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Recent Submissions

  • Two new sympatric species of the pirate spider genus Ero C.L. Koch, 1836 from the cloud forest of Saint Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean (Araneae: Mimetidae)

    Sherwood, Danniella; Henrard, Arnaud; Peters, Martina; Price, BW; Hall, Andie; White, Oliver W; Grignet, Virginie; Wilkins, Vicky (Museum National D'Histoire Naturelle, 2024-02-02)
    A remarkable morphologically and genetically distinct species of the genus Ero C.L. Koch, 1836 is described based on both sexes from the cloud forest of the island of Saint Helena: Ero lizae sp. nov. Another new species, Ero natashae sp. nov., is also described on the basis of morphological differences in the male and female genitalia. Both species were initially reported a single species, Ero aphana (Walckenaer, 1802), from the island by Unzicker (1977).
  • Unprecedented frequency of mitochondrial introns in colonial bilaterians

    Jenkins, Helen Louise; Graham, Rachael; Porter, Joanne Sara; Vieira, Leandro Manzoni; de Almeida, Ana Carolina Sousa; Hall, Andrea; O’Dea, Aaron; Coppard, Simon Edward; Waeschenbach, A (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-06-28)
    Abstract Animal mitogenomes are typically devoid of introns. Here, we report the largest number of mitochondrial introns ever recorded from bilaterian animals. Mitochondrial introns were identified for the first time from the phylum Bryozoa. They were found in four species from three families (Order Cheilostomatida). A total of eight introns were found in the complete mitogenome of Exechonella vieirai, and five, 17 and 18 introns were found in the partial mitogenomes of Parantropora penelope, Discoporella cookae and Cupuladria biporosa, respectively. Intron-encoded protein domains reverse transcriptase and intron maturase (RVT-IM) were identified in all species. Introns in E. vieirai and P. penelope had conserved Group II intron ribozyme domains V and VI. Conserved domains were lacking from introns in D. cookae and C. biporosa, preventing their further categorization. Putative origins of metazoan introns were explored in a phylogenetic context, using an up-to-date alignment of mitochondrial RVT-IM domains. Results confirmed previous findings of multiple origins of annelid, placozoan and sponge RVT-IM domains and provided evidence for common intron donor sources across metazoan phyla. Our results corroborate growing evidence that some metazoans with regenerative abilities (i.e. placozoans, sponges, annelids and bryozoans) are susceptible to intron integration, most likely via horizontal gene transfer.
  • Evaluation of genome skimming to detect and characterise human and livestock helminths

    PAPAIAKOVOU, MARINA; Fraija-Fernández, Natalia; James, Katherine; Briscoe, AG; Hall, Andie; Jenkins, Timothy P; Dunn, Julia; Levecke, Bruno; Mekonnen, Zeleke; Cools, Piet; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2023-01-11)
    The identification of gastrointestinal helminth infections of humans and livestock almost exclusively relies on the detection of eggs or larvae in faeces, followed by manual counting and morphological characterisation to differentiate species using microscopy-based techniques. However, molecular approaches based on the detection and quantification of parasite DNA are becoming more prevalent, increasing the sensitivity, specificity and throughput of diagnostic assays. High-throughput sequencing, from single PCR targets through to the analysis of whole genomes, offers significant promise towards providing information-rich data that may add value beyond traditional and conventional molecular approaches; however, thus far, its utility has not been fully explored to detect helminths in faecal samples. In this study, low-depth whole genome sequencing, i.e. genome skimming, has been applied to detect and characterise helminth diversity in a set of helminth-infected human and livestock faecal material. The strengths and limitations of this approach are evaluated using three methods to characterise and differentiate metagenomic sequencing data based on (i) mapping to whole mitochondrial genomes, (ii) whole genome assemblies, and (iii) a comprehensive internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) database, together with validation using quantitative PCR (qPCR). Our analyses suggest that genome skimming can successfully identify most single and multi-species infections reported by qPCR and can provide sufficient coverage within some samples to resolve consensus mitochondrial genomes, thus facilitating phylogenetic analyses of selected genera, e.g. Ascaris spp. Key to this approach is both the availability and integrity of helminth reference genomes, some of which are currently contaminated with bacterial and host sequences. The success of genome skimming of faecal DNA is dependent on the availability of vouchered sequences of helminths spanning both taxonomic and geographic diversity, together with methods to detect or amplify minute quantities of parasite nucleic acids in mixed samples.
  • Diversity and Phylogeny of Novel Cord-Forming Fungi from Borneo

