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  • richardmitnick 5:24 pm on February 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Research Reveals How Hurricanes Shape the Coastal Landscape in the Everglades", LSU-Louisiana State University, Researchers from different universities including LSU examined how Hurricanes Wilma (2015) and Irma (2017) fertilized the Florida Coastal Everglades paradoxically facilitating mangrove wetlands recove   

    From Louisiana State University: “New Research Reveals How Hurricanes Shape the Coastal Landscape in the Everglades” 

    From Louisiana State University

    2.20.20

    Christine Wendling
    LSU College of the Coast & Environment
    225-578-4984

    1
    LSU researchers performing field work in the Florida Everglades mangrove forests (Shark River Estuary, Florida). Right to left: Dr. Victor H. Rivera-Monroy; LSU graduate students Xiaochen Zhao, Ivan Vargas-Lopez, and Alejandro Castro-Aviles. Photo Credit: Luca Marazzi, FIU Postdoctoral Associate.

    That hurricanes can create sudden and dramatic changes to the landscape is obvious to anyone who lives along the Gulf of Mexico’s coast. They are powerful, high-energy destructive forces that can flood homes and fell trees, and can leave a lasting impression on all those affected by them; however, less discussed are the modifications they make to unpopulated regions, such as Florida’s Everglades National Park. In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, researchers from different universities, including LSU, examined how Hurricanes Wilma (2015) and Irma (2017) fertilized the Florida Coastal Everglades, paradoxically facilitating mangrove wetlands recovery.

    Mangrove wetlands are a critical component of the coastal landscape because they are highly productive, absorbing damaging winds and floodwater from hurricanes, sequestering carbon that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere (and contribute to climate change), and providing habitat for many species of economic importance. As any plant, mangrove trees need nutrients, such as phosphorous, to grow along the coast; however, the Everglades have a limited amount of this key nutrient, unlike Louisiana soils, which are high in phosphorous due to nutrients traveling down the muddy Mississippi River.

    According to Victor Rivera-Monroy, co-author of the study and associate professor in LSU’s Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, this is because “the Everglades has different geology and hydrology than other areas in the Gulf of Mexico, causing phosphorus limitation, and as a result, low plant and algae productivity. These conditions make the coastal ecosystem ‘oligotrophic,’ which means ‘nutrient limited.’”

    The researchers analyzed surface soil and plant nutrient concentrations from 2004-2018. Comparing storm deposits from Hurricane Irma and nutrient inputs across mangrove sites, they found that hurricane-induced mineral inputs increased the amount of phosphorous present in the soil and absorbed by the mangroves within an area that stretched up to six miles (10 kilometers) inland from the coast. This fertilization was cumulative over several years as hurricanes impacted the area and extensively affected the mangroves.

    Irma’s and Wilma’s storm surges, 12 years apart, mixed the waters and re-suspended nutrient-rich sediment from the ocean floor, much like when a gardener rakes topsoil. In addition to enriching the soil with phosphorous, this redistribution of sediment has the added benefit of increasing soil elevation, which can help to offset sea level rise in certain areas. The researchers estimated the amount of soil elevation the mangroves would normally experience in a year increased by approximately 14.4 times due to the hurricanes’ storm surges.

    The environmental impacts of hurricanes are a trade-off. While hurricanes defoliate and, in some cases, flatten trees, this input of phosphorus also gives the mangroves opportunities to regenerate; however, “it’s not an even distribution. It’s not going to save the coast, but it is a significant change that makes a difference in the long-term depending on the hurricane intensity and frequency,” Rivera-Monroy explained.

    Rivera-Monroy emphasized that the best way to get the fullest picture of complicated natural processes that affect the coast is via long-term data, interdisciplinary studies like this one, which involved collaboration between 10 experts from five institutions in Louisiana, Florida, and Virginia.

    “It would not have been possible to obtain this data had it not been for the collaboration of multiple researchers from different disciplines. Studying the problem from so many perspectives made this long-term project unique to the understanding of natural processes that occur over large spatial and temporal scales,” Rivera-Monroy said.

