a nearly constant 106:16:1 throughout the world's oceans, in both phytoplankton biomass and in dissolved nutrient pools. This insight has proved invaluable in understanding marine biogeochemical cycles, but, 80 years later, subtle variations to this ratio have emerged. In this Web Focus, we present a collection of research and opinion pieces that examine nutrient dynamics across ancient and modern changing environments.

Transparency in science

Nature Geoscience (November 2014)

Transparency and reproducibility are key ingredients of good science, and require that data and methods, including computer code, be made available. In this collection of opinion pieces, we highlight some of the chances and challenges in opening code and data to the scrutiny of the scientific community and the world at large.

Climate change countdown

Nature Geoscience (September 2014)

The countdown is on to reach a legally binding agreement between all nations on actions to mitigate climate change. In 2011, the United Nations Climate Change Conference agreed that such a deal will be in place by 2015, and implemented by 2020. In this joint web Focus, timed to coincide with the New York Climate Summit, Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change present a series of overview articles and opinion pieces that take stock of emissions and climate change uncertainties and discuss potential ways forward.

Water in the Moon

Nature Geoscience Vol. 7, No. 6 (June 2014)

The long-held notion of a bone-dry Moon was challenged in 2008, with the detection of water in some of the Apollo samples. Since then, lunar scientists have sought to understand how much water is in the Moon, where it is, and where it comes from. In this web focus, we present an overview article, research papers and opinion pieces that evaluate the evidence for water in the lunar interior and on the lunar surface and discuss its origin — whether it was added by cometary impacts, implanted by the solar wind, or indigenous to a Moon that may not, in fact, have formed dry.

Agriculture

Nature Geoscience Vol. 7, No. 5 (May 2014)

If food production is to keep pace with the demands of an ever-expanding global population, agricultural systems must be modified to cope with the rising temperatures and increased prevalence of droughts, floods and other extreme weather events that are projected to ensue. A series of opinion pieces in this issue explore some of the ways in which productivity can be improved and food security safeguarded, be it through the direct involvement of those that work on the land, partnerships between remote investors and local land owners, or treatments tailored to the agricultural system in hand.

Oxygen evolution on Earth

Nature Geoscience Vol. 7, No. 4 (April 2014)

Today, life on Earth depends on the availability of free oxygen, whether in the atmosphere, oceans, or aquatic systems. However, oxygen concentrations were low and variable for most of the first four billion years of Earth’s history. In this web focus we bring together a collection of research and review articles and opinion pieces tracing the origins of oxygenic photosynthesis and the factors that allowed oxygen to accumulate in the oceans and atmosphere.

Recent slowdown in global warming

Nature Geoscience Vol. 7, No. 3 (March 2014)

From the industrial revolution onwards, greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuel and changes in land use have caused the planet to warm. However, since 1998 — a year of record warmth — the rate of warming has been lower than in the late twentieth century. In this joint web focus, Nature Climate Change and Nature Geoscience present original research and opinion pieces that discuss the causes of the slowdown in surface warming and examine how the science has been communicated by researchers and the media.

2013

The Origin of the Moon

Nature Geoscience Vol. 6, No. 12 (December 2013)

Recent research has highlighted problems with our present explanation for how the Moon formed in the giant impact of a large solar system body with the early Earth. In September 2013, London saw the latest in a series of landmark meetings debating theories of the Moon's origin, following others in 1984 (Kona, Hawaii) and 1998 (Monterey, California). These issues are now explored in a Nature Commentary, Nature News & Views forum and Nature Geoscience News & Views article. We also present a selection of recent Nature and Nature Geoscience content related to the age, composition and origin of the Moon.

Economic geology

Nature Geoscience Vol. 6, No. 11 (November 2013)

The demand for metals and other natural resources is surging and, in some instances, demand has already outstripped supply. Discovery of new deposits or the exploitation of known lower-grade ore deposits could offer solutions, but their implementation is not always straightforward, given political constraints and the complexities of international trade. This focus issue brings together a collection of review articles and opinion pieces that highlight the emerging science of the processes responsible for the formation of economic-grade ore deposits, and discuss the societal conditions and implications of their exploitation.

Shaken crust

Nature Geoscience Vol. 6, No. 8 (August 2013)

Earthquakes have long been known to trigger more earthquakes, as well as volcanic eruptions and landslides. In this web focus, we present opinion pieces and primary research articles that document and discuss a range of additional, less obvious links between earthquakes and other geological spectacles — such as volcano sinking, seafloor gas-hydrate escape and a mud eruption — that have only now come into focus.

