November 2019 Newsletter

From the Deep, a monthly newsletter from DCO
November 2019
Deep Carbon Observatory
3D Deep Life Globe
This 3D globe, created by Robert Pockalny, Sabin Zahirovic, Xiaodong Qin, and Rick Colwell, along with members of the EarthByte group and the DCO Engagement Team, maps existing deep life sampling sites onto a virtual model of Earth to create a 3D, interactive globe of deep life. Read more...

Letter from the Director

The Deep Carbon Observatory is commemorating a decade of research by producing four books, eight special collections of scientific papers, a decadal report, workshops, conferences, videos, virtual reality, music, and art. This month, I would like to begin by highlighting two forthcoming books and two special issues of journals. 

Craig Manning, Wendy Mao, and Jung-Fu Lin are editors of Carbon in Earth’s Interior, a forthcoming AGU Monograph containing 27 chapters synthesizing research by DCO’s Extreme Physics and Chemistry community. This volume, scheduled for publication in early 2020, contains important contributions in mineral physics, materials science, petrology, and geochemistry. 

From Crust to Core: A History of Deep Carbon Science by Simon Mitton recounts the stories of 140 scientists from 200 B.C. to the start of DCO. Cambridge University Press will publish this book, which provides the first history of deep carbon science, in mid-2020.   

A special collection of papers in American Mineralogist on “Earth in Five Reactions: A Deep Carbon Perspective" addresses the five most important chemical reactions that drive the planetay carbon cycle from core to atmosphere and make Earth a habitable planet. Edited by Jie Li, Simon Redfern, and Donato Giovannelli, this special collection stems from a DCO workshop in March 2018. 

A special collection on “Deep Carbon Science” in the open access journal Frontiers will contain over 20 papers by more than 100 authors from all four DCO science communities. Isabelle Daniel, Sabin Zahirovic, Dan Bower, Artur Ionescu, Mattia Pistone, Sami Mikhail, and Dawn Cardace edited this special collection, which includes contributions by numerous early career scientists. 

In a paper published in Nature, DCO researchers Bernard Marty, Michael Broadley, and Claude Jaupart present geochemical evidence for high volatile fluxes at the end of the Archean eon, which has profound implications for the deep carbon cycle and the Great Oxidation Event. 

DCO’s Carbon Mineral Challenge concluded with a celebratory session at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The session, which was chaired by Daniel Hummer and Grethe Hystad, featured presentations on some of the 31 new carbon minerals discovered in the past four years.

We look forward to seeing a large continent of DCO colleagues at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, USA on 9-13 December 2019. The conference will feature more than 100 presentations that will help launch the next decade of deep carbon science.

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

News Features

Mantle ‘Tantrum’ Released Burst of Volatiles at End of Archaean Eon
Natural processes that move carbon through Earth, like plate tectonics, subduction, and volcanic activity, seem old and stable today, but the planet wasn’t always so calm. During the Archaean eon (4 to 2.5 billion years ago) - Earth’s teenage years - the planet was hotter and had more volcanic eruptions. This eon ended with a rise in atmospheric oxygen called the Great Oxidation Event, which was the very beginning of the more mature plate tectonics that we recognize today. In a new paper in Nature, a team of researchers, including DCO Reservoirs and Fluxes Community members Bernard Marty and Michael Broadley (CRPG-CNRS, France) and Executive Committee member Claude Jaupart (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France), detected a sharp rise in volcanic activity between 2.6 to 2.2. billion years ago that likely released a burst of water, carbon dioxide, and other volatile compounds into the atmosphere. The researchers analyzed traces of Archaean atmosphere trapped within fluid-filled bubbles called inclusions inside rocks that formed at that time. They propose that this massive flux of volatiles may have started the Great Oxidation Event. Read more...