    Foster, R; Hartikainen, Hanna; Hall, Andie; Bass, David (MDPI AG, 2022-01-22)
    Cord-forming (CF) fungi are found worldwide; however, tropical CF fungi are poorly documented. They play an essential role in forest ecosystems by interconnecting nutrient resources and aiding in the decomposition of plant matter and woody litter. CF fungi samples were collected from two forest conservation sites in the Sabah region of Malaysian Borneo. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the ribosomal rRNA gene array 18S to 28S region from cords collected placed all of the collected specimens in Agaricomycetes (Basidiomycetes), specifically within the orders Trechisporales, Phallales, Hymenochaetales, Polyporales, and Agaricales. Comparison of the cord-derived sequences against GenBank and UNITE sequence databases, as well as phylogenetic analyses, revealed they were all novel sequences types. Many of these novel lineages were found to be closely related to other basidiomycetes commonly found in tropical forests, suggesting a large undiscovered tropical fungal diversity in Borneo that has been detected independently of sampling fruiting bodies. We show how these sequence types relate to the morphologies of the cords from which they were sampled. We also highlight how rapid, small-scale sampling can be a useful tool as an easy and relatively unbiased way of collecting data on cord-forming fungi in difficult-to-access, complex forest environments, independently of locating and sampling sporophores.
  • Revision of the World Species of Megaphragma Timberlake (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae)

    Polaszek, Andrew; Fusu, Lucian; Viggiani, Gennaro; Hall, Andie; Hanson, Paul; Polilov, Alexey A (MDPI AG, 2022-06-20)
    Megaphragma species are important models for basic organismal research, and many are potential biological control agents. We present the first extensive revision of species of the genus Megaphragma based on morphological and molecular data. Our revision includes all previously described species, 6 of which are synonymized, and 22 of which are described here as new. We also provide the first key to all species of the genus and reconstruct their phylogeny based on 28S and CO1 molecular markers. The following species are synonymized with M. longiciliatum Subba Rao: M. aligarhensis Yousuf and Shafee syn. nov.; M. amalphitanum Viggiani syn. nov.; M. decochaetum Lin syn. nov.; M. magniclava Yousuf and Shafee syn. nov.; M. shimalianum Hayat syn. nov. M. anomalifuniculi Yuan and Lou syn. nov. is synonymized with M. polychaetum Lin. The following species are described as new: M. antecessor Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. breviclavum Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. chienleei Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. cockerilli Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. digitatum Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. fanenitrakely Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. funiculatum Fusu, Polaszek, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. giraulti Viggiani, Fusu, and Polaszek sp. nov.; M. hansoni Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. kinuthiae Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. liui Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. momookherjeeae Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. nowickii Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. noyesi Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. pintoi Viggiani sp. nov.; M. polilovi Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. rivelloi Viggiani sp. nov.; M. tamoi Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. tridens Fusu, and Polaszek sp. nov.; M. uniclavum Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. vanlentereni Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. viggianii Fusu, Polaszek, and Polilov sp. nov.
  • Crystal structure and investigation of Bi2TeO6·nH2O (0 ≤ n ≤ 2/3): natural and synthetic montanite

