Solid Earth sciences

  • Article | | open

    Phyllosilicate minerals are critical components of seismogenic fault, shear and subduction zones. Here, the authors provide a new deformation mechanism for phyllosilicates, based on newly discovered crystallographic defects in biotite (ripplocations), affecting our understanding of fault zone processes.

    • Joe Aslin
    • , Elisabetta Mariani
    • , Karl Dawson
    •  & Michel W. Barsoum
  • Article | | open

    The amount of carbon stored in closed hidden reservoirs is unknown. Here the authors use a computational approach to study the evolution of carbon species and observe polymerization of carbon atoms at high pressures, illustrating the potential for a significant carbon reservoir in the Earth’s deep interior.

    • Natalia V. Solomatova
    • , Razvan Caracas
    •  & Craig E. Manning
  • Article | | open

    Using seismic data and numerical modelling, here, the authors characterize the three-month period of unrest occurring prior to the 2017 Agung eruption (Bali, Indonesia). They observe a large uplift signal located at ~5 km from Agung summit corresponding to the emplacement of a 10 km deep magma intrusion between Agung edifice and Batur caldera, suggesting a potential magmatic connection between the two volcanic systems.

    • Fabien Albino
    • , Juliet Biggs
    •  & Devy Kamil Syahbana
  • Article | | open

    Ferromanganese minerals are abundant in marine environments but the extent of these minerals in subseafloor sediments remains unknown. Here the authors find abundant ferromanganese microparticles in oxic pelagic clays, accounting for 14–16% of the new estimate of the global manganese budget (9.2–47.4 Tt).

    • Go-Ichiro Uramoto
    • , Yuki Morono
    • , Naotaka Tomioka
    • , Shigeyuki Wakaki
    • , Ryoichi Nakada
    • , Rota Wagai
    • , Kentaro Uesugi
    • , Akihisa Takeuchi
    • , Masato Hoshino
    • , Yoshio Suzuki
    • , Fumito Shiraishi
    • , Satoshi Mitsunobu
    • , Hiroki Suga
    • , Yasuo Takeichi
    • , Yoshio Takahashi
    •  & Fumio Inagaki
  • Article | | open

    Multistage crystallization of transition metal oxides often proceeds through a number of metastable intermediates. Here, the authors shed light on this phenomenon by extending Pourbaix diagrams to capture the metastable and nanoscale thermodynamics of manganese oxide nucleation.

    • Wenhao Sun
    • , Daniil A. Kitchaev
    • , Denis Kramer
    •  & Gerbrand Ceder
  • Article | | open

    It remains controversial whether or not impact melt sheets produced by asteroid impacts were able to undergo large-scale igneous differentiation. Here the authors present evidence for large igneous differentiation in one of these sheets and argue that this process has contributed to the evolution and lithological diversity of the proto-crusts on terrestrial planets.

    • Rais Latypov
    • , Sofya Chistyakova
    • , Richard Grieve
    •  & Hannu Huhma
  • Review Article | | open

    The evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is driven by a combination of climate forcing and non-climatic feedbacks. In this review, the authors focus on feedbacks between the Antarctic Ice Sheet and the solid Earth, and the role of these feedbacks in shaping the response of the ice sheet to past and future climate changes.

    • Pippa L. Whitehouse
    • , Natalya Gomez
    • , Matt A. King
    •  & Douglas A. Wiens
  • Article | | open

    Isotopic thermometry of carbonate minerals postulates that their composition reflects thermodynamic equilibrium constants. Here the authors constrain equilibrium relationships between temperature, 18O/16O and clumped isotopes and find that most natural calcites form out of isotopic equilibrium.

    • M. Daëron
    • , R. N. Drysdale
    • , M. Peral
    • , D. Huyghe
    • , D. Blamart
    • , T. B. Coplen
    • , F. Lartaud
    •  & G. Zanchetta
  • Article | | open

    The continental record of the end Permian mass extinction is limited, especially from high paleolatitudes. Here, Fielding et al. report a multi-proxy Permo-Triassic record from Australia, resolving the timing of local terrestrial plant extinction and the relationship with environmental changes.

