Solid Earth sciences

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Harmful algal and bacterial blooms are increasingly frequent in lakes and rivers. From the Sydney Basin, Australia, this study uses fossil, sedimentary and geochemical data to reveal bloom events following forest ecosystem collapse during the end-Permian event and that blooms have consistently followed warming-related extinction events, inhibiting the recovery of freshwater ecosystems for millennia.

    • Chris Mays
    • , Stephen McLoughlin
    •  & Vivi Vajda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Chemically variable primitive basalts undergo mixing during ascent from the mantle. Here the authors show observations from magma–magma reaction experiments which demonstrate how isothermal mixing between chemically variable basalts creates and modifies crystal cargoes erupted in oceanic settings.

    • David A. Neave
    • , Philipp Beckmann
    •  & François Holtz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Low-frequency earthquakes are a series of small earthquakes with lower dominant frequencies than ordinary earthquakes. By comparing the simulated earthquakes with the real data, we find that low-frequency earthquakes represent an earthquake rupture process that arrests spontaneously.

    • Xueting Wei
    • , Jiankuan Xu
    •  & Xiaofei Chen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Paleocene–Eocene boundary coincided with runaway global warming possibly analogous to future climate change, but the sources of greenhouse gasses have remained unresolved. Here, the authors reveal volcanism triggered initial warming, and subsequent carbon was released after crossing a tipping point.

    • Sev Kender
    • , Kara Bogus
    •  & Melanie J. Leng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Episodic magmatism of the early Andes is the result of a complex interplay between mantle, crust, slab and sediment contributions that can be traced using zircon chemistry. An external (tectonic) model is argued for the episodic plutonism in this extensional continental arc.

    • José Joaquín Jara
    • , Fernando Barra
    •  & Diego Morata
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How climate change influences the lifecycle of stratospheric volcanic aerosols and the associated radiative forcing is unknown. Here, the authors present model experiments suggesting that climate change amplifies the forcing of large-magnitude tropical eruptions but reduces the forcing of moderate-magnitude tropical eruptions.

    • Thomas J. Aubry
    • , John Staunton-Sykes
    •  & Anja Schmidt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The 2013 Castor seismic sequence, offshore Spain, is a rare example of seismicity induced by gas storage operations. Here we show that early seismicity marked the progressive failure of a fault in response to pore pressure diffusion, while later larger earthquakes resulted by the failure of loaded asperities.

    • Simone Cesca
    • , Daniel Stich
    •  & William L. Ellsworth
  • Article
    | Open Access

    We discover a pervasive subduction influence in the Arctic, Atlantic and Indian mantle, which is nearly absent in the Pacific mantle. Such a hemispheric-scale upper mantle heterogeneity reflects the control of a “subduction shield” that has surrounded the Pacific Ocean for 180 Myr.

    • A. Y. Yang
    • , C. H. Langmuir
    •  & Z. Chen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The relative role of individual forcing events in long-term landscape evolution is challenging to measure in the field. Badlands offer special opportunities to quantify common, natural landscape dynamics on observational time scales.

    • Ci-Jian Yang
    • , Jens M. Turowski
    •  & Kuo-Jen Chang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Experiments and buoyancy calculations reveal that subduction of limestone results in massive carbon storage in arc lithosphere, forming an important carbon reservoir in convergent margins. Remobilization of this carbon reservoir during arc magma ascent may dominate carbon emissions at volcanic arcs.

    • Chunfei Chen
    • , Michael W. Förster
    •  & Yongsheng Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    This paper reveals that potassic alteration can be triggered by Na-rich fluids, indicating that pervasive sequential sodic and potassic alterations associated with mineralization in some of the world’s largest ore deposits may not necessarily reflect externally-driven changes in fluid alkali contents.

    • Gan Duan
    • , Rahul Ram
    •  & Joël Brugger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Carbonate mineral aqueous solubility decreases as carbonates become more Mg-rich during subduction. Coupled with regional variations in amounts of carbon and water subducted, this explains discrepancies in estimates of carbon recycling, suggesting that only around a third returns to the surface.

    • Stefan Farsang
    • , Marion Louvel
    •  & Simon A. T. Redfern
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Meteorites from space often include denser polymorphs of their minerals, providing records of past hypervelocity collisions. An olivine mineral crystal was shock-compressed by a high-power laser, and its transformation into denser ringwoodite was time-resolved using an X-ray free electron laser.

