April 2017 Newsletter

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From the Deep, a monthly newsletter from DCO
April 2017

Deep Carbon Observatory

Enceladus Plumes

A new study of data collected from Cassini’s flybys of the ice-covered moon Enceladus shows the presence of molecular hydrogen, likely emanating from hydrothermal vents in the ocean beneath the ice. DCO Deep Energy Community member Christopher Glein and colleagues describe their new findings in a recent paper in the journal Science. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Read more...

Letter from the Director


“Food for microbes abundant on Enceladus,” according to a news article by Paul Voosen in Science. The news article is based on a Science paper co-authored by DCO Deep Energy Community member Chris Glein (Southwest Research Institute, USA), “Cassini finds molecular hydrogen in the Enceladus plume: Evidence for hydrothermal processes.” The discovery of molecular hydrogen escaping from Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which has a layer of ice covering a subsurface ocean, indicates that water is reacting with rocks on the floor of the alien ocean. The process might resemble hydrothermal vents on Earth’s seafloor. An accompanying commentary by DCO Deep Energy Community member Jeffrey Seewald (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, USA) says, “Chemical disequilibrium that is known to support microbial life in Earth’s deep oceans is also available to support life in the Enceladus ocean.” Voosen takes this reasoning further, “Because such chemistry provides energy for microbial life on Earth, the discovery makes Enceladus the top candidate for hosting life elsewhere in the solar system—besting even Jupiter’s Europa, another icy moon with an ocean.” 
Returning to Earth, Megan Duncan and Rajdeep Dasgupta (Rice University, USA) published a paper in Nature Geoscience linking the rise of atmospheric oxygen to the deep carbon cycle. Based on high pressure-temperature experiments, they contend that the Great Oxidation Event, which occurred 2.5 to 2.2 billion years ago, is causally linked to the mobilization of organic carbon in subduction zones and deep sequestration of reduced carbon in the mantle. According to Duncan, “The study indicates that the rise in oxygen levels and the ability of the atmosphere to support life as we know it is strongly tied to the plate tectonic cycle.” It demonstrates connections between the deep carbon cycle and the conditions for life at or near the surface of a planet. These are but two examples of how DCO scientists are unraveling the mysteries of life on Earth and other planets. 

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

News Features

Hydrogen Gas Detected in Plume on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus
For almost 20 years, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has traveled through space, sending back photos and valuable information from Saturn and two of its potentially habitable moons, Enceladus and Titan. On 15 September 2017, the craft will take its final loop, and then dive through Saturn’s atmosphere, burning up in the process. A new study of data collected from Cassini’s flybys of the ice-covered moon Enceladus shows the presence of molecular hydrogen, likely emanating from hydrothermal vents in the ocean beneath the ice. The abundance of hydrogen creates a chemical disequilibrium that, on Earth, supports microbial life. DCO Deep Energy Community member Christopher Glein (Southwest Research Institute, USA) and colleagues describe their new findings in a recent paper in the journal Science. Read more...

Nickel May be Magic Ingredient in Planetary Core Formation
Knowledge of the composition of Earth’s core and the cores of other planetary bodies offers clues to how the solar system formed and to Earth’s early history. Scientists believe that Earth’s core is a dense ball of iron, nickel, and other lighter elements, but the identity and proportions of those elements are still up for debate. While investigating lighter element candidates, DCO Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community member Anat Shahar and postdoctoral associate Stephen Elardo (both of the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) made an interesting discovery about the role of nickel in the formation of cores in planetary bodies. Through high-temperature and pressure experiments simulating core formation, the researchers found that nickel can affect how iron isotopes separate into the mantle and core. Adding more nickel causes heavy iron isotopes, which are iron atoms with extra neutrons, to enter the planet’s metal core, while lighter iron atoms stay in the surrounding mantle. This discovery may offer an explanation for the varying iron isotope signatures found on Earth, the Moon, Mars, and the asteroid Vesta. Shahar and Elardo describe their findings in a new paper in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read more...

Study Finds Core Formation Not Responsible for Earth’s Iron Anomaly
Compared to other bodies in the solar system, Earth has an unusual iron isotope profile, with a large percentage of heavy iron atoms occurring in the mantle. Scientists have conceived of several explanations for this anomaly, such as the high-pressure, high-temperature conditions that formed Earth’s core; the ancient collision with another body that created the Moon; or the melting occurring within the mantle to generate new crust. Now, new research casts doubt on core formation as one of the possible explanations. A group led by DCO Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community Member Jung-Fu Lin (University of Texas at Austin, USA) subjected mantle and core materials under high pressure to simulate planetary formation. They found that the process had little effect on how iron isotopes separate into different layers, suggesting core formation cannot explain Earth’s isotope profile. The researchers describe their findings in a new paper in Nature Communications. Read more...

