Elements Covers

Posts by Nancy L. Ross

v15n1 From the Editors

With the start of 2019, John M. Eiler joins the Elements editorial team. He is taking on the role as our geochemistry principal editor.
There are so many more topics to feature in Elements. In March 2019, the editorial team will meet to evaluate proposals for inclusion in our lineup. We invite you to contact one of the Elements editors and submit a thematic proposal for consideration!

Read More

Mineralogical Revelations From Space Odysseys

Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008), perhaps best known for the 1968 book and film 2001: A Space Odyssey, once stated that “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” As you enjoy this issue of Elements on planet Mercury, think about the remarkable achievement of sending a spacecraft to Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun.

Read More

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”?

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More