Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Create New Weathering Index to Measure Rainfall in Ancient Ecosystems

05.05.2010
Two Baylor University researchers have published a paper on their creation of a new equation for estimating rainfall amounts in ancient ecosystems.

Understanding climate and rainfall through geologic time is crucial because they relate to plant and animal evolution, ecosystem function and the hydrological cycle, including erosional and depositional events.

The paper appears in the May edition of the journal Geology.

Dr. Lee Nordt, professor of geology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor, and Dr. Steve Driese, professor and chair of the department of geology at Baylor, have created a unique equation that uses soil characterization data and whole-soil geochemical analyses to show that estimates of rainfall can be improved using a new geochemical “proxy,” called CALMAG. The Baylor researchers said the previously used chemical index of alteration minus potassium (CIA-K) proxy was giving less precise estimates of ancient rainfall and in many cases, under estimating the amount of rainfall. The new proxy created by the Baylor researchers works well for ancient soils buried and turned into rock known as paleosols, and specifically high clay-content paleosols known as paleo-Vertisols. Vertisols are arguably the most common fossil soil type, preserving much information about the ecosystems.

“What we discovered is by looking at the principles of these chemical compounds, that CIA-K estimated rainfall somewhat effectively, but also for the wrong reason, or not for the reasons originally purported, and for sure, not for most soil types we see in the rock record,” Nordt said. “The difference is mainly that CALMAG estimates higher rainfall amounts than CIA-K and with greater statistical reliability. This is important because we use past climate and ecosystem response relationships to predict what might happen in the future with global change.”

The paper also gives for the first time the underlying geochemical principles that explain why this and other equations relate to rainfall in the first place. Nordt said rather than documenting the hydrolysis of minerals common in many other soils, the CALMAG equation principally tracks the flux of calcium and magnesium sourced from calcium carbonate and detrital clay in the Vertisols.

Matt Pene | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.baylor.edu/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting eruptions using satellites and math
28.06.2017 | Frontiers

nachricht NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora
27.06.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer Researchers Develop High-Pressure Sensors for Extreme Temperature

28.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Zeolite catalysts pave the road to decentral chemical processes Confined space increases reactivity

28.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy

28.06.2017 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>