November 2016 Newsletter

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From the Deep, a monthly newsletter from DCO
November 2016

Deep Carbon Observatory

Inside Earth: DCO's Synthesis Inititatives

Visit "Inside Earth," a new area of the DCO website featuring synthesis initiatives. These projects are integrating what DCO scientists have learned over a decade of discovery.
Find out more about these projects

Letter from the Director

Two recent papers by DCO colleagues contain important new results on fluid-rock interactions in Earth’s deep interior. Ding Pan and Giulia Galli challenge conventional assumptions about the speciation of carbon in aqueous fluids. Their paper in Science Advances, “The fate of carbon dioxide in water-rich fluids under extreme conditions,” may have significant implications for reservoirs and fluxes of deep carbon. Matthieu Galvez, James Connolly, and Craig Manning provide “a perspective on the controlling reactions that have coupled metal and volatile cycles in subduction zones for more than 3 billion years.” Their paper in Nature is accompanied by a News and Views article that says, “This transforms our view of global geochemical transport.” Both papers benefit from the Deep Earth Water Model developed by Dimitri Sverjensky and an international group of DCO collaborators.

The DCO Executive Committee, Synthesis Group 2019, and Task Force 2020 convened a joint meeting in Paris to develop plans for integrating and synthesizing scientific research by the end of the DCO decadal program in 2019 and to explore opportunities for building on DCO’s legacy in 2020 and beyond. The DCO Synthesis Hub, which launched shortly after the meeting, illustrates exciting opportunities for making the whole greater that the sum of its parts.

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

News Features

Connecting the Surface and the Deep: Geochemical Cycles and Fluid-Rock Interactions Inside Earth
Deep underground, fluids circulating in Earth's crust and mantle transport carbon, sulfur and other volatiles, as well as rare and precious metals. As they move through rocks, fluids react with minerals to form ores. These fluids also change the chemistry of the rocks, influencing deep volatile cycles, volcanic eruptions, and the composition of Earth's atmosphere. We know these processes take place, however, they are so deep that they challenge our ability to observe and understand them. A team led by DCO's Matthieu Galvez (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), including DCO Extreme Physics and Chemistry Chair Craig Manning (University of California Los Angeles, USA), set out to address this problem by focusing on a critical and yet overlooked characteristic of deep fluids — their pH. Their work is published in the journal Nature. Read more...

New Study of Carbon and Water at the Bottom of Earth’s Upper Mantle Challenges Previous Models
The deep carbon cycle brings carbon from Earth's interior to surface reservoirs and back again over millions to billions of years. Within DCO's Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community, the question of how carbon reacts with aqueous fluids in the mantle looms large, with implications for understanding how carbon is stored in deep Earth and for how long, as well as how carbon is released into the atmosphere at subduction zones and during volcanic eruptions. In a paper published recently in Science Advances, DCO’s Ding Pan and Giulia Galli (University of Chicago, USA), conducted new calculations that challenge a key assumption prevalent in the field. Models of fluids in Earth's mantle have long assumed carbon bonds with oxygen in aqueous solution to form molecular CO2. Pan and Galli show, through a series of first-principles molecular dynamics simulations, that carbon in aqueous solutions at 11 GPa and 1000K is predominantly stored as carbonate and bicarbonate ions. Watch a one minute video about their work. Read more...

Sulfur and Nitrogen Metabolism Critical in Deep Continental Ecosystems
Buried in Earth's crust, in cracks and crevices kilometers below the surface, is a complex ecosystem of microbes and viruses. This ecological niche is challenging, and the organisms populating the deep biosphere must survive in the absence of sunlight, on extremely limited resources. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team of researchers including several DCO scientists takes a look at this ecosystem, and investigates how microbes work together to survive. Read more...

DCO Early Career Scientists Publish First Paper in Frontiers Special Research Topic
As a direct outcome of the 2015 DCO Early Career Scientist Workshop, which took place from 31 August - 5 September at the University of the Azores, the open access journal Frontiers in Earth Sciences accepted a proposal to host a special research topic titled “Early Career Scientist Contributions to the Deep Carbon Observatory.” The first article of the research topic appeared online in November 2016, co-authored by DCO Early Career Scientist and Executive Committee member Vincenzo Stagno (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy). Early career scientists from all four of DCO's scientific communities (Deep Life, Deep Energy, Reservoirs and Fluxes, and Extreme Physics and Chemistry) are welcome to submit manuscripts for consideration (deadline: 15 January 2017). Read more... 

