June 2018 Newsletter

From the Deep, a monthly newsletter from DCO
June 2018
Deep Carbon Observatory
Researchers constructed a simple model of degassing, taking into account disequilibrium between magma and noble gas bubbles. Shown here is a slice of gas bubbles trapped in a basalt glass.Image credit: Jonathan Tucker. Read more...

Letter from the Director

DCO scientists published a plethora of research papers during the past month. Jonathan Tucker (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) and colleagues provided new estimates of the concentration of carbon in Earth’s mantle and the flux of carbon dioxide from the mantle.

Louis JohanssonSabin Zahirovic, and Dietmar Müller (University of Sydney, Australia) used plate tectonics reconstructions to model the interplay between the eruption and weathering of large igneous provinces and the deep-time carbon cycle, including itseffect on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and role in modulating global climate. 
Laura Zinke (University of California Davis, USA), Brandi Kiel Reese (Texas A&M University, USA), Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, USA), Jan Amend (University of Southern California, USA), and others demonstrated that sediment microbial communities are influenced by cool hydrothermal systems, which are prevalent across the seafloor, discharging fluid volumes that rival oceanic input from rivers.
In other news from the seafloor, an international team of researchers led by Akira Ijiri and Fumio Inagaki (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan) demonstrated that mud volcanoes may contribute more substantially to the methane budget than previously estimated and the vast majority of this methane is produced by microbes.
Speaking of methane, Giuseppe Etiope (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy) and colleagues documented the widespread occurrence of abiotic methane in chromitites
This month’s many scientific advances were matched by the continued expansion of the DCO scientific community. A diverse, multidisciplinary group of scientists attended the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Deep Carbon Science, which could become a sustainable successor to DCO international science meetings, fostering interdisciplinary research on deep volatiles for many years in the future.
Last but not least, congratulations to Terry Plank (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, USA), a member of the DCO Executive Committee, who received the Wollaston Medal from the Geological Society of London. Past recipients of this award include Charles Darwin, Louis Agassiz, James Dwight Dana, Victor Goldschmidt, Norman Bowen, and Arthur Holmes. In her acceptance speech, Plank said, “Wollastonite is a mineral found in skarns – born of magma intruding sediments and driving off CO2. Having had a career in the space between igneous rocks and seafloor sediments, and now volatile loss during eruption, I feel a connection to this namesake mineral of Wollaston.” The same could be said for DCO. 
I look forward to seeing many DCO colleagues at the 2018 Goldschmidt Conference in Boston, USA from 12–17 August, which will feature more than 100 presentations on deep carbon science.  

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

News Features

Pyroxenites Put the Brakes on Mantle Melting
Pyroxenites are a type of rock created when parts of Earth’s crust are injected deep in the mantle and experience repeated cycles of intense heat and pressure. Once these rocks sink into the mantle at oceanic trenches through subduction, they are continuously stretched by mantle convection, the planet’s churning internal system for moving solid material back and forth between the deep mantle and the surface. This recycling process mixes pyroxenite with peridotite, the most abundant mantle rock type, creating a marbled pattern, much like fudge sauce swirled into ice cream. In a new paper in Nature Geoscience, DCO Deep Energy Community member Daniele Brunelli (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy), with colleagues at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA, reports that the presence of pyroxenites has an outsized effect on melting within the mantle. Read more...

Large Igneous Provinces Contribute to Ups and Downs in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
About 250 million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption flooded modern-day Siberia with lava, creating the Siberian Traps, giant plateaus made of multiple layers of lava. The eruption also released huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that rapidly altered the climate and may have triggered the Permian–Triassic mass extinction event that wiped out more than 90% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial species. After the eruption, however, the Siberian Traps began drawing atmospheric carbon dioxide back into the crust through weathering and erosion. The Siberian Traps are the largest of several floods of basalt, called Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs), that have occurred during Earth’s history and that likely have played a role in regulating Earth’s climate. In a new paper in Geophysical Research LettersLouis Johansson, along with DCO members Sabin Zahirovic and Dietmar Müller (all at University of Sydney, Australia), modeled the eruption of LIPs and their movement as a result of plate tectonics around the globe for the last 400 million years. Read more...

