Deep Carbon Observatory
blue boron-bearing diamond
DCO researchers analyzed dozens of rare, expensive blue diamonds like this one to find the origin of these elusive gemstones. Mineral inclusions trapped inside the diamonds reveal that the gems have a deep and watery past. These diamonds formed in the lower mantle, from pieces of oceanic crust that sunk into the mantle through subduction. The work appears on the cover of the 2 August 2018 edition of Nature. Image credit: Evan M. Smith/GIA. Read more...

Letter from the Director

As the summer draws to a close, DCO scientists have unlocked mysteries about the origin of blue diamonds. In a paper featured on the cover of Nature (2 August 2018), Evan Smith (Gemological Institute of America, USA), Steve Shirey (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), Fabrizio Nestola (University of Padua, Italy), and colleagues report that blue diamonds are among the deepest samples of Earth’s interior ever found and shed new light on deep-mantle recycling of surface materials. 

Another DCO research group demonstrated that crystalline polymeric carbon dioxide (CO2-V) is stable at lower-mantle conditions. Roberto Bini (Universita di Firenze, Italy), Kamil Dziubek and Demetrio Scelta (European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy, Italy), along with colleagues at the University of Vienna and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility suggest that the presence of crystalline CO2 phases at lower-mantle conditions could represent a carbon source for chemical reactions and allow carbon transport to the core-mantle boundary.  

Michael Broadley (Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques, France), and Peter Barry and Chris Ballentine (both at the University of Oxford, UK) suggest in a new paper in Nature Geoscience that the eruption of the Siberian flood basalts caused a massive halogen release to the atmosphere, which may have kicked off the largest mass extinction in Earth history. 

In a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Kelly Wrighton, Michael Wilkins (both at Colorado State University, USA), David Cole, Julie Sheets (both at The Ohio State University, USA), and colleagues present coupled laboratory and field investigations that explain how microbial communities persist in hydraulically fractured shale at the elevated temperature, pressure, and salinity found 2500 meters beneath Earth’s surface.

DCO researchers continue to be recognized for scientific excellence.  This month, Deep Life Community member Antje Boetius (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany) was awarded the 2018 German Environmental Award for her “exemplary contributions to protecting the environment.”

We are seeking nominations for the 2018 DCO Emerging Leader Awards, which recognize early career scientists for distinguished performance and unique potential as leaders of the deep carbon science community. Please submit nominations by 28 September. It’s a great way to recognize the early career researchers who have made exceptional contributions to our community.

And last but not least, DCO released a new video on the Oman Drilling Project, featuring stunning footage of fieldwork in Oman as well as interviews with DCO scientists Peter Kelemen (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA) and Alexis Templeton (NASA Astrobiology Institute, USA). Please don’t miss it!

Craig Schiffries, DCO Director
Carnegie Institution for Science, Geophysical Laboratory
Washington DC, USA

News Features

Origin of Blue Diamonds Discovered
Experts judge a diamond’s worth by the four Cs, “color, clarity, cut, and carat weight,” and blue diamonds are no exception. These rare and expensive gemstones have a sparkling blue color and exceptional clarity. The largest ones measure more than 100 carats in their rough state. Scientists have puzzled over how these unusual diamonds form, and have finally come up with a fifth word that starts with “C” to describe their origins: crust. DCO researchers have found evidence that blue diamonds come from an exceptionally deep source, from the lower mantle, and that they form from materials that originated in the oceanic crust. Members of the Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community and the Reservoirs and Fluxes Community, Evan Smith (Gemological Institute of America, USA), Steve Shirey (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA), Fabrizio Nestola (University of Padua, Italy), and colleagues, report these findings in a new paper in the journal Nature. Read more...

Amino Acid Metabolism Fuels Fracking Communities
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has enabled natural gas companies to reach new heights in natural gas production. By pumping a mix of water and chemical additives into shale deposits, companies break up the rock to release more gas. This process opens up a subsurface habitat, seeding it with microbes carried along in the fracking fluid. A handful of organisms survive the high temperature, pressure, and salinity of their new home, 2,500 meters beneath the surface. In a new paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a large collaboration including DCO members Kelly Wrighton, Michael Wilkins (both at Colorado State University, USA), David Cole, Julie Sheets (both at The Ohio State University, USA), Timothy Carr (West Virginia University, USA), and Paula Mouser (University of New Hampshire, USA), examines the community of microbes that persist in these environments, and tease apart the ways that they compete, cooperate, and prey on each other. Using techniques to catalogue all of the genomes and metabolites in methane well fluids, the researchers show that the community survives by fermenting amino acids and their derivatives, especially glycine betaine. Read more...