Paris Meeting Addresses Past, Present, Future DCO
A joint meeting of DCO's Executive Committee, Synthesis Group 2019 (SG2019), and Task Force 2020 (TF2020) presented a rare opportunity for the three groups to discuss in person DCO's past, present, and future. The event marks an important juncture for the DCO as the program enters its synthesis phase and considers the future beyond 2019. TF2020 chair and Executive Committee member Claude Jaupart hosted the landmark meeting from 9-11 November 2016 at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. Read more...

Workshop Report: Fourth Serpentine Days in Séte, France
The 4th international "Serpentine Days" Workshop took place at the Lazaret resort in Sète in southern France from 26-29 October 2016. Workshop sponsors included the Société Française de Minéralogie et de Cristallographie, Géosciences Montpellier, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Université de Montpellier, the Institut des Origines and the Université de Lyon, the région Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée, and the Deep Carbon Observatory. The workshop convened more than 85 scientists from 13 countries with broad expertise in the geological, physical, chemical, and microbiological processes of serpentinization to share new findings in this exciting field of research. Read more...

2016 AGU Fall Meeting: Sessions, Talks, and Posters of Interest to DCO
A large contingent of DCO researchers will participate in the AGU Fall Meeting on 12-16 December 2016 in San Francisco, USA. A day-by-day listing will help you find sessions, talks, and posters of interest to DCO scientists, as well as those featuring members of the DCO Science Network. To add items to this listing, please contact the engagement [at] deepcarbon [dot] net (subject: DCO%20at%20AGU%202016%20Listings) (DCO Engagement Team). To receive daily updates from DCO during the meeting, containing information about deep carbon science sessions, talks, and posters, please sign up here. If you're attending the meeting, please mark your calendars and join us at poster session V33C: Deep Carbon: From the Mantle to the Surface and Back Again for a poster "flashmob." Details to follow. 

DCO Scientists Featured in Nova Series "Treasures of the Earth"
DCO scientists Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), Steven Shirey (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), Shaunna Morrison (University of Arizona, USA), and Jeffrey Post (Smithsonian Institution, USA) share their knowledge about carbon in Earth in a new NOVA series, Treasures of the Earth: Gems, Metals, and Power. NOVA describes its new 3-part series as “a journey deep inside Earth to uncover the mysteries of how these treasures were created, and to explore how they have allowed humankind to progress and build our great civilizations.” Full episodes are available to viewers in North America:  
Treasures of the Earth: Gems. Aired 2 November 2016
Treasures of the Earth: Metals. Aired 9 November 2016
Treasures of the Earth: Power. Aired 16 November 2016

Video: Private Lives of Minerals, a public lecture by Robert Hazen
The distribution of minerals on Earth, Mars, and other worlds mimics social networks, as commonly applied to such varied topics as Facebook interactions, the spread of disease, and terrorism networks. Applying network analysis to common rocks, such as granite and basalt, reveals patterns of cohesion, segregation, density, and cliques that are similar to those of human social networks. These patterns provide new insights into the way planets evolve, especially the co-evolving geosphere and biosphere. Network analysis also offers promising new pedagogical approaches to teaching mineralogy and petrology. In this public lecture, delivered on 15 November 2016 at the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA, DCO's Executive Director Robert Hazen talks about insights gained from his work in "Big-Data Mineralogy."

T-Limit Update: D/V Chikyu and Offshore Scientific Party Return to Kochi
D/V Chikyu arrived at the Kochi New Port at 9:00 am on 11 November 2016, thus concluding the offshore work as part of IODP Expedition 370.
22 November: The Beginning
By Donald Pan (shipboard microbiologist)
As the final core from the basement came up, shipboard scientists watched with anticipation and excitement, glad that the long hours of shipboard core processing will come to an end, but also with a bit of sadness knowing that the shipboard portion of IODP Expedition 370 is wrapping up...
22 November: Beyond the limits to study life on the edge
By Tatsuhiko Hoshino (shore-based microbiologist)
It has been 56 days since the onshore team joined IODP Expedition 370. We only have four days left to finish our onshore work! 
Read more on the DCO T-Limit blog...

