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Study tests theory that life originated at deep sea vents
One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. Scientists have determined approximately when life began, roughly 3.8 billion years ago, but there is still intense debate about exactly how life began. One possibility — that simple metabolic reactions emerged near ancient seafloor hot springs, enabling the leap from a non-living to a living world — has grown in popularity in the last two decades.
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Goldschmidt2014, GS to award more than $61,000 to students and low-economy delegates
Thanks to generous support from Geochemical Society member donations, the Geochemical Society, and the Goldschmidt2014 organizing committee, more than US$ 61,000 (USD) will be granted to Eighty-one students and low-economy delegates attending Goldschmidt2014. This year, the program received 195 applications that were reviewed by an 11-member committee chaired by Yoko Furukawa (Naval Research Laboratory). For more information on this year's program and a full list of recipients visit the Goldschmidt Conference Grants page.
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Director, Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies (San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA)

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New in GCA (v.130, 1 April 2014)
Improved oxygen isotope temperature calibrations for cosmopolitan benthic foraminifera

Natural variation of magnesium isotopes in mammal bones and teeth from two South African trophic chains

Characterization and evolution of dissolved organic matter in acidic forest soil and its impact on the mobility of major and trace elements (case of the Strengbach watershed)

Adakitic (tonalitic-trondhjemitic) magmas resulting from eclogite decompression and dehydration melting during exhumation in response to continental collision

Metamorphic reaction rates at ∼650–800 °C from diffusion of niobium in rutile

Origins of Al-rich chondrules: Clues from a compound Al-rich chondrule in the Dar al Gani 978 carbonaceous chondrite

Mineralogical, chemical and K–Ar isotopic changes in Kreyenhagen Shale whole rocks and <2 μm clay fractions during natural burial and hydrous-pyrolysis experimental maturation

Alkalinity capture during microbial sulfate reduction and implications for the acidification of inland aquatic ecosystems

Salinity dependent hydrogen isotope fractionation in alkenones produced by coastal and open ocean haptophyte algae

Fluxed melting of metapelite and the formation of Miocene high-CaO two-mica granites in the Malashan gneiss dome, southern Tibet

Effects of growth and dissolution on the fractionation of silicon isotopes by estuarine diatoms

Experimental study of trace element partitioning between enstatite and melt in enstatite chondrites at low oxygen fugacities and 5 GPa

The magmatic–hydrothermal transition in the lower oceanic crust: Clues from the Ligurian ophiolites, Italy

Characterizing oxygen isotope variability and host water relation of modern and subfossil aquatic mosses

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New origin seen for Earth's tectonic plates
Earth's tectonic plates may have taken as long as 1 billion years to form, researchers report today in Nature. The plates — interlocking slabs of crust that float on Earth's viscous upper mantle — were created by a process similar to the subduction seen today when one plate dives below another, the report says.
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Permafrost thawing could accelerate global warming
A team of researchers lead by Florida State University have found new evidence that permafrost thawing is releasing large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via plants, which could accelerate warming trends.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Ancient volcanic explosions shed light on Mercury's origins (ScienceDaily)
Seismic imaging revisits an old question: What drives continental drift? (Ars Technica)
Granite bedrock and sequoia forests 'communicate' in the Sierra Nevada (National Science Foundation)

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