Carbon Dioxide Stays Solid Under Deep Mantle Conditions
On the surface, carbon dioxide moves in complex cycles between living organisms and the physical world. In the subsurface, carbon dioxide plays equally important roles, but tracking its movements through the crust and mantle is a much harder task. Theoretical models have predicted that carbon dioxide exists as a solid crystalline structure deep into the mantle, but high-temperature and high-pressure laboratory experiments have found that carbon dioxide dissociates to form oxygen and diamonds under these conditions. A new study from DCO Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community members Roberto Bini (Universita di Firenze, Italy), Kamil Dziubek and Demetrio Scelta (European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy, Italy), along with colleagues at the University of Vienna and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), demonstrates that carbon dioxide can exist in a crystalline form under conditions simulating the core-mantle boundary. The researchers squeezed carbon dioxide up to 120 GPa (more than 1 million times greater than the pressure at sea level) and heated it to about 2400 degrees Celsius, which caused the carbon dioxide to rearrange into a tetrahedrally coordinated crystalline form called phase V. Their findings, published in a new paper in Nature Communications, suggest that carbon dioxide is more stable in the deep mantle than expected. Read more...

Did a Burst of Halogens Kick Off the End-Permian Extinction?
About 250 million years ago, one of the largest known volcanic events in history flooded the area that is now Siberia with lava, to create the Siberian flood basalts. A superheated mantle plume beneath the continent likely created the event, which erupted continuously for more than one million years. It led to the end-Permian mass extinction, wiping out more than 70 percent of all terrestrial species and 96 percent of all marine life. While scientists agree that the massive eruptions caused tremendous and rapid changes to the environment, there is ongoing debate about exactly why they were so destructive. DCO researchers propose that the erupted Siberian flood basalts released giant quantities of halogens, such as chlorine and bromine, into the atmosphere. These halogens may have eroded the ozone layer, allowing UV radiation from the sun to inundate Earth. Reservoirs and Fluxes Community member Michael Broadley (Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques, France), and Deep Energy Community members Peter Barry and Chris Ballentine (both at the University of Oxford, UK), examined the halogen content of rock samples that surfaced in Siberia before and after the eruption of the flood basalts. Their results, reported in a new paper in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggest that massive halogen release to the atmosphere may have kicked off the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history. Read more...

VIDEO: Oman Drilling Project
In this video, DCO researchers Peter Kelemen (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA) and Alexis Templeton (NASA Astrobiology Institute, USA) discuss how the secrets being revealed by this ancient seabed in Oman are helping to inform the search for life on other planets. The Oman Drilling Project is a collaborative multinational investigation of the Samail Ophiolite, the world’s largest, best-exposed, and most-studied subaerial block of oceanic crust and upper mantle. The Samail Ophiolite contains rock assemblages formed by seafloor spreading, providing scientists with an inside look at ancient oceanic lithosphere brought to the surface millions of years ago by tectonic plate action. The video, produced by CoLab Productions and the Engagement Team, with support from the Secretariat, was shot on location in the Sultanate of Oman over a period of 12 days. Watch now...

A Behind-the-Scenes look at "The Most Unknown"
What happens when researchers from very different fields meet to discuss the questions that fuel their interest in science? A new movie called The Most Unknown is an experiment to find out. Director Ian Cheney, with funding from the Simons Foundation and Motherboard, sets up a chain of nine interviews between researchers from disparate disciplines. The film employs a unique setup where the first scientist visits the second’s home turf, and then the second scientist visits the third one, on and on, until the final scientist returns to visit the first. Instead of focusing on the details of their work, they discuss how they approach the big questions: What is consciousness? How did life begin? What is the nature of the universe? Remarkably, three of the featured scientists are affiliated with the DCO Deep Life Community. Geomicrobiologist Jennifer Macalady (Penn State University, USA), astrobiologist Luke McKay (Montana State University, USA), and geobiologist Victoria Orphan (California Institute of Technology, USA) all participated in the experiment. Macalady and McKay talked with DCO science writer Patricia Waldron over Skype about their experiences participating in The Most Unknown. Read more...

