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  • richardmitnick 12:22 pm on July 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Continental pirouettes", , , , , , GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam, Plate Techonics, ,   

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam: “Continental pirouettes” 

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam

    1

    The plates of the Earth’s crust perform complicated movements that can be attributed to quite simple mechanisms. That is the short version of the explanation of a rift that began to tear the world apart over a length of several thousand kilometers 105 million years ago. The scientific explanation appears today in the journal Nature Geoscience.

    According to the paper, a super volcano split the Earth’s crust over a length of 7,500 kilometers, pushing the Indian Plate away from the African Plate. The cause was a “plume” in the Earth’s mantle, i.e. a surge of hot material that wells upwards like an atomic mushroom cloud in super slow motion. It has long been known that the Indian landmass thus made its way northward and bumped into Eurasia. But a seemingly counterintuitive east-west movement of the continental plates was also part of the process. This is supported by calculations by a team led by Dutch scientist Douwe van Hinsbergen (Utrecht University [ Universiteit Utrecht] (NL)) and Bernhard Steinberger (GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences).

    According to the findings, the Indian Plate did not simply move away from Africa, but rotated in the process. The reason for this is the subcontinent, whose land mass acts on the much larger continental plate like an axis around which the entire plate rotates. In the south, the scissors opened, in the north they closed – there, mountain-building processes and the subduction of crustal plates were induced.

    This has dramatic effects up to the present time: The subduction processes continue and trigger earthquakes again and again in the Mediterranean region between Cyprus and Turkey. The traces of the plume and the supervolcano can still be identified today. They are flood basalts on Madagascar and in the southwest of India. They testify to immense volcanic activity fed by the mantle plume.

    Bernhard Steinberger has calculated the movement and pressure that the super volcano near present-day Madagascar could cause further north on the Arabian Peninsula and in what is now the Mediterranean. He has also published a “kitchen table experiment on Youtube” which illustrates the movements.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

    The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

    Our vision

    The future can only be secured by those who understand the System Earth and its interactions with Man: We develop a profound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth together with strategies and options for action to address global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, as well as to assess the human impact on System Earth.
    Earth System Science for the Future

    The GFZ is Germany’s national research center for the solid Earth Sciences. Our mission is to deepen the knowledge of the dynamics of the solid Earth, and to develop solutions for grand challenges facing society. These challenges include anticipating the hazards arising from the Earth’s dynamic systems and mitigating the associated risks to society; securing our habitat under the pressure of global change; and supplying energy and mineral resources for a rapidly growing population in a sustainable manner and without harming the environment.

    These challenges are inextricably linked with the dynamics of planet Earth, not just the solid Earth and the surface on which we live, but also the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, and the chemical, physical, and biological processes that connect them. Hence, we view our planet as a system with interacting components. We investigate the structure and history of the Earth, its properties, and the dynamics of its interior and surface, and we use our fundamental understanding to develop solutions needed to maintain planet Earth as a safe and supportive habitat.

    Our expertise

    In pursuit of our mission, we have developed a comprehensive spectrum of expertise in geodesy, geophysics, geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, physics, geomorphology, geobiosciences, mathematics, and engineering. This is complemented by our deep methodological and technological knowhow and innovation. We are responsible for the long-term operation of expansive instrument networks, arrays and observatories, as well as data and analytical infrastructures. To accomplish our large-scale tasks, we have established MESI, the worldwide unique Modular Earth Science Infrastructure.

    Our research is organized in a matrix structure, with disciplinary competences grouped in four scientific departments. The departments guarantee the development and continuity of disciplinary skills, methods, and infrastructures. This is an indispensable foundation for our ability to engage with evolving scientific insights, new technologies, and unexpected, pressing challenges of societal relevance.

    The grand challenges and the complexity of system Earth on the other hand, require a close multidisciplinary interaction and integration across scientific competence fields to secure advances in understanding and solutions. For these reasons, and to achieve our scientific mission, we coordinate our research via five Research Units (RU) that foster the required long-term research collaborations and that transcend the organizational / management units. These five RUs are:

    Global Processes – Integrated monitoring and modelling: How are linked processes controlling the global dynamics of the Earth and change in the Earth System?

    Plate Boundary Systems – Understanding the dynamics that affect the human habitat: How do the dynamic processes of the solid Earth’s most dynamic systems function and how do they control related hazards and resource formation?

    Earth Surface and Climate Interactions – Probing records to constrain mechanisms and sensitivities: How does climate change today and in the past affect the Earth surface and how do surface processes, in turn, influence the atmosphere and climate?

    Natural Hazards – Understanding risks and safeguarding the human habitat: How can we better predict and understand natural hazards, their dynamics, and their consequences?