Bombardment of the early Solar System

Nature Geoscience Vol. 6, No. 7 (July 2013)

Long after the planets of the Solar System formed, catastrophic collisions continued, with a climax about 4 billion years ago during an interval called the Late Heavy Bombardment. The scars of this geologic violence are evident today in the ancient cratered terrains of planetary surfaces. The interval of bombardment is thought to have shaped the terrestrial planets and moons, their atmospheres and possibly even the onset of life. In this web focus, we present research papers, overview articles and opinion pieces that discuss how large impacts influenced the evolution of the early Solar System.

5 years after the Wenchuan earthquake

Nature Geoscience Vol. 6, No. 5 (May 2013)

Produced with support from the Department of Earth Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

The Wenchuan earthquake that occurred in southwest China on 12 May 2008 killed more than 80,000 people and displaced millions. Five years on, many of the affected communities have made a good recovery – at least until the most recent quake in April 2013 wreaked further havoc in the region. The devastating 2008 event has helped invigorate research into earthquake hazards. A collection of opinion pieces, published in Nature Geoscience to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2008 event, discusses the mechanisms for the Wenchuan quake itself and the implications for our understanding of the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, the ongoing risk from quake-induced landslides, and the societal impacts of the earthquake.

Five-year anniversary

Nature Geoscience Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 2013)

Nature Geoscience is now five years old. To celebrate, we look back on some numbers regarding the publication process in our editorial. We have asked nine scientists to look back on events and insights of the past five years. Finally, we present a selection of ten of our favourite articles in the journal, across disciplines and across our opinion, review and primary research sections.

2012

Water in a Warming World

Water is the basis for life as we know it, in a biological as well as a societal sense. Under the combined influences of human development and a warming climate, supply and demand of water for consumption and irrigation, mineral exploration and energy production will change. In this joint web focus, Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change present overview articles, original research and opinion pieces that analyse the availability and governance of fresh water in a changing world.

Rivers

Nature Geoscience Vol. 5, No. 10 (October 2012)

Rivers connect the highest mountains with the ocean's depth, carving up the land as they flow. En route, they transport and transform large quantities of terrestrial material, and exchange elements with the atmosphere, land and sea. In this web focus we present opinion pieces and research articles that examine the topographic, biogeochemical and cultural significance of rivers.

End of a glaciation

Nature Geoscience Vol. 5, No. 9 (September 2012)

During the glacial–interglacial cycles of the past half million years, it took well over 50,000 years for continental ice sheets to grow to their maximum extent. In contrast, the transitions from glacial maximum to interglacial conditions generally occurred over about 10,000 years. In this web focus, we present a collection of overview, primary research and opinion pieces that explore the links between solar radiation, ice-sheet melting, ocean circulation and climate that govern the transition from glacial maximum to interglacial warmth.

Submarine volcanism

Nature Geoscience Vol. 5, No. 7 (July 2012)

Most volcanism on Earth occurs beneath the oceans, but submarine volcanoes are difficult to study. Advances in seafloor monitoring have opened up an unprecedented view of eruptions on the seabed. In this web focus we present opinion pieces and research articles that document the cycle of inflation and deflation, lava flows, and growth and collapse of two volcanoes beneath the Pacific Ocean during eruptions in 2011.

Plate tectonic rifting

Nature Geoscience Vol. 5, No. 4 (April 2012)

Where continents rift apart, new crust is formed from upwelling magma. Eventually, a new ocean basin forms. In this web focus we present opinion pieces, along with research and overview articles that explore the dynamic processes that occur during plate rifting. Case studies include both rifting on land, in east Africa and Iceland, and at the mid-ocean ridges that divide the oceanic crust.

Earth shaped by plants

Nature Geoscience Vol. 5, No. 2 (February 2012)

Vegetation has been a key part of the Earth's surface for only about 450 million years. With the progression of the terrestrial landscape from bare surfaces to widespread coverage by plants - ground vegetation initially, then trees and finally flowering plants - the Earth's surface and its biogeochemical processes have also changed. In this issue, we present a collection of articles that explore how the evolution of terrestrial plants and the Earth's surface have affected each other.

2011

Ocean Islands

Nature Geoscience Vol. 4, No. 12 (December 2011)

Volcanic eruptions in the middle of tectonic plates, far from any volcanically-active plate boundaries, have created many of the thousands of ocean islands and seamounts that cover Earth's ocean floors. The geochemistry of their lavas may provide a window into processes occurring deep inside our planet. In this issue we collect research articles and opinion pieces that explore some possible mechanisms for the creation of ocean islands and seamounts, and highlight their connections to the deep and upper mantle.