A Detailed Investigation of Inputs and Outputs at New Zealand’s Hikurangi Margin
In an ongoing US National Science Foundation-funded project, DCO researchers are investigating the flux of volatile compounds, like water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas, into and out of the mantle along the Hikurangi Margin, an active subduction zone off the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. DCO researchers selected this area because it is a well-studied subduction zone where the oceanic plate, the Hikurangi Plateau, is sinking beneath the continental crust of the Indo-Australian Plate. The researchers are sampling key volatiles, including noble gases, and measuring inputs from the subducting oceanic plate and outputs from nearby volcanoes and hot springs. DCO Reservoirs and Fluxes Community member Gray Bebout (Lehigh University, USA) and a founding member of the DECADE project, Bruce Christenson (GNS Science, New Zealand) are collaborating with Hirochika Sumino (University of Tokyo, Japan) and Ikuko Wada (University of Minnesota, USA), along with Lehigh University Ph.D. student Gabe Epstein. The group plans to use thermal and thermodynamic modeling to map the movement of volatiles out of the subducting slab, investigating major factors affecting this recycling process. The work will yield more accurate estimates of the volatiles moving in and out of the subsurface at subduction zones. Read more...

International Initiative to Make Sample Registration Easy and Open on a Global Scale
In a new initiative funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, DCO colleague Kerstin Lehnert (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA) will lead an effort to grow the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN), a sample identification system developed by Lehnert and colleagues to overcome data management problems in the geosciences. Member organizations, including several national geological surveys, data service providers, and funding agencies in the US, Europe, and Australia, are using IGSN protocols to organize geological samples. The new project will extend IGSN into other scientific disciplines to catalog physical samples more generally. Read more...

Deep Carbon Science at Goldschmidt 2018
More than a thousand geochemists congregated in Boston, MA, USA for Goldschmidt 2018, with many Deep Carbon Observatory scientists among their ranks. The annual meeting, organized by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry, included participants from all four of DCO’s Science Communities (Extreme Physics and Chemistry, Reservoirs and Fluxes, Deep Energy, and Deep Life) as well as members of the Data Science, Modeling and Visualization, and Engagement groups. Read more...

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2018 DCO Emerging Leader Awards
The Deep Carbon Observatory invites all members of the DCO community to submit nominations for the 2018 DCO Emerging Leader Awards. These awards, bestowed annually, honor DCO early career scientists for distinguished performance and unique potential as leaders of the deep carbon science community. Award recipients will receive a certificate and a slab of carbonated Oman ophiolite in a beautiful display box, and will be highlighted on the DCO website. Nomination deadline: 28 September 2018. Read more...

Upcoming Events

The International Carbon Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 10-14 September 2018
The conference is a joint outreach meeting between three European networks; CarbFix (collaborative research project led by Reykjavik Energy, that aims at developing safe, simple and economical methods and technology for permanent CO2 mineral storage in basalts), S4CE (Science for Clean Energy) and MetalAid (Horizon 2020 Mare Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network), and the Deep Carbon Observatory and CarbSafe (study evaluating feasibility of collecting and storing carbon dioxide in a safe, ocean basalt reservoir offshore), and includes the DCO workshop, "Catastrophic Perturbations to Earth’s Carbon Cycle" from 10-11 September.

12th Edition of the International Congress on Extremophiles, Naples, Italy, 16-20 September 2018
Extremophiles 2018 aims to show the updated state-of-the-art of research on basic and applied aspects of life in extreme environments and to stimulate high quality research, inspiring those already working in the field and young scientists interested in studying extremophiles.

School on Convective and Volcanic Clouds Detecting, Monitoring, and Modeling, Nicolosi, Italy, 28 September-6 October 2018 
The purpose of the school is to train students in the detection, monitoring, and modeling of convective and volcanic clouds, including utilizing a variety of techniques, instruments, and satellite data. 

São Paulo School of Advanced Methane Science, Ilhabela, Brazil, 16-26 October 2018
Participants from around the world will discuss the origin and biogeochemistry of methane, new discoveries regarding methane metabolism, recent research concerning methane flux from terrestrial and marine environments, and newly discovered methanotrophic and methanogenic microorganisms and their role in methane cycling.

