Category archives: Geosciences

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

GeosciencesHistory

By Invited Researcher

Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand and Charne Lavery, University of Pretoria On many beaches around the Indian Ocean, keen observers may spot bits of broken pottery. Washed smooth by the ocean, these shards are in all likelihood hundreds of years old, from centres of ceramic production like the Middle Eastern Abbasid caliphate and the […]

Beer supply in danger

Beer supply in danger

GeosciencesPlant biology

By Daniel Marino

The history of Earth climate is characterized by a succession of glacial and interglacial periods. However, although climate change is inherent to Earth, the observed trend of temperature increase over the past century cannot be explained by climate models which include solar irradiance and are only explicable by the rise in greenhouse gases. Mauna Loa […]

Metals, greek letters and Earth’s core

Metals, greek letters and Earth’s core

ChemistryCondensed matterGeosciencesMaterials

By DIPC

Imagine a bucket filled with hard spheres. As these spheres are free to pack together as closely as geometry allows they tend to adopt a close-packed structure, a structure in which there is least unfilled space. X-ray diffraction studies reveal that many metallic elements have close-packed structures. This simple fact explains a couple of very […]

What’s going on beneath Mexico?

What’s going on beneath Mexico?

Geosciences

By Daniel García

Something weird is happening in Mexico these days. Two powerful earthquakes have hit the country in two weeks. The second one occurred exactly on the same date of the thirty-second anniversary of the most damaging quake known in the country and the early warning system did not work properly. Even more: two hurricanes are causing […]

Geological phenomena implying dissolved species bring new insights on fundamental thermophysics

Geological phenomena implying dissolved species bring new insights on fundamental thermophysics

ChemistryCondensed matterGeosciences

By DIPC

Over geologic time scales, seawater transforms the basalt of the ocean floor by chemical attack. At the end of this alteration process, the basalt turns partly into clays and partly into dissolved salts in sea water. Lithium, a chemical element initially contained in basalt, will then be distributed between clay and seawater. This separation has […]

Critical materials: The missing piece of the “green economy” puzzle

Critical materials: The missing piece of the “green economy” puzzle

EconomicsGeosciencesMaterials

By Silvia Román

It is widely accepted that low carbon technologies will contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly those coming from carbon dioxide, and thus slow down the global warming. That’s why most of the largest economies in the world have committed to reduce their gas emissions by supporting an unprecedented transition from the current fossil-fuel based […]