21444021870
quantumaniac:


The Earth Before Oxygen
Microfossils found in Australia show that more than 3.4 billion years ago, bacteria  that fed on sulphur compounds to survive, thrived on an Earth that had no oxygen —a finding that boosts hopes life has existed on Mars and elsewhere, according to a 2011 study by researchers from the University of Western Australia and Oxford University.

The team said the remains of microbes, located in ancient sedimentary rocks that have triggered debate for nearly a decade, have been confirmed as the earliest fossils ever recorded.


The sample came from the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia, a site called Strelley Pool, where the microbes, after dying, had been finely preserved between quartz sand grains. Pilbara has some of the planet’s oldest rock formations, set down in the so-called Archean Eon when the infant Earth was a primeval water world, with seas that were the temperature of a hot bath.

In 2002, another team of scientists, working in the same region just 35 kilometres (20 miles) away, said they had found bacteria fossils in the same formation. But the claim was disputed, with some experts saying that the tiny pockmarks were not the signatures of once-living organisms but the result of mineralization of the rocks.Drawing on the latest electron microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, the authors of the new study say they have triple proof that their sample is biological in origin.The marks measure only about 10 millionths of a metre (0.0004 inches) long. Their shape and clustering are not only consistent with bacterial cells, say the scientists.They also have minute crystals of pyrite, an iron-and-sulphur compound also known as fool’s gold, which are a clear by-product of metabolising sulphur and sulphates, according to their argument.The team, led by David Wacey of the University of Western Australia, report the finding in the journal Nature Geoscience.“At last we have good solid evidence for life over 3.4 billion years ago. It confirms there were bacteria at this time, living without oxygen,” Martin Brasier, a professor at Oxford University, said in a press release.Sulphur-loving bacteria “are still common today”, added Brasier. The image top of page shows a 3D reconstruction of a 3.4 billion-year-old microfossil about 10 micrometers in diameter from Western Australia (L). Cross sections through the reconstruction (R) emphasize the spheroidal nature of this ancient cell. According to a study published in “Nature Geoscience”, microfossils were discovered in a 3.4 billion-year-old sandstone at the base of of Strelley Pool in western Australia.

quantumaniac:

The Earth Before Oxygen

Microfossils found in Australia show that more than 3.4 billion years ago, bacteria  that fed on sulphur compounds to survive, thrived on an Earth that had no oxygen —a finding that boosts hopes life has existed on Mars and elsewhere, according to a 2011 study by researchers from the University of Western Australia and Oxford University.

The team said the remains of microbes, located in ancient sedimentary rocks that have triggered debate for nearly a decade, have been confirmed as the earliest fossils ever recorded.
The sample came from the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia, a site called Strelley Pool, where the microbes, after dying, had been finely preserved between quartz sand grains. Pilbara has some of the planet’s oldest rock formations, set down in the so-called Archean Eon when the infant Earth was a primeval water world, with seas that were the temperature of a hot bath.

In 2002, another team of scientists, working in the same region just 35 kilometres (20 miles) away, said they had found bacteria fossils in the same formation. But the claim was disputed, with some experts saying that the tiny pockmarks were not the signatures of once-living organisms but the result of mineralization of the rocks.

Drawing on the latest electron microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, the authors of the new study say they have triple proof that their sample is biological in origin.The marks measure only about 10 millionths of a metre (0.0004 inches) long. Their shape and clustering are not only consistent with bacterial cells, say the scientists.

They also have minute crystals of pyrite, an iron-and-sulphur compound also known as fool’s gold, which are a clear by-product of metabolising sulphur and sulphates, according to their argument.
The team, led by David Wacey of the University of Western Australia, report the finding in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“At last we have good solid evidence for life over 3.4 billion years ago. It confirms there were bacteria at this time, living without oxygen,” Martin Brasier, a professor at Oxford University, said in a press release.
Sulphur-loving bacteria “are still common today”, added Brasier. 

The image top of page shows a 3D reconstruction of a 3.4 billion-year-old microfossil about 10 micrometers in diameter from Western Australia (L). Cross sections through the reconstruction (R) emphasize the spheroidal nature of this ancient cell. According to a study published in “Nature Geoscience”, microfossils were discovered in a 3.4 billion-year-old sandstone at the base of of Strelley Pool in western Australia.

(Source: dailygalaxy.com)

19169459833

expose-the-light:

Elements for Clean Energy

1. Lithium

Graham Murdoch

Because of its high reactivity and low mass, lithium is used as the charge carrier in the lightest and most energy-dense rechargeable batteries on the market. Ignore talk of “peak lithium.” The element is abundant and environmentally benign.

2. Cobalt

Graham Murdoch

Used in battery electrodes, superalloys for jet turbines, and magnets, cobalt is relatively abundant. The problem is, 49 percent of the world’s annual supply is mined in the Congo, which is consistently plagued by conflict.

3. Tellurium

Graham Murdoch

Layers of the rare semimetal tellurium allow cadmium-tellurium solar panels to absorb more light with far less material than conventional silicon panels. Unfortunately, tellurium is produced only in tiny quantities, as a by-product of copper refining.

4.Neodymium

Graham Murdoch

Neodymium and many of the 16 other rare-earth elements have unusual electron configurations that produce strange but useful magnetic and optical properties. Rare earths have long been ignored and are produced in extremely small quantities.

5. Rhenium

Graham Murdoch

Perhaps no metal is more resistant to corrosion at high temperatures than rhenium, which, like cobalt, is used in superalloys for highly efficient jet engines. But hardly any metal is rarer than rhenium, which is five times as scarce as gold.

6. Platinum

Graham Murdoch

Platinum is highly resistant to corrosion and an excellent catalyst, essential for air-pollution scrubbers such as catalytic converters. Most of the world’s supply comes from just two countries, Russia and South Africa.

(via scinerds)

16721127850
geologise:


The book “Orda Cave Awareness Project” (by samebody)

It is dedicated to the biggest underwater gypsum cave in the world. It is located near Orda village (Perm region, Russia). The book contains articles by geologists, stories about animal life of the cave, interviews with pioneers, reviews by leading experts in cave diving. The book is illustrated with more than 100 unique underwater photos. Also the first published map of Orda cave with additions and clarifications. The work on the book took half a year, the team made more than 150 dives. All 5 kilometers of its underwater galleries were photographed. ordacave.ru.

geologise:

The book “Orda Cave Awareness Project” (by samebody)

It is dedicated to the biggest underwater gypsum cave in the world. It is located near Orda village (Perm region, Russia). The book contains articles by geologists, stories about animal life of the cave, interviews with pioneers, reviews by leading experts in cave diving. The book is illustrated with more than 100 unique underwater photos. Also the first published map of Orda cave with additions and clarifications. The work on the book took half a year, the team made more than 150 dives. All 5 kilometers of its underwater galleries were photographed. ordacave.ru.

(via scinerds)