    Georesources and Geoenergy – Raw materials and contributions to the energy transition: How can georesources and the geological subsurface be used in a sustainable way?

     
  • richardmitnick 10:55 am on May 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Deep oceans dissolve the rocky shell of water-ice planets", GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam, , , What is happening deep beneath the surface of ice planets?   

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam: “Deep oceans dissolve the rocky shell of water-ice planets” 

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam

    25.05.2021

    Scientific contact:
    Dr. Sergio Speziale
    Scientist
    Chemistry and Physics of Earth Materials
    Telegrafenberg
    14473 Potsdam
    Phone: +49 331 288-1848
    E-Mail: sergio.speziale@gfz-potsdam.de

    Media contact:
    Dr. Uta Deffke
    Public and Media Relations
    Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
    Telegrafenberg
    14473 Potsdam
    Phone: +49 331 288-1049
    Email: uta.deffke@gfz-potsdam.de

    2
    Sub-Neptune Exoplanet. Credit: Sergio Speziale.

    What is happening deep beneath the surface of ice planets? Is there liquid water, and if so, how does it interact with the planetary rocky “seafloor”? New experiments show that on water-ice planets between the size of our Earth and up to six times this size, water selectively leaches magnesium from typical rock minerals. The conditions with pressures of hundred thousand atmospheres and temperatures above one thousand degrees Celsius were recreated in a lab and mimicked planets similar, but smaller than Neptune and Uranus.

    The mechanisms of water-rock interaction at the Earth’s surface are well known, and the picture of the complex cycle of H2O in the deep interior of our and other terrestrial planets is constantly improving. However, we do not know what happens at the interface between hot, dense H2O and the deep rocky shell of water-ice planets at pressures and temperatures orders of magnitude higher than at the bottom of the deepest oceans on Earth. In the solar system Neptune and Uranus are classified as ice-giants; they have a thick external water-ice layer, which is underlain by a deep rocky layer, and it is still discussed whether the temperature at the interface is high enough to form liquid water.

    An international research team lead by Taehyun Kim of the Yonsei University [ 연세대학교](KR), including scientists from the University of Arizona (US), from DESY Electron Synchrotron[ Deütsches Elektronen-Synchrotron](DE), from DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory (US), and Sergio Speziale of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, conducted a series of challenging experiments both at PETRA III (Hamburg) and the ANL Advanced Photon Source (US) showing how water strongly leaches magnesium oxide (MgO) from certain minerals, i.e. ferropericlase (Mg,Fe)O and olivine (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 at pressures between 20 and 40 Gigapascal (GPa).

    This equals 200,000 to 400,000 times the atmospheric pressure on Earth and temperatures above 1500 K (∼ 1230 °C), conditions which are present at the interface between deep oceans and the rocky mantle in sub-Neptune class of water planets. Sergio Speziale says: “These findings open new scenarios for the thermal history of large icy planets such as Neptune and Uranus.” The results of this study are published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.

    Tiny pellets of either ferropericlase or olivine powder were loaded together with water in a tiny sample chamber (less than a millimetre in diameter) drilled in a metal foil and squeezed between two gem-quality diamonds culets using a diamond anvil cell (DAC). The samples were heated by shining an infrared laser through the diamond anvils. Synchrotron x-ray diffraction was used to determine minerals transformation and breakdown induced by reactions with water. A sudden decrease of diffraction signal from the starting minerals, and the appearance of new solid phases including brucite (magnesium hydroxide) were observed across full heating and quenching cycles. Sergio Speziale explains: “This demonstrated the onset of chemical reactions and the dissolution of the magnesium oxide component of both ferropericlase and olivine; the dissolution was strongest in a specific pressure-temperature range between 20 to 40 Gigapascal and 1250 to 2000 Kelvin.” The details of the reaction process and the consequent chemical segregation of MgO from the residual phases, were confirmed by thorough Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-ray spectroscopy of the recovered samples. “At these extreme pressures and temperatures the solubility of magnesium oxide in water reaches levels similar to that of salt at ambient conditions”, Sergio Speziale says.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

    The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

    Our vision

    The future can only be secured by those who understand the System Earth and its interactions with Man: We develop a profound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth together with strategies and options for action to address global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, as well as to assess the human impact on System Earth.
    Earth System Science for the Future

    The GFZ is Germany’s national research center for the solid Earth Sciences. Our mission is to deepen the knowledge of the dynamics of the solid Earth, and to develop solutions for grand challenges facing society. These challenges include anticipating the hazards arising from the Earth’s dynamic systems and mitigating the associated risks to society; securing our habitat under the pressure of global change; and supplying energy and mineral resources for a rapidly growing population in a sustainable manner and without harming the environment.

