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Posts by Nancy L. Ross

The “Plasticene” Epoch?

This issue of Elements explores the fascinating realm of deep-ocean deposits that have the potential to provide society with many of the raw mineral resources required to meet the world’s growing needs. While raw materials have always, and always will, play a critical role in meeting these demands, materials made by humans have also become increasingly important, expanding in concert along with the world’s population, industry, and resource use. Most notably, plastics, which are synthetic organic polymers derived from fossil hydrocarbons, have become an indispensable part of our material world because of their remarkable number of uses and versatility. Plastic bottles, bags, credit cards, scotch tape, pipes, toys, to name a few, form part of our everyday life. Not surprisingly, the global production of plastic has increased from 2 metric tons (Mt) in 1950 to 380 Mt in 2015 (Geyer et al. 2017). By 2050, Geyer et al. (2017) estimate that roughly 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will be in the natural environment. This is a staggering amount, enough to cover the entire surface of the Earth in a thin layer of plastic! With the growing abundance of plastic, the potential for preservation in the rock record increases. What impact will synthetic materials like plastic have on future deposits in the Earth – will there be a “Plasticene Epoch”?

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v14n4 From the Editors

This issue of Elements is the first of its kind. It is the first of the field-based thematic issues that features a specific geographic region of particular geological interest. It is not an easy task to encapsulate a massive geographic region in 6 mini-review articles for a readership that represents a broad spectrum of scientific interests. Obviously, one can’t cover everything in a single issue of Elements, so what topics should be featured? This is a new avenue to explore and we welcome your feedback. We also share the Elements 2017 Impact Factor in this report.

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v14n3 From the Editors

Geologists love their beer and wine. There is abundant proof of this statement if you have ever attended an international geoscience conference. Typically, included with an attendee’s registration packet received upon arrival at the conference are beer/wine tickets. Scientists may disperse through the day to attend talks, workshops, and poster sessions, but, late in the afternoons, kegs of beer and bottles of wine are rolled out and the scientists will quickly converge on the beer/wine stations. As the topic of this thematic issue of Elements is on wine, the question begs to be asked, where does all that wine originate?

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v14n2 From the Editors

We are excited to announce that John M. Eiler, Robert P. Sharp Professor of Geology and Geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (USA) has agreed to join the Elements editorial team as our next geochemistry editor. His official term begins January 2019. He will replace Friedhelm von Blanckenburg whose term of office ends December 2018. We will introduce John more formally at a later date.

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Food for Geological Thought

I recently asked a first-year student what the difference was between a rock and a mineral and he replied, “A rock is like a salad…” His immediate reply started me thinking about using food analogues to teach geological concepts. I subsequently found this approach has been widely studied and proven to be effective. For example, Baker et al. (2004) used the viscosities of common foods as analogues for silicate melts to help teach students about igneous processes.

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v13n6 About this Issue, Thanks!, 2018 Preview and Future Issues

In our final issue of 2017, we like to take a moment to extend our appreciation to the guest editors and authors who contributed to the six issues of volume 13. These men and women volunteered their valuable time for writing interesting and accessible articles for Elements’ scientifically diverse audience. We also thank our feature editors (Ian Parsons, Michael Wiedenbeck, Cari Corrigan, and Andrea Koziol) who produce the Parting Shots, The Elements Toolkit, CosmoElements, and the Meetings Calendar. We also acknowledge the reviewers, our copyeditor Patrick Roycroft, and our graphic artist Michel Guay, who diligently work in the background to bring Elements to life.

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v13n5 About This Issue, 2017 Editorial Meeting

On Sunday, 13 August 2017, the Elements editorial team held their annual staff meeting in Paris (France). The meeting was an invaluable opportunity for our international team to discuss, face-to-face, editorial matters. We addressed the problems and logistics of handling manuscripts, evaluating proposals, setting the topical lineup for the first half of 2019, and we explored the challenges and opportunities for our magazine in this digital age of the internet, social media, and YouTube. We also met with the Elements Executive Committee. The members of this committee represent the 17 participating societies and it is they who oversee the financial aspects of our publication. It was a long but productive day.

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