Deep Carbon Science in Wikipedia
Wikipedia, the free crowd-sourced online encyclopedia, is one of the top ten websites in the world. It contains five million articles covering a vast range of topics, dozens of which relate to topics of interest to DCO, from bioreactor to kimberlite to x-ray diffraction. For DCO, Wikipedia offers an opportunity to present deep carbon science to a broader audience, and is an important part of DCO's legacy. For all of these reasons, the Engagement Team is spearheading the effort to include DCO science in relevant Wikipedia entries. To this end, we are soliciting recommendations for article topics. In some cases, DCO researchers will be able to improve or expand upon existing articles by providing expert review. In other cases, DCO researchers may want to provide entirely new content. The Engagement Team will facilitate this process by updating the articles with DCO scientists' edits. While we encourage everyone in the DCO Science Network to review and edit Wikipedia content directly, we are available to assist, answer questions, or make the edits on your behalf. Read more...

Upcoming Events

AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA, 12-16 December 2016
View DCO sessions, talks, and posters of interest here. Sign up to receive daily updates during the meeting here

Workshop: Demystifying the IODP Proposal Process for Early Career Scientists, Austin, USA, 23-25 January 2017
This workshop will focus on developing the next generation of IODP scientists, both by educating participants about upper-level IODP functions and building collaborative relationships. Application deadline extended: 23 November 2016

Third DCO International Science Meeting, St. Andrews, Scotland, 23-25 March 2017
The Deep Carbon Observatory will hold the Third International Science Meeting at the University of St. Andrews. This meeting will showcase recent results from scientists working in all fields of deep carbon research.

EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 23-28 April 2017
Abstract submission deadline: 11 January 2017

Deep Continental Drilling into the Moho in the Ivaea-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 Ivaea-Verbano Zone. Application deadline: 1 February 2017

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

Goldschmidt 2017, Paris, France, 13-18 August 2017
Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects. 

International Society for Subsurface Microbiology Conference, Rotorua, New Zealand, 6-10 November 2017
Abstract submissions open 15 December 2016

Funding Opportunities

C-DEBI Proposal Calls for Deep Biosphere Research and Fellowship Grants
The NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) invites proposals for 1-year research projects (in the anticipated range of $50,000-$80,000) and 1-2 year graduate student and postdoctoral fellowships that will significantly advance C-DEBI's central research agenda: to investigate the subseafloor biosphere deep in marine sediment and oceanic crust, and to conduct multi-disciplinary studies to develop an integrated understanding of subseafloor microbial life at the molecular, cellular, and ecosystem scales. C-DEBI welcomes proposals from applicants who would enhance diversity in C-DEBI and STEM fields. This request for proposals is open to all interested researchers at US institutions able to receive NSF funding as a sub award. Deadline: 1 December 2016

C-DEBI Proposal Calls for Deep Biosphere Education Grants
C-DEBI also invites proposals to support education and outreach projects, with a budget of up to $50,000 and a project duration of 1 year. The C-DEBI Education & Outreach Grants Program will fund the development of educational opportunities and materials that are pertinent to deep biosphere research in the subseafloor environment in support of our education and outreach goal to create distinctive, targeted education programs and promote increased public awareness about life below the seafloor. C-DEBI welcomes proposals from applicants who would enhance diversity in C-DEBI and STEM fields. This request for proposals is open to all interested researchers at US institutions able to receive NSF funding as a sub award. Deadline: 1 December 2016

Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship
The U.S. Science Support Program is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship Program. The Schlanger Fellowship Program offers merit-based awards for outstanding graduate students 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. Fellowships are open to all graduate students enrolled at U.S. institutions in full-time MS or PhD programs. Deadline: 2 December 2016

New Publications

View more papers in the DCO publications browser.

