ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Computer simulations indicate calcium carbonate has a dense liquid phase

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science


Computer simulations indicate calcium carbonate has a dense liquid phase

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:22 PM PDT

Computer simulations could help scientists make sense of a recently observed and puzzling wrinkle in one of nature’s most important chemical processes. It turns out that calcium carbonate — the ubiquitous compound that is a major component of seashells, limestone, concrete, antacids and myriad other substances — may momentarily exist in liquid form as it crystallizes from solution. Calcium carbonate is a huge player in the planet’s carbon cycle, so any new insight into how it behaves is potentially big news.

Morphing manganese: New discovery alters understanding of chemistry that moves elements through natural world

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 11:22 AM PDT

An often-overlooked form of manganese, an element critical to many life processes, is far more prevalent in ocean environments than previously known, according to a new study. The discovery alters understanding of the chemistry that moves manganese and other elements, like oxygen and carbon, through the natural world. Manganese is an essential nutrient for most organisms and helps plants produce oxygen during photosynthesis.

New risk model sheds light on arsenic risk in China’s groundwater

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 11:20 AM PDT

Arsenic-laden groundwater used for cooking and drinking could pose a risk to the health of almost 20 million people across China. The estimates are based on a risk model incorporating geological and hydrological data, as well as measurements of arsenic in wells.

Unraveling the mystery of Saharan dust migration

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 09:28 AM PDT

Scientists area studying the impact of Saharan dust on Houston’s air quality, and how it might differ from other sources of pollution. The dust is carried across the Atlantic Ocean on trade winds most summers, and research has shown it can be differentiated from other sources of pollution.

How SARS virus hijacks host cells

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 09:28 AM PDT

Infectious disease researchers have uncovered components of the SARS coronavirus — which triggered a major outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2002-03 — that allow it to take over host cells in order to replicate.

Potential for successful climate predictions: Hindcast experiments capture long-term climate fluctuations

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 07:50 AM PDT

Marine scientists recently managed to successfully hindcast climate shifts in the Pacific. These shifts also have a profound effect on the average global surface air temperature of the Earth.

Old concrete can protect lakes and streams from phosphorus-laden run-off

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 07:50 AM PDT

Lakes and streams are often receiving so much phosphorus that it could pose a threat to the local aquatic environment. Now, research shows that there is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent phosphorus from being discharged to aquatic environments. The solution is crushed concrete from demolition sites.

Simple mix of rock and organic waste is powerful fertilizer

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 06:10 AM PDT

A simple mixture of organic waste, such as chicken manure, and zeolite, a porous volcanic rock, has been developed into a powerful fertilizer which can also reclaim desert or contaminated land.

Food source for whales, seals and penguins at risk: Warming Antarctic seas likely to impact on krill habitats

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 06:10 AM PDT

Antarctic krill are usually less than 6 cm in length but their size belies the major role they play in sustaining much of the life in the Southern Ocean. They are the primary food source for many species of whales, seals, penguins and fish.

Ecologists get first bumblebees’ eye view of the landscape

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 06:00 AM PDT

Ecologists have produced the most detailed picture yet of how bumblebees use the landscape thanks to DNA technology and remote sensing. The results – which come from the largest ever study of wild bumblebee nests – could help farmers and policy makers ensure the countryside is better suited to the needs of these vital but declining pollinators.

Quick test kit detects phenolic compounds in drinking water

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 06:00 AM PDT

Phenolic compounds a problem in industrialised countries. Clean drinking water is a diminishing natural resource in developing nations and in many industrialized countries. Scientists have now developed a simple and inexpensive test kit that detects phenolic compounds in water. Sources of phenolic compounds found in drinking water include industrial wastewaters, drug residues and pipes.