v14n5 From the Editors

About This Issue

The Voyages Extraordinaires (Extraordinary Voyages), written by the French author Jules Verne (1828–1905), is a sequence of 54 novels that have captivated the imagination of readers for more than 150 years. In the prologue of Verne’s second novel, Journeys and Adventures of Captain Hatteras, Jules Hetzel, Verne’s editor, wrote that the goal of Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages was “to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format ...the history of the universe.” One of Verne’s most popular works, originally published as a multipart series between March 1869 and June 1870, was Vingt Mille Lieues Sous les Mers : Tour du Monde Sous-Marin (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: A Tour of the Underwater World). Verne allows the reader to experience the wonders of the deep-marine world though a “20,000” league (a metric league is approximately 4 km) journey through the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans on the Nautilus, a fictional submarine commanded by Captain Nemo.

Not long after Verne’s undersea adventure was published, scientists conducted their own “tour of the underwater world” onboard the first global marine research vessel, the HMS Challenger. During this almost four-year-long expedition (1872–1876), the Challenger circumnavigated the globe, traveling over 127,000 km (or … “32,000” leagues). The six scientists and 243 crew members discovered over 4,700 new species of animals and plants, took 492 depth soundings (including the Mariana Trench and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge), and collected plant, animal and rock samples from 362 sample stations. It was during this expedition that scientists learned that polymetallic nodules (commonly known as manganese nodules and first discovered in 1868), were found to occur in most oceans of the world. It is these deposits, along with massive sulfide deposits, that are the focus of this issue of Elements.

We still know so little about the Earth’s oceans. Yet, the oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and are essential for international commerce, transport, food, resources, and regulating Earth’s temperature and weather. According to the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 80% of this vast, underwater realm remains unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. The difficulty and cost of exploring the ocean has limited our ability to learn more. Thankfully, there are governments and research organizations committed to exploring and studying our oceans. Many of the authors in this issue are part of marine research teams and have taken the time, between scientific cruises, to write about a small portion (seafloor and mineral resources) of this fascinating, yet mostly unexplored, realm. In case you are keen to learn even more about our oceans, the next issue of Elements will focus on another portion of the ocean: seawater.

2018 Elements Editorial Meeting

The Elements editorial team held their annual meeting in Boston (Massachusetts, USA) on August 12. This is a highly productive time for the team when they can meet face-to-face for training, addressing editorial challenges, establishing editorial policies, and setting the publishing schedule.

One of the most important tasks during the editorial meeting is to discuss and evaluate submitted thematic proposals for possible inclusion into the Elements line-up. Prior to the meeting, we had received 13 proposals for our consideration. This was a difficult task for the editors as only four proposals could be accepted (April, June, August, October 2020 issues). The following topics will be brought to you in 2020:
Elements 2020 Thematic Topics

February Abiotic Hydrogen and Hydrocarbons
April Raman Spectroscopy in Earth and Planetary Sciences
June Redox Engine of Earth
August Lithium: Less is More
October Archaeological Materials
December To be determined March 2019

The editorial team welcomes the submission of proposals for our next editorial meeting in early March 2019. If you have a topic you would like to see in Elements, contact our editorial team and submit a proposal by February 2019.

Feedback from Elements Readership

In our August 2018 “From the Editors”, we shared with you Elements Thomson Reuters 2017 Impact Factor. Elements publishes review articles that are being highly cited in the scientific literature. But, how do we measure the usefulness of the magazine beyond the citation rate? That was a question the editorial team posed during our editorial meeting in August. To begin answering that question, we had a “comment box” available at the Elements booth during the Goldschmidt2018 meeting. Attendees were welcomed to leave feedback (good or bad) about the magazine. Thanks to all of you who provided helpful and constructive feedback. Below is a sampling of some of the feedback we received:

  • “I love Elements. The articles are always of very high quality and appropriate to all kinds of audiences. I frequently use Elements in my teaching where my students (undergraduates) get in touch with state-of-the-art research in a variety of Element’s fields.”
  • “I used Elements magazine to study for my PhD comps. The articles provide a useful review of the topic and are written in a readable and engaging manner.”
  • “I find Elements a very good journal to broaden students interests in Earth science. It is a good example of science communication in both text and illustrations.”
  • “I love Elements! It gets me to observe the multiple sides of the Earth Sciences. What I like the most is to receive hard copies, which I can comfortably read at home. I would not read electronic copies. Please keep going the way you are!”
  • “A geoscience education column would be impactful for the community. Even if I’m not 100% interested in the issue topic, I always read the columns.”

We welcome your comments because they help keep Elements relevant and useful to our readership. You can always contact us using the Contact Form found at http://elementsmagazine.org/contact/


Suzanne M. Kay’s biography and photo have been updated on page 223 of the August 2018 (Volume 14, Number 4) issue of Elements. Download from http://elementsmagazine.org/past-issues/central-andes/

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