Frontiers Special Collection Engages Broader Deep Carbon Community
In a new special collection on Deep Carbon Science in the online journal Frontiers, deep carbon researchers within and beyond the DCO community had the opportunity to contribute findings from their work on the slow, deep carbon cycle. DCO members from all four research communities edited the collection, including Isabelle Daniel (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France), Sabin Zahirovic (University of Sydney, Australia), Dan Bower (University of Bern, Switzerland), Artur Ionescu (Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania), Mattia Pistone (Université de Lausanne, Switzerland), Sami Mikhail (University of St. Andrews, UK), and Dawn Cardace (University of Rhode Island, USA). Read more...

A Deep History of Deep Carbon Science
For hundreds of years, geographers, physicists, chemists, and geologists labored in disparate fields to understand Earth, its origins, and how it functions as a planet. A new book connects these researchers, from the Ancient Greeks up until the beginning of the Deep Carbon Observatory, to tell the complex and interconnected story of the evolution of deep carbon science. From Crust to Core – a History of Deep Carbon Science, by astronomer and science historian Simon Mitton (University of Cambridge, UK), recounts the stories of 140 scientists whose work has informed our understanding of the deep carbon cycle. Now in press with Cambridge University Press, the publication will be available in mid-2020. Read more...

“Earth in Five Reactions” Synthesizes Evolution of A Habitable Planet
In March 2018, scientists from across DCO’s four research communities met at the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA, for a two-day workshop. Their goal was to decide the five most important chemical reactions that drive the global carbon cycle from atmosphere to core and make Earth a habitable planet. After much discussion, the group voted for the winners: hydrogenation/dehydrogenation, carboxylation/decarboxylation, carbonation/decarbonation, aqueous silicate melt/solid, and hydration/dehydration. These reactions are now the focus of a special collection in American Mineralogist called "Earth in Five Reactions: A Deep Carbon Perspective." Extreme Physics and Chemistry (EPC) Community member Jie Li (University of Michigan, USA), EPC and Reservoirs and Fluxes Community member Simon Redfern (University of Cambridge, UK), and Deep Life Community member Donato Giovannelli (University of Naples "Federico II," Italy) edited the collection. Read more...

The Carbon Mineral Challenge Finds 31 New Carbon Minerals
The Carbon Mineral Challenge was set in motion by DCO at the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting, with the goal of finding at least some of Earth’s 145 “missing” carbon minerals. The Challenge built on the work of DCO Executive Director Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) and colleagues, who used data science and statistical methods to look at the known minerals on Earth and predict those that should exist but remained undocumented. From the outset, DCO early career scientist and study co-author Daniel Hummer (Southern Illinois University, USA) pioneered the Challenge, working with an international advisory board to seek out sources of new minerals. Read more...

Virtual Reality Lets DCO Researchers See C in 3D
At the recent Deep Carbon 2019 meeting in October in Washington D.C., scientists grabbed and manipulated molecules, waded through giant networks of minerals, and walked through the air above an active volcano, simply by donning virtual reality (VR) goggles and holding a black handset. The 3D, interactive demonstrations were created by Oliver Kreylos and Magali Billen (both at University of California, Davis, USA) as part of DCO’s Modeling and Visualization Forum. Three groups of DCO scientists are collaborating with Kreylos and Billen to visualize their data in new ways through VR technology. Read more...

Putting Deep Life on the Map
Decades of drilling into Earth’s crust has revealed a vast and poorly explored habitat for microbes. Some scientists are trying to fill in the gaps by combining existing sampling data with what we know about subsurface habitats. Robert Pockalny (University of Rhode Island, USA), Sabin Zahirovic, Xiaodong Qin (both at University of Sydney, Australia), and Rick Colwell (Oregon State University, USA), along with members of the EarthByte group and the DCO Engagement Team, compiled and mapped existing sampling sites onto a virtual model of Earth to create a 3D, interactive globe of deep life. The 3D globe can be accessed on any web browser, and clicking on a site brings up additional information including the depth, age, and environment where the samples were collected, as well as the scientific publication that contains the data set. Read more...

