• Rare earth elements (REE)—Minerals in the Silius fluorite vein system (Sardinia, Italy)

      Mondillo, N; Boni, M; Balassone, G; Spoleto, S; Stellato, F; Marino, A; Santoro, L; Spratt, J (2016-04)
    • Rare earth elements in phoscorites and carbonatites of the Devonian Kola Alkaline Province, Russia: Examples from Kovdor, Khibina, Vuoriyarvi and Turiy Mys complexes

      Zaitsev, AN; Terry Williams, C; Jeffries, T; Strekopytov, S; Moutte, J; Ivashchenkova, OV; Spratt, J; Petrov, SV; Wall, F; Seltmann, Reimar; et al. (Elsevier, 2014-09)
      he Devonian (ca. 385–360 Ma) Kola Alkaline Province includes 22 plutonic ultrabasic–alkaline complexes, some of which also contain carbonatites and rarely phoscorites. The latter are composite silicate–oxide–phosphate–carbonate rocks, occurring in close space-time genetic relations with various carbonatites. Several carbonatites types are recognized at Kola, including abundant calcite carbonatites (early- and late-stage), with subordinate amounts of late-stage dolomite carbonatites, and rarely magnesite, siderite and rhodochrosite carbonatites. In phoscorites and early-stage carbonatites the rare earth elements (REE) are distributed among the major minerals including calcite (up to 490 ppm), apatite (up to 4400 ppm in Kovdor and 3.5 wt.% REE2O3 in Khibina), and dolomite (up to 77 ppm), as well as accessory pyrochlore (up to 9.1 wt.% REE2O3) and zirconolite (up to 17.8 wt.% REE2O3). Late-stage carbonatites, at some localities, are strongly enriched in REE (up to 5.2 wt.% REE2O3 in Khibina) and the REE are major components in diverse major and minor minerals such as burbankite, carbocernaite, Ca- and Ba-fluocarbonates, ancylite and others. The rare earth minerals form two distinct mineral assemblages: primary (crystallized from a melt or carbohydrothermal fluid) and secondary (formed during metasomatic replacement). Stable (C–O) and radiogenic (Sr–Nd) isotopes data indicate that the REE minerals and their host calcite and/or dolomite have crystallized from a melt derived from the same mantle source and are co-genetic.
    • The remedial conservation and support jacketing of the Massospondylus carinatus neotype

      Graham, M; Choiniere, JN; Jirah, S; Barrett, PM (Palaeontologia africana, 2018-03-27)
      Massopondylus carinatus Owen, 1854 is a non-sauropodan sauropodomorph (‘prosauropod’) dinosaur whose remains are abundant in the Upper Karoo Supergroup sediments of southern Africa (e.g. Owen, 1854; Seeley, 1895; Cooper, 1981; Gow, 1990; Gow et al., 1990; Sues et al., 2004; Barrett and Yates, 2006; Reisz et al., 2005). It occurs at numerous localities in the Upper Elliot and Clarens formations of South Africa and Lesotho, as well as in the Forest Sandstone Formation of Zimbabwe (Haughton, 1924; Cooper, 1981; Kitching and Raath, 1984). Several almost complete skeletons are known, including skulls, and as a result Massospondylus has featured heavily in discussions of early dinosaur ecology, phylogeny and palaeobiology (e.g. Cooper, 1981; Barrett, 2000; Zelenitsky and Modesto, 2002; Reisz et al., 2005, 2012, Apaldetti et al., 2011, among many others). However, the original syntype series of Massospondylus carinatus was destroyed during World War II and shown to be taxonomically indeterminate, undermining the nomenclatural stability of this important taxon (Sues et al. 2004; Yates and Barrett, 2010). In order to rectify this problem, a complete skeleton representing an adult individual, BP/1/4934 (nicknamed ‘Big Momma’), was designated as the neotype (Yates and Barrett, 2010). BP/1/4934 was collected from the Upper Elliot Formation of Bormansdrift Farm, in the Clocholan District of the Free State, by Lucas Huma and James Kitching in 1980 (see Kitching and Raath, 1984, for locality details). This farm is also the type locality of the early turtle Australochelys (Gaffney and Kitching, 1994) and has yielded other Upper Elliot formation tetrapod material including the cynodont Pachygenelus and other sauropodomorph remains (Kitching and Raath, 1984). BP/1/4934 is the most complete specimen of a non-sauropodan sauropodomorph dinosaur known from the entire African continent and is therefore of major regional and international significance. In addition, since 1990 it has formed part of a permanent public exhibit showcasing African palaeontological discoveries in the J. W. Kitching Gallery of the Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) of the University of the Witwatersrand. During recent research work on BP/1/4934, as part of an on-going collaboration on early dinosaurs between the ESI and Natural History Museum, London (NHMUK), it was noted that its condition had deteriorated and that urgent remedial conservation work was required in order to preserve it for future generations. As a result, the specimen was temporarily removed from public display to facilitate this work, which is described in detail below (see also Graham, 2017). The primary purpose of the conservation project was to assess the condition of the specimen, undertake conservation in order to stabilise it and to manufacture ‘clam-shell’ type support mounts/jackets for each of the blocks to enable the specimen to be displayed in an articulated posture within a purpose-built display case. An important consideration was that the blocks should be readily accessible from both left and right sides to researchers whilst securing the fossil safely. Finally, this project also provided an opportunity to facilitate knowledge exchange between the conservation staff at the ESI and NHMUK, in order to share and extend technical expertise.
    • The remedial conservation and support jacketing of the neotype specimen of the dinosaur Massospondylus carinatus

