Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of a new type of atmospheric aerosols from Sahara which will be useful to study climate change

06.10.2008
Scientists of the Soil Science and Geopharmacy Research Group of the University of Granada (Spain), directed by Rafael Delgado, have discivered and characterized a new type of atmospheric aerosols named ‘iberulites’, which could be useful for the study of relevant atmospheric reactions from Earth.

Researchers José Luis Díaz Hernández, of the Andalusian Research and Farming, Fishing, Food, and Ecological Production Training Institute and Jesús Párraga Martínez, of the Department of Edaphology and Farming Chemistry of the University of Granada, have insisted that such iberulites form in the troposphere from mineral small grains emitted from desert soils and bordering regions, burst into the atmosphere in a chaotic way, collect water vapour which becomes condensed and make up little rain drops.

"As we all know –scientists point out-, the Sahara is a powerful emitter of atmospheric dust, which travels to the Amazon and Caribbean regions, including Florida, also reaching the North of Europe, Israel and even the Himalayas. Such mineral grains, which contain iron, calcium, sulphur and sometimes phosphorus, fertilize the soil, forests and plankton of the oceans, lakes and seas they go through."

Swept away through the air

Such small drops of water and mineral dust grow in size as they collide with others and capture more dust, and are subject to characteristic hydrodynamic processes. As they get dry, they are swept away by powerful air drafts. During this trip –which can take several days- the iberolites experience a series of physical-chemical reactions and processes simultaneously, such as the incorporation of SO2 from volcanic areas (the Canary Islands), or the adhesion of planktonic organisms, virus and marine salts in the surface of the immature iberulite as they get close to the Atlantic area of Portugal, Morocco and the Gulf of Cádiz. The images of the iberulites taken with electronic microscopy, carried out in the Centre for Scientific Instrumentation of the UGR, are quite novel and give evidence of it.

Hydrodynamic processes, mechanically generated in such minuscule water and dust drops, form the shape of the artefact until it becomes a new atmospheric aerosol particle called iberulite with a vortex, quite similar to a micro spherulite. The researchers have pointed out that, obviously, “the fact that they have been colected in Granada does not exclude that, due to gravity, the biggest ones also fall in the Earth’s surface before arriving here”.

Novelty of the Discovery

This discovery has been recently published in the prestigious journal "Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta", one of the highest-impact journals in the group Geochemistry & Geophysics of the Journal Citation Reports.

The relevance of the discovery, Professor Párraga says, is that “the atmosphere sends us a ‘present’ manufectured by her, which tells us that the law of nature is able to create very beautiful and internally structured shapes from chaos in spite of the turbulent environment in which they are created”.

In this research work, which has taken six years, they have fully revealed the mechanisms for the formation of iberulites (annotating the maximum and minimum size); on the other hand, they could be useful as environmental or paleoclimatic markers, or to change the models of radioactive transference in the atmosphere. They should even be considered in the processes which form the Mediterranean soil, as the yearly rate of incorporation of dust to the soil of this area is about 23 grammes per square metre a year. “This could be another of the reasons why certain Mediterranean soils are very different to other soils around the world”, the authors explain.

Finally, the scientists conclude their work stating that the iberulites “are the tangible evidence of the hydrodynamic theory applied to the interactions of water drops and dust particles, which give raise to morphologies with a vortex, which had been confined and explained up to now in laboratory studies”.

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ugr.es
http://prensa.ugr.es/prensa/research/verNota/prensa.php?nota=560

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA examines Peru's deadly rainfall
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Steep rise of the Bernese Alps
24.03.2017 | Universität Bern

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>