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New geology research explores intriguing questions
Date:12/18/2013

ic triterpene found in sapogenins like those of ginseng) compounds are preserved in geological samples of Miocene and Eocene ambers. The presence of hydroxydammarenone in Miocene amber clearly depicts that natural biotriterpenoid markers can be preserved in the geosphere for tens of millions of years. This result demonstrates that the dammarane-type oxygenated compounds, which are extensively used in archaeological studies, can be utilized as valuable markers for paleobotanical studies.


Magnetite in seafloor serpentinite -- Some like it hot
Frieder Klein et al., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA, fklein@whoi.edu. Posted online ahead of print on 13 Dec. 2013; http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G35068.1.

Rocks of Earth's mantle unroofed by tectonic forces interact with seawater along plate boundaries, such as mid-ocean ridges, continental margins, and subduction zones. This process, referred to as serpentinization, generates substantial amounts of hydrogen, which supports a deep biosphere in sub-seafloor environments with chemical energy. While hydrogen generation is commonly attributed to the precipitation of magnetite (an iron oxide formed during serpentinization), we find that low-temperature serpentinization produces Ni-Fe alloy but hardly any magnetite. Despite the small amounts of magnetite, abundant hydrogen is generated through ferric iron hosted in serpentine (the dominant mineral group formed during serpentinization), lending support to the idea that low- to moderate-temperature serpentinization can generate abundant hydrogen within the temperature limits of life.


A perturbed hydrological cycle during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2
Niels A.G.M. van Helmond et al., Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 4, 3584 C
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Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert  

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