Degassing from Mid-Ocean Ridges Refuses to Follow the Rules of Equilibrium
A big part of understanding how much carbon Earth holds beneath its surface relies on measuring how much carbon escapes through volcanoes on land, and under the water along mid-ocean ridges. Many scientists have tried to make estimates of degassing, often assuming that the gases in the escaping bubbles are in equilibrium with the melted rock, meaning that the magma and bubbles both hold predictable concentrations of the gases. But new research finds that not all gases follow the rules of equilibrium. DCO Reservoirs and Fluxes Community member Jonathan Tucker (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), along with Sujoy Mukhopadhyay (University of California, Davis, USA), and Helge Gonnermann (Rice University, USA), discovered that carbon dioxide and the heavier noble gases don’t have time to reach equilibrium before the bubbles and magma emerge from mid-ocean ridges. By developing a model that takes into account this disequilibrium, the researchers make new estimates of the carbon concentration in the mantle, and how much carbon dioxide leaves the mantle each year. They report their findings in a new paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Read more...

Microbes Responsible for Massive Methane Deposit in Submarine Mud Volcano
Just off the coast of the continents, thousands of mud volcanoes are erupting from the seafloor, spouting methane and ancient sediments. Previous studies have suggested that the majority of methane bubbling from mud volcanoes is thermogenic, meaning that it comes from the breakdown of deep organic matter at high temperatures. A new multidisciplinary study, however, finds that the gas in some mud volcanoes comes from the stimulation of long-buried microbes, which produce surprising amounts of methane. In a new paper in Science Advances, an international team of researchers combines geological, geochemical, and microbiological analyses to explore the geosphere-biosphere interactions occurring within a submarine mud volcano off the coast of Japan. DCO Deep Energy and Deep Life Community members Akira Ijiri, Fumio Inagaki, Tatsuhiko Toshino, Hiroyuki Imachi, Shinsuke Kawagucci, Yuki Morono, Ken Takai (all at Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan), David T. Wang, Shuhei Ono, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), Marcos Y. Yoshinaga, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs (both at University of Bremen, Germany), Jens Kallmeyer (University of Potsdam, Germany), Mark A. Lever (Aarhus University, Denmark), and Victoria J. Orphan (California Institute of Technology, USA) collected and analyzed sediment cores from up to 200 meters inside the mud volcano. Read more...

Methane in Hyperalkaline Springs Comes From Chromitite
Springs and aquifers that originate within ophiolites, mountains comprised of old seafloor, contain highly alkaline water that often is bubbling with methane. Scientists have discovered these springs in 17 countries around the world. Existing evidence suggests that the gas forms from low-temperature chemical reactions within the rock but no one had pinpointed its exact source. In a new paper in Scientific Reports, Deep Energy Community member Giuseppe Etiope (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy), Reservoirs and Fluxes Community member Andrew Steele (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA), and DCO member Peter Szatmari, (Petrobras Research and Development Center, Brazil), have identified chromitite, a chromium-rich rock that contains trace amounts of the rare element ruthenium. Read more...

Cool Hydrothermal Vent Fluids Fuel Sediment Microbes
To understand how fluids from cool hydrothermal vents might be affecting their local microbial communities, Deep Life Community members Laura Zinke (University of California Davis, USA), Brandi Kiel Reese (Texas A&M University, USA), Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, USA), and Jan Amend (University of Southern California, USA) analyzed bacteria and archaea from sediments from the Dorado Outcrop, a seamount off the west coast of Costa Rica that is perfused with these fluids. In a new paper in Frontiers in Microbiology, the researchers report that oxygen and nitrate dissolved in the vent fluids appear to fuel a distinct microbial community that differs from those in nearby sediments and seawater. Read more...