International Symposium on Deep Earth Exploration and Practices (DEEP-2018), Beijing, China, 24-26 October 2018
The meeting will serve as a platform where participants exchange ideas on progress in deep exploration of the lithosphere, to better understand deep processes in Earth, expand the new knowledge into practical applications, consider the future, and promote international collaboration on deep exploration of Earth. 

GSA Annual Meeting, Indianapolis IN, USA, 4-7 November 2018
The annual meeting of the Geological Society of America will highlight the Indiana area geology, as well as the wider world of geoscience research. 

International Continental Drilling Program Training Course on Continental Scientific Drilling, Windischeschenbach, Germany, 18-23 November 2018
This training course will touch upon all relevant aspects of continental scientific drilling, including project planning and management, pre-site surveys, drilling engineering, sample handling and storage, on-site studies, downhole logging and monitoring, data management, and post-drilling measures. Application deadline: 14 September 2018

Serpentinite in the Earth System Discussion Meeting, The Royal Society, London, UK, 19-20 November 2018
This meeting will bring together international scientists working on all aspects of serpentinization, a process that may have been important for the origin of life on Earth and perhaps other planets. Poster submission deadline: 14 September 2018

AGU Fall Meeting, Washington DC, USA, 10-14 December 2018
The American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. 

Honors and Awards

Antje Boetius, Deep Life 
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany
2018 German Environmental Award

Funding Opportunities

Deep Life Cultivation Internship Program
DCO's Deep Life Community (DLC) realizes that the majority of deep microbial life has been resistant to cultivation in the laboratory, which complicates the characterization of physiological characteristics of deep community members. However, recent studies using bioreactor-cultivation techniques, under high pressure and/or temperature, have resulted in successful enrichment of previously uncultivable archaeal and bacterial components that mediate biogeochemical carbon cycling in the deep subsurface. To maintain and strengthen cultivation strategies in future deep life missions, the DLC will support early career researchers to visit some key laboratories (Inagaki - Kochi, Japan, Bartlett - La Jolla, USA, and others) to learn and practice newly developed cultivation and cultivation-dependent molecular/biogeochemical techniques, using samples from the DLC’s field missions.

C-DEBI: Rolling Call for Research Exchange Proposals
The Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) facilitates scientific coordination and collaborations by supporting student, postdoctoral, and faculty exchanges to build, educate, and train the deep subseafloor biosphere community. We award small research exchange grants for Center participants. These grants may be used to support research, travel for presenting C-DEBI research at meetings, or travel exchanges to other partner institutions or institutions that have new tools and techniques that can be applied to C-DEBI research. We anticipate ~10 awards of $500-5,000 with additional matched funds to be granted annually. 

New Publications

View more papers in the DCO publications browser.

Blue boron-bearing diamonds from Earth’s lower mantle
Evan M. Smith, Steven B. Shirey, Stephen H. Richardson, Fabrizio Nestola, Emma S. Bullock, Jianhua Wang, and Wuyi Wang 
Nature doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0334-5

Crystalline polymeric carbon dioxide stable at megabar pressures
Kamil F. Dziubek, Martin Ende, Demetrio Scelta, Roberto Bini, Mohamed Mezouar, Gaston Garbarino, and Ronald Miletich 
Nature Communications doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05593-8

Coupled laboratory and field investigations resolve microbial interactions that underpin persistence in hydraulically fractured shales 
Mikayla A. Borton, David W. Hoyt, Simon Roux, Rebecca A. Daly, Susan A. Welch, Carrie D. Nicora, Samuel Purvine, Elizabeth K. Eder, Andrea J. Hanson, Julie M. Sheets, David M. Morgan, Richard A. Wolfe, Shikha Sharma, Timothy R. Carr, David R. Cole, Paula J. Mouser, Mary S. Lipton, Michael J. Wilkins, and Kelly C. Wrighton
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi:10.1073/pnas.1800155115 

End-Permian extinction amplified by plume-induced release of recycled lithospheric volatiles 
Michael W. Broadley, Peter H. Barry, Chris J. Ballentine, Lawrence A. Taylor, and Ray Burgess 
Nature Geoscience doi:10.1038/s41561-018-0215-4

Publication Opportunities

Invitation to Contribute to Fluid-Mineral Interactions Special Issue
A new special issue of Minerals will explore advances in the understanding of fluid-rock inteactions. Edited by DCO’s Alberto Vitale Brovarone (Intitut de Minéralogie, de Pysique des Matériaux et de Cosmochimie, IMPMC, CNRS, France) and Simone Tumiati (Università degli studi di Milano, Italy), the thematic issue aims at exploring fluid-mineral processes from different angles, from natural observations, to experimental and theoretical studies and their implications on reactivity and transformations at lithospheric conditions. Contributions related to the study of deep carbon are especially welcome. All members of the DCO Science Network are invited to submit articles. The submission period will run through the end of 2018. Read more...

