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A LARGE bolide impact, such as that thought to have occurred at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary, should produce large amounts of light-attenuating debris, thereby causing an 'impact winter'1-3. Because of thermal buffering in the oceans, evidence for a brief (1-2 months2-4) impact winter would be found only in terrestrial environments. Aquatic leaves in the K/T boundary section near Teapot Dome, Wyoming, preserve structural deformation that can be duplicated experimentally in extant aquatic leaves by freezing. Reproductive stages reached by the fossil aquatic plants at the time of death suggest that freezing took place in approximately early June. Both the existence of the structurally deformed plants and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Most of the old cratered highlands of Mars are dissected by branching river valleys that appear to have been cut by running water1,2 yet liquid water is unstable everywhere on the martian surface. In the equatorial region, where most of the valleys are observed, even ice is unstable3,4. It has been suggested, therefore, that Mars had an early denser atmosphere with sufficient greenhouse warming to allow the existence of liquid water 5. Here, we suggest instead that during periods of very high obliquities, ice could accumulate at low latitudes as a result of sustained sublimation of ice from the poles and transport of the water vapour equatorwards. At low latitudes, the water vapour would saturate the atmosphere...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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THE Cascadia subduction zone, a region of converging tectonic plates along the Pacific coast of North America, has a geological history of very large plate-boundary earthquakes1,2, but no such earthquakes have struck this region since Euro-American settlement about 150 years ago. Geophysical estimates of the moment magnitudes (Mw) of the largest such earthquakes range from 8 (ref. 3).to 91/2 (ref. 4). Radiocarbon dating of earthquake-killed vegetation can set upper bounds on earthquake size by constraining the length of plate boundary that ruptured in individual earthquakes. Such dating has shown that the most recent rupture, or series of ruptures, extended at least 55 km along the Washington coast within a period...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) require a specific microenvironment, the haematopoietic niche, which regulates HSPC behaviour. The location of this niche varies across species, but the evolutionary pressures that drive HSPCs to different microenvironments remain unknown. The niche is located in the bone marrow in adult mammals, whereas it is found in other locations in non-mammalian vertebrates, for example, in the kidney marrow in teleost fish. Here we show that a melanocyte umbrella above the kidney marrow protects HSPCs against ultraviolet light in zebrafish. Because mutants that lack melanocytes have normal steady-state haematopoiesis under standard laboratory conditions, we hypothesized that...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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JOHNSON AND NIER1 have measured the atomic masses of some of the rare-earth isotopes and have shown that the mass difference cerium-142—(barium-138 + helium-4) is equivalent to 1.68 ± 0.10 MeV. Similar results for the naturally occurring samarium and neodymium isotopes show that the α-active isotope of each element is the one having the largest possible decay energy. Rasmussen and others2 suggest that the two or three neutrons just beyond the closed shell of 82 neutrons have decreased binding energies and hence the α-energy has a maximum about 84 neutrons. Johnson and Nier suggest that the α-decay of cerium-142 may take place with enough energy to be experimentally observable. Porschen and Riezler3 examined a sample...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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The martian surface is a natural laboratory for testing our understanding of the physics of aeolian (wind-related) processes in an environment different from that of Earth. Martian surface markings and atmospheric opacity are time-variable, indicating that fine particles at the surface are mobilized regularly by wind. Regolith (unconsolidated surface material) at the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site has been affected greatly by wind, which has created and reoriented bedforms, sorted grains, and eroded bedrock. Aeolian features here preserve a unique record of changing wind direction and wind strength. Here we present an in situ examination of a martian bright wind streak, which provides evidence...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Where the San Andreas fault passes along the southwestern margin of the Mojave desert, it exhibits a large change in trend, and the deformation associated with the Pacific/North American plate boundary is distributed broadly over a complex shear zone. The importance of understanding the partitioning of strain across this region, especially to the east of the Mojave segment of the San Andreas in a region known as the eastern California shear zone (ECSZ), was highlighted by the occurrence (on 28 June 1992) of the magnitude 7.3 Landers earthquake in this zone. Here we use geodetic observations in the central Mojave desert to obtain new estimates for the rate and distribution of strain across a segment of the ECSZ,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Irregular or fretted scarps on Io are similar to those found on Earth and Mars. A sapping mechanism involving liquid SO2 is proposed to explain these complexly eroded terrains on Io. ?? 1979 Nature Publishing Group.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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[No abstract available]