      Graham, M (PeerJ, 2017-08-09)
      The remedial conservation and support jacketing of the neotype specimen of the dinosaur Massospondylus carinatus
    • Return of naturally sourced Pb to Atlantic surface waters

      Bridgestock, L; van de Flierdt, T; Rehkämper, M; Paul, M; Middag, R; Milne, A; Lohan, MC; Baker, AR; Chance, R; Khondoker, R; et al. (2016-09-28)
    • Sadiman Volcano, Crater Highlands, Tanzania; does it really contain melilitites and carbonatites or its is just a phonolite-nephelinite volcano?

      Zaitsev, AN; Wenzel, T; Markl, G; Spratt, J; Petrov, SV; Williams, CT (Department of Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary, 2012)
      Sadiman is 4.8-4.0 Ma old volcano located in the Crater Highlands area in northern Tanzania. Limited published data and field observations show that it consists of interlayered phonolitic tuffs and nephelinitic lavas. Rare xenoliths of phonolite and ijolite were observed in the nephelinites. It was suggested that Sadiman volcano contains melilititic and carbonatitic rocks. These also occur as tuffs in the Laetoli area where fossilised footprints from human ancestors are known which is why Sadiman is of special interest as a possible source of them.
    • Scratchpads 2.0: a Virtual Research Environment supporting scholarly collaboration, communication and data publication in biodiversity science

      Smith, V; Rycroft, S; Brake, I; Scott, B; Baker, E; Livermore, L; Blagoderov, V; Roberts, D (Pensoft, 2011-11-28)
      The Scratchpad Virtual Research Environment (http://scratchpads.eu/) is a flexible system for people to create their own research networks supporting natural history science. Here we describe Version 2 of the system characterised by the move to Drupal 7 as the Scratchpad core development framework and timed to coincide with the fifth year of the project’s operation in late January 2012. The development of Scratchpad 2 reflects a combination of technical enhancements that make the project more sustainable, combined with new features intended to make the system more functional and easier to use. A roadmap outlining strategic plans for development of the Scratchpad project over the next two years concludes this article.
    • SEM-microphotogrammetry, a new take on an old method for generating high-resolution 3D models from SEM images

      Ball, AD; JOB, PA; WALKER, AEL (Wiley, 2017-03-22)
      The method we present here uses a scanning electron microscope programmed via macros to automatically capture dozens of images at suitable angles to generate accurate, detailed three‐dimensional (3D) surface models with micron‐scale resolution. We demonstrate that it is possible to use these Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images in conjunction with commercially available software originally developed for photogrammetry reconstructions from Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras and to reconstruct 3D models of the specimen. These 3D models can then be exported as polygon meshes and eventually 3D printed. This technique offers the potential to obtain data suitable to reconstruct very tiny features (e.g. diatoms, butterfly scales and mineral fabrics) at nanometre resolution. Ultimately, we foresee this as being a useful tool for better understanding spatial relationships at very high resolution. However, our motivation is also to use it to produce 3D models to be used in public outreach events and exhibitions, especially for the blind or partially sighted.
    • Siidraite, Pb 2 Cu(OH) 2 I 3 , from Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia: the third halocuprate(I) mineral