Employment Opportunities

PhD Position On Fluid-Rock Interactions and Deep Carbon Cycling, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Torino, Italy
We seek a promising young scientist to pursue PhD research on metamorphic processes of abiotic hydrocarbon generation and recycling at high-pressure conditions relevant to subduction zone forearcs. This topic is gaining an increasing interest in the Earth Science communities, and the goal of this PhD is to provide groundbreaking results from the study of natural samples and their geological environment. The study stems from the recent discovery of processes of abiotic methanogenesis in metamorphic rocks from the Alpine belt. The work will focus on the study of natural samples of metamorphic rocks of mafic/ultramafic composition from different mountain belts, and will include —based on the background of the selected candidate — a combination of petrological/mineralogical and structural observations from the field down to the micro-nanoscale (optical and electron microscopy), geochemical investigations of both solid and fluid phases, including quantifications of Fe3+/Fe2+ ratios in solid phases, stable isotope analysis (C, O, H), and/or thermodynamic modeling in order to reconstruct the formation conditions and speciation of these fluids. The PhD will be based at Torino University, Italy, and will include mobility to Paris, France, within the frame of ongoing collaborations. Application deadline: 5 September 2018

Assistant Professor in Earth Surface Geochemistry (Tenure Track), Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
This appointment will be in the field of Earth Surface Geochemistry. Geology in Trinity College Dublin is setting up an Earth's Surface Research Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility designed expressly for the analysis of soils and sediment. The facility is fully funded to undertake a large, 10-year collaborative research project on Earth surface geochemistry and is supported by full-time technical staff. The appointee will direct the facility on a reduced teaching load during the initial term of appointment. The successful candidate will have an opportunity to expand the facility and is expected to develop an active externally funded program of research. Application deadline: 6 September 2018

Assistant Professor of Volcano Seismology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
The Geophysical Institute and Department of Geosciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are seeking a new, tenure-track volcano seismology faculty member at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor. The workload will consist of three parts; teaching, research, and service. Teaching: classroom, studio, laboratory, and distance delivery instruction in regular academic courses with assigned contact hours; development and coordination of special undergraduate and graduate seminars. Preparation of student materials for classes; preparation of a new course or program or substantial revision of an older course or program. General advising of undergraduate students; supervision of student mentorships; supervision of graduate student theses, dissertations, and research/creative projects; supervision of undergraduate theses and research/creative projects. Supervision of directed study through individualized courses; non-credit educational programs on-campus or elsewhere; and other activities benefiting students'' academic development. Application deadline: 9 September 2018

Assistant Professor (TenureTrack) in Multiple Disciplines, Amherst College, USA
The Amherst College Department of Geology invites applications for a tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor with expertise in one of the following broadly defined fields: Climate Science and Paleoclimate; or Mineralogy, Petrology, and High-Temperature Geochemistry; or Structural Geology, Tectonics, and Geophysics. We seek a colleague who is committed to excellence in Earth Science education in a liberal arts context with a record that demonstrates the promise of high-quality research and who is excited about involving undergraduate students in research projects. Application deadline: 14 September 2018

Assistant/Associate Professor Position in Geomicrobiology, University of Waterloo, Canada
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) in the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position at the Assistant or Associate Professor rank in the area of Geomicrobiology. The start date for the appointment can be as early as January 1, 2019. Applicants must have a PhD in a relevant field and a strong track record of scientific achievements, as demonstrated by publications in leading journals and a proven aptitude for interdisciplinary research. The successful candidate will be expected to establish an internationally recognized, and independently funded, research program that will enhance and complement the research and education activities of EES.  Applicants should have excellent communication skills and a strong commitment to teaching at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Application deadline: 1 October 2018