    • Takuo Okuchi
    • , Yusuke Seto
    •  & Norimasa Ozaki
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Seismic imaging of subducted plates offers a way to improve plate tectonic reconstructions. Here, Braszus et al. use new ocean-bottom seismometer data from the Lesser Antilles to locate subducted spreading centres and faults thus providing a new understanding of the evolution of the Caribbean plate.

    • Benedikt Braszus
    • , Saskia Goes
    •  & Marjorie Wilson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    This paper placed the identified Mariana type ophiolite within a global tectonic re-organization at ca. 530-520 Ma. Similar ophiolites, together with other geological and chemical proxies, newly constrained the timing of establishment of modern plate tectonics, along with its links to surficial changes that characterize the contemporary Earth.

    • Jinlong Yao
    • , Peter A. Cawood
    •  & Peng Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Reconciling the Snowball Earth hypothesis with sedimentological cyclicity has been a persistent challenge. A new cyclostratigraphic climate record for a Cryogenian banded iron formation in Australia provides evidence for orbital forcing of ice sheet advance and retreat cycles during Snowball Earth.

    • Ross N. Mitchell
    • , Thomas M. Gernon
    •  & Xiaofang He
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Elevated Zn isotope compositions occur in K-Pg sedimentary layers of three different depositional environments across North America and the Caribbean. The data indicate a volatilization event, and act as a robust mechanistic indicator of the meteorite impact at the end of the Cretaceous.

    • Ryan Mathur
    • , Brandon Mahan
    •  & Francisca E. Oboh-Ikuenobe
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Subduction zone volcanoes are underlain by extensive magma plumbing systems, which can obscure original mantle source signals. Here, the authors show that intra-crystal oxygen isotope analysis of clinopyroxenes from the Sunda arc (Indonesia) reveal the δ18 O value of the sub-arc mantle.

    • Frances M. Deegan
    • , Martin J. Whitehouse
    •  & Osvaldo González-Maurel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Anomalously slow earthquakes play a critical role in the earthquake cycle and fault sliding. Here, the authors detect continuous seismic radiation from a glacier sliding over its bed and show persistent coastal shaking to represent an addition to the family of slow earthquakes.

    • Evgeny A. Podolskiy
    • , Yoshio Murai
    •  & Shin Sugiyama
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Constraining the thermal state of the lithosphere is crucial to understanding geodynamic regime in early Earth. Here the authors reconstruct ~2.9–2.5 Ga thermal structure of continental lithosphere of the North China Craton using TTG and propose a systematic Archean geodynamic evolution process.

    • Guozheng Sun
    • , Shuwen Liu
    •  & Fangyang Hu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    “Earth degassing is a critical carbon source, but its contribution to Cenozoic atmospheric CO2 variations is not well known. Here, the authors analyse CO2 fluxes on the Tibetan Plateau and suggest that the India-Asia collision was the primary driver of changes in atmospheric CO2 over the past 65 Ma.”

    • Zhengfu Guo
    • , Marjorie Wilson
    •  & Jiaqi Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There is a lot of uncertainty about what Earth’s climate and geography were like in the early Cambrian, when animal life diversified throughout the oceans. Here we show that numeric comparisons of model simulations and climatically influenced rocks can help constrain geography and climate during this time.

    • Thomas W. Wong Hearing
    • , Alexandre Pohl
    •  & Thijs R. A. Vandenbroucke
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The downhill motion of soils on hillslopes is not well understood. Here, the authors present laboratory experiments and show that hillslopes are made perpetually fragile by environmental perturbations that prevent them from stabilizing.

    • Nakul S. Deshpande
    • , David J. Furbish
    •  & Douglas J. Jerolmack
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors present a high-resolution palaeomagnetic record for a Late Cretaceous limestone in Italy. They claim that their record robustly shows a ~12° true polar wander oscillation between 86 and 78 Ma, with the greatest excursion at 84–82 Ma.

    • Ross N. Mitchell
    • , Christopher J. Thissen
    •  & Joseph L. Kirschvink
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Why Earth’s crust only started becoming widely preserved in the Eoarchaean, 500 Ma after planetary accretion, is poorly understood. Here, the authors document a shift to juvenile magmatic sources in the early Eoarchaean, linking crustal preservation to the formation of stabilising melt-depleted mantle.

    • Jacob A. Mulder
    • , Oliver Nebel
    •  & Timothy J. Ivanic
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A case study of migmatites indicates that the juvenile arc crust underwent a rapid self-recycling process from arc magmatism to erosion and weathering at the surface, then to burial and remelting. Intra-arc thrust fault systems might efficiently promote endogenous recycling.