Cities

Nature Geoscience Vol. 4, No. 11 (November 2011)

Research into city living and its impacts is burgeoning, thanks to the fact that more than half of us now live in urban areas. In this web focus we compile a number of papers documenting some of the challenges associated with city life, and some of the less expected outcomes.

Warming ice sheets

Nature Geoscience Vol. 4, No. 8 (August 2011)

Future sea-level rise is uncertain, not least because it is unclear how, and how fast, the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are going to respond to ocean and atmosphere warming. This collection of research papers, overview articles and opinion pieces highlights current understanding of the sensitivity of the planet's cryosphere to temperature rise, including a view back into the past and far into the future.

Past climate sensitivity

Nature Geoscience Vol. 4, No. 7 (July 2011)

Understanding the amplitude of climate variability in the past, as well as the causes and mechanisms responsible for this variability is important in its own right. Yet it also helps us get a better idea of the range of possible Earth system responses to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. In this web focus we explore the links between past climate and carbon cycle perturbations, along with the ability of state-of-the-art climate models to capture these links.

Seafloor carbon

Nature Geoscience Vol. 4, No. 1 (January 2011)

Deep-sea carbon cycling is poorly constrained, not least because this remote environment is so difficult to explore. In this web focus we highlight the prevalence and diversity of seabed carbon sources.

2010

Haiti

Nature Geoscience Vol. 3, No. 11 (November 2010)

The January 2010 Haiti earthquake was catastrophic, leaving one million homeless. In this focus issue we have gathered articles — ranging from primary research to opinion pieces — that explore the physical processes responsible for the earthquake and the damage caused, as well as the humanitarian problems now facing the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Haïti (French)

Nature Geoscience Vol. 3, No. 11 (November 2010)

Pour permettre aux institutions gouvernementales, académiques et éducatives d'Haïti d'avoir accès aux informations sur le séisme, nous proposons une traduction accessible gratuitement en français et en espagnol. Comme souligné dans l'éditorial, Haïti et la République Dominicaine sont traversées par un système de failles complexe qui fait de cette région une zone à fort risque sismique.

Haití (Spanish)

Nature Geoscience Vol. 3, No. 11 (November 2010)

Con el fin de que la edición sobre el terremoto de Haití sea más accesible para las instituciones públicas, académicas y educativas de la región afectada, ofrecemos su traducción gratuita a francés y español. Haití y la República Dominicana se asientan sobre un complejo sistema de fallas que atraviesa la región y en el que sigue existiendo un gran riesgo de terremotos, tal como se apunta en esta edición especial.

Soil

Nature Geoscience Vol. 3, No. 5 (May 2010)

Soil is one of the most precious resources on the planet. As the global population grows, and the climate continues to warm, the structure and function of soils could change. In this focus issue we have gathered articles — ranging from primary research to opinion pieces — that explore the sensitivity of soils to climate and land use change, and that highlight the key role that soils play in shaping the environment and human society.

Arsenic in groundwater

Nature Geoscience Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 2010)

Arsenic-contaminated groundwater endangers the health of millions of people in southern Asia. In this focus issue we gather together articles on the origin and fate of arsenic in groundwater, together with opinion pieces outlining options for dealing with the problem, and backstories detailing some of the challenges faced by the researchers.

2009

Carbon sequestration

Nature Geoscience Vol. 2, No. 12 (December 2009)

As the world's leaders are getting ready to negotiate a new climate treaty in Copenhagen, there is no sign of a long-term reduction in human-made carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, carbon sequestration may turn out to be our only option for controlling climate change. In this focus we collect articles that cover emissions budgets of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and options for sequestration, as well as commenting on the difficult choices we are going to face in combating climate change.

Sea level

Nature Geoscience Vol. 2, No. 7 (July 2009)

In their report published in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that sea level is likely to rise between 18 and 59 centimetres by 2100, threatening the homes and livelihoods of millions who live in low-lying and deltaic regions. This focus draws together studies of past and present sea-level change, and predictions for future fluctuations, as well as presenting insights into the challenges facing coastal communities.

Planetary science

Nature Geoscience Vol. 2, No. 4 (April 2009)

Our eternal quest to explore space continues to take us where no humans have gone before. But while we push the frontiers of the Solar System, seeking to launch spacecraft to Europa and Ganymede, we are also rediscovering our relationship with the Moon. This Focus provides a glimpse into what we know, and do not know, about planetary bodies.

First-anniversary highlights

January 2009 marks the first anniversary of the launch of Nature Geoscience. To celebrate, we have put together our favourites from the first 12 issues. The selection, which is free for the months of January to March, reflects the breadth of topics covered by Nature Geoscience, and the diversity of article styles. We hope you enjoy it.

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