Two Tenure-track, Assistant Professor Positions in Volcanology and Geochemistry - New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. USA
The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology invites applications for two tenure-track, Assistant Professor positions: one in Volcanology and one in Geochemistry. Applicants should have a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences or a related field at the time of appointment. For the Volcanology position, we seek candidates with interests in one or a combination of the following research areas: igneous petrology, experimental petrology, volcanic gas geochemistry, remote sensing, physical or numerical modeling, volcano physics, physical volcanology, and/or volcanic hazards. For the Geochemistry position we seek candidates with interests in one or a combination of the following research areas: igneous petrochemistry, sedimentary geochemistry, geochemistry of ore deposits, geochronology, and/or isotope geochemistry. For both positions, potential for excellence in teaching and research are the most important qualifications. Responsibilities will include developing an active program of extramurally funded research, supervising and supporting M.S. and Ph.D. students, teaching graduate and/or undergraduate courses (3 courses total per year), and service to the Department, Institute, and at the national/international level. Application deadline: 1 October 2018

Faculty Position in Seismology - University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. USA
The Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa seeks applications for a faculty position in Earth Sciences at the rank of Assistant Professor (or Associate Professor for an exceptional candidate). Earthquake seismologists with expertise in studying or imaging the lithosphere, ideally with an emphasis on volcano structure or processes, that will complement existing strengths with the Department and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology are encouraged to apply. Scientists with field-based observation programs are preferred. The successful candidate is expected to establish and maintain a vigorous, synergistic, and externally funded research program and to participate extensively in the undergraduate and graduate instructional programs of the department. Candidates with a demonstrated record of teaching excellence, innovation, and breadth are preferred. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. at the time of the appointment. Application deadline: 1 October 2018

T.C. Chamberlin Postdoctoral Fellowship - The University of Chicago, USA
The Department of the Geophysical Sciences at The University of Chicago invites applications for the T.C. Chamberlin Postdoctoral Fellowships. We seek outstanding scientists who lead creative investigations into the nature of Earth and other planetary bodies–their physics, biology, chemistry, climate, and history–and who have a desire to participate in the broad intellectual life of the Department and the University. We encourage people with interests in any aspect of the Earth and planetary sciences to apply. To give a sense of the diverse interests of our Chamberlin Fellows, in recent years Fellows have included people whose research focuses on the effect of clouds on climate, asteroid impacts, biogeochemical cycling, and petrology/geochronology. Application deadline: 8 October 2018

Tenured or Tenure Track Faculty in Earth Systems Science, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences (E&ES) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY invites applications for a tenure/tenure-track position at the assistant, associate or full professor level in Earth Systems Science. The E&ES Department research areas include experimental, analytical and environmental geochemistry, petrology of Earth’s systems, environmental informatics, solid Earth geophysics, paleoclimate, origins of life, and geomicrobiology. We are seeking applicants whose research will complement and grow these strengths and whose research programs address fundamental problems in Earth Systems science. Disciplinary areas that are of particular interest include, but are not limited to, natural systems and environmental geochemistry, early Earth environments, geochemical proxies for interpreting ancient environments, global ocean-atmosphere-geosphere interactions, and planetary evolution. Additionally, research programs that address fundamental questions in hydrogeology and/or remote sensing will serve to expand the Earth Systems science program at RPI. Application deadline: 19 October 2018

Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (Postdoctoral, Predoctoral, Graduate Student, and Senior Fellowships)
The Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) invites fellowship applications for graduate student, postdoctoral, and senior fellows. Active areas of research include biomineralogy, environmental mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology, experimental petrology, volcanology, meteorite studies, solar system formation, and planetary formation and evolution. The department houses the National Meteorite Collection, the National Rock and Ore Collection, the National Gem and Mineral Collection, and the Global Volcanism Program. Postdoctoral candidates may request up to 24 months and predoctoral candidates up to 12 months of support; 10-week graduate fellowships may also be proposed. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Smithsonian research staff to identify potential advisors and discuss project feasibility. Application deadline: 1 November 2018