Deep Burial of Organic Carbon into the Mantle Enabled “Great Oxidation Event”
The “Great Oxidation Event” (GOE) occurred about 2.5–2.2 billion years ago, when oxygen levels in the atmosphere began to rise up to 10,000 times, reaching up to 1% of the present level. The rise across the GOE and the subsequent increases in Earth’s atmospheric oxygen enabled the emergence of multicellular organisms, finally leading to plants, dinosaurs, and primates. A combination of factors led to the GOE, including the actions of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria in the oceans and the burial of dead organic matter. A new paper by DCO Extreme Physics and Chemistry and Reservoirs and Fluxes Community member Rajdeep Dasgupta (Rice University, USA) and Megan Duncan (now at the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) proposes that subduction, the descent of tectonic plates into the mantle, was a key process in the efficient, long-term storage of reduced carbon, making the GOE possible. Using high-temperature and high-pressure experiments combined with thermodynamic models, the researchers looked back in time to model how carbon ‘burial’ would impact atmospheric oxygen levels. They describe their findings in a new paper in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read more...

New LIDAR Instrument Lets Volcanologists Monitor Eruptions from Afar
Recent studies suggest that before a volcano erupts, it ramps up its release of carbon dioxide from magma deep below the surface. These fluxes may provide an important early warning signal that an eruption is imminent. Researchers can measure volcanic gases using sampling instruments, but they must install these devices at the rim of the crater, placing both themselves and the instrument at risk. Alessandro Aiuppa, along with fellow Reservoirs and Fluxes Community members Roberto D’Aleo (both of the Università di Palermo, Italy), Marco Liuzzo and Gaetano Giudice (both of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy), and colleagues from ENEA (Agenzia Nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile), have developed a new generation of instruments to measure volcanic gases remotely. They successfully used a type of laser scanning technology called LIDAR to measure carbon flux at Stromboli volcano, described in a paper in Frontiers in Earth Science, and at Mt. Etna, published in a study in the journal Geosciences. The work receives funding from the ERC (European Research Council) BRIDGE project and is in collaboration with DECADE (Deep Earth Carbon Degassing), a DCO initiative to estimate the global release of volcanic carbon by monitoring some of Earth’s most active volcanoes. Read more..

“Nesting Doll” Minerals Offer Clues to Earth’s Mantle Dynamics
Recovered minerals originating in the deep mantle offer scientists a rare glimpse of the dynamic processes occurring deep inside Earth. These minerals are also a window into the past, capturing snapshots of the history of the planet’s mantle layer. A team led by DCO member and experimental petrologist Yingwei Fei (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) and field geologist Cheng Xu (Peking University, China) found that a rare sample of the garnet mineral majorite, discovered in North China, formed at least 370km (235 miles) below Earth’s surface. Fellow DCO member and Peking University colleague Renbiao Tao also contributed to the study. They published their findings in Science Advances. Read more...

Model of Australia’s Tectonic Stress May Future-Proof Carbon Storage
In response to ever-rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, some countries are exploring carbon sequestration as a way to mitigate the effects of this greenhouse gas. The general strategy is to inject carbon dioxide more than a mile underground, beneath an impermeable rock layer, where it can dissolve into fluids and crystallize. Injection locations must be chosen carefully, however, as small quakes and shifting fault lines could lead to burps and leaks, causing future climate issues. DCO modeling expert Dietmar Müller (University of Sydney, Australia), worked with colleague Scott Dyksterhuis (ExxonMobil, USA) to predict changes in the Australian crust 1 million years in the future. They modeled the geologic forces pushing and pulling the Australian continent to create a future stress field, which maps out the direction and intensity of tectonic stress applied at locations across the country. The researchers describe their methods in a new paper in the journal Fuel, which they hope will be useful in evaluating potential carbon sequestration sites and reducing the chance of future leaks. Their plate tectonic models also have applications for studies of subduction and deep carbon cycling through geologic time. Read more...

