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 Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>