    • Jun-Yong Li
    • , Ming Tang
    •  & Lin-Sen Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Models of the viscosity evolution of mantle rocks are central to analyses of postseismic deformation but constraints on underlying physical processes are lacking. Here, the authors present measurements of microscale stress heterogeneity in olivine suggesting that long-range dislocation interactions contribute to viscosity evolution.

    • David Wallis
    • , Lars N. Hansen
    •  & Ricardo A. Lebensohn
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Present et al. examine the processes controlling lithification of microbial mats in a Caribbean peritidal carbonate environment. The authors present sedimentological and geochemical evidence of a surprising bias against preserving the most robust, widespread microbial ecosystems in the sedimentary record.

    • Theodore M. Present
    • , Maya L. Gomes
    •  & John P. Grotzinger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Monitoring the flux of gas from volcanoes is a fundamental component of volcano monitoring programs and is used as a basis for eruption forecasting. Here, the authors present a new method using video images of volcanic gas plumes to measure the speed of convective structures and to estimate volcanic fluxes.

    • Julia Woitischek
    • , Nicola Mingotti
    •  & Andrew W. Woods
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Based on diamond-anvil cell experiments and cutting-edge secondary ion mass spectrometry analyses, the authors here show that hydrogen may be an important constituent in the Earth’s core and also in the metallic cores of any terrestrial planet or moon having a mass in excess of 10% of the Earth.

    • Shoh Tagawa
    • , Naoya Sakamoto
    •  & Hisayoshi Yurimoto
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Diamonds encapsulate the deep Earth fluids that form them, providing windows to deep mantle processes. This study constrains their ages, based on uranium-thorium-to-helium radioactive decay in the fluids and helium diffusivity in diamond, and relates diamond formation to geological events in Southern Africa.

    • Yaakov Weiss
    • , Yael Kiro
    •  & Steven L. Goldstein
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ordinary cracks in bulk materials feature square root singular deformation fields near their edge. Here, the authors show that rupture fronts propagating along frictional interfaces, while resembling ordinary cracks in some respects, feature edge sigularity that differs from the conventional square root one.

    • Efim A. Brener
    •  & Eran Bouchbinder
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Phase equilibrium modelling combined with Ca isotope measurements in ancient granitoids demonstrates that subduction of oceanic crust occurred repeatedly throughout the Archaean and that carbonate sediments were present in early Eoarchaean oceans (>3.8 billion years).

    • Michael A. Antonelli
    • , Jillian Kendrick
    •  & Frédéric Moynier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The assessment of soil sustainability in prehistoric times requires comparing millennium-scale erosion rates with geological background rates. Here, the authors apply in situ cosmogenic 14C, 10Be, and 26Al to reveal rapid soil erosion on the Andean Altiplano in response to Late Holocene climate change and the onset of agropastoralism.

    • Kristina Hippe
    • , John D. Jansen
    •  & David Lundbek Egholm
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Laboratory experiments reproducing earthquake slip in non cohesive fault rocks under fluid pressurised conditions are challenging. Thanks to these experiments, the authors show that earthquake slip occurring in tsunamigenic subduction zone faults is controlled by dilatancy and pressurisation processes.

    • S. Aretusini
    • , F. Meneghini
    •  & G. Di Toro
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, based on earthquake data, vertical gravity gradient data and high-resolution bathymetry, the authors show that the Red Sea is not in transition from rifting to spreading as previously proposed. They instead suggest it to be a mature ocean basin in which continuous seafloor spreading began quasi-instantaneously along its entire length around 13 Ma ago.

    • Nico Augustin
    • , Froukje M. van der Zwan
    •  & Bryndís Brandsdóttir
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A novel model for submarine tephra dispersal by hydrothermal megaplumes is proposed. The energy flux inferred from our model aligns with megaplume observations, and suggests that the catastrophic release of hot crustal fluids, as opposed to lava heating, is responsible for megaplume generation.

    • Samuel S. Pegler
    •  & David J. Ferguson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors here study the origin of seismic Love waves induced by ocean waves. The study finds Love waves to originate along steep bathymetry and underlying geological interfaces, particularly sedimentary basins, yielding spatio-temporal information about ocean-land coupling in deep water.

    • Florian Le Pape
    • , David Craig
    •  & Christopher J. Bean