DCO at the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting
The AGU Fall Meeting returns to the Moscone Center in San Francisco for 2019, from 9–13 December. This day-by-day guide lists sessions involving DCO scientists and others of potential topical interest to DCO attendees. To add additional sessions or presentations to this listing, please contact Katie Pratt of the DCO Engagement Team. Stop by the DCO booth (#1416) in the Exhibit Hall to pick up a copy of the DCO decadal report and to get a look at several new books and publications representing ten years of research, exploration, and discovery in deep carbon science. On Thursday, join us at 3:30pm for the booth crawl, and raise a glass to DCO. Read more...

Upcoming Events

Public Lecture: Carbon's Fundamental Role on Earth, The Geological Society of London, UK, 4 December 2019
Simon Mitton of the University of Cambridge, author of a forthcoming History of Deep Carbon Science, will deliver this lecture, which will be live-streamed here at 3:00pm and 6:00pm GMT.

2019 AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, USA, 9-13 December 2019
As the American Geophysical Union marks its centennial in 2019, the Fall Meeting returns to San Francisco, the home of the Fall Meeting for more than 40 years. Visit the DCO booth in the exhibit hall, #1416, to pick up your copy of the decadal report and view DCO synthesis products. View DCO presentations here.

EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 3-8 May 2020
The EGU General Assembly 2020 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. Abstract submission deadline: 15 January 2020

JpGU - AGU Joint Meeting 2020, Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan, 24-28 May 2020
This joint program of the Japan Geoscience Union and the American Geophysical Union will explore the theme "For a Borderless World of Geoscience." 

Goldschmidt 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA, 21-26 June 2019
Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry. 

Gordon Research Seminar: Carbon at the Intersection of the Biosphere and Geosphere, Bates College, ME, USA, 27-28 June 2020
The Gordon Research Seminar on Deep Carbon Science is a unique forum for graduate students, post-docs, and other scientists with comparable levels of experience and education to present and exchange new data and cutting-edge ideas. Application deadline: 27 March 2020

Gordon Research Conference: Exploring Fluxes, Forms, and Origins of Deep Carbon in Earth and Other Terrestrial Planets, Bates College, ME, USA, 28 June - 3 July 2020
This meeting will highlight the importance of deep carbon science for understanding the various reservoirs of carbon in our solar system - from cores to atmospheres on Earth and other planets, and from diamonds to microbial cells. This conference, along with the associated Gordon Research Seminar, offers a great opportunity to carry on collaborations and reconnect with DCO colleagues. Application deadline: 31 May 2020

Serpentine Days 2020, Sestri Levante, Italy, 21-24 September 2020 
This workshop aims to gather scientists interested in the geological, physical and (bio-) chemical processes of serpentinization and the life it sustains, its impact on development of mineral resources, new energy sources, and the environmental and societal impact of serpentine exploration and exploitation. 

Funding Opportunities

Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellowships
The Geophysical Laboratory, Washington DC, USA, invites applications for Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellowships. Current research at the Geophysical Laboratory falls primarily within three overlapping thematic areas: Earth and Planetary Science, Astrobiology and the Origin of Life, and the Chemistry and Physics of Materials at Extreme Conditions. Synergies among these thematic areas, as well as links to many closely related research pursuits at Carnegie’s co-located Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, provide Carnegie Fellows with exceptional opportunities for collaboration. Application deadline: 1 December 2019

Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship
The Schlanger Fellowship Program offers merit-based awards for graduate students enrolled in a PhD program to conduct research related to the International Ocean Discovery Program. Research may be related to the objectives of past expeditions or it may address broader science themes. Selected fellows will receive an award of $30,000 for a 12-month period that can be used for research, stipend, tuition, or other approved costs. Schlanger Fellowships are open to all graduate students enrolled at U.S. institutions in full-time MS or PhD programs. Application deadline: 6 December 2019

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.