Wiess and Pan Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships, Rice University, USA
The Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University is inviting applications for the Wiess and Pan Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. We are seeking candidates with independent research interests that intersect with one or more faculty within our department. Both domestic and international applicants are welcome, but applicants must have a PhD awarded within three years of the time of appointment. Applicants are requested to develop a proposal of research to be undertaken during the fellowship period. The principal selection criteria are scientific excellence, a clearly expressed research plan to address questions at the forefront of their field of study, and research synergies with at least one faculty. Preference will be given to applicants whose proposals demonstrate independence and originality, and also the potential for collaboration with one or more faculty in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. Application deadline: 1 November 2018

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships - American Museum of Natural History
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the American Museum of Natural History invites applications to carry out projects in collaboration with curatorial staff. Fields of research include mineralogy, marine geochemistry, and meteoritics/planetary sciences. Appointments are for six months to two years beginning September 2019. Application deadline: 15 November 2018

Graduate Student Fellowship - American Museum of Natural History
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the American Museum of Natural History seeks students for collaborative AMNH-Columbia University and City University of New York (CUNY) Ph.D. programs. Fields of research include mineralogy, marine geochemistry, and meteoritics/planetary sciences. Students must apply simultaneously to Columbia or CUNY and AMNH and are expected to conduct research under the direction of a museum scientist. Students in good standing receive a full 12-month stipend and tuition for 4 years. Application deadline: 15 December 2018

Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, USA
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is seeking a qualified and highly motivated individual for a postdoctoral research scientist position in the laboratory of Dr. Beth Orcutt. The research will involve study of the marine deep biosphere, focusing on the use of subseafloor observatories to study microbial processes in the subsurface oceanic crust on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. The project will involve the possibility to be involved in single-cell based analytical techniques and/or poised potential experiments to examine microbial diversity and activity in the crustal subsurface. Applicants must have at least a PhD in marine sciences, oceanography, environmental microbiology or similar field with a proven publication record. Experience with project management or fieldwork also desired. Proficiency in computer programs for word processing and data entry are a must, as well as good written and oral communication skills. Application deadline: Until filled

Assistant Professor in Geology – Georgia Southwestern State University, USA
The Geology and Physics Department at Georgia Southwestern State University invites candidates to apply for a tenure-track faculty position in Geology. Qualified candidates must hold a PhD in Geology with a specialty in Mineralogy or Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology. The successful candidate will teach courses in introductory geology, upper-level courses in Geology in their area of specialization, and other courses to be determined by the chair. Experience with X-ray diffraction would be a plus. The successful applicant is also expected to advise students – both as senior thesis advisor and in general within the Geology degree program. The department is active in research and contract work, and continued research and scholarship are expected. Application deadline: Until filled

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Environmental Biotechnology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA
The Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB) is seeking an enthusiastic, highly motivated postdoctoral research associate to apply cutting-edge metagenomics methods. The position is available starting immediately for one year, with possible renewal for another year upon mutual agreement and availability of funds. Screening of applicants will begin immediately and applications will be considered until the position is filled.The postdoc will apply novel metagenomics methods to study microbial communities in permafrost aquatic sediments of different ages to uncover microbial biodiversity in young to ancient permanently frozen sediments with respect to survivability, metabolic adaptation, and evolutionary changes. The research will take place in a highly collaborative environment with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and computational resources within the CEB’s Next-Gen Illumina Sequencing Lab, Bioimaging Core Facility, and Bioinformatics Resource Center. The researcher will have opportunities to gain experience in other approaches related to microbial community research, give presentations and write proposals, as well as providing practical supervision of PhD candidates and undergraduate students. Application deadline: Until filled

Postdoctoral Position in Environmental Microbiology – Biogeochemistry, Laboratory of Geology in Lyon, France
The Laboratory of Geology of Lyon (Université Lyon1 & ENS de Lyon, France) invites applications for a postdoctoral research associate in environmental microbiology –biogeochemistry. The project is part of the multi-disciplinary consortium Science For Clean Energy (S4CE) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. S4CE has been established to understand the underlying mechanisms underpinning sub-surface geo-energy operations and to measure, control and mitigate their environmental risks. The PDRA will work in close collaboration with an international group of scientists on deciphering the role of the subsurface biosphere in the C, N, and S biogeochemical cycles affecting energy-generating geo-operations. Research focuses on the analysis of the metabolic activity of key microorganisms that develop at depth in geothermal wells and CO2/H2S injection wells for enhanced geothermal energy and carbon capture sequestration, respectively. Sampling of underground fluids is scheduled at two sites in 2018. The goal of the project is to characterize the metabolism of key microorganisms under subsurface conditions. The research involves the cultivation of various microbial strains of relevance for the sampled subsurface environments under simulated conditions of the subsurface (high pressure and/or high temperature). A unique pressure facility is available at the LGL, allowing monitoring of metabolic reactions using in situ spectroscopy. The initial appointment will be for 18 months in the first instance. Application deadline: Until filled

