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Underground smouldering fires resurfaced early in 2020, contributing to the unprecedented wildfires that tore through the Arctic this spring and summer. An international effort is needed to manage a changing fire regime in the vulnerable Arctic.
Time capsules of fluid, trapped within the oxide minerals from two iron ore deposits reveal an important role for sediment-derived carbonate–sulfate-rich melts in the concentration of iron, a crucial element for humanity’s development.
Land-use and land-cover changes are accelerating. Such changes can homogenize the water cycle and undermine planetary resilience. Policymakers and practitioners must consider water–vegetation interactions in their land-management decisions.
It is commonly thought that old groundwater cannot be pumped sustainably, and that recently recharged groundwater is inherently sustainable. We argue that both old and young groundwaters can be used in physically sustainable or unsustainable ways.
Deep, carbon-rich Pacific waters intruded into the South Atlantic some 38 to 28 thousand years ago. This deep Pacific expansion could have represented a considerable sink of atmospheric CO2, one that helped initiate the Last Glacial Maximum.
Soils store vast quantities of carbon and have the potential to help mitigate or exacerbate climate change. We need to better understand the interplay of chemical, physical and biological processes that govern soil carbon cycling and stability.
The Archaean atmosphere may have been well oxygenated, according to a reconsideration of sulfur cycling at that time. This challenges the view that sedimentary sulfur records oxygen-poor conditions during Earth’s first two billion years.
Organic carbon in the top metre of Earth’s soils is far older than previously thought, averaging 4,800 years old. These radiocarbon-derived age estimates require us to recalibrate our expectations of ecosystem gains and losses of carbon.
Nature Geoscience aims to publish important science, but the journal also strives to offer a platform to voices driving change within the geoscience community. We welcome submissions on community issues that encourage reader engagement and inspire action.
Compositional signatures of subducted crust in the deep-mantle sources of ocean island volcanoes in the Atlantic Ocean but not the Pacific reveal that plate motions on Earth’s surface influence the characteristics of Earth’s deepest interior.
Large-scale land acquisitions accelerate tropical deforestation, suggests an analysis of two decades of land-deal and forest-cover data. Such exploitation will threaten the future of these globally crucial carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots.
The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic highlights the very human effort that is peer review. We will continue to do all we can to keep the papers flowing and thank our reviewers and authors for their help and understanding under these difficult circumstances.
The morphology and geometry of the plate interface in a subduction zone is heterogeneous and influenced by lower-plate normal faulting, suggests an analysis of seismic data. These properties of subduction interfaces may influence how the largest earthquakes occur.
A revised age reconstruction suggests marine-based regions of the Eurasian Ice Sheet melted rapidly, contributing to a major sea-level rise some 14,600 years ago. Such a rapid collapse of massive ice hints at the vulnerability of Earth’s remaining ice sheets.
Whether Earth’s water was delivered early or late in its formation is debated. The composition of Venus’s atmosphere may indicate that late accretion, the final stage of planet formation, delivered little water to the terrestrial planets.
The InSight mission on Mars is currently providing us with the first seismic data from a planetary body other than our own Earth since the 1970s. Past efforts will inform this next chapter in planetary seismology.
Mineral extraction will play an important role in climate change mitigation and green technologies. But ensuring that the net effect of mining is beneficial requires careful monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts.
Strengthening and poleward movement of the Southern Westerlies, and increased melting of the Antarctic ice sheet play a primary role in changes observed in the Southern Ocean over the past few decades, according to measurements and modelling.
Differential cycling of carbonate and organic carbon in the mantle may link the Great Oxidation Event and the subsequent increase in carbon isotope values, according to a model that links the Earth’s surface and interior.
Scientists and policymakers must acknowledge that carbon dioxide removal can be small in scale and still be relevant for climate policy, that it will primarily emerge ‘bottom up’, and that different methods have different governance needs.
Governments disagree even on the current state of climate change engineering governance, as became clear at the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly negotiations. They must develop mechanisms to provide policy-relevant knowledge, clarify uncertainties and head off potential distributional impacts.
Tectonic tremor may ultimately be caused by in situ fluid overpressure generated by chemical reactions between a subducting slab and the mantle, according to field and microstructural observations of a shear zone.
Northern peatlands store over 1,000 Gt of carbon, almost double previous estimates, according to a new analysis of peat core data. The fate of this peat carbon, however, is uncertain in a rapidly changing world.
The large domes found on the dwarf planet Ceres may not result from cryovolcanism, but from solid-state flow analogous to salt doming on Earth, according to numerical simulations of gravitational loading.
Wet rice cultivation in the Palu Valley, Indonesia, prepared the ground for the devastating liquefaction-induced landslides that were triggered by the Mw 7.5 earthquake in 2018, suggest two studies of the spatial relationship between landslide morphology and irrigation.
The structure of the lithosphere is key to reconciling the dynamic topography predicted by mantle convection models with residual topography derived from observations, suggest analyses of both models and data.
Subduction processes may have operated very early in Earth’s history according to the heavy silicon isotope compositions of Archaean igneous rocks. The silicon that precipitated out of the Archaean oceans as chert was subducted and melted to yield seawater-like heavy isotope signatures in early granitic rocks.
The distribution of iron-loving elements between the mantles of the Moon and Earth may differ from established belief, suggest two studies that determine the hafnium–tungsten ratio and sulfide–silicate melt partitioning of elements in the lunar mantle.
The climate of South and East Asia is affected by anthropogenic aerosols, but the magnitude of the aerosol imprint is not well known. As regional emissions are rapidly changing, potential related climate risks must be quantified.
The end of pre-industrial climate — the baseline for assessing the extent of human-induced warming today — is not easy to pinpoint in time. Regardless, the past decades stand out from two millennia of climate fluctuations.