    Missen, Owen P; Mills, Stuart J; Rumsey, Michael S; Weil, Matthias; Artner, Werner; Spratt, J; Najorka, J (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-06-09)
    The crystal structure of montanite has been determined using single-crystal X-ray diffraction on a synthetic sample, supported by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), electron microprobe analysis (EPMA) and thermogravimetric analyses (TGA). Montanite was first described in 1868 as Bi2TeO6·nH2O (0 ≤ n ≤ 2/3). The determination of the crystal structure of synthetic montanite (refined composition Bi2TeO6·0.22H2O has led to the reassignment of the formula to Bi2TeO6·0.22H2O where 0 ≤ n ≤ 2∕3 rather than the commonly reported Bi2TeO6·2H2O. This change has been accepted by the IMA–CNMNC, Proposal 22-A. The PXRD pattern simulated from the crystal structure of synthetic montanite is a satisfactory match for PXRD scans collected on both historical and recent natural samples, showing their equivalence. Two specimens attributed to the original discoverer of montanite (Frederick A. Genth) from the cotype localities (Highland Mining District, Montana and David Beck’s mine, North Carolina, USA) have been designated as neotypes. Montanite crystallises in space group P6, with the unit-cell parameters a = 9.1195(14) Å, c = 5.5694(8) Å, V = 401.13(14) Å3, and three formula units in the unit cell. The crystal structure of montanite is formed from a framework of BiOn and TeO6 polyhedra. Half of the Bi3+ and all of the Te+ cations are coordinated by six oxygen atoms in trigonal-prismatic arrangements (the first example of this configuration reported for Te6+, while the remaining Bi3+ cations are coordinated by seven O sites. The H2O groups in montanite are structurally incorporated into the network of cavities formed by the three-dimensional framework, with other cavity space occupied by the stereoactive 6s2 lone pair of Bi3+ cations. While evidence for a supercell was observed in synthetic montanite, the subcell refinement of montanite adequately indexes all reflections in the PXRD patterns observed in all natural montanite samples analysed in this study, verifying the identity of montanite as a mineral.
  • Petrological and geochemical characterisation of the sarsen stones at Stonehenge

    Nash, David J; Ciborowski, T Jake R; Darvill, Timothy; Parker Pearson, Mike; Ullyott, J Stewart; Damaschke, Magret; Evans, Jane A; Goderis, Steven; Greaney, Susan; Huggett, Jennifer M; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021-08-04)
    Little is known of the properties of the sarsen stones (or silcretes) that comprise the main architecture of Stonehenge. The only studies of rock struck from the monument date from the 19th century, while 20th century investigations have focussed on excavated debris without demonstrating a link to specific megaliths. Here, we present the first comprehensive analysis of sarsen samples taken directly from a Stonehenge megalith (Stone 58, in the centrally placed trilithon horseshoe). We apply state-of-the-art petrographic, mineralogical and geochemical techniques to two cores drilled from the stone during conservation work in 1958. Petrographic analyses demonstrate that Stone 58 is a highly indurated, grain-supported, structureless and texturally mature groundwater silcrete, comprising fine-to-medium grained quartz sand cemented by optically-continuous syntaxial quartz overgrowths. In addition to detrital quartz, trace quantities of silica-rich rock fragments, Fe-oxides/hydroxides and other minerals are present. Cathodoluminescence analyses show that the quartz cement developed as an initial <10 μm thick zone of non-luminescing quartz followed by ~16 separate quartz cement growth zones. Late-stage Fe-oxides/hydroxides and Ti-oxides line and/or infill some pores. Automated mineralogical analyses indicate that the sarsen preserves 7.2 to 9.2 area % porosity as a moderately-connected intergranular network. Geochemical data show that the sarsen is chemically pure, comprising 99.7 wt. % SiO2. The major and trace element chemistry is highly consistent within the stone, with the only magnitude variations being observed in Fe content. Non-quartz accessory minerals within the silcrete host sediments impart a trace element signature distinct from standard sedimentary and other crustal materials. 143Nd/144Nd isotope analyses suggest that these host sediments were likely derived from eroded Mesozoic rocks, and that these Mesozoic rocks incorporated much older Mesoproterozoic material. The chemistry of Stone 58 has been identified recently as representative of 50 of the 52 remaining sarsens at Stonehenge. These results are therefore representative of the main stone type used to build what is arguably the most important Late Neolithic monument in Europe.
  • Petrographic and chemical studies of the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary sequence at El Guayal, Tabasco, Mexico: Implications for ejecta plume evolution from the Chicxulub impact crater