    Contributors with LSU ties include Edward Castañeda-Moya, lead author of the paper, a research assistant professor at Florida International University and LSU alumnus who, along with Rivera-Monroy, designed the research; Victor Rivera-Monroy, associate professor in LSU’s Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences; Rivera-Monroy’s graduate assistant Xiaochen Zhao who helped them to perform the research and analyze data; and LSU assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences Matt Hiatt, who helped them to model the data.

    This research was conducted as part of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program funded by the NSF (Grants RAPID DEB-1801244, DEB- Q:13 1237517, and DBI-0620409). The Department of the Interior South-Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (Cooperative Agreement G12AC00002) provided partial funding for Victor Rivera-Monroy’s participation.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Louisiana State University (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly referred to as LSU) is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    LSU is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of LSU’s graduate schools, such as the E.J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution, LSU is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    LSU’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:53 am on August 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Large 2019 dead zone in Gulf of Mexico", A dead zone of oxygen-depleted waters forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico in response to nutrient runoff from the Mississippi River watershed., , Hypoxia can take a week to reform in the summer after major wind events such as the recent passage of Hurricane Barry., LSU-Louisiana State University, The area of the dead zone was estimated at 6952 square miles (18006 square km)., The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico has harmful effects on marine life and fisheries.   

    From Louisiana State University via EarthSky: “Large 2019 dead zone in Gulf of Mexico” 

    From Louisiana State University

    via

    1

    EarthSky

    August 16, 2019
    Deanna Conners

    This year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone of oxygen-depleted waters is the 8th largest ever recorded.

    1
    The R/V Pelican. Image appears courtesy of Arne Diercks, University of Southern Mississippi, via NOAA.

    A dead zone of oxygen-depleted waters forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico in response to nutrient runoff from the Mississippi River watershed. Scientists have been tracking the summer dead zone for 33 years now, and they have found that this year’s area of low oxygen waters extends for 6,952 square miles (18,006 square km). It is the 8th largest dead zone ever recorded.

    Nutrient-rich runoff containing nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural lands and sewage causes the summer dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. These nutrients, in combination with sunlight and warm waters in the Gulf, trigger algal blooms. Then, as the algae die off and are decomposed by bacteria, oxygen in the bottom waters drops to levels that can be deadly for many marine organisms.

    2
    Extent of the summer dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico according to sampling data collected by Louisiana scientists in July 2019. Image via LUMCON.

    Scientists took measurements of the extent of this year’s dead zone from onboard the R/V Pelican over July 23–29, 2019. The area of the dead zone was estimated at 6,952 square miles (18,006 square km). This is the eighth largest dead zone recorded in the 33 year historical record of such events.

    The dead zone was actually smaller in size than that predicted back in spring based on the amount of rainfall and runoff generated this year. Scientists suspect that Hurricane Barry, which made landfall along the Louisiana coast on July 13 as a Category 1 storm, stirred up the waters and disrupted the growth of the dead zone. The dead zone is expected to continue its rapid growth if future conditions remain calm. The dead zone will eventually dissipate in the autumn as water temperatures cool and oxygen-rich waters become well mixed.

    Marine ecologist Nancy Rabalais of Louisiana State University led the sampling effort. She commented on the survey results in a statement:

    “Past research indicates that hypoxia can take a week to reform in the summer after major wind events such as the recent passage of Hurricane Barry. We didn’t know what we would find when we went out to map the zone. We found that, despite the storm, the zone reformed and was in the process of rapidly expanding.”

    The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico has harmful effects on marine life and fisheries, and so scientists have set a target to have the dead zone grow to no larger than 1,900 square miles (4921 square km) on average (with data collected over a five year period) by 2035. To achieve such a remedial goal, further reductions in nutrient runoff from farms and urban areas will be necessary.

    4
    Trend in the size of the dead zone that forms each summer in the Gulf of Mexico. Image via LUMCON.

    The annual summer sampling in the Gulf of Mexico is a joint endeavor of Louisiana State University and LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium), and the scientists receive funding support from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for their work.