Inaugural Gordon Conference Sparks Deep Thoughts on Deep Carbon
A diverse and interdisciplinary group of Earth scientists, planetary scientists, and geobiologists from 11 countries converged at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island to participate in the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Deep Carbon Science. Discussion was lively throughout the five-day conference, which launched with a Sunday evening session on 17 June and concluded on Friday morning 22 June 2018. Craig Manning (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) and Isabelle Daniel (Université Claude Bernard Lyon, France) chaired the conference. Read more...

Deep Carbon Science at the 2018 Goldschmidt Conference
A large contingent of DCO researchers will participate in Goldschmidt 2018 from 12–17 August in Boston, USA. Use this day-by-day guide to find DCO talks and posters taking place at the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society. To add additional items to this listing, please contact the DCO Engagement TeamRead more...

DCO Webinar Wednesdays Summer Data Science Series
In this four-part series, members of DCO’s Data Science Team will walk through best practices for data acquisition, processing, and analytics in the geosciences, using Jupyter Notebooks to analyze the datasets used by all four of DCO’s science communities (Extreme Physics and Chemistry, Reservoirs and Fluxes, Deep Energy, and Deep Life). Synthesis Group 2019 and the DCO Engagement Team are hosting this series, which will continue on 11 July 2018 at 2PM EDT. Read more...

Upcoming Events

DCO Webinar Wednesdays: Data Science for Geosciences: Data Processing, 11 July 2018, 2 PM EDT
In this webinar, Fang Huang (Rennselear Polytechnic Institute, USA) will focus on data processing using relatively simple python codes, and should be of interest to any researchers working on data science-related projects.

AGU 2018 Fall Meeting Abstract Submission Deadline, 1 August 2018, 11:59 PM, EDT
The 2018 AGU Fall Meeting will take place from 10-14 December 2018 in Washington, DC, USA. 

DCO Webinar Wednesdays: Data Science for Geosciences: Analytics, 8 August 2018, 2 PM EDT
In the final webinar of this series, Anirudh Prahbu (Rennselear Polytechnic Institute, USA) will demonstrate real-world “geoscience use cases,” helping participants solve scientific problems using data/model-driven decision-making. 

Goldschmidt 2018, Boston MA, USA, 12-17 August 2018
Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry. View DCO sessions of special interest here.

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. 

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. Registration now open.

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. 

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

Terry Plank, Reservoirs and Fluxes
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, USA
Wollaston Medal

Funding Opportunities

Request for Proposals: Census of Deep Life Sequencing Opportunities
Since 2011, the Deep Carbon Observatory’s Deep Life Community has sponsored the Census of Deep Life (CoDL), which has supported surveys of the diversity of microbes present in several deep continental and subseafloor environments. The first surveys (2011-2012) were conducted using 454 pyrosequencing and subsequently (2013) Illumina sequencing strategies were adopted. Through this initiative, the Deep Life Community has allowed the characterization of the diversity of subsurface microbial communities at numerous sites worldwide, including the subseafloor and deep continental locations from a range of geologic settings (e.g., large igneous provinces, subglacial lakes, methane hydrate-rich sediments, cratons). The Illumina platform provides increased numbers of reads for more samples at reduced cost. For DNA samples submitted to the CoDL for sequencing, proponents have the option of obtaining 400-450 nt sequences that span the V4V5 region of Bacterial and Archaeal rRNA coding regions or a greater number of reads for V6 regions that through complete overlap of forward and reverse reads allows detection of lower abundance taxa with reduced stochastic error rates. Shotgun metagenomic DNA sequencing for key samples also can be performed. This call for proposals aims to support sequencing that represents expanded analyses from ongoing Deep Life Community projects or projects that represent sites and investigators new to the DCO’s Deep Life Community. Application deadline: 15 July 2018