    These challenges are inextricably linked with the dynamics of planet Earth, not just the solid Earth and the surface on which we live, but also the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, and the chemical, physical, and biological processes that connect them. Hence, we view our planet as a system with interacting components. We investigate the structure and history of the Earth, its properties, and the dynamics of its interior and surface, and we use our fundamental understanding to develop solutions needed to maintain planet Earth as a safe and supportive habitat.

    Our expertise

    In pursuit of our mission, we have developed a comprehensive spectrum of expertise in geodesy, geophysics, geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, physics, geomorphology, geobiosciences, mathematics, and engineering. This is complemented by our deep methodological and technological knowhow and innovation. We are responsible for the long-term operation of expansive instrument networks, arrays and observatories, as well as data and analytical infrastructures. To accomplish our large-scale tasks, we have established MESI, the worldwide unique Modular Earth Science Infrastructure.

    Our research is organized in a matrix structure, with disciplinary competences grouped in four scientific departments. The departments guarantee the development and continuity of disciplinary skills, methods, and infrastructures. This is an indispensable foundation for our ability to engage with evolving scientific insights, new technologies, and unexpected, pressing challenges of societal relevance.

    The grand challenges and the complexity of system Earth on the other hand, require a close multidisciplinary interaction and integration across scientific competence fields to secure advances in understanding and solutions. For these reasons, and to achieve our scientific mission, we coordinate our research via five Research Units (RU) that foster the required long-term research collaborations and that transcend the organizational / management units. These five RUs are:

    Global Processes – Integrated monitoring and modelling: How are linked processes controlling the global dynamics of the Earth and change in the Earth System?

    Plate Boundary Systems – Understanding the dynamics that affect the human habitat: How do the dynamic processes of the solid Earth’s most dynamic systems function and how do they control related hazards and resource formation?

    Earth Surface and Climate Interactions – Probing records to constrain mechanisms and sensitivities: How does climate change today and in the past affect the Earth surface and how do surface processes, in turn, influence the atmosphere and climate?

    Natural Hazards – Understanding risks and safeguarding the human habitat: How can we better predict and understand natural hazards, their dynamics, and their consequences?

    Georesources and Geoenergy – Raw materials and contributions to the energy transition: How can georesources and the geological subsurface be used in a sustainable way?

     
  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on November 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New mineral discovered in moon meteorite", , Donwilhelmsite [CaAl4Si2O11], GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam,   

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam: “New mineral discovered in moon meteorite” 

    From GFZ German Research Centre Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences Potsdam

    03.11.2020
    Dr. Richard Wirth
    Interface Geochemistry
    Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
    Telegrafenberg
    14473 Potsdam
    Phone: +49 331 288 1371
    Email: richard.wirth@gfz-potsdam.de

    Media contact
    Josef Zens
    Head of Public and Media Relations
    Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
    Telegrafenberg
    14473 Potsdam
    Phone: +49 331 288-1040
    Email: Josef.Zens@gfz-potsdam.de

    1
    Fragments of the lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 acquired by the NHM Vienna and used for the scientific analyses. The largest specimen is on display at the NHM Vienna. Credit: © NHM Vienna, Ludovic Ferrière.

    2
    Electron diffraction pattern from one direction and the crystal structure model of donwilhelmsite
    Credit:© Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Science, Mariana Klementova.

    3
    Scanning electron microscope image of the new mineral, Donwilhelmsite, in the lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001. Credit: © Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Ansgar Greshake.

    A team of European researchers discovered a new high-pressure mineral in the lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001, named donwilhelmsite [CaAl4Si2O11]. The team around Jörg Fritz from the Zentrum für Rieskrater und Impaktforschung Nördlingen, Germany and colleagues at the German Research Centre for Geoscience GFZ in Potsdam, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Natural History Museum Vienna, Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Science, Natural History Museum Oslo (NO), University of Manchester (UK), and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt, Berlin published their findings in the scientific journal American Mineralogist.

    Besides the about 382 kilograms of rocks and soils collected by the Apollo and Luna missions, lunar meteorites allow valuable insights into the formation of the Moon. They are ejected by impacts onto the lunar surface and subsequently delivered to Earth.

    Some of these meteorites experienced particularly high temperatures and pressures. The extreme physical conditions often led to shock melting of microscopic areas within these meteorites. These shocked areas are of great relevance as they mirror pressure and temperature regimes similar to those prevailing in the Earth’s mantle. Therefore, the microscopic shock melt areas are natural crucibles hosting minerals that are otherwise naturally inaccessible at the Earth’s surface. Minerals like wadsleyite, ringwoodite, and bridgmanite, constitute large parts of the Earth’s mantle. Theses crystals were synthesized in high-pressure laboratory experiments. As natural minerals they were first described and named based on their occurrences in meteorites.