    Salge, T; Tagle, Roald; Schmitt, Ralf-Thomas; Hecht, Lutz; Wolf Uwe, Reimold; Chris, Koeberl (Geological Society of America, 2021-06-30)
    A combined petrographic and chemical study of ejecta particles from the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary sequence of El Guayal, Tabasco, Mexico (520 km SW of Chicxulub crater), was carried out to assess their formation conditions and genetic relation during the impact process. The reaction of silicate ejecta particles with hot volatiles during atmospheric transport may have induced alteration processes, e.g., silicification and cementation, observed in the ejecta deposits. The various microstructures of calcite ejecta particles are interpreted to reflect different thermal histories at postshock conditions. Spherulitic calcite particles may represent carbonate melts that were quenched during ejection. A recrystallized microstructure may indicate short, intense thermal stress. Various aggregates document particle-particle interactions and intermixing of components from lower silicate and upper sedimentary target lithologies. Aggregates of recrystallized calcite with silicate melt indicate the consolidation of a hot suevitic component with sediments at ≳750 °C. Accretionary lapilli formed in a turbulent, steam-condensing environment at ~100 °C by aggregation of solid, ash-sized particles. Concentric zones with smaller grain sizes of accreted particles indicate a recurring exchange with a hotter environment. Our results suggest that during partial ejecta plume collapse, hot silicate components were mixed with the fine fraction of local surface-derived sediments, the latter of which were displaced by the preceding ejecta curtain. These processes sustained a hot, gas-driven, lateral basal transport that was accompanied by a turbulent plume at a higher level. The exothermic back-reaction of CaO from decomposed carbonates and sulfates with CO2 to form CaCO3 may have been responsible for a prolonged release of thermal energy at a late stage of plume evolution.
  • A new metriorhynchid crocodylomorph from the Oxford Clay Formation (Middle Jurassic) of England, with implications for the origin and diversification of Geosaurini

    Foffa, Davide; Young, Mark T; Brusatte, Stephen L; Graham, M; Steel, Lorna (Taylor and Francis, 2017-10-02)
    Metriorhynchids are an extinct group of Jurassic–Cretaceous crocodylomorphs secondarily adapted to a marine lifestyle. A new metriorhynchid crocodylomorph from the Oxford Clay Formation (Callovian, Middle Jurassic) of England is described. The specimen is a large, fragmentary skull and associated single ramus of a lower jaw uniquely preserved in a septarian concretion. The description of the specimen reveals a series of autapomorphies (apicobasal flutings on the middle labial surface of the tooth crowns, greatly enlarged basoccipital tuberosities) and a unique combination of characters that warrant the creation of a new genus and species: Ieldraan melkshamensis gen. et sp. nov. This taxon shares numerous characters with the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous genus Geosaurus: tooth crowns that have three apicobasal facets on their labial surface, subtly ornamented skull and lower jaws elements, and reception pits along the lateral margin of the dentary (maxillary overbite). Phylogenetic analysis places this new species as the sister taxon to Geosaurus. The new taxon adds valuable information on the time of origin of the macrophagous subclade Geosaurini, which was initially thought to have evolved and radiated during the Late Jurassic. The presence of Ieldraan melkshamensis, the phylogenetic re-evaluation of Suchodus durobrivensis as a Plesiosuchus sister taxon and recently identified Callovian Dakosaurus-like specimens in the Oxford Clay Formation, indicate that all major Geosaurini lineages originated earlier than previously supposed. This has major implications for the evolution of macropredation in the group. Specifically, we can now demonstrate that the four different forms of true ziphodonty observed in derived geosaurins independently evolved from a single non-functional microziphodont common ancestor.
  • An overlooked contributor to palaeontology—the preparator Richard Hall (b. 1839) and his work on an armoured dinosaur and a giant sea dragon

    Graham, M; Radley, Jonathan; Lomax, Dean; Brewer, Pip (Geological Curator, 2020-11-12)
    The work of Richard Hall, a fossil preparator at the British Museum (Natural History) in the late 19th century, has been largely unrecorded. It included the excavation, preparation and restoration of two important specimens: the dinosaur Polacanthus foxii and the ichthyosaur Temnodontosaurus platyodon. The painstaking reconstruction of the dorsal shield of Polacanthus took seven years to complete and enabled a supplemental note redescribing the specimen to be published in 1887. The significance of the discovery in 1898 of the Temnodontosaurus to the town of Stockton in Warwickshire was such that it featured in an article in Nature. It has entered the local folklore and remains celebrated on the town’s road signage and features as the logo of Stockton Primary School.
  • The air-abrasive technique: A re-evaluation of its use in fossil preparation