Postdoctoral Scholar Position in Evolutionary and Isotopic Enzymology, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, USA
The Blue Marble Space Institute of Science has an opening for a postdoctoral scholar with interests in evolutionary protein biochemistry and geochemistry. The position is available immediately. The successful candidate will work in a collaborative and multi-institutional group which seeks to test and develop hypotheses related to the role of thioester chemistry in nascent life and the chemical networks that proceeded living systems. A primary target will be to determine enzyme specific kinetic isotope fractionation factors by purifying enzymes and conducting isotope ratio mass spectrometry measurements of substrate and product. Experience in anaerobic protein purification and manipulation is highly desirable. Application deadline: Until filled

DCO in the News

6 August 2018 The secret origins of blue diamonds are finally coming to the surface
By Anna Brooks for Popular Science
The origin of blue diamonds—some of the scarcest stones in the world—has eluded scientists for centuries. But now, some of the secrets of these ancient gemstones are coming to the surface...

2 August 2018 Why are some diamonds blue? Scientists have new evidence from inside the stones.
The Washington Post
Blue diamonds — like the Smithsonian’s famous Hope Diamond — are the rarest of all and how they formed more than a billion years ago is a bit of a mystery...

1 August 2018 How rare blue diamonds form deep below the ocean floor
By Maya Miller for Scientific American
Inside a secure laboratory in New York City geologist Evan Smith is peering into billion-year-old blue diamonds to gauge the inner workings of Planet Earth...

1 August 2018 Rare blue diamonds may be Earth's deepest secret
By Will Dunham for Reuters
The Hope Diamond, a rare blue diamond that is one of the world’s most famous jewels, has had a complicated history, passing through the hands of monarchs and bankers and heiresses and thieves before landing for all to see at a Washington museum...

1 August 2018 Rare blue diamonds are born deep in Earth’s mantle
By Carolyn Gramling for Science News
Blue diamonds, among the rarest gems on Earth, are born deep inside the planet’s mantle...

1 August 2018 The world's deepest, rarest diamonds revealed a big secret about our planet's interior
By Brandon Specktor for Live Science
If you want to see what the world's most famous diamonds looked like as babies, you'll have to rewind history by about a billion years...

1 August 2018 Blue diamonds come from ocean floor that is pushed nearly to Earth’s core
By Scott K. Johnson for Ars Technica
The Hope Diamond is rare evidence that the Earth recycles...

1 August 2018 Rare blue diamonds reveal secrets from hundreds of miles below the Earth's surface
By Deborah Netburn for the LA Times
Blue diamonds are among the most rare and valuable gems on Earth, but up until now, scientists knew very little about them...

25 July 2018 Drones swoop in to measure gas belched from volcanoes
By Fiona D’Arcy, John Stix, J. Maarten de Moor, Julian Rüdiger, Jorge Andres Diaz, Alfred Alan, and Ernesto Corrales for Eos
A team of volcanologists, chemists, physicists, and engineers from around the world test novel techniques at Central America’s two largest degassing volcanoes...

Learn more about DCO's Scientific Communities


Extreme Physics and Chemistry
The Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community is dedicated to improving our understanding of the physical and chemical behavior of carbon at extreme conditions, as found in the deep interiors of Earth and other planets.

Reservoirs and Fluxes
The Reservoirs and Fluxes Community is dedicated to identifying the principal deep carbon reservoirs, to determining the mechanisms and rates by which carbon moves among these reservoirs, and to assessing the total carbon budget of Earth.

Deep Energy
The Deep Energy Community is dedicated to developing a fundamental understanding of environments and processes that regulate the volume and rates of production of abiogenic hydrocarbons and other organic species in the crust and mantle through geological time.

Deep Life
The Deep Life Community is dedicated to assessing the nature and extent of the deep microbial and viral biosphere by exploring the evolutionary and functional diversity of Earth's deep biosphere and its interaction with the carbon cycle.

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