    Bottom line: A large dead zone formed in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2019. The size of the dead zone was smaller than expected because of Hurricane Barry, but it was estimated to be the 8th largest on record. Large dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico are harmful to marine life, and further reductions in nutrient runoff are needed to reduce the size of the summer dead zone that forms every year.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Louisiana State University (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly referred to as LSU) is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    LSU is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of LSU’s graduate schools, such as the E.J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution, LSU is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    LSU’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on March 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hello Quantum Vacuum Nice to See You", , “Back action”, , , LSU-Louisiana State University, , , , Quantum radiation pressure noise, Quantum vacuum or ‘"nothingness"   

    From Louisiana State University: “Hello, Quantum Vacuum, Nice to See You” 

    From Louisiana State University

    March 25, 2019

    Elsa Hahne
    LSU Office of Research & Economic Development
    504-610-1950
    ehahne@lsu.edu

    Mimi LaValle
    LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy
    225-439-5633
    mlavall@lsu.edu

    Thomas Corbitt, associate professor at the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, and his team of researchers measure quantum behavior at room temperature, visible to the naked eye, as reported today in the journal Nature.

    1
    Thomas Corbitt in his lab, setting up a complex sequence of lasers.Elsa Hahne/LSU

    Since the historic finding of gravitational waves from two black holes colliding over a billion light years away was made in 2015, physicists are advancing knowledge about the limits on the precision of the measurements that will help improve the next generation of tools and technology used by gravitational wave scientists.

    Artist’s iconic conception of two merging black holes similar to those detected by LIGO Credit LIGO-Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State /Aurore Simonnet

    LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Associate Professor Thomas Corbitt and his team of researchers now present the first broadband, off-resonance measurement of quantum radiation pressure noise in the audio band, at frequencies relevant to gravitational wave detectors, as reported today in the scientific journal Nature. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, or NSF, and the results hint at methods to improve the sensitivity of gravitational-wave detectors by developing techniques to mitigate the imprecision in measurements called “back action,” thus increasing the chances of detecting gravitational waves.

    Corbitt and researchers have developed physical devices that make it possible to observe—and hear—quantum effects at room temperature. It is often easier to measure quantum effects at very cold temperatures, while this approach brings them closer to human experience. Housed in miniature models of detectors like LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, one located in Livingston, La., and the other in Hanford, Wash.), these devices consist of low-loss, single-crystal micro-resonators—each a tiny mirror pad the size of a pin prick, suspended from a cantilever. A laser beam is directed at one of these mirrors, and as the beam is reflected, the fluctuating radiation pressure is enough to bend the cantilever structure, causing the mirror pad to vibrate, which creates noise.


    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    Localizations of gravitational-wave signals detected by LIGO in 2015 (GW150914, LVT151012, GW151226, GW170104), more recently, by the LIGO-Virgo network (GW170814, GW170817). After Virgo came online in August 2018


    Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

    Gravitational wave interferometers use as much laser power as possible in order to minimize the uncertainty caused by the measurement of discrete photons and to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio. These higher power beams increase position accuracy but also increase back action, which is the uncertainty in the number of photons reflecting from a mirror that corresponds to a fluctuating force due to radiation pressure on the mirror, causing mechanical motion. Other types of noise, such as thermal noise, usually dominate over quantum radiation pressure noise, but Corbitt and his team, including collaborators at MIT, have sorted through them. Advanced LIGO and other second and third generation interferometers will be limited by quantum radiation pressure noise at low frequencies when running at their full laser power. Corbitt’s paper in Nature offers clues as to how researchers can work around this when measuring gravitational waves.

    2
    Thomas Corbitt looks through the custom-built device used to measure quantum radiation pressure noise. Elsa Hahne/LSU

    “Given the imperative for more sensitive gravitational wave detectors, it is important to study the effects of quantum radiation pressure noise in a system similar to Advanced LIGO, which will be limited by quantum radiation pressure noise across a wide range of frequencies far from the mechanical resonance frequency of the test mass suspension,” Corbitt said.

    Corbitt’s former academic advisee and lead author of the Nature paper, Jonathan Cripe, graduated from LSU with a Ph.D. in Physics last year and is now a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

    “Day-to-day at LSU, as I was doing the background work of designing this experiment and the micro-mirrors and placing all of the optics on the table, I didn’t really think about the impact of the future results,” Cripe said. “I just focused on each individual step and took things one day at a time. [But] now that we have completed the experiment, it really is amazing to step back and think about the fact that quantum mechanics—something that seems otherworldly and removed from the daily human experience—is the main driver of the motion of a mirror that is visible to the human eye. The quantum vacuum, or ‘nothingness,’ can have an effect on something you can see.”