    • Christopher R. Fielding
    • , Tracy D. Frank
    • , Stephen McLoughlin
    • , Vivi Vajda
    • , Chris Mays
    • , Allen P. Tevyaw
    • , Arne Winguth
    • , Cornelia Winguth
    • , Robert S. Nicoll
    • , Malcolm Bocking
    •  & James L. Crowley
  • Article | | open

    It has been thought that land plants suffered a mass extinction along with animals at the end of the Permian. Here, Nowak et al. show that the apparent plant mass extinction is a result of biases in the fossil record and their reanalysis suggests a lower magnitude and more selective plant extinction.

    • Hendrik Nowak
    • , Elke Schneebeli-Hermann
    •  & Evelyn Kustatscher
  • Article | | open

    Tectonic faults weaken during slip in order to accelerate and produce earthquakes. Here the authors show a mechanism for weakening faults through the transformation of quartz to amorphous nanoparticulate wear powders that lubricate friction experiments, and transform back to quartz under geologic conditions.

    • Christie D. Rowe
    • , Kelsey Lamothe
    • , Marieke Rempe
    • , Mark Andrews
    • , Thomas M. Mitchell
    • , Giulio Di Toro
    • , Joseph Clancy White
    •  & Stefano Aretusini
  • Article | | open

    Iron oxides prevail in the deep Earth, at extreme pressures and temperatures, with different stoichiometries than in ambient conditions. Here, high-pressure synchrotron X-ray spectroscopic measurements reveal the oxidation states of Fe and O in iron superoxide, shedding light on the puzzling chemistry of iron and oxygen in the deep Earth

    • Jin Liu
    • , Qingyang Hu
    • , Wenli Bi
    • , Liuxiang Yang
    • , Yuming Xiao
    • , Paul Chow
    • , Yue Meng
    • , Vitali B. Prakapenka
    • , Ho-Kwang Mao
    •  & Wendy L. Mao
  • Article | | open

    The solubility of sulfur in basaltic melt has important implications for the formation of magmatic ore deposits. Here, the authors show that magma ascent and sulfur-degassing influence the degree to which basaltic magmas are enriched in economically-important chalcophile and siderophile elements.

    • C. D. J. Reekie
    • , F. E. Jenner
    • , D. J. Smythe
    • , E. H. Hauri
    • , E. S. Bullock
    •  & H. M. Williams
  • Article | | open

    Volatile exchange between the Earth’s interior and surface layers is one of the central issues in mantle geochemistry. Here the authors present evidence that chlorine is transferred from the surface to the deep mantle by subducted oceanic crust, forming a chlorine-rich mantle reservoir.

    • Takeshi Hanyu
    • , Kenji Shimizu
    • , Takayuki Ushikubo
    • , Jun-Ichi Kimura
    • , Qing Chang
    • , Morihisa Hamada
    • , Motoo Ito
    • , Hikaru Iwamori
    •  & Tsuyoshi Ishikawa
  • Article | | open

    There is increasing evidence that the seismicity of large Himalayan earthquakes can be bimodal, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, the authors present a model and show that the bimodal seismicity results from a relatively higher friction and a non-planar geometry of the Himalayan megathrust.

    • Luca Dal Zilio
    • , Ylona van Dinther
    • , Taras Gerya
    •  & Jean-Philippe Avouac
  • Article | | open

    The causes of Mid-Pleistocene Transition global cooling 1 million years ago are still unknown. Here, the authors find the subarctic North Pacific became stratified during these glaciations due to closure of the Bering Strait, which would have removed CO2 from the atmosphere and caused global cooling.

    • Sev Kender
    • , Ana Christina Ravelo
    • , Savannah Worne
    • , George E. A. Swann
    • , Melanie J. Leng
    • , Hirofumi Asahi
    • , Julia Becker
    • , Henrieka Detlef
    • , Ivano W. Aiello
    • , Dyke Andreasen
    •  & Ian R. Hall
  • Article | | open

    Reconstructions of evolutionary history from molecular vs. fossil data are often in conflict. Here, the authors show that discrepancies in speciation and extinction rates can arise from differing assumptions about underlying processes and present a model that reconciles fossil and molecular evidence.

    • Daniele Silvestro
    • , Rachel C. M. Warnock
    • , Alexandra Gavryushkina
    •  & Tanja Stadler
  • Article | | open

    The late Paleozoic was a time of major transition for tetrapods. Here, Brocklehurst and colleagues analyse the biogeography of Paleozoic tetrapods and find shifts in dispersal and vicariance associated with Carboniferous mountain formation and end-Guadalupian climate variability.