    Graham, M; Allington-Jones, L (Coquina Press, 2018-08-02)
    This paper outlines the history of air-abrasion (also known as airbrasion) as a paleontological preparation technique and evaluates various powders and their properties. It explores the rationale behind the selection of abrasive powders and presents, for the first time, trench-scatter experiments through Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) photography and three-dimensional (3-D) profiling. This article also offers general practical advice and details the results of an international survey of practising fossil preparators.
  • Zircon-hosted apatite inclusions: A powerful tool for reconstruction of Cl contents in melts

    Tuffield, L; Buret, Y; Large, S; Spratt, J; Wilkinson, JJ (Mineral Deposits Studies Group, 2020-01)
    Chlorine in the exsolved volatile phase plays an important role in complexing with metals in the extraction and concentration of metals in magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits. Therefore, tracking the concentration and evolution of Cl in the parent melt is of particular importance in understanding how such deposits form. In theory, the incorporation of Cl into apatite could be used to track the volatile content of melts; however, low closure temperatures and the rapid diffusion of halogens in apatite make it susceptible to sub-solidus re-equilibration by later thermal events and hydrothermal fluids. This susceptibility compromises its ability to retain the primary halogen signature. However, the common occurrence of apatite as an inclusion phase in zircon crystals, together with the refractory nature of zircon, open up the possibility that such inclusions may preserve primary Clmelt compositions [1]. The Rio-Blanco-Los Bronces porphyry copper district is located in central Chile and hosts several world class porphyry copper deposits as well as barren intrusions [2]. This makes it an excellent area for an investigation of the role of Clmelt in the formation of porphyry copper deposits, as well as the effect of sub-solidus re-equilibration of Cl in apatite. For this study we analysed apatite crystals that occur both in the groundmass and as inclusions in zircons in four samples from the Los Bronces porphyry copper district using EPMA for halogen and major elements and LA-ICP-MS for trace elements. These samples include a barren intrusion unrelated to mineralisation that precedes mineralisation by around 10 Ma, and pre-, syn- and post-mineralisation porphyries. Apatite inclusions hosted in zircon crystals typically exhibit a large range in Cl concentrations (<0.5 –2.5 wt.% Cl), with all inclusion data exhibiting polymodal distributions of Cl concentrations. By contrast, groundmass apatites from all samples are characterised by uniformly low Cl concentrations (<0.5 wt.% Cl). These results are consistent with the apatite crystals in the groundmass having experienced sub-solidus re-equilibration related to the pervasive hydrothermal alteration in the district. The wide range in Cl concentrations recorded by the apatite inclusions is interpreted to reflect changing Clmelt for the duration of apatite and zircon crystallisation, perhaps linked to volatile saturation and preferential partitioning of Cl into the aqueous phase. Additionally, the apatites hosted in zircon crystals show significant inter-sample variations, evolving from low Cl concentration (<0.5 wt. % Cl) in the barren intrusion, to higher Cl concentrations (0.5 – 2.5 wt.% Cl) in the samples closely temporally associated with porphyry Cu mineralisation. These data suggest that Clmelt was significantly higher (0.05 – 0.40 wt.% Clmelt) in the melts associated with porphyry copper mineralisation compared with the precursor barren magmatism (~0.04 wt.% Clmelt) [3]. We conclude that due to the rapid diffusion of halogens in apatite in the presence of melt or hydrothermal fluid, the study of apatite inclusions hosted in zircon crystals is required to reconstruct primary melt compositions and to track the evolution of Cl concentrations in porphyry-forming magmas. This study reveals high Clmelt concentrations in the magmas related to mineralisation in the Los Bronces district, a property that would have facilitated the efficient extraction and concentration of metals. References: [1] Brugge, E. et al. (2019). Proc. 15th SGA Biennial Meeting, Vol. 2, 983-986. [2] Toro, J.C. et al. (2012). SEG Special Publication 16:105-126. [3] Li, H. and Hermann, J. (2017) Am. Mineral. 102:580-594.
  • Preparing detailed morphological features of fossil brittle stars (Ophiuroidea, Echinodermata) for scanning electron microscopy using a combination of mechanical preparation techniques.