VIDEO: Drones Help Scientists Study Guatemalan Volcanoes
A new video from DCO’s Emma Liu (University of Cambridge, UK) and colleagues shows breathtaking aerial footage of the very active Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala. Liu and her colleagues used three different kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to get up close and personal with Volcán de Fuego during an eruptive period in February 2017. Following these successful pilot measurements, the team will return to Volcán de Fuego later this year to fly fully-instrumented vehicles up to the volcano. The video is the result of a collaboration between aerospace engineers at the University of Bristol, UK and volcanologists at the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol, UK and the Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy. Read more...

New Exhibit Opens in Vienna, Showcases Mineral Evolution on Earth
The next time you head to the rock or gems exhibit at a museum, you may be surprised at what you find. Through the work of DCO’s Executive Director, Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), a revolution in museum exhibits is underway to recognize the important, changing roles of minerals through Earth’s long history. “There’s a growing awareness of the dramatic changes in Earth’s mineralogy over the past 4.5 billion years. Remarkably, that epic “mineral evolution” story is as much about life as it is about rock. We now realize that minerals and life co-evolved,” says Hazen. This revolution of mineral exhibits was launched with the opening of a permanent new mineral display at the Natural History Museum of Vienna on 4 April 2017. The opening was feted with a news conference and public lecture where Hazen shared his view of mineral evolution to a packed house. Read more...

Deep Carbon, Big Data: Meet the DCO Data Science Team
Finding hidden patterns in big data sets is an intriguing challenge, one that is opening doors to all sorts of new research questions—and answers—in a variety of scientific disciplines. The Deep Carbon Observatory recognized this early on, and devoted resources to a team of dedicated data scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. Tackling everything from large mineral databases, to catalogues of data trapped in archived documents, the Data Science Team is exploring Earth in novel, predictive ways for the DCO Science Network. Read more...

DCO Webinar Wednesdays Launching 17 May 2017
A new series of DCO webinars focusing on big data modeling and visualization will launch Wednesday, 17 May 2017 at 2 pm EDT. Called “DCO Webinar Wednesdays,” this webinar series builds on the successful workshop program at the Third DCO International Science Meeting and will take place monthly over the summer. We hope you join in to learn from DCO experts in data science, modeling, and data visualization, who will guide you through a series of available modeling tools and software packages that you can integrate into your research now. Synthesis Group 2019 and the DCO Engagement Team are hosting this series. Read more...

APPLY NOW: PhD School on Carbon Forms, Paths, and Processes in Earth
The international school will present state-of-the-art of research studying the forms, paths, and processes of carbon in Earth in order to address the long-term fate of carbon on the planet. Consisting of a series of invited lectures, practical sessions on cutting-edge techniques, and contributions from participants, this five-day school is intended to bring together scientists, PhD students, and postdocs with broad international representation in geochemistry, petrology, experimental mineralogy and petrology, materials science, thermodynamics, volcanology, geodynamics, and geophysics. It will take place from 15-20 October 2017 at the Villa del Grumello, Como, Italy. Read more...

APPLY NOW: Fourth International Diamond School
This school will provide a general overview of the recent advances in diamond research, combining geology, exploration, and gemology of diamond, providing theoretical lectures and practical sessions focused on microscope observations of a complete inclusion-bearing diamond collection and micro-Raman spectroscopy analyses.  Masters students, PhD students, and senior researchers of any research fields are welcome to apply to the school, which will take place at the Università di Padova, Bressanone-Brixen (Bolzano-Bozen, Italy) from 29 January - 2 February 2018. Read more...

The State of Science on Wikipedia
Wikipedia is the seventh most visited website on the Internet. Five hundred million visitors click on it each month, at a rate of 8,000 views per second. Wikipedia contains 1.5 million citations, and drives more traffic to online scholarly articles than all but five other websites. But science on Wikipedia remains woefully underrepresented. A Wikipedia stub is an article that is too short to provide "encyclopedic coverage" of a topic. Six DCO-related articles that are currently stubs: Hadesarchaea, Poás Volcano, Melt inclusions, Chemical oceanography, Computational geophysics, Biogeophysics, and a bonus: Outer coreRead more...

Upcoming Events

Deep Continental Drilling into the Moho in the Ivrea-Verbano Zone ICDP Workshop, Baveno, Italy, 2-5 May 2017
This workshop is aimed at developing a strategic plan for drilling into the continental crust-mantle transition in the Ivrea-Verbano Zone. 

DCO Webinar Wednesday: Making Sense of Jupyter Notebooks, 2PM EDT, 17 May 2017
In this first in a series of five webinars, DCO Data Science Team members Peter Fox and Kathy Fontaine will teach participants how to get up and running on Jupyter Notebooks as a tool for data science.