GeoPRISMS Program Solicitation
GeoPRISMS (Geodynamic Processes at Rifting and Subducting Margins) Program investigates the coupled geodynamics, earth surface processes, and climate interactions that build and modify continental margins over a wide range of timescales. These interactions cross the shoreline and have applications to margin evolution and dynamics, construction of stratigraphic architecture, accumulation of economic resources, and associated geologic hazards and environmental management. The GeoPRISMS Program includes two broadly integrated science initiatives (Subduction Cycles and Deformation (SCD) and Rift Initiation and Evolution (RIE)), linked by five overarching scientific topics and themes, where transformative advances are likely to occur in the decade 2011-2020, and where a focused scientific program could be most effective. These overarching science topics include 1) Origin and evolution of continental crust; 2) Fluids, magmas and their interactions; 3) Climate-surface-tectonics feedbacks; 4) Geochemical cycles; and 5) Plate boundary deformation and geodynamics. Each of the initiatives has identified primary sites for focused investigations, as well as thematic studies that will complement primary site studies. Full proposal deadline: 13 August 2018

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.

Thermal effects of pyroxenites on mantle melting below mid-ocean ridges
Daniele Brunelli, Anna Cipriani, and Enrico Bonatti 
Nature Geoscience doi:10.1038/s41561-018-0139-z

The interplay between the eruption and weathering of Large Igneous Provinces and the deep‐time carbon cycle
Louis Johansson, Sabin Zahirovic, and R. Dietmar Muller
Geophysical Research Letters doi:10.1029/2017GL076691 

Reconstructing mantle carbon and noble gas contents from degassed mid-ocean ridge basalts
Jonathan M. Tucker, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, and Helge Gonnermann 
Earth and Planetary Science Letters doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.05.024

Deep-biosphere methane production stimulated by geofluids in the Nankai accretionary complex
Akira Ijiri, Fumio Inagaki, Yusuke Kubo, Rishi R. Adhikari, Shohei Hattori, Tatsuhiko Hoshino, Hiroyuki Imachi, Shinsuke Kawagucci, Yuki MoronoYoko OhtomoShuhei OnoSanae SakaiKen Takai, Tomohiro Toki, David T. WangMarcos Y. Yoshinaga, Gail L. ArnoldJuichiro Ashi, David H. Case, Tomas Feseker, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, Yojiro Ikegawa, Minoru Ikehara, Jens Kallmeyer, Hidenori Kumagai, Mark A. Lever, Sumito Morita, Ko-ichi Nakamura, Yuki Nakamura, Manabu Nishizawa, Victoria J. Orphan, Hans Røy, Frauke Schmidt, Atsushi Tani, Wataru Tanikawa, Takeshi Terada, Hitoshi Tomaru, Takeshi Tsuji, Urumu Tsunogai, Yasuhiko T. Yamaguchi, and Naohiro Yoshida
Science Advances doi:10.1126/sciadv.aao4631

Widespread abiotic methane in chromitites
Giuseppe Etiope, Elena Ifandi, Manuela Nazzari, Monia Procesi, Basilios Tsikouras, Guido Ventura, Andrew Steele, Roberto Tardini, and Peter Szatmari 
Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/s41598-018-27082-0 

Sediment microbial communities influenced by cool hydrothermal fluid migration
Laura Alice Zinke, Brandi Kiel Reese, James McManus, Charles Geoffrey Wheat, Beth N. Orcutt, and Jan P. Amend
Frontiers in Microbiology doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.01249

Publication Opportunities

Missing Wikipedia Article on Serpentinization: A Hat for Your Thoughts
Serpentinization warrants an article on Wikipedia. Might you lend a hand? Searching on the term “serpentinization” on Wikipedia simply redirects to the article on “serpentinite,” where various serpentinization reactions have been thrown in and described without citations. An independent “serpentinization” page could expand upon this section, citing the wealth of research on this important topic. If you lend a hand, a handsome DCO hat could be yours. Read more...