Implications for metal and volatile cycles from the pH of subduction zone fluids
Matthieu E. Galvez, James A.D. Connolly, and Craig E. Manning
Nature doi: 10.1038/nature20103

The fate of carbon dioxide in water-rich fluids under extreme conditions
Ding Pan and Giulia Galli
Science Advances doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601278

An oligotrophic deep-subsurface community dependent on syntrophy is dominated by sulfur-driven autotrophic denitrifiers
Maggie CY Lau, Thomas L Kieft, Olukayode Kuloyo, Borja Linage-Alvarez, Esta van Heerden, Melody R Lindsay, Cara Magnabosco, Wei Wang, Jessica B Wiggins, Ling Guo, David H Perlman, Saw Kyin, Henry H Shwe, Rachel L Harris, Youmi Oh, Min Joo Yi, Roland Purtschert, Greg F Slater, Shuhei Ono, Siwen Wei, Long Li, Barbara Sherwood Lollar, and Tullis C Onstott 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1073/pnas.1612244113

Evaluating the role of seagrass in cenozoic CO2 variations
Marco Brandano, Marco Cuffaro, Giovanni Gaglianone, Petrizio Petricca, Vincenzo Stagno, and Guillem Mateu-Vicens
Frontiers in Environmental Science doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2016.00072

Employment Opportunities

3-year Post-Doctoral Position in Noble Gas Geochemistry, University of Manchester, UK
Applications are invited for a post-doctoral research associate (PDRA) in noble gas geochemistry, to work within the Isotope Geochemistry research group in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester. The PDRA will work on the project “How did primordial and recycled geochemical signatures come to coexist in the Earth's deep mantle?” funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council. They will be supervised by Dr Margaret Hartley, Dr Greg Holland and Professor Ray Burgess, with support from project partners Dr Oliver Shorttle (University of Cambridge), Dr Sæmundur Ari Halldórsson (University of Iceland) and Dr Antonio Álvarez-Valero (University of Salamanca). The project focuses on the isotopic and volatile compositions of subglacially erupted basalts from Iceland, with a view to establishing the characteristic geochemical signatures and spatial distribution of primordial and recycled reservoirs in the Icelandic mantle source. Application deadline: 23 November 2016

Professor in Earth Science at the University of St Andrews, Scotland
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences invites applications for a Professorial-level appointment. We are seeking outstanding individuals who address fundamental questions about Earth System behavior and evolution, and can contribute to excellence in field-based teaching. We welcome individuals whose research spans one or more of tectonics, structural and metamorphic geology, volcanology, Earth system modeling, Earth resources, palaeontology, sedimentary geology, and stratigraphy. The successful candidates will complement our vibrant research groups in Global Change, Solid Earth and Planetary Science, Geobiology, Economic Geology and Energy, and Earth Surface Processes, and will be expected to develop externally funded, innovative and impactful research programs. Application deadline: 25 November 2016

Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the University of St Andrews, Scotland
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences invites applications for a Lectureship-level appointment from outstanding individuals who utilize field-based research to address fundamental questions about Earth System behavior and evolution. We welcome individuals whose research spans one or more of tectonics, structural and metamorphic geology, volcanology, Earth system modeling, Earth resources, palaeontology, sedimentary geology, and stratigraphy. The successful candidate will complement our vibrant research groups in Global Change, Solid Earth and Planetary Science, Geobiology, Economic Geology and Energy, and Earth Surface Processes, and will be expected to develop externally funded, innovative and impactful research programs. Application deadline: 25 November 2016

Carnegie Fellowships at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington DC, USA
The Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships. The Geophysical Laboratory emphasizes interdisciplinary experimental and theoretical research in fields spanning geoscience, microbiology, chemistry, and physics. The Laboratory supports world-class facilities in high-pressure research; organic, stable isotope and biogeochemistry; mineral physics and petrology; and astrobiology. Application deadline: 30 November 2016

Postdoctoral and Graduate Fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, USA
The Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) invites applications for both postdoctoral and graduate fellowships. Active areas of research include volcanology, mineral spectroscopy, environmental mineralogy, geochemistry, experimental petrology, mineral physics, meteorite studies, solar system formation, and planetary formation and evolution. The department also houses the National Meteorite Collection, the National Rock and Ore Collection, the National Gem and Mineral Collection, and the Global Volcanism Program. Application deadline: 1 December 2016