    • Neil Brocklehurst
    • , Emma M. Dunne
    • , Daniel D. Cashmore
    •  & Jӧrg Frӧbisch
  • Article | | open

    Medullary bone is used by modern female birds as a calcium reservoir for eggshell production. Here, O’Connor and colleagues propose criteria for identifying medullary bone in fossils and report medullary bone from a Cretaceous enantiornithine bird fossil.

    • Jingmai O’Connor
    • , Gregory M. Erickson
    • , Mark Norell
    • , Alida M. Bailleul
    • , Han Hu
    •  & Zhonghe Zhou
  • Article | | open

    The role of thermochemical oxidation of methane (TOM) by high-valence metal oxides as a potential methane sink remains poorly understood. Here, the authors present evidence of TOM induced by Mn(Fe) oxides in a sedimentary basin, which yields calcite with extremely negative δ13C values (−70 to −22.5‰, VPDB).

    • Wen-Xuan Hu
    • , Xun Kang
    • , Jian Cao
    • , Xiao-Lin Wang
    • , Bin Fu
    •  & Hai-Guang Wu
  • Article | | open

    Mantle-sourced magmas erupted at hotspot volcanoes can provide clues to the sulphur cycle over geological timescales. In this work, sulphur isotopes were analysed in crystal-hosted inclusions entrapped at depth, and reveal the presence of post-Archaean recycled material in the Canary Island mantle.

    • Patrick Beaudry
    • , Marc-Antoine Longpré
    • , Rita Economos
    • , Boswell A. Wing
    • , Thi Hao Bui
    •  & John Stix
  • Article | | open

    Thermodynamic calculations suggest that condensed carbonaceous matter should be the dominant product of abiotic organic synthesis during serpentinization of the oceanic crust at Mid-Ocean Ridges. Here the authors report natural occurrences of such carbonaceous matter formed during low temperature alteration.

    • Marie Catherine Sforna
    • , Daniele Brunelli
    • , Céline Pisapia
    • , Valerio Pasini
    • , Daniele Malferrari
    •  & Bénédicte Ménez
  • Article | | open

    Weak lower crustal flow in Tibet has been invoked to reconcile geophysical observations, yet viscosity estimates vary from 1016 to 1021 Pa·s. Here the authors show that viscous buckling of the upper crust in response to lower crust flow (viscosity ~1020 Pa·s) is responsible for the observed extension in Tibet.

    • Sarah H. Bischoff
    •  & Lucy M. Flesch
  • Article | | open

    As silica melts are believed to be important components of the Earth’s mantle, their structure should determine many of its properties. Here, the authors identify two crystalline modifications of SiO2, whose local structures closely resemble those of known melts, providing a structural model for their atomic ordering at the nanoscale.

    • E. Bykova
    • , M. Bykov
    • , A. Černok
    • , J. Tidholm
    • , S. I. Simak
    • , O. Hellman
    • , M. P. Belov
    • , I. A. Abrikosov
    • , H.-P. Liermann
    • , M. Hanfland
    • , V. B. Prakapenka
    • , C. Prescher
    • , N. Dubrovinskaia
    •  & L. Dubrovinsky
  • Article | | open

    A unified model for the formation of martian rock types is required to understand Mars’s formation and evolution. Here the authors show that nakhlite and chassignite meteorites originate from melting of metasomatized depleted mantle lithosphere, whereas shergottite melts originate from deep plume sources.

    • James M. D. Day
    • , Kimberly T. Tait
    • , Arya Udry
    • , Frédéric Moynier
    • , Yang Liu
    •  & Clive R. Neal
  • Article | | open

    Recent studies have reported preservation of proteinaceous soft tissues within dinosaur bones. Here, Wiemann et al. combine analyses of fossil vertebrate tissues and experimentally matured modern samples to elucidate the mechanism of soft tissue preservation and the environments that favor it.

    • Jasmina Wiemann
    • , Matteo Fabbri
    • , Tzu-Ruei Yang
    • , Koen Stein
    • , P. Martin Sander
    • , Mark A. Norell
    •  & Derek E. G. Briggs
  • Article | | open

    Recent observations of silicic eruptions show that they can be both effusive and explosive at the same time. Here the authors use scaled experiments to demonstrate that magma in effusive eruptions will fracture during flow to the Earth’s surface, accommodating mixed eruption styles.

    • Fabian B. Wadsworth
    • , Taylor Witcher
    • , Caron E. J. Vossen
    • , Kai-Uwe Hess
    • , Holly E. Unwin
    • , Bettina Scheu
    • , Jonathan M. Castro
    •  & Donald B. Dingwell
  • Article | | open

    Boron is one of the main proxies for seawater-derived fluids in subduction zone volcanics and it is vital to characterise the location and concentration of boron in the oceanic lithosphere. Here the authors show that boron concentration in the mantle of downgoing slabs has been overestimated, because boron is strongly decoupled from water in the hydration process.

    • Andrew M. McCaig
    • , Sofya S. Titarenko
    • , Ivan P. Savov
    • , Robert A. Cliff
    • , David Banks
    • , Adrian Boyce
    •  & Samuele Agostini
  • Article | | open

    Earth degassing of CO2-rich fluids contributes significantly to the global carbon budget but its link to tectonic regimes remains unclear. Here, the authors use global geological datasets to show that there is a positive spatial correlation between CO2 discharges and extensional tectonic regimes.

    • Giancarlo Tamburello
    • , Silvia Pondrelli
    • , Giovanni Chiodini
    •  & Dmitri Rouwet
  • Article | | open

    Iron oxides exist in a variety of polymorphs at different pressure and temperature conditions, displaying important magnetic properties, and are major constituents of the Earth’s interior. Here the authors investigate the structural and electronic changes in the uncommon epsilon phase under compression to deep Mantle pressures.

    • J. A. Sans
    • , V. Monteseguro
    • , G. Garbarino
    • , M. Gich
    • , V. Cerantola
    • , V. Cuartero
    • , M. Monte
    • , T. Irifune
    • , A. Muñoz
    •  & C. Popescu
  • Article | | open

    How different Neandertal morphology was from that of modern humans has been a subject of long debate. Here, the authors develop a 3D virtual reconstruction of the thorax of an adult male Neandertal, showing similar size to modern humans, yet with greater respiratory capacity due to its different shape.

    • Asier Gómez-Olivencia
    • , Alon Barash
    • , Daniel García-Martínez
    • , Mikel Arlegi
    • , Patricia Kramer
    • , Markus Bastir
    •  & Ella Been
  • Article | | open

    Red beds contain reduction spheroids that formed underground millions of years ago and whose origin remains poorly constrained. Here the authors use uranium isotopes to identify ancient fingerprints of bacteria in these features, confirming that they were produced by subsurface life in the geological past.

    • Sean McMahon
    • , Ashleigh v. S. Hood
    • , John Parnell
    •  & Stephen Bowden
  • Article | | open

    The long-term evolution of the sulfur budget in the lithosphere is poorly constrained. Here, using mass independent isotope fractionation as an indelible tracer, the authors track the pathway of sulfur from the Earth’s surface to punctuated episodes of granitoid magmatism during collisional orogenesis.

    • Crystal LaFlamme
    • , Marco L. Fiorentini
    • , Mark D. Lindsay
    •  & Thi Hao Bui
  • Article | | open

    The interaction between seasonally-induced non-tectonic and tectonic deformation along the Himalayan plate boundary is still debated. Here, the authors propose that seasonal hydrological loading can influence tectonic deformation along this plate boundary using continuous GPS measurements and satellite data.

    • Dibyashakti Panda
    • , Bhaskar Kundu
    • , Vineet K. Gahalaut
    • , Roland Bürgmann
    • , Birendra Jha
    • , Renuhaa Asaithambi
    • , Rajeev Kumar Yadav
    • , Naresh Krishna Vissa
    •  & Amit Kumar Bansal
  • Article | | open

    Correlations between prehistoric eruptions and other phenomena depend on accurate dating of the eruption. Here the authors show that magmatic CO2 in groundwater can bias radiocarbon ages for eruptions and that plateaux of carbon isotopic values in tree ring sequences biased by magmatic CO2 foreshadow major eruptions.