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Estimates of the amount of water outgassed from Mars, based on the composition of the atmosphere, range from 6 to 160 m, as compared with 3 km for the Earth. In contrast, large flood features, valley networks, and several indicators of ground ice suggest that at least 500 m of water have outgassed. The two sets of estimates may be reconciled if early in its history, Mars lost part of its atmosphere by impact erosion and hydrodynamic escape. ?? 1987 Nature Publishing Group.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are important in global biogeochemical cycles, providing biological oases at the sea floor that are supported by the thermal and chemical flux from the Earth's interior. As hot, acidic and reduced hydrothermal fluids mix with cold, alkaline and oxygenated sea water, minerals precipitate to form porous sulphide-sulphate deposits. These structures provide microhabitats for a diversity of prokaryotes that exploit the geochemical and physical gradients in this dynamic ecosystem. It has been proposed that fluid pH in the actively venting sulphide structures is generally low (pH < 4.5), yet no extreme thermoacidophile has been isolated from vent deposits. Culture-independent surveys based on...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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RECENT seismological, heat flow and stress measurements in active fault zones such as the San Andreas have led to the suggestion1,2 that such zones can be relatively weak. One explanation for this may be the presence of overpressured fluids along the fault3-5, which would reduce the shear stress required for sliding by partially 'floating' the rock. Although several mechanisms have been proposed for overpressurizing fault fluids3,4,6,7, we recall that 'pressure seals' are known to form in both sedimentary8 and igneous9 rocks by the redistribution of materials in solution; the formation of such a seal along the boundaries of a fault will prevent the communication of fluids between the porous, deforming fault zone...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Ground-based spectroscopy of Jupiter's moon Europa, combined with gravity data, suggests that the satellite has an icy crust roughly 150 km thick and a rocky interior. In addition, images obtained by the Voyager spacecraft revealed that Europa's surface is crossed by numerous intersecting ridges and dark bands (called lineae) and is sparsely cratered, indicating that the terrain is probably significantly younger than that of Ganymede and Callisto. It has been suggested that Europa's thin outer ice shell might be separated from the moon's silicate interior by a liquid water layer, delayed or prevented from freezing by tidal heating; in this model, the lineae could be explained by repetitive tidal deformation of the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Permafrost contains an estimated 1672????????Pg carbon (C), an amount roughly equivalent to the total currently contained within land plants and the atmosphere. This reservoir of C is vulnerable to decomposition as rising global temperatures cause the permafrost to thaw. During thaw, trapped organic matter may become more accessible for microbial degradation and result in greenhouse gas emissions. Despite recent advances in the use of molecular tools to study permafrost microbial communities, their response to thaw remains unclear. Here we use deep metagenomic sequencing to determine the impact of thaw on microbial phylogenetic and functional genes, and relate these data to measurements of methane emissions. Metagenomics,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Conodonts are microfossils which are commonly found in marine rocks of Cambrian to Triassic age. Although their biological affinities are difficult to assess, conodonts are valuable stratigraphical indices for much of their geological range1. Recent work has also established that conodont colour alteration indices (CAI) are useful guides to diagenetic temperatures and hence burial depth2. Fission tracks3 in conodonts allow measurement of uranium concentrations and estimates of 'age' to be made using isotopic methods4. We report here that fission tracks counted in irradiated, thermally unaltered (as indicated by CAI) middle Palaeozoic conodonts indicate typical uranium concentrations of ???1 part in 10 9, with some...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Titan is the only satellite in our Solar System with a dense atmosphere. The surface pressure is 1.5 bar (ref. 1) and, similar to the Earth, N 2 is the main component of the atmosphere. Methane is the second most important component, but it is photodissociated on a timescale of 10 years (ref. 3). This short timescale has led to the suggestion that Titan may possess a surface or subsurface reservoir of hydrocarbons to replenish the atmosphere. Here we report near-infrared images of Titan obtained on 26 October 2004 by the Cassini spacecraft. The images show that a widespread methane ocean does not exist; subtle albedo variations instead suggest topographical variations, as would be expected for a more solid (perhaps...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature
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Stress changes in the Earth's crust are generally estimated from model calculations that use near-surface deformation as an observational constraint. But the widespread correlation of changes of earthquake activity with stress has led to suggestions that stress changes might be calculated from earthquake occurrence rates obtained from seismicity catalogues. Although this possibility has considerable appeal, because seismicity data are routinely collected and have good spatial and temporal resolution, the method has not yet proven successful, owing to the nonlinearity of earthquake rate changes with respect to both stress and time. Here, however, we present two methods for inverting earthquake rate data to infer...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature