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See detailSilicate mineralogy at the surface of Mercury
Namur, Olivier ULg; Charlier, Bernard ULg

in Nature Geoscience (2017)

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has revealed geochemical diversity across Mercury’s volcanic crust. Near-infrared to ultraviolet spectra and images have provided evidence for the Fe2+-poor nature of silicate ... [more ▼]

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has revealed geochemical diversity across Mercury’s volcanic crust. Near-infrared to ultraviolet spectra and images have provided evidence for the Fe2+-poor nature of silicate minerals, magnesium sulfide minerals in hollows and a darkening component attributed to graphite, but existing spectral data is insufficient to build a mineralogical map for the planet. Here we investigate the mineralogical variability of silicates in Mercury’s crust using crystallization experiments on magmas with compositions and under reducing conditions expected for Mercury. We find a common crystallization sequence consisting of olivine, plagioclase, pyroxenes and tridymite for all magmas tested. Depending on the cooling rate, we suggest that lavas on Mercury are either fully crystallized or made of a glassy matrix with phenocrysts. Combining the experimental results with geochemical mapping, we can identify several mineralogical provinces: the Northern Volcanic Plains and Smooth Plains, dominated by plagioclase, the High-Mg province, strongly dominated by forsterite, and the Intermediate Plains, comprised of forsterite, plagioclase and enstatite. This implies a temporal evolution of the mineralogy from the oldest lavas, dominated by mafic minerals, to the youngest lavas, dominated by plagioclase, consistent with progressive shallowing and decreasing degree of mantle melting over time. [less ▲]

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See detailIron-dependent nitrogen cycling in a ferruginous lake and the nutrient status of Proterozoic oceans
Michiels, Celine C.; Darchambeau, François ULg; Roland, Fleur ULg et al

in Nature Geoscience (2017), advance online publication

Nitrogen limitation during the Proterozoic has been inferred from the great expanse of ocean anoxia under low-O2 atmospheres, which could have promoted NO3- reduction to N2 and fixed N loss from the ocean ... [more ▼]

Nitrogen limitation during the Proterozoic has been inferred from the great expanse of ocean anoxia under low-O2 atmospheres, which could have promoted NO3- reduction to N2 and fixed N loss from the ocean. The deep oceans were Fe rich (ferruginous) during much of this time, yet the dynamics of N cycling under such conditions remain entirely conceptual, as analogue environments are rare today. Here we use incubation experiments to show that a modern ferruginous basin, Kabuno Bay in East Africa, supports high rates of NO3- reduction. Although 60 of this NO3- is reduced to N2 through canonical denitrification, a large fraction (40\%) is reduced to NH4+, leading to N retention rather than loss. We also find that NO3- reduction is Fe dependent, demonstrating that such reactions occur in natural ferruginous water columns. Numerical modelling of ferruginous upwelling systems, informed by our results from Kabuno Bay, demonstrates that NO3- reduction to NH4+ could have enhanced biological production, fuelling sulfate reduction and the development of mid-water euxinia overlying ferruginous deep oceans. This NO3- reduction to NH4+ could also have partly offset a negative feedback on biological production that accompanies oxygenation of the surface ocean. Our results indicate that N loss in ferruginous upwelling systems may not have kept pace with global N fixation at marine phosphorous concentrations (0.04-0.13[thinsp][mu]M) indicated by the rock record. We therefore suggest that global marine biological production under ferruginous ocean conditions in the Proterozoic eon may thus have been P not N limited. [less ▲]

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See detailReversal of global atmospheric ethane and propane trends largely due to US oil and natural gas production
Helmig, Detlev; Rossabi, Samuel; Hueber, Jacques et al

in Nature Geoscience (2016)

Non-methane hydrocarbons such as ethane are important precursors to tropospheric ozone and aerosols. Using data from a global surface network and atmospheric column observations we show that the steady ... [more ▼]