    Pedro Marronetti, a physicist and NSF program director, notes that it can be tricky to test new ideas for improving gravitational wave detectors, especially when reducing noise that can only be measured in a full-scale interferometer:

    “This breakthrough opens new opportunities for testing noise reduction,” he said. The relative simplicity of the approach makes it accessible by a wide range of research groups, potentially increasing participation from the broader scientific community in gravitational wave astrophysics.”

    For more information from LSU Physics & Astronomy, visit http://www.phys.lsu.edu.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Louisiana State University (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly referred to as LSU) is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    LSU is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of LSU’s graduate schools, such as the E.J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution, LSU is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    LSU’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:27 pm on February 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LSU-Louisiana State University, , Red Wine Proves Good for the Heart (Again)   

    From Louisiana State University: “Red Wine Proves Good for the Heart (Again)” 

    Louisiana State University

    1
    LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s Tammy Dugas.

    02/01/2018

    Contact Alison Satake
    LSU Media Relations
    225-578-3870
    asatake@lsu.edu

    Julie Thomas
    LSU School of Veterinary Medicine
    Louisiana State University
    225-578-0110
    jtho279@lsu.edu

    LSU professor develops advanced heart disease treatment from red wine.

    An LSU professor is harnessing antioxidant compounds found in red wine to advance the treatment of heart disease — the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

    Heart disease occurs when plaque builds up within artery walls blocking the blood flow through tissues in the body, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. About 630,000 people die each year from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    While there is no singular cure for heart disease, there are numerous forms of treatment including lifestyle changes and surgical procedures. In one procedure called a coronary angioplasty, a surgeon inserts and inflates a tiny balloon inside a blocked or narrow artery to widen it and allow blood to flow through to the heart thereby decreasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. This procedure often includes inserting a permanent small mesh tube to support the blood vessel called a stent.

    Commercial stents can release chemotherapy agents that are toxic and can cause the blood vessel to narrow again. LSU Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences Professor Tammy Dugas is developing a new stent that releases red wine antioxidants slowly over time that promotes healing and prevents blood clotting and inflammation. The two antioxidant compounds are resveratrol and quercetin.

    “By delivering red wine antioxidants during conventional angioplasty, it may be possible to prevent excess tissue from building up and the blood vessel from narrowing again as it heals,” Dr. Dugas said.

    In addition to the stent, Dugas and colleagues are developing a balloon coated with the same compounds to treat blood flow blockages throughout the body called peripheral artery disease. This disease which can limit the blood flow to kidneys, the stomach, arms or legs affects about 8 to 12 million Americans. However, less than 20 percent are diagnosed by a physician. Drug-coated balloons are a relatively new product, and are being developed to help interventional cardiologists treat arteries that are difficult to target with traditional angioplasty and stent treatments.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Louisiana State University (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly referred to as LSU) is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    LSU is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of LSU’s graduate schools, such as the E.J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution, LSU is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    LSU’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:19 pm on November 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Barberton Mountains of South Africa, , Komatiite might fill in some gaps in our knowledge of Earth history, LSU-Louisiana State University   

    From LSU: “LSU Researchers Discover Minerals in Volcanic Rock that May Offer New Insights into the First 1.5 Billion Years of Earth’s Evolution” 

    Louisiana State University

    1
    Photomicrographs of fresh olivine (large green, blue and pink crystals) and glass inclusion (lower left inset). Komatiite volcanic rocks from the 3.3 billion-year-old Weltevreden Formation are the freshest yet discovered in from Earth’s early Archean. Trace elements, radiogenic and stable isotopes from these rocks and olivine separates provide key evidence for evolution of Earth’s mantle.Photo provided by Keen Kareem

    The first 1.5 billion years of Earth’s evolution is subject to considerable uncertainty due to the lack of any significant rock record prior to four billion years ago and a very limited record until about three billion years ago. Rocks of this age are usually extensively altered making comparisons to modern rock quite difficult. In new research conducted at LSU, scientists have found evidence showing that komatiites, three-billion-year old volcanic rock found within the Earth’s mantle, had a different composition than modern ones. Their discovery may offer new information about the first one billion years of Earth’s development and early origins of life.

