Links: Kimberlites, Ecosystem Recovery, Early Atmosphere, Carbonates

Some readings on assorted subjects.

Enigmatic origin of diamond-bearing rocks revealed

These are volcanic rocks which are the primary source of diamonds. Kimberlite magmas originate from deep in the earth's mantle. A recent geochemical survey has provided insights into the nature of that source. In India, the famous Panna diamonds are derived from the Majghawan Kimberlite which erupted about 1073 million years ago in the Proterozoic Vindhyan Basin.

Diversity decoupled from ecosystem function and resilience during mass extinction recovery

The mass extinction that took place 66 million years ago devastated both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. How long does post-extinction recovery take and exactly how do community structure and ecosystem functions reboot? A study using a 13 million year record of nannoplankton (unicellular protists) spanning the mass extinction has yielded some insights.

The study suggests that essential ecosystem functions such as geochemical cycling of nutrients was established by few hardy species very soon in the extinction aftermath. This recovery preceded by million of  years the reestablishment of species richness.

Did Bacterial Enzymes Cap the Oxygen in Early Earth’s Atmosphere?

Photosynthetic cyanobacteria that expelled oxygen evolved by 2.4 billion years ago. But oceanic and atmospheric oxygen levels remained quite low, about 10% of current levels, until about 400 million years ago.

The Pre-Salt Hydrocarbon Reservoirs of the South Atlantic

A superb example of how an understanding of the environments in which sediments are deposited helps petroleum exploration strategy.  Focus is on the unusual alkaline lake carbonate deposits of Brazil, formed during the Cretaceous when South America and Africa started splitting away from each other.