JpGU-AGU Joint Meeting, Makuhari Messe, Japan, 20-25 May 2017
In May 2017, the Japan Geoscience Union and the American Geophysical Union will hold the first joint meeting of the two societies. More than 50 sessions, covering all areas of the Earth and space sciences, will be presented in English for inter- and trans-disciplinary scientists. 

DCO Webinar Wednesday: Visual Tools for Big Data Network Analysis, 2PM EDT, 14 June 2017
In the second webinar in the series, Extreme Physics and Chemistry member Shaunna Morrison and Data Science Team member Ahmed Eleish join forces to demonstrate how to turn large data sets into dynamic visualizations showing network connections. 

DCO Webinar Wednesday: Studying Deep Earth Reactive Transport Using ENKI: A Modeling Primer. 2PM EDT 26 July 2017
In the third webinar in the series, DCO Modelers Mark Ghiorso and Dimitri Sverjensky will show you how to use Enabling Knowledge Integration (ENKI) tools for modeling deep Earth fluids, chemical reactions, and transport. 

Goldschmidt 2017, Paris, France, 13-18 August 2017
Goldschmidt, the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, will be held in Paris in 2017. View sessions of interest to DCO

IAVCEI 2017 Scientific Assembly, Portland, Oregon, USA, 14-18 August 2017
This conference will cover planetary volcanology and chemistry of Earth's interior and eruption dynamics, including a practical understanding of the environmental and social impacts of eruptions. 

Third DCO Early Career Scientist Workshop, Etna, Italy, 28 August-2 September 2017
This workshop will bring together the next generation of researchers active in deep carbon studies from around the world. 

DCO Webinar Wednesday: A Blueprint for Creating a Box Model, 2PM EDT, 13 September 2017
In the fourth webinar in the series, DCO Modeling and Visualization expert Louise Kellogg and colleagues will present a blueprint and virtual “construction manual” for integrating different types of data into a box model.

DCO Webinar Wednesday: Data, Modeling, and Visualization: Ask the Experts! 2PM EDT, 11 October 2017
In the final webinar of this series, join us for a structured discussion and ask questions of any of the presenters in the series. 

PhD School, Como, Italy, 15-20 October 2017
The aim of the school is to present state of the art of research on the forms, paths, and processes of carbon in Earth in order to address the long-term fate of carbon on the planet. Application deadline: 15 June 2017 

2017 GSA Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, USA 22-25 October 2017
Seattle, Washington, is the location for the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America and includes opportunities for local field experiences.

AGU Fall Meeting, New Orleans, 11-15 December 2017 
AGU’s Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. 

Fourth International Diamond School, Bolzano-Bozen, Italy, 29 January - 2 February 2018
The school will provide a general overview of the recent advances in diamond research, combining geology, exploration, and gemology of diamond. Pre-registration now open.

Funding Opportunities

Census of Deep Life Sequencing Opportunities: Request for Proposals
Since 2011, the Deep Carbon Observatory’s Deep Life Community has sponsored the Census of Deep Life (CoDL) that 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 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, and 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 can also 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 DCO’s Deep Life Community. Proposal deadline: 30 April 2017

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Research Exchange proposals
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 $500-5000 with additional matched funds to be granted annually. 

New Publications

View more papers in the DCO publications browser.

Cassini finds molecular hydrogen in the Enceladus plume: Evidence for hydrothermal processes
J. Hunter Waite, Christopher R. Glein, Rebecca S. Perryman, Ben D. Teolis, Brian A. Magee, Greg Miller, Jacob Grimes, Mark E. Perry, Kelly E. Miller, Alexis Bouquet, Jonathan I. Lunine, Tim Brockwell, and Scott J. Bolton
Science doi:10.1126/science.aai8703

Rise of Earth’s atmospheric oxygen controlled by efficient subduction of organic carbon
Megan S. Duncan and Rajdeep Dasgupta
Nature Geoscience doi:10.1038/ngeo2939

Non-chondritic iron isotope ratios in planetary mantles as a result of core formation
Stephen M. Elardo and Anat Shahar
Nature Geoscience doi:10.1038/ngeo2896

Iron isotopic fractionation between silicate mantle and metallic core at high pressure
Jin Liu, Nicolas Dauphas, Mathieu Roskosz, Michael Y. Hu, Hong Yang, Wenli Bi, Jiyong Zhao, Esen E. Alp, Justin Y. Hu, and Jung-Fu Lin
Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms14377

