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Posts by James R. Hein

Formation and Occurrence of Ferromanganese Crusts: Earth’s Storehouse for Critical Metals

Marine ferromanganese oxide crusts (Fe–Mn crusts) are potentially important metal resources formed on the seafloor by precipitation of dissolved and colloidal components from ambient seawater onto rocky surfaces. The unique properties and slow growth rates of the crusts promote adsorption of numerous elements from seawater: some, such as Te and Co, reach concentrations rarely encountered elsewhere in nature. Consequently, Fe–Mn crusts are potential sources of metals used in technologies considered essential for the transition to a low-carbon economy. However, the precise distributions and metal concentrations of Fe–Mn crusts at regional and local scales are poorly constrained because of the diversity of geological, oceanographic and chemical processes involved in their formation.

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Marine Ferromanganese Encrustations: Archives of Changing Oceans

Fungi are ubiquitous inhabitants of rock and mineral surfaces and are significant geoactive agents. Capable of numerous transformations of metals and minerals, fungi can prosper in the most adverse of environments, their activities underpinned by growth form and metabolism. Free-living filamentous species, microcolonial fungi and lichens can significantly change a rock’s surficial structure and appearance, ranging from discolouration and staining to biodeterioration and the formation of new biogenic minerals and rock coatings. The presence and activity of fungi should be considered in any study of rock and mineral transformations that seeks to understand the biotic and abiotic processes that underpin geochemical change in the biosphere.

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