December 2018 Issue Table of Contents
About This Issue
Photographs from space clearly reveal Earth as a water planet, with ~70% of its surface covered by water. Using satellite measurements and ocean bathymetry, scientists estimate that the total volume of the world’s oceans is ~1.3 billion km3 or 1.3 × 1021 liters. That’s an enormous amount of water. So, what can we learn about the oceans from measurements of elements that are found in incredibly small quantities (e.g. 10−9 to 10−18 mol/L)? Aren’t such small concentrations insignificant with respect to the enormity of the oceans? As the authors of this issue convincingly convey, these incredibly small trace quantities of certain elements actually reveal a lot.
This issue of Elements is the first that deals wholesale with seawater and the second that deals with the ocean (the first being the October 2018 issue which focused on deep-ocean mineral deposits). One would think that we would have featured the ocean sooner, but studying the mineralogy, petrology, or geochemistry of the ocean isn’t an easy thing to do. As mentioned in our previous From the Editors, less than 20% of the world’s oceans have been mapped, observed, and explored. Researching the world’s oceans requires a large international effort to gather sufficient data to make sense of this last “uncharted” realm. But it doesn’t come cheap: ships are not readily found in a typical researchers’ budget. And then there are the specialized tools and equipment and the customized methods for archiving and sharing vast quantities of data.
The guest editors and authors for this issue are all part of GEOTRACES. The GEOTRACES program (geotraces.org) was formally launched in 2010 and is an international research effort designed to improve our understanding of the ocean’s biogeochemical cycles. Researchers from more than 30 countries contribute to this global effort. A quick scan of the Meet the Authors for this issue of Elements will give you a sense of the international diversity represented by GEOTRACES: the guest editors and authors are from four different continents (Europe, South America, Australia, and North America). In May 2018, the organization released its GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product 2017, which compiles the first six years of data collection from more than 1,800 stations and 39 cruises. This data is freely available to everyone and can be obtained at www.geotraces.org/dp/idp2017. The authors of the articles in this issue introduce us to some of the results and findings of this international research effort.
In our final issue of 2018, we, the editors, would like to take a moment to extend our appreciation to the 13 guest editors and 76 authors who contributed to the six issues of volume 14. We also thank our feature editors (Ian Parsons, Michael Wiedenbeck, Cari Corrigan, and Andrea Koziol) who faithfully produce the Parting Shots, the Elements Toolkit, CosmoElements, and the Meetings Calendar. We also acknowledge the reviewers, our copy editor Patrick Roycroft, and our graphic artist Michel Guay.
In addition, we thank our advertisers for their continued support. Please take the time to visit their websites or speak with their representatives to learn more about their products and services. Those that advertised in 2018 were Analab, Analytical Instrument Systems, Applied Spectra Inc., Beta Analytic, Cambridge University Press, CAMECA, Coherent Inc., CrystalMaker Software Ltd., Elemental Scientific, Excalibur Minerals Corporation, Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Geological Society of London, The Geochemist’s Workbench, International Centre for Diffraction Data, International Mineralogical Association, IsotopX, Lochaber Geopark, Materials Research Society, OCLAB, ProtoXRD, and Savillex. Special mention goes to Analab, CAMECA, Excalibur Minerals Corporation, ProtoXRD, and Savillex, each of whom advertised in all six issues of 2018.
We also want to thank the 17 participating societies and their members who support this magazine. Without them, Elements wouldn’t exist. The Elements Executive Committee, with representatives from each participating society, provides financial oversight and guidance. They have kept Elements financially viable over the years, which has enabled us to produce a high-quality publication for our readership. The editorial team thanks the committee members for their commitment to Elements.
2019 Preview and Future Issues
Our line-up is complete through 2019 (see the thematic preview for 2019 on pages 370 and 371). If you have ideas for a thematic issue, contact one of the Elements principal editors and submit a proposal for consideration by the middle of February 2019. The editorial team will meet in March to set the line-up for the last issues of 2020 and early 2021. More information about publishing in Elements can be found at elementsmagazine.org/publish-in-elements/.
The Elements Executive Committee consists of representatives from the 17 participating societies. We are saddened to report that Tom Bullen, representative for the International Association of Geochemistry (IAGC), passed away in September 2018. Since joining the committee in 2011, Tom has been an enthusiastic and active member of the Elements family. He will be missed. We encourage you to read IAGC’s society news for a “Remembrance of Thomas (Tom) Bullen” (see page 417).