Curator in Earth and Planetary Science, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA
The Division of Physical Sciences of the American Museum of Natural History seeks to hire a tenure-track assistant curator in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. We seek candidates who will bring petrological and geochemical methods to bear on problems related to planetary evolution. For example, candidates might integrate field, analytical, and theoretical studies of the rock record to provide insights into fundamental aspects of climate, environmental, and biogeochemical variability through time. The successful candidate will have demonstrated scientific creativity and the potential to build and sustain an innovative research program. Application deadline: 16 December 2016

Tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor in Isotope Geochemistry, Arizona State University, USA
The School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) and the School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) at Arizona State University invite applications for a jointly-appointed, tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor with expertise in Isotope Geochemistry, with an anticipated start date of August 2017. Rank and tenure status will be commensurate with experience. We seek applications from diverse candidates with expertise in state-of-the-art applications of radiogenic isotope or light stable isotope geochemistry. Application deadline: 20 December 2016

Harry Hess Postdoctoral Fellows Program at Princeton University, USA
The Department of Geosciences at Princeton University announces competition for the 2016-2017 Harry Hess Fellows Program. This honorific postdoctoral fellowship program provides opportunities for outstanding geoscientists to work in the field of their choice. Research may be carried out independently or in collaboration with members of the Geosciences Department. One or more Hess Fellows may be appointed. Applicants for the Hess Fellowship may also be considered for other available postdoctoral positions in the Geosciences Department. Application deadline: 1 January 2017

Lecturer in Earth Sciences at Durham University, UK
The Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University wishes to recruit an outstanding Lecturer in Earth Sciences. The Department has broad interests across the range of geosciences and seeks applications from exceptional candidates working in any areas of geoscience research that complement and build on its current expertise and interests. The position offers an exciting opportunity to conduct research and teaching of the highest, international quality. Academics are expected to raise funding to undertake research, to recruit and supervise postgraduate students and postdoctoral research staff, and to explore the full potential for impact of their research. Application deadline: 29 January 2017

Assistant Professor of Geology in Petrology/Mineralogy, University of Georgia, USA
The Department of Geology at the University of Georgia seeks to fill a position for a tenure-track assistant professor in the field of petrology/mineralogy, welcoming applications from scientists in both the Earth and planetary sciences to complement the department’s growing focus in planetary sciences. We encourage applications from petrologists/mineralogists with strong backgrounds in chemistry and physics who may employ unconventional and interdisciplinary approaches to address big-picture questions including but not limited to petrologic and/or mineralogical aspects of planetary evolution involving core, mantle, and/or crustal processes. Open until filled.

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

21 November 2016 Volcanic fumes warn of imminent eruptions
By Julia Rosen for Science
Last month, researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico hoped to reach the top of Popocatépetl, a 5400-meter-tall volcano near Mexico City, to install monitoring equipment at its summit crater. But El Popo, as locals call it, rebuffed them with ash and belches of acrid gas—precisely what the scientists wanted to measure...

20 November 2016 U of T researchers identify energy source for microbial communities deep in Earth’s crust
By Hannah Fung for The Varsity
Most living things derive their energy from sunlight. Plants use light energy to convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds, which in turn fuel animals and detritivores. For the microbial communities living 2.4 kilometers below the Earth’s surface, however, sunlight is not an option...

18 November 2016 Friday's Food for Thought: Mapping Volcanoes
By Lindsay Titlton Mitchell for Trajectory Magazine
Imagine being able to detect when a volcano will erupt. This is exactly what international group Deep Carbon Observatory aims to do...

9 November 2016 How carbon gets absorbed deep underground
By Brooks Hays for UPI
As scientists work to make climate change models more accurate, they must grapple with the myriad ways carbon gets absorbed and released by the planet's biologic, geologic and atmospheric cycles...

8 November 2016 Scientists probe underground depths of Earth’s carbon cycle
By Greg Borzo for the University of Chicago
Understanding how carbon dissolves in water at the molecular level under extreme conditions is critical to understanding the Earth’s deep carbon cycle—a process that ultimately influences global climate change...

28 October 2016 Northern Ontario's underground similar to Mars: researchers
CBC News
A team of researchers has been studying a mine site in Timmins, Ont., that they say shows the Canadian Shield in northern Ontario resembles the underground of Mars...

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.