Geochemical evidence for high volatile fluxes from the mantle at the end of the Archaean
Bernard Marty, David V. Bekaert, Michael W. Broadley, and Claude Jaupart 
Nature doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1745-7

Earth in Five Reactions: A Deep Carbon Perspective
Jie Li, Simon A.T. Redfern, and Donato Giovannelli, eds. 
Special issue, American Mineralogist

Research Topic on Deep Carbon
Isabelle Daniel, Sabin Zahirovic, Dan J. Bower, Dawn Cardace, Artur Ionescu, Sami Mikhail, Mattia Pistone, eds. 
Special issue, Frontiers

Employment Opportunities

View more employment opportunities on the DCO website.

PhD position in Nanogeosciences - Utrecht University, Netherlands
We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate for the project "Experimental constraints on nanoscale fluid flow in natural systems." Experiments will be paired with state-of-the-art imaging technologies encompassing focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and numerical simulations. The results will be directly relevant to the development of a constitutive fluid-rock interaction model that links nanoscale processes with the macroscopic behaviour of fluid and mass transport in the Earth’s crystalline lithosphere. Application deadline: 30 November 2019 

PhD position in Experimental Fluid-Rock Interaction - Utrecht University, Netherlands
We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate for the project "In operando X-ray tomography of reactive fluid-rock interaction." The scientific approach of this project will involve using and developing laboratory- and synchrotron-based X-ray tomography techniques to observe time-resolved reactive transport phenomena within low-permeability rocks. The experiments will be paired with state-of-the-art analytical techniques including scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Application deadline: 30 November 2019 

Harry Hess Fellows Program - Princeton University, USA
The Department of Geosciences at Princeton University announces competition for the 2020-2021 Harry Hess Fellows Program. This honorific postdoctoral fellowship program provides opportunities for outstanding geoscientists to work in the field of their choice. Application deadline: 15 December 2019  

Associate Professor (or Professorship) of Geobiology - University of Oxford, UK
We welcome applications from scientists working in all aspects of Geobiology. We encourage applicants with expertise on the influence of life on the Earth system, including but not limited to study of biological revolutions and innovation in Earth history, remote characterization of biosphere function, the deep biosphere, life in extreme environments, and molecular paleobiology. Application deadline: 20 December 2019

Multiple Postdoctoral Opportunities in Subduction Zone Science - University of Washington, USA
These positions are fully funded for up to two years, and candidates interested in all aspects of subduction zone geophysics and geology are encouraged to apply. Research topics of special immediate interest include (1) geodynamic modeling of the subduction process (including mantle convection and plate boundary processes), (2) rock physics and geophysical imaging of plate boundary fault zones, (3) structure and stress conditions in the shallow megathrust, and (4) seismology and seismic structure of Cascadia from the volcanic arc to offshore. Open until filled.

IODP Curator International Ocean Discovery Program - Texas A&M University, USA
The Research Specialist III, under general direction, is responsible for promoting the use of the IODP core collections and to conserve the core collection for future use per the IODP Sample, Data, and Obligations policy. We need an individual who subscribes to and supports our commitment. Open until filled. 

Geochemistry Postdoctoral Fellow - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA
Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences area has an opening for a Postdoctoral Fellow to join their Geochemistry Department, to work on a project that involves developing new data-based models and theories of reactive multicomponent Earth-subsurface systems. The research project will involve machine learning and statistical analysis of synthetic data sets generated using the state-of-the art molecular simulations. Open until filled. 

DCO in the News

21 November 2019 Amount of deep life on Earth quantified
Stock Daily Dish
Scientists have estimated the total amount of life on Earth that exists below ground – and it is vast...

7 November 2019 ABOVE changing the way researchers sample gas emissions
By Steve Carr for UNM Newsroom 
A new documentary created and produced by the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO), a scientific organization dedicated to investigating how the deep carbon cycle drives our world, illustrates in stunning fashion the ability of drone technology to help drive scientific research...

6 November 2019 Underwater Clues About Aliens
Science Rules! with Bill Nye (podcast) 
Real life deep sea explorer Dr. Julie Huber from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution joins us to talk about the clues the deep water gives us about alien life...

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.

Thanks for reading! Send us items for future newsletters by emailing Katie Pratt of the DCO Engagement Team. 

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