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


Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Cosmochemistry, Carnegie Institution for Science, DTM, USA

The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution for Science seeks a highly qualified and motivated postdoctoral research scientist to develop a better understanding of the origin of chondrite matrices and their relationships to chondrules and interplanetary dust particles. The postdoc will work primarily with DTM researchers Conel Alexander and Larry Nittler. This project is funded for two years by NASA’s Emerging Worlds program with the primary goal of improving our understanding of how the different components of chondritic meteorites formed and their relationships, if any, to comets. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in meteorite petrology and electron microscopy. Experience with focused ion beam and secondary ion mass spectrometry techniques would also be useful. The successful candidate will become part of an active geochemistry and cosmochemistry group studying the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth and the early Solar System. Application deadline: 15 July 2018


Assistant (tenure track) or Associate Professor Position in Mineral Resources at the University of Geneva, Switzerland
Applicants are expected to lead a diversified research and teaching program in the field of mineral resources. The successful candidate will implement an ambitious research program addressing the fundamental physical and chemical processes involved in ore forming systems in Earth’s crust, combining cutting edge analytical methods with field-based projects, ideally in collaboration with the mining industry. The research projects should also aim at developing novel concepts and tools in economic geology, applicable to regional scale fertility evaluation projects, footprint identification of ore-forming systems, and mineral and geochemical vectoring at the mining district scale. Ultimately, the research goals should be driven by the challenge of securing sustainable raw material supply to our society and future generations. The successful candidate will join a very active department with a long tradition of research in Economic Geology. Application deadline: 31 July 2018

Postdoctoral Position in Carbonate Diagenesis, University of Calgary, Canada
Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. The project, funded for two years by the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, is aimed at understanding the processes governing silicification of carbonate rocks during diagenesis. The project will employ a combined experimental, analytical, and modeling approach to examine the role of dissolved organic molecules in mobilizing and transporting silica during carbonate diagenesis.  Thermodynamic and reactive-diffusion modeling of these diagenetic reactions also will be an important focus. Application deadline: 1 August 2018


Postdoctoral Position in the Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
The Department of Geosciences is seeking to appoint a postdoctoral researcher to a five-year position at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Department of Geosciences, Alpine Cryosphere & Geomorphology Group within the topic of Cryospheric and high mountain research. The Department of Geosciences offers an interdisciplinary, international work environment within the bilingual (German/French) University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Our group has a strong, internationally recognised expertise in monitoring and modelling of physical processes of the alpine cryosphere with a focus on climate change related impacts. To strengthen the methodological focus, we are searching for an excellent candidate with a background in either: numerical modelling and/or remote sensing. Furthermore, we look for scientific experience and initiative in one or several of the following thematic fields, which are covered in our research group: modelling, monitoring and mapping of the alpine cryosphere (mainly glaciers and permafrost), including surface and subsurface processes; and links with climatological, hydrological and/or geomorphological processes - natural hazards.The successful candidate will take part in the teaching curriculum. Application deadline: 15 August 2018

Faculty Positions in Solid Earth Geophysics or Geology, University of Michigan, USA
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan is searching for candidates in the areas of solid earth geophysics or geology for a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level. This is a university-year appointment with an expected start date of September 1, 2019. We anticipate additional hires in this direction in future years, and are particularly interested in candidates whose strengths will complement existing research programs within the Department. Application deadline: 20 August 2018

PhD or Postdoctoral Openings - ERC IMPACT Group, Lyon, France
Two openings at the level of PhD or postdoctoral are available for the IMPACT (The Giant Impact and the Earth Formation) European Research Council project based in Lyon, France, starting September 1st, 2018. IMPACT aims to retrace the thermodynamic path of the condensation of the protolunar disk, to bring physical and chemical constraints on the impact model, and to characterize the formation of the Moon and of the Earth. The position is to study the behavior of major rock-forming minerals during the Giant Impact. The aim of the doctoral work is to determine the physical properties and the chemical behavior of the corresponding mineral melts at conditions characteristic to the Giant Impact. For this, the successful candidate(s) will use ab initio molecular-dynamics simulations. He/she will compute the equations of state of the liquid, gas and supercritical states, position the supercritical points and/or surfaces, determine the chemical speciation in the fluids, and predict isotope partitioning factors. Application deadline: Until filled