New advances in Dial-Lidar-based remote sensing of the volcanic CO2 flux
Alessandro Aiuppa, Luca Fiorani, Simone Santoro, Stefano Parracino, Roberto D'Aleo, Marco Liuzzo, Giovanni Maio, and Marcello Nuvoli
Frontiers in Earth Science doi:10.3389/feart.2017.00015

Volcanic plume CO2 flux measurements at Mount Etna by Mobile Differential Absorption Lidar
Simone Santoro, Stefano Parracino, Luca Fiorani, Roberto D’Aleo, Enzo Di Ferdinando, Gaetano Giudice, Giovanni Maio, Marcello Nuvoli, and Alessandro Aiuppa
Geosciences doi:10.3390/geosciences7010009

Future intraplate stress and the longevity of carbon storage
Scott Dyksterhuis and R. Dietmar Müller
Fuel doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2017.03.042

Recovery of an oxidized majorite inclusion from Earth’s deep asthenosphere
Cheng Xu, Jindřich Kynický, Renbiao Tao, Xi Liu, Lifei Zhang, Miroslav Pohanka, Wenlei Song, and Yingwei Fei
Science Advances doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601589

Employment Opportunities

PhD position at the University of Plymouth, UK
Although field studies of ophiolites have been critical for the development of our understanding of the ocean crust, they are limited to samples exposed at the surface. The ICDP Oman Drilling Project provides a unique set of cores from the lower crust to test end member models. This project will combine the high-resolution quantitative core logging typical of scientific ocean drilling with the outcrop scale context, providing an unrivaled opportunity to study the formation of the ocean crust. The student will become part of the international team of scientists investigating the Oman ophiolite and have opportunities to participate in fieldwork in Oman and onsite and core-logging activities (aboard the Chikyu/JOIDES Resolution). Application deadline: 30 April 2017

PhD position in geophysics and physical volcanology at the University of Iceland
We seek a highly motivated candidate for a three-year period to fill a PhD position at the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, within the framework of IceSUSTAIN: A New Drill Core at Surtsey Volcano: A Natural Laboratory for Time-Lapse Characterization of Hydrothermal Seawater and Microbial Interactions with Basaltic Tephra – Iceland contribution, a Grant of Excellence project funded by the Icelandic Research Fund. Additional funding is through the hazard project GOSVÁ2, sub-project Methods to define the frequency and magnitude of shallow ocean eruptions. IceSUSTAIN is tied to the ICDP-funded SUSTAIN drilling project, an international project that will extract two drill cores from Surtsey in 2017. Application deadline: 1 May 2017

Postdoctoral Research Associate in carbonate platform numerical modeling at the University of Sydney, Australia
The position will focus on using observational carbonate reef geology to design and calibrate numerical carbonate stratigraphic models under different forcing conditions related to sediment input and ocean/wave dynamic evolution. Ultimately your work will advance our understanding of how reefs and carbonate platforms develop in the context of sea level change, lateral and vertical motion of continental shelves, ocean circulation and changing sediment input. The project will also address the question: how does the demise of reefs and carbonate platforms influence the global carbon cycle? Application deadline: 5 May 2017

Post-doctoral position in experimental phase transitions and plasticity under high pressure at Iowa State University, USA
A post-doctoral position at Iowa State University is available to perform experimental research on coupled plastic flow, phase transformations, and other structural changes under high pressure and torsion of a sample in a rotational diamond anvil cell. Experience with in situ high-pressure experimentation and/or x-ray characterization of stresses and structural changes in materials at the micron scale is desired. Close collaboration with theoretical/computational collaborators and with Ames Laboratory of DoE is expected. 

PhD positions in geomicrobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA
The Department of Earth and Environmental Science and the Center for Energy Research at the University of Pennsylvania seek graduate students interested in any of the following research areas: geomicrobiology, ecology, microbe-microbe and microbe-mineral interactions, biogeochemistry, ecophysiology, and bioenergetics. The successful applicants will be awarded a PhD Fellowship package that includes: tuition, fees, health care, and stipend for living expenses. These packages are available starting Fall 2017.

DCO in the News

Read more DCO News here

25 April 2017: Earth's mantle could suck up carbon from the air
By Tia Ghose for Live Science
If efforts to reduce carbon emissions fail and the world is barreling toward unchecked global warming, are there any last ditch strategies to save the planet? 