    Graham, M; Ewin, Timothy; Brewer, P (Geological Curators Group, 2020-01-27)
    In order to facilitate detailed SEM analysis of recently available, undescribed fossil ophiuroid material from the Aptian, Lower Cretaceous, Atherfield Clay Formation of the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, UK a combination of careful mechanical preparation techniques was employed to great effect. Specimens were initially exposed using standard air abrasive techniques, but the final few millimetres of matrix were removed using pins. To get individual arm pieces exceptionally clear of matrix, they were removed from the blocks using a mini pedestalling technique and then further cleaned using an ultrasonic pen. This combination of techniques fully exposed all the elements required for full taxonomic study without causing severe damage to the plate surfaces and greatly improved the overall aesthetic of the specimens. These techniques could be more widely applied in fossil preparation.
  • “Hope” is the thing with feathers: how useful are cyclomethicones when cleaning taxidermy?

    Allington-Jones, L (NatSCA, 2020-10-01)
    Silicone solvents have extreme hydrophobicity so they can be used as a temporary barrier to aqueous cleaning solutions. They are characterised as having low odour, moderately low toxicity, low polarity and surface tension. They are 100% volatile so will leave no trace behind. Silicone solvents could potentially be used to flood the skin of taxidermy specimens, to provide a barrier whilst fur or feathers are cleaned, and even permit the use of heat treatments without causing damage to the skin. They will not cause drying or swelling and will not dissolve or mobilise any skin components such as dyes or fats, which would normally be adversely affected by water or other solvents. They are also, in theory, safe to use on skin which has suffered so much deterioration that the shrinkage temperature is close to room temperature. Different classes of silicone solvents have different working times and this article explores 3 of these, and their practical applicability when cleaning taxidermy.
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy as a valuable tool in Diptera larval morphology studies

    Grzywacz, A; Góral, T; Szpila, K; Hall, MJR (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2014-09-19)
    Larval morphology of flies is traditionally studied using light microscopy, yet in the case of fine structures compound light microscopy is limited due to problems of resolution, illumination and depth of field, not allowing for precise recognition of sclerites’ edges and interactions. Using larval instars of cyclorrhaphan Diptera, we show the usefulness of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) for studying the morphological characters of immature stages by taking advantage of the autofluorescent properties of cephaloskeleton structures. We compare data obtained from killed but unprepared larvae with those from larvae prepared by clearing according to two commonly used methods, either with potassium hydroxide or with Hoyer’s medium. We also evaluated the CLSM application for examining already slide-mounted larvae stored in museum collections and those freshly prepared. Our results indicate that CLSM and 3D reconstruction are excellent for visualizing small, compound structures of cylrorrhaphan larvae cephaloskeleton, if appropriate clearing techniques, i.e. the application of KOH, are used. Maximum intensity projection of confocal data sets obtained from material freshly prepared and that stored in museum collection does not differ. Because of this and the fact that KOH is commonly used as a clearing method to examine the cephaloskeleton of Diptera larvae, it is possible, and highly recommended, to use slides already prepared with this method for re-examination by CLSM. We conclude that CLSM application can be an invaluable source of data for studies of larval morphology of Cyclorrhapha by way of taxonomic diagnoses, character identification and improvement in characters homologization.
  • Classification and characterisation of magmatic-hydrothermal tourmaline by combining field observations and microanalytical techniques