    • Richard N. Holdaway
    • , Brendan Duffy
    •  & Ben Kennedy
  • Article | | open

    Understanding the response of marine productivity and CO2 drawdown to past warming events can provide important insights into the future. Here, the authors use bacterial magnetite nanoparticle fossils to reconstruct nutrient supply and marine deoxygenation during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum.

    • Liao Chang
    • , Richard J. Harrison
    • , Fan Zeng
    • , Thomas A. Berndt
    • , Andrew P. Roberts
    • , David Heslop
    •  & Xiang Zhao
  • Article | | open

    Reinjection of saltwater, co-produced with oil, has the potential to trigger damaging earthquakes. Here, using Oklahoma and Kansas as an example, the authors present a new physics-based methodology to forecast future probabilities of potentially damaging induced-earthquakes in space and time.

    • Cornelius Langenbruch
    • , Matthew Weingarten
    •  & Mark D. Zoback
  • Article | | open

    With the discovery of large rocky exoplanets called Super-Earths, questions have arisen regarding the properties of their interiors and their ability to produce a magnetic field. Here, the authors show that under high pressure, molten silicates are semi-metallic and that magma oceans would host a dynamo process.

    • François Soubiran
    •  & Burkhard Militzer
  • Article | | open

    Bend faulting prior to subduction is considered to promote hydration, yet the relationship remains ambiguous. Here, via analysis of seismic surveys from the Japan and Kuril trenches junction, the authors show that pre-subduction bend faulting and post-subduction plate hydration are strongly correlated.

    • Gou Fujie
    • , Shuichi Kodaira
    • , Yuka Kaiho
    • , Yojiro Yamamoto
    • , Tsutomu Takahashi
    • , Seiichi Miura
    •  & Tomoaki Yamada
  • Article | | open

    The Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 represents one of the warmest episodes in the last 250 million years. Here, the authors present spore-pollen data and temperature estimates (TEX86) across an expanded stratigraphic section illustrating the dynamic response of vegetation during this exceptionally warm interval.

    • Ulrich Heimhofer
    • , Nina Wucherpfennig
    • , Thierry Adatte
    • , Stefan Schouten
    • , Elke Schneebeli-Hermann
    • , Silvia Gardin
    • , Gerta Keller
    • , Sarah Kentsch
    •  & Ariane Kujau
  • Article | | open

    The Tibetan plateau is manifested by contrasting along-strike lithospheric structures, but the correlation with multi-terrane configuration remains challenging. Here, the authors show the crucial roles of the original geometric shape of accreted terranes in regulating the lithospheric evolution of Tibetan plateau.

    • Pengpeng Huangfu
    • , Zhong-Hai Li
    • , Taras Gerya
    • , Weiming Fan
    • , Kai-Jun Zhang
    • , Huai Zhang
    •  & Yaolin Shi
  • Article | | open

    Kalligrammatid lacewings were among the largest Mesozoic insects. Here, Liu et al. present an assemblage of Mesozoic kalligrammatid lacewings from amber and compression fossils, highlighting diversity in traits associated with pollination, chemical communication and defense against predators.

    • Qing Liu
    • , Xiumei Lu
    • , Qingqing Zhang
    • , Jun Chen
    • , Xiaoting Zheng
    • , Weiwei Zhang
    • , Xingyue Liu
    •  & Bo Wang
  • Article | | open

    River networks worldwide follow the emblematic Hack’s Law, which expresses the length of a stream as a function of its watershed area. Here the authors show this law does not depend on lithology or rainfall, but on the shape of watersheds and confirms the self-similarity of river networks.

    • Timothée Sassolas-Serrayet
    • , Rodolphe Cattin
    •  & Matthieu Ferry
  • Article | | open

    Lamprophyres represent hydrous alkaline mantle melts that are a unique source of information about the composition of continental lithosphere. Here the authors use isotopic compositions of lamprophyres to map a hidden terrain boundary and an unknown fragment of Armorica in the mantle lithosphere of southwest Britain.

    • Arjan H. Dijkstra
    •  & Callum Hatch
  • Article | | open

    The degree to which small and large earthquakes share the same rupture processes remains unknown. Here, the authors reveal earthquakes of magnitude 3–5 share almost identical growth processes shared, but while they are controlled by some characteristic structures, their final size remains unpredictable.

    • Takashi Okuda
    •  & Satoshi Ide