    The new mineral donwilhelmsite is the first high-pressure mineral found in meteorites with application for subducted terrestrial sediments. It is mainly composed of calcium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen atoms. Donwilhelmsite was discovered within shock melt zones of the lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 found in 2014 in the Western Sahara. This meteorite is compositionally similar to rocks comprising the Earth’s continents. Eroded sediments from these continents are transported by wind and rivers to the oceans, and subducted into the Earth’s mantle as part of the dense oceanic crust. While being dragged deeper into the Earth mantle the pressure and temperature increases, and the minerals transform into denser mineral phases. The newly discovered mineral donwilhelmsite forms in 460 to 700 kilometre depth. In the terrestrial rock cycle, donwilhelmsite is therefore an important agent for transporting crustal sediments through the transition zone separating the upper and lower Earth’s mantle.

    This pan-European collaboration was essential to obtain the lunar meteorite, recognize the new mineral, understand its scientific relevance, and to determine the crystal structure of the tiny, the thousands part of a millimeter thick, mineral crystal with high accuracy. “At the GFZ, we used transmission electron microscopy to investigate microstructural aspects of the samples,” says Richard Wirth from the section “Interface Geochemistry”. “Our investigations and the crystal structure analyses of the colleagues from the Czech Republic once again underline the importance of transmission electron microscopy in the geosciences”.

    The new mineral was named in honor of the lunar geologist Don E. Wilhelms, an American scientist involved in landing site selection and data analyses of the Apollo space missions that brought to Earth the first rock samples from the Moon. Part of the meteorite Oued Awlitis 001, acquired by crowdfunding initiative „Help us to get the Moon!”, is on display at the Natural History Museum Vienna.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

    The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

    Our vision

    The future can only be secured by those who understand the System Earth and its interactions with Man: We develop a profound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth together with strategies and options for action to address global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, as well as to assess the human impact on System Earth.
    Earth System Science for the Future

    The GFZ is Germany’s national research center for the solid Earth Sciences. Our mission is to deepen the knowledge of the dynamics of the solid Earth, and to develop solutions for grand challenges facing society. These challenges include anticipating the hazards arising from the Earth’s dynamic systems and mitigating the associated risks to society; securing our habitat under the pressure of global change; and supplying energy and mineral resources for a rapidly growing population in a sustainable manner and without harming the environment.

    These challenges are inextricably linked with the dynamics of planet Earth, not just the solid Earth and the surface on which we live, but also the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, and the chemical, physical, and biological processes that connect them. Hence, we view our planet as a system with interacting components. We investigate the structure and history of the Earth, its properties, and the dynamics of its interior and surface, and we use our fundamental understanding to develop solutions needed to maintain planet Earth as a safe and supportive habitat.

    Our expertise

    In pursuit of our mission, we have developed a comprehensive spectrum of expertise in geodesy, geophysics, geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, physics, geomorphology, geobiosciences, mathematics, and engineering. This is complemented by our deep methodological and technological knowhow and innovation. We are responsible for the long-term operation of expansive instrument networks, arrays and observatories, as well as data and analytical infrastructures. To accomplish our large-scale tasks, we have established MESI, the worldwide unique Modular Earth Science Infrastructure.

    Our research is organized in a matrix structure, with disciplinary competences grouped in four scientific departments. The departments guarantee the development and continuity of disciplinary skills, methods, and infrastructures. This is an indispensable foundation for our ability to engage with evolving scientific insights, new technologies, and unexpected, pressing challenges of societal relevance.

    The grand challenges and the complexity of system Earth on the other hand, require a close multidisciplinary interaction and integration across scientific competence fields to secure advances in understanding and solutions. For these reasons, and to achieve our scientific mission, we coordinate our research via five Research Units (RU) that foster the required long-term research collaborations and that transcend the organizational / management units. These five RUs are:

    Global Processes – Integrated monitoring and modelling: How are linked processes controlling the global dynamics of the Earth and change in the Earth System?

    Plate Boundary Systems – Understanding the dynamics that affect the human habitat: How do the dynamic processes of the solid Earth’s most dynamic systems function and how do they control related hazards and resource formation?

    Earth Surface and Climate Interactions – Probing records to constrain mechanisms and sensitivities: How does climate change today and in the past affect the Earth surface and how do surface processes, in turn, influence the atmosphere and climate?

    Natural Hazards – Understanding risks and safeguarding the human habitat: How can we better predict and understand natural hazards, their dynamics, and their consequences?

    Georesources and Geoenergy – Raw materials and contributions to the energy transition: How can georesources and the geological subsurface be used in a sustainable way?

     
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