Non-methane hydrocarbons such as ethane are important precursors to tropospheric ozone and aerosols. Using data from a global surface network and atmospheric column observations we show that the steady decline in ethane concentrations that began in the 1970s halted between 2005 and 2010 in most of the Northern Hemisphere, and has since reversed. We calculate a yearly increase in ethane emissions in the Northern Hemisphere of 0.42 (+/-0.19) Tg/yr between mid-2009 and mid-2014. The largest increases in ethane and for the shorter-lived propane are seen over the central and eastern USA, with a spatial distribution that suggests North American oil and natural gas development as the primary source of increasing emissions. By including other co-emitted oil and natural gas non-methane hydrocarbons, we estimate a Northern Hemisphere total non-methane hydrocarbon yearly emission increase of 1.2 (+/-0.8) Tg/yr. Atmospheric chemical transport modelling suggests that these emissions could augment summertime mean surface ozone by several nanomoles per mole near oil and natural gas production regions. Methane/ethane oil and natural gas emission ratios suggest a significant increase in associated methane emissions; however, this increase is inconsistent with observed leak rates in production regions and changes in methane’s global isotopic ratio. [less ▲]

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See detailGlobally significant greenhouse-gas emissions from African inland waters
Borges, Alberto ULg; Darchambeau, François ULg; Teodoru, Cristian R. et al

in Nature Geoscience (2015), advance online publication

Carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from inland waters[mdash]streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs[mdash]are nearly equivalent to ocean and land sinks globally. Inland waters can be an important ... [more ▼]

Carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from inland waters[mdash]streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs[mdash]are nearly equivalent to ocean and land sinks globally. Inland waters can be an important source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions as well, but emissions are poorly quantified, especially in Africa. Here we report dissolved carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide concentrations from 12 rivers in sub-Saharan Africa, including seasonally resolved sampling at 39 sites, acquired between 2006 and 2014. Fluxes were calculated from published gas transfer velocities, and upscaled to the area of all sub-Saharan African rivers using available spatial data sets. Carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions from river channels alone were about 0.4 Pg carbon per year, equivalent to two-thirds of the overall net carbon land sink previously reported for Africa. Including emissions from wetlands of the Congo river increases the total carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse-gas emissions to about 0.9 Pg carbon per year, equivalent to about one quarter of the global ocean and terrestrial combined carbon sink. Riverine carbon dioxide and methane emissions increase with wetland extent and upland biomass. We therefore suggest that future changes in wetland and upland cover could strongly affect greenhouse-gas emissions from African inland waters. [less ▲]

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See detailArsenic-metabolizing microorganisms on Primitive Earth
Sforna, Marie-Catherine ULg; Phillipot, Pascal; Somogyi, Andrea et al

in Nature Geoscience (2014), 7

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See detailAnthropogenic perturbation of the carbon fluxes from land to ocean
Regnier; Friedlingstein, P.; Ciais, P. et al

in Nature Geoscience (2013)

A substantial amount of the atmospheric carbon taken up on land through photosynthesis and chemical weathering is transported laterally along the aquatic continuum from upland terrestrial ecosystems to ... [more ▼]

A substantial amount of the atmospheric carbon taken up on land through photosynthesis and chemical weathering is transported laterally along the aquatic continuum from upland terrestrial ecosystems to the ocean. So far, global carbon budget estimates have implicitly assumed that the transformation and lateral transport of carbon along this aquatic continuum has remained unchanged since pre-industrial times. A synthesis of published work reveals the magnitude of present-day lateral carbon fluxes from land to ocean, and the extent to which human activities have altered these fluxes. We show that anthropogenic perturbation may have increased the flux of carbon to inland waters by as much as 1.0 Pg C yr-1 since pre-industrial times, mainly owing to enhanced carbon export from soils. Most of this additional carbon input to upstream rivers is either emitted back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (~0.4 Pg C yr-1) or sequestered in sediments (~0.5 Pg C yr-1) along the continuum of freshwater bodies, estuaries and coastal waters, leaving only a perturbation carbon input of ~0.1 Pg C yr-1 to the open ocean. According to our analysis, terrestrial ecosystems store ~0.9 Pg C yr-1 at present, which is in agreement with results from forest inventories but significantly differs from the figure of 1.5 Pg C yr-1 previously estimated when ignoring changes in lateral carbon fluxes. We suggest that carbon fluxes along the land–ocean aquatic continuum need to be included in global carbon dioxide budgets. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrofossils from early Earth
Javaux, Emmanuelle ULg

in Nature Geoscience (2011), 4(10), 663-665

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See detailContrasting response of European forest and grassland energy exchange to heatwaves
Teuling, A. J.; Seneviratne, S. I.; Stöckli, R. et al

in Nature Geoscience (2010), 3(10), 722-727

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