Current issue

cover image


Trust we must p395


Asking people to trust scientists is not enough in times of doubt. Scientists must trust the people too: to make decisions for themselves, once they know the best available evidence.



Beyond the water balance p396

Jeffrey J. McDonnell


The terrestrial water cycle is often assessed annually at catchment scale. But water stored in catchments is poorly mixed, and at timescales often well beyond the calculation of annual water balance.


News and Views

Petrology: Ancient magma sources revealed pp397 - 398

Elizabeth Bell


The composition of Earth's oldest crust is uncertain. Comparison of the most ancient mineral grains with more recent analogues suggests that formation of the earliest crust was heavily influenced by re-melting of igneous basement rocks.

See also: Article by Burnham & Berry

Economic geology: Ocean and ore p399

Amy Whitchurch


Geodynamics: Hot mantle rising p400

Oliver Shorttle


The long-term cooling of Earth's mantle is recorded in the declining temperature and volume of its volcanic outpourings over time. However, analyses of 89-million-year-old lavas from Costa Rica suggest that extremely hot mantle still lurks below.

See also: Article by Trela et al.



Detection of a persistent meteoric metal layer in the Martian atmosphere pp401 - 404

M. M. J. Crismani, N. M. Schneider, J. M. C. Plane, J. S. Evans, S. K. Jain, M. S. Chaffin, J. D. Carrillo-Sanchez, J. I. Deighan, R. V. Yelle, A. I. F. Stewart, W. McClintock, J. Clarke, G. M. Holsclaw, A. Stiepen, F. Montmessin & B. M. Jakosky


Collisions of dust particles with a planet’s atmosphere lead to the accumulation of metallic atoms at high altitudes. MAVEN spacecraft observations reveal a persistent—but temporally variable—metal layer of Mg+ ions in the Martian atmosphere.

Large anomalies in lower stratospheric water vapour and ice during the 2015–2016 El Niño pp405 - 409

Melody A. Avery, Sean M. Davis, Karen H. Rosenlof, Hao Ye & Andrew E. Dessler


The El Niño of 2015–2016 was unusual and exceptionally strong. Satellite observations and modelling suggest that convective lofting and sublimation of ice particles during this event contributed to moistening of the lower stratosphere.

Regionally strong feedbacks between the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere pp410 - 414

Julia K. Green, Alexandra G. Konings, Seyed Hamed Alemohammad, Joseph Berry, Dara Entekhabi, Jana Kolassa, Jung-Eun Lee & Pierre Gentine


Understanding biosphere–atmosphere feedback loops can improve forecasts of climate and vegetation resilience. Analyses of satellite observations reveal that feedbacks are strong in regions that determine the net terrestrial carbon balance.

Thermodynamically controlled preservation of organic carbon in floodplains pp415 - 419

Kristin Boye, Vincent Noël, Malak M. Tfaily, Sharon E. Bone, Kenneth H. Williams, John R. Bargar & Scott Fendorf


Anoxic carbon decomposition is thought to depend on the energetics of electron acceptors. Mass spectrometry measurements of floodplain sediments reveal that the energetics of organic compounds can also determine whether they are decomposed.

Decadal soil carbon accumulation across Tibetan permafrost regions pp420 - 424

Jinzhi Ding, Leiyi Chen, Chengjun Ji, Gustaf Hugelius, Yingnian Li, Li Liu, Shuqi Qin, Beibei Zhang, Guibiao Yang, Fei Li, Kai Fang, Yongliang Chen, Yunfeng Peng, Xia Zhao, Honglin He, Pete Smith, Jingyun Fang & Yuanhe Yang


Climate change is expected to release carbon stored in permafrost soils. Sampling of sites across the Tibetan Plateau in the early 2000s and early 2010s reveals increased carbon stocks in shallow soils, which may offset losses from deeper soils.

Global aquifers dominated by fossil groundwaters but wells vulnerable to modern contamination pp425 - 429

Scott Jasechko, Debra Perrone, Kevin M. Befus, M. Bayani Cardenas, Grant Ferguson, Tom Gleeson, Elco Luijendijk, Jeffrey J. McDonnell, Richard G. Taylor, Yoshihide Wada & James W. Kirchner


Groundwater that predates the Holocene is commonly assumed to be unaffected by modern contamination. A global analysis of fossil groundwater suggests that modern contaminants are present in deep wells that tap fossil aquifers.

Holocene warming in western continental Eurasia driven by glacial retreat and greenhouse forcing pp430 - 435

Jonathan L. Baker, Matthew S. Lachniet, Olga Chervyatsova, Yemane Asmerom & Victor J. Polyak


Models and proxy data diverge on the global temperature evolution of the Holocene, perhaps due to representation of the seasons. Isotopic analyses of stalagmites from the Ural Mountains suggest that winter climate dominated in the Eurasian interior.

Quasi-equilibrium melting of quartzite upon extreme friction pp436 - 441

Sung Keun Lee, Raehee Han, Eun Jeong Kim, Gi Young Jeong, Hoon Khim & Takehiro Hirose


Quartz minerals in Earths crust are thought to melt at high temperatures. Laboratory friction experiments, however, show that metastable melting of quartz on a fault surface can occur at lower temperatures, and could lead to large earthquakes.

Deep and shallow long-period volcanic seismicity linked by fluid-pressure transfer pp442 - 445

N. M. Shapiro, D. V. Droznin, S. Ya. Droznina, S. L. Senyukov, A. A. Gusev & E. I. Gordeev


Shallow volcanic earthquakes can aid eruption forecasts. Analysis of seismicity beneath the Klyuchevskoy volcano group in Russia reveals much deeper magma-induced earthquakes that may serve as an early eruption indicator.

Lifetime and size of shallow magma bodies controlled by crustal-scale magmatism pp446 - 450

Ozge Karakas, Wim Degruyter, Olivier Bachmann & Josef Dufek


Super-eruptions require high magma supply rates. Numerical simulations show that even for volcanoes with low supply rates, the warming influence of magma on the crust prevents solidification, allowing super-eruption volumes of magma to accumulate.

The hottest lavas of the Phanerozoic and the survival of deep Archaean reservoirs pp451 - 456

Jarek Trela, Esteban Gazel, Alexander V. Sobolev, Lowell Moore, Michael Bizimis, Brian Jicha & Valentina G. Batanova


Earth’s mantle has cooled since the Archaean. Geochemical identification of anomalously hot lavas formed above the Galapagos Plume 89 million years ago, however, implies that a hot mantle reservoir may have persisted for billions of years.

See also: News and Views by Shorttle

Formation of Hadean granites by melting of igneous crust pp457 - 461

A. D. Burnham & A. J. Berry


The formation process for the oldest mineral grains on Earth has remained elusive. A comparison of trace element concentrations of these ancient zircons with known material suggests melting of igneous crust as their source.

See also: News and Views by Bell


Extra navigation

Subscribe to Nature Geoscience