25 April 2017: Study: Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle
Rice University petrologists who recreated hot, high-pressure conditions from 60 miles below Earth's surface have found a new clue about a crucial event in the planet's deep past...

16 April 2017: Carbon dioxide extracts on trial at Oman hills
By R. Siva Kumar for the Science Times
Scientists are drilling the red mountains of Oman, in order to attempt reversing climate change...

13 April 2017: Scientists seek holy grail of climate change in Oman’s hills
By Sam McNeil for the Washington Post
Deep in the jagged red mountains of Oman, geologists are drilling in search of the holy grail of reversing climate change: an efficient and cheap way to remove carbon dioxide from the air and oceans...

13 April 2017: Saturn moon 'able to support life'
By Jonathan Amos for the BBC
Saturn's ice-crusted moon Enceladus may now be the single best place to go to look for life beyond Earth...

13 April 2017: Saturn's moon Enceladus has all the ingredients needed for alien life
By Abigail Beall for Wired
There could be life in one of the oceans in our Solar System, according to NASA...

13 April 2017: Icy moon may have the right stuff to fuel life
By Michael Greshko for National Geographic
Something hot seems to be churning deep inside an icy moon, and NASA scientists think that it might be enough energy to fuel any hypothetical extraterrestrial life...

13 April 2017: Food on Enceladus, Old Faithful on Europa strengthen case for finding alien life
By Lee Billings for Scientific American
Two moons in the outer solar system—Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus—are becoming the undisputed top targets in the search for life elsewhere in the solar system, scientists and NASA officials said at a press conference Thursday...

13 April 2017: Food for microbes abundant on Enceladus
By Paul Voosen for Science Magazine
In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied jets of water ice and vapor erupting into space from fissures on Enceladus, evidence of a salty ocean beneath the saturnian moon’s placid icy surface...

13 April 2017: Food for microbes found on Enceladus
By Ashley Yeager for Science News
Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus packs snacks suitable for microbial life...

13 April 2017: Scientists find signs that Saturn's moon Enceladus might be hospitable to life
By Merrit Kennedy for NPR
Could there be life under the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus?

13 April 2017: Plumes from Saturn’s moon Enceladus hint that it could support life
By Kenneth Chang for the New York Times
Could icy moons like Saturn’s Enceladus in the outer solar system be home to microbes or other forms of alien life?

13 April 2017: NASA finds ingredients for life spewing out of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus
By Sarah Kaplan for the Washington Post
The geysers of Saturn's moon Enceladus are gushing food for life, scientists say...

13 April 2017: NASA reveals new hints of life in space
By Jeffrey Kluger for Time
It was always clear Enceladus was up to something strange...

13 April 2017: Nearly all the elements needed for life found on Saturn's moon
By Traci Watson for USA Today
Scientists have found a potential food source for life on a world in our solar system, raising the tantalizing possibility that organisms could thrive in a place besides Earth...

13 April 2017: It’s official: Saturn’s moon has just about everything you need to make life
By Sarah Fecht for Popular Science 
The results are back from the Cassini spacecraft's closest encounter with Enceladus, and they're good news for folks who hope to find aliens on Saturn's icy moon...

12 April 2017: Un dron sobrevuela un inaccesible volcán en erupción
El País
Un equipo de vulcanólogos ha logrado hacer mediciones en la fumarola de un volcán en erupción prácticamente inaccesible, el de Fuego, en Guatemala...

12 April 2017: See close-up view of dangerous volcano eruptions via drone
By Eric Mack for Forbes
Guatemala is known for its volcanoes - some spew lava slow enough that tourists can hike right up to the flows, while others are too violent for even the most dedicated volcanologists to go near...

11 April 2017: Volcanic eruption captured by drones in Guatemala
Violent volcanic eruptions in Guatemala have been captured by drones for the first time...

10 April 2017: Minerals formed due to people’s activity may mark Anthropocene epoch
By Ryan Cross for Chemical & Engineering News 
The latest evidence that people are refashioning Earth is written not in the sky, where carbon dioxide levels are rising, nor in the acidifying ocean, but in stone... 

5 April 2017: "Die Evolution der Minerale" wird im NHM zur Dauerausstellung
Der Standard
Auch in der Welt der Minerale gibt es über lange Zeiträume hinweg eine Entwicklung, die der US-Forscher Robert Hazen von der Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington vor ungefähr zehn Jahren als "Evolution der Minerale" beschrieben hat...

Learn more about DCO's Scientific Communities


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.

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.

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.