Postdoctoral Position in Petrology/Geochemistry: Queens College of the City University of New York, USA
Queens College of the City University of New York is soliciting applications for a two-year postdoctoral position that will play a central role in its National Science Foundation-funded project on “Sulfur Isotope Systematics and Oxygen Fugacity Evolution in the 1257 CE Samalas Magma Reservoir, Indonesia.” The selected postdoctoral scholar will be based at Queens College of the City University of New York for year 1 and at Southern Methodist University for year 2. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with Céline Vidal (University of Cambridge), IPGP (France), and CVGHM (Indonesia). The postdoc’s responsibilities will include XANES, FT-IR, EPMA, and SIMS data collection and interpretation, as well as preparation of manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication. The start date is as soon as 1 September 2018. Consideration of applications will begin on June 30th. 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 Scholar Position Available 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


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 (EGT) and carbon capture sequestration (CCS), 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

DCO in the News

27 June 2018, Saturn's moon Enceladus Is spewing complex organic molecules into space
By Jay Bennett for Popular Mechanics
"How cooperative Enceladus is," Nozair Khawaja says. The small moon of Saturn, already one of the prime places to look for life elsewhere in the solar system, just got a little bit more enticing... 

27 June 2018 The discovery of complex organic molecules on Saturn’s moon Enceladus Is a huge deal
By George Dvorsky for Gizmodo
Using data collected by NASA’s late-great Cassini space probe, scientists have detected traces of complex organic molecules seeping out from Enceladus’ ice-covered ocean. It’s yet another sign that this intriguing Saturnian moon has what it takes to sustain life...

27 June 2018 Ingredients for life discovered gushing out of Saturn’s moon
By Sarah Kaplan for the Washington Post
Last fall, as NASA's celebrated Cassini spacecraft spiraled toward its final, fatal descent into Saturn's clouds, astrochemist Morgan Cable couldn't help but shed a tear for the school-bus-size orbiter, which became a victim of its own success. Early in its mission...

21 June 2018 Ingv scopre le rocce che «producono» metano
Villaggio Globale
Identificata nelle cromititi, rocce ignee ricche di metalli, la roccia «madre» (source-rock) del metano abiotico, un tipo di gas naturale diverso da quello comunemente usato come fonte di energia e che potrebbe essere presente anche su Marte...

14 June 2018 Researchers looking for evidence of life deep below the surface
By Maija Hoggett for TimminsToday
Scientists will be heading more than two kilometres underground this week to continue researching water that is believed to be more than a billion years old.This time, with a little help from some friends, the University of Toronto team is looking for evidence of life...

7 June 2018 What are 'organic compounds'? The building blocks of life on Mars are found
By Peter Hess for Inverse
On Thursday, after much anticipation NASA scientists announced a major breakthrough in the search for life on Mars. Based on data collected by the Curiosity rover from the Gale Crater on the red planet, researchers outlined evidence of organic matter on Mars...

6 June 2018 Drone monitoring of volcanoes could improve warning times
By Fatima Husain for Nova Next
After two eruptions in the span of a month, the public is suddenly paying attention to volcanoes. But volcanologists have been watching them for years, and now, a small group is taking volcano monitoring to new heights with the help of drones...

6 June 2018 New data-mining technique offers most-vivid picture of Martian mineralogy
Science Daily
A team of scientists have revealed the mineralogy of Mars at an unprecedented scale, which will help them understand the planet's geologic history and habitability. Understanding the mineralogy of another planet, such as Mars...

5 June 2018 Large igneous provinces contribute to ups and downs in atmospheric carbon dioxide
Science Daily 
About 250 million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption flooded modern-day Siberia with lava, creating the Siberian Traps, giant plateaus made of multiple layers of lava. The eruption also released huge quantities of carbon dioxide ...


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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