    Results of the team’s work has been published in the October 2017 edition of NATURE Geoscience.

    The basic research came from more than three decades of LSU scientists studying and mapping the Barberton Mountains of South Africa. The research team, including LSU geology professors Gary Byerly and Huiming Bao, geology PhD graduate Keena Kareem, and LSU researcher Benjamin Byerly, conducted chemical analyses of hundreds of komatiite rocks sampled from about 10 lava flows.

    “Early workers had mapped large areas incorrectly by assuming they were correlatives to the much more famous Komati Formation in the southern part of the mountains. We recognized this error and began a detailed study of the rocks to prove our mapping-based interpretations,” said Gary Byerly.

    Within the rocks, they discovered original minerals called fresh olivine, which had been preserved in remarkable detail. Though the mineral is rarely found in rocks subjected to metamorphism and surface weathering, olivine is the major constituent of Earth’s upper mantle and controls the nature of volcanism and tectonism of the planet. Using compositions of these fresh minerals, the researchers had previously concluded that these were the hottest lavas to ever erupt on Earth’s surface with temperatures near 1600 degrees centigrade, which is roughly 400 degrees hotter than modern eruptions in Hawaii.

    “Discovering fresh unaltered olivine in these ancient lavas was a remarkable find. The field work was wonderfully productive and we were eager to return to the lab to use the chemistry of these preserved olivine crystals to reveal clues of the Archean Mantle,” said Kareem

    The researchers suggest that maybe a chunk of early-Earth magma ocean is preserved in the approximately 3.2 billion year-old minerals.

    “The modern Earth shows little or no evidence of this early magma ocean because convection of the mantle has largely homogenized the layering produced in the magma ocean. Oxygen isotopes in these fresh olivines support the existence of ancient chunks of the frozen magma ocean. Rocks like this are very rare and scientifically valuable. An obvious next step was to do oxygen isotopes,” said Byerly.

    This study grew out of work taking place in LSU’s laboratory for the study of oxygen isotopes, a world-class facility that attracts scientists from the U.S. and international institutions for collaborative work. The results of the study were so unusual that it required extra care to be certain of the results. Huiming Bao, who is also the head of LSU’s oxygen isotopes lab, said that the team triple and quadruple checked the data by running with different reference minerals and by calibrating with other independent labs.

    “We attempted to reconcile the findings with some of the conventional explanations for lavas with oxygen isotope compositions like these, but nothing could fully explain all of the observations. It became apparent that these rocks preserve signatures of processes that occurred over four billion years ago and that are still not completely understood,” said Benjamin Byerly.

    Oxygen isotopes are measured by the conversion of rock or minerals into a gas and measuring the ratios of oxygen with the different masses of 16, 17, and 18. A variety of processes fractionate oxygen on Earth and in the Solar System, including atmospheric, hydrospheric, biological, and high temperature and pressure.

    “Different planets in our solar system have different oxygen isotope ratios. On Earth this is modified by surface atmosphere and hydrosphere, so variations could be due either to heterogeneous mantle (original accumulation of planetary debris or remnants of magma ocean) or surface processes,” said Gary Byerly. “Either might be interesting to study. The latter because it would also provide information about the early surface temperature of Earth and early origins of life.”

    This work was supported by a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Gary Byerly, a NASA grant awarded to Bao, and general support from LSU.

    3
    Left to right: Benjamin Byerly (foreground) and Gary Byerly (background) examine komatiite volcanic rocks from the Barberton Mountains of South Africa, Keena Kareem and Gary Byerly (top right), and Huiming Bao standing next to the specially designed laser fluorination line used to isolate oxygen extracted from minerals

    Photos provided by Gary Byerly

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Louisiana State University (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly referred to as LSU) is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    LSU is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of LSU’s graduate schools, such as the E.J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution, LSU is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    LSU’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.

     
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