Focus |

10th Anniversary Focus

Nature Geoscience launched a decade ago, in January 2008. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary with this web focus, where we collect a series of articles that reflect on progress in a few selected areas of the Earth and planetary sciences and on changes in the field and its relationship to society.

Anniversary focus

Great Earth science has been published over the ten years since the launch of Nature Geoscience. The field has also become more interdisciplinary and accountable, as well as more central to society and sustainability.

Editorial | | Nature Geoscience

Tectonic controls on atmospheric oxygenation are frequently invoked — but whether geochemical records support these ties is an unsettled question.

News & Views | | Nature Geoscience

The slowdown in surface warming in the early twenty-first century has been traced to strengthening of the Pacific trade winds. The search for the causes identifies a planetary-scale see-saw of atmosphere and ocean between the Atlantic and Pacific basins.

News & Views | | Nature Geoscience

The elemental ratios of marine phytoplankton and organic matter vary widely across ocean biomes, according to a catalogue of biogeochemical data, suggesting that climate change may have complex effects on the ocean’s elemental cycles.

News & Views | | Nature Geoscience

The composition of the oceans is altered by hydrothermal circulation. These chemical factories sustain microbial life, which in turn alters the chemistry of the fluids that enter the ocean. A decade of research details this complex interchange.

News & Views | | Nature Geoscience

A compilation of hundreds of palaeoclimate records highlighted the extent of regional variability during the past 2,000 years, and therein the uniqueness of recent warming.

News & Views | | Nature Geoscience

Advances in high-precision isotopic analysis have provided key constraints on the origin and early evolution of the Earth and Moon. Measurements of the isotopes of tungsten provide the most stringent constraints on this history.

News & Views | | Nature Geoscience

Background reading

Atmospheric oxygen levels on Earth rose in at least six distinct steps and an examination of the timing of the steps suggests that they coincided with the formation of supercontinents and supermountains. This leads to the hypothesis that increased erosion of these supermountains released large amounts of nutrients to the oceans, stimulating productivity and the release of oxygen to the atmosphere. The subsequent burial of organic carbon along with the mountain sediments would have sustained the increased oxygen levels.

Article | | Nature Geoscience

The Pacific trade winds have strengthened since the late 1990s, and there has been related strengthening of the atmospheric Walker circulation. Although the impacts of these changes are becoming known, their cause has not been identified. This study, using observations and models, shows that warming of the Atlantic sea surface and corresponding displacement of atmospheric pressure centres are key drivers.

Letter | | Nature Climate Change

Mineral dust and marine sediment resuspension are generally considered the primary sources of the nutrient iron to the oceans. Numerical model results suggest that iron released by hydrothermal activity is also an important source of dissolved iron, particularly in the Southern Ocean.

Letter | | Nature Geoscience

Temperature change over the past 2,000 years has shown pronounced regional variability. An assessment of all available continental temperature reconstructions shows a clear twentieth century warming trend, but no evidence of a coherent Little Ice Age or Medieval Warm Period.

Progress Article | | Nature Geoscience

A new tungsten isotope study presents revised ages for the formation of the Moon. The Moon is thought to have formed from debris ejected by a giant impact with the early Earth. The high energies involved would have caused melting, and the formation of a lunar magma ocean. Previous work on tungsten isotopes had suggested that the Moon solidified within the first 60 million years of the Solar System. The new data from lunar metals based on the hafnium/tungsten clock are consistent with samarium/neodymium chronometry, and point to a later date for solidification, when the Solar System was 50 to 150 million years old.

Letter | | Nature

Two papers published in this issue of Nature present precise measurements of tungsten isotope composition in lunar rocks that are best explained by the Earth and Moon having had similar composition immediately following formation of the Moon, and then having diverged as a result of disproportional late accretion of material to the two bodies. Mathieu Touboul et al. found small 182W excess of about 21 parts per million relative to the present-day Earth's mantle in metals extracted from two KREEP-rich Apollo 16 impact-melt rocks, while Thomas Kruijer et al. measured tungsten isotopes in seven KREEP-rich whole rock samples that span a wide range of cosmic ray exposure ages, and found a 182W excess of about 27 parts per million over the present-day Earth's mantle.

Letter | | Nature

Two papers published in this issue of Nature present precise measurements of tungsten isotope composition in lunar rocks that are best explained by the Earth and Moon having had similar composition immediately following formation of the Moon, and then having diverged as a result of disproportional late accretion of material to the two bodies. Mathieu Touboul et al. found small 182W excess of about 21 parts per million relative to the present-day Earth's mantle in metals extracted from two KREEP-rich Apollo 16 impact-melt rocks, while Thomas Kruijer et al. measured tungsten isotopes in seven KREEP-rich whole rock samples that span a wide range of cosmic ray exposure ages, and found a 182W excess of about 27 parts per million over the present-day Earth's mantle.

Letter | | Nature

Upwelling within the highly productive Benguela current off the Namibian coast began in, and intensified throughout, the Neogene epoch. Model simulations indicate its development was intimately connected to evolving topography and mountain uplift in Africa.

News & Views | | Nature Geoscience