    Drivenes, K; Brownscombe, W; Larsen, RB; Seltmann, Reimar; Spratt, J; Sørensen, BE (IOP Publishing, 2020)
    Tourmaline from the St. Byron lobe of the Land’s End granite, SW England, was assessed by macroscopic, optical and quantitative microanalytical methods. In total, seven types of tourmaline were distinguished. The seven types reflect different crystallisation environments and stages in the magmatic-hydrothermal transition. Types 1-3 are interpreted to represent a gradual transition from tourmaline crystallising from a silicate melt to precipitation from magmatic aqueous fluids. Types 5-7 crystallised at subsolidus conditions from a different fluid generation than types 1-3. These fluids may be magmatic or mixed with other fluids (e.g., meteoric or formation waters). The Sn-mineralisation in the area is mostly related to the latter fluid generation, and the mineralising potential is reflected by the tourmaline composition.
  • Cleaning Minerals: practical and ethical considerations

    Allington-Jones, L (Geological Curators' Group, 2017-11-01)
    Mineral specimens have a dual nature, both as a scientific resource and an aesthetic pleasure. Combine this with a long history of sampling for study, and the developed nature of most specimens on the commercial market, and it is difficult to relate to the ethical principles of conservation when cleaning minerals.
  • Crookesite, Cu7TlSe4, from Littleham Cove, Devon: the first mineral containing essential thallium from the British Isles

    Rumsey, MS; Dossett, I; Green, DI; Najorka, J; Spratt, J; Rumsey, MS (The Russell Society, 01/10/2015)
    The rare thallium copper selenide crookesite occurs as dark grey metallic needles in at least two cavities in a nodule collected from cliffs at Littleham Cove, Budleigh Salterton, Devon. This is the first report of a thallium mineral from the British Isles. The small crystal size, confusion in the mineralogical literature and the need to preserve as much of the specimen as possible for future study, made the identification particularly challenging. Thallium minerals have a very limited worldwide distribution. They are almost entirely restricted to unusual low temperature epithermal deposits. The discovery of crookesite in nodules in a Permian red bed environment is, therefore of significant interest. Thallium minerals do not appear to have been reported in this geological setting before.
  • Hydroxyferroroméite, a new secondary weathering mineral from Oms, France

    Mills, S; Christy, A; Rumsey, M; Spratt, J; Bittarello, E; Favreau, G; Ciriotti, M; Berbain, C (28/04/2017)
    Hydroxyferroroméite, ideally (Fe2+ 1.5[]0.5)Sb5+ 2O6(OH), is a new secondary mineral from the Correc d'en Llinassos, Oms, Pyrénées-Orientales Department, France. Hydroxyferroroméite occurs as yellow to yellow-brown powdery boxwork replacements up to about 50μm across after tetrahedrite in a siderite–quartz matrix. No distinct crystals have been observed. The empirical formula (based on 7 (O + OH) per formula unit, pfu) is (Fe2+ 1.07Cu2+ 0.50Zn0.03Sr0.03Ca 0.01[]0.36)Σ2 (Sb5+ 1.88Si0.09Al0.02As0.01)Σ2 O6 ((OH)0.86 O0.14). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to determine the valence states of Sb, Fe and Cu. Hydroxyferroroméite crystallises in the space group Fd3 m with the pyrochlore structure and hence is a new Fe2+ -dominant member of the roméite group of the pyrochlore supergroup. It has the unit-cell parameters: a = 10.25(3) Å, V = 1077(6) Å3 and Z = 8. A model, based on bond-valence theory, for incorporation of the small Fe2+ cation into a displaced variant of the A site of the pyrochlore structure is proposed.
  • Conservation in a Barcode Age: A cross-discipline re-storage project for pyritic specimens

    Allington-Jones, L; Trafford, A (International Council of Museums, 2017-01-01)
    The dichotomy of conservation and access has long been recognised within the museum profession. The recent push for digitisation has added a new dimension to this argument: digital records can both increase potential access, due to increased awareness of the existence of objects, and decrease potential handling, since a more thorough awareness of an object creates a more informed decision regarding whether access is actually necessary. The use of barcodes and the creation of digital resources have therefore been incorporated into a re-storage project at the Natural History Museum, London to reduce duplication of work (and handling) by staff and to combat the reduction in access caused by the enclosure of objects within microenvironments, which in turn helps preserve specimens for future access. This project demonstrates how conservation and digitisation can successfully synthesise through the use of barcodes, when working with a cross-discipline team.

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