      Rumsey, MS; Welch, MD; Kleppe, AK; Spratt, J (E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2017-12-01)
      Siidraite, Pb2Cu(OH)2I3, is a new mineral from the Broken Hill deposit in New South Wales, Australia. It occurs as an extremely rare secondary phase alongside marshite, other lead and copper secondaries and supergene cuprite on a single specimen, BM 84642 preserved in the collection of the Natural History Museum, London. Siidraite is yellow and occurs in crystalline grainy aggregates up to 0.3 mm around relict galena. The mineral is translucent with a vitreous lustre and yellow streak, no cleavages or forms have yet been observed. It is non-fluorescent in mixed-wavelength UV light. The calculated density is 6.505 g cm−3. Siidraite is orthorhombic, space group Fddd, a = 16.7082(9) Å, b = 20.846(1) Å, c = 21.016(1) Å, V = 7320.0(8) Å3 and Z = 32. The empirical formula derived from a combination of electron-microprobe analysis and structure determination is Pb2.06Cu0.89(OH)2I2.97, the ideal formula has (in wt%) 8.01 Cu2O, 50.01 PbO, 42.65 I and 2.02 H2O. The five strongest lines in the calculated X-ray powder diffraction pattern are [(h k l), d obs (Å), I/I max (%)]: [(2 4 6), 2.746, 100], [(4 0 4), 3.270, 81], [(2 6 4), 2.738, 77], [(3 1 5), 3.312, 76], [(3 5 1), 3.296, 69]. The crystal used for structure determination had minor pseudomerohedral twinning on [ 0   1 ‾   1 ] and the structure was refined taking this into account to R 1 = 0.037, wR 2 = 0.052, GooF = 1.016, based upon 1368 unique reflections having I > 2σ(I). The structure of siidraite is a framework comprising an alternation of two structural elements, a cubane-like [Pb4(OH)4]4+ group and a [Cu2I6]4− dimer of edge-sharing CuI4 tetrahedra with non-equivalent Cu. Six halocuprate groups surround each [Pb4(OH)4]4+ nucleus, and each halocuprate group is shared between six adjacent [Pb4(OH)4]4+ groups, five long Pb–I bonds are required to complete the co-ordination of each Pb atom. The resulting Pb(OH)3I5 polyhedra are centred on a tetrahedron of O atoms to form a Pb4(OH)4I16 cluster. Siidraite has a unique composition and structure. It is the third naturally occurring halocuprate(I) after marshite and nantokite. A compositionally similar synthetic compound Pb2Cu2(OH)2I2Br has been described that has cubane and CuI4 groups, but a very different structural topology from that of siidraite. Bideauxite, Pb2Ag(OH)FCl3, which has the [Pb4(OH)4]4+ group, shares some topological features with siidraite.
    • Singing from the Grave: DNA from a 180 Year Old Type Specimen Confirms the Identity of Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens)

      Price, BW; Henry, CS; Hall, AC; Mochizuki, A; Duelli, P; Brooks, SJ; Steinke, D (2015-04-08)
    • Single-crystal X-ray diffraction study of synthetic sodium–hydronium jarosite

      Najorka, J; Lewis, JMT; Spratt, J; Sephton, MA (2016-05)
    • Size effect on the mineralogy and chemistry of Mytilus trossulus shells from the southern Baltic Sea: implications for environmental monitoring

      Piwoni-Piórewicz, A; Kukliński, P; Strekopytov, S; Humphreys-Williams, Emma; Najorka, J; Iglikowska, A (2017-04)
    • Trace-element geochemistry of molybdenite from porphyry Cu deposits of the Birgilda-Tomino ore cluster (South Urals, Russia)

      Plotinskaya, OY; Abramova, VD; Groznova, EO; Tessalina, SG; Seltmann, Reimar; Spratt, J (Cambridge University Press, 2018-05)
      Mineralogical, electron microprobe analysis and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry data from molybdenite within two porphyry copper deposits (Kalinovskoe and Birgilda) of the Birgilda-Tomino ore cluster (South Urals) are presented.† The results provide evidence that molybdenites from these two sites have similar trace-element chemistry. Most trace elements (Si, Fe, Co, Cu, Zn, Ag, Sb, Te, Pb, Bi, Au, As and Se) form mineral inclusions within molybdenite. The Re contents in molybdenite vary from 8.7 ppm to 1.13 wt.%. The Re distribution within single molybdenite flakes is always extremely heterogeneous. It is argued that a temperature decrease favours the formation of Re-rich molybdenite. The high Re content of molybdenite observed points to a mantle-derived source.
    • A unique CO-like micrometeorite hosting an exotic Al-Cu-Fe-bearing assemblage – close affinities with the Khatyrka meteorite

      Suttle, MD; Twegar, K; Nava, J; Spiess, R; Spratt, J; Campanale, F; Folco, L (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-08-27)
      We report the discovery of a unique micrometeorite, containing an exotic Al-Cu-Fe alloy composed of two intermixed phases: khatyrkite (CuAl2) and stolperite (CuAl) and both containing minor Fe (<1.4 wt%). These phases are dendritic and rapidly co-crystallized at the binary system’s peritectic (~550 °C). The host micrometeorite is an otherwise typical S-type micro-porphyritic cosmic spherule containing relict olivine (Fo76–90, Cr2O3: 0.01–0.56 wt%, MnO: 0.03–0.32 wt% and CaO: 0.09–0.22 wt%) and a cumulate layered texture. These properties suggest the micrometeorite is derived from a carbonaceous chondrite (best matched to a CO chondrite) and entered the atmosphere a high speed (~16 kms−1), implying an origin from a highly eccentric orbit. This particle represents the second independent discovery of naturally occurring intermetallic Al-Cu-Fe alloys and is thus similar to the previously reported Khatyrka meteorite - a CV chondrite containing near-identical alloys and the only known natural quasicrystals. We did not observe quasicrystalline phases in this micrometeorite, likely due to the low amounts of Fe in the alloy, insufficient to stabilize quasicrystals. Our discovery confirms the existence of Al-Cu-Fe intermetallic alloys on chondritic parent bodies. These unusual phases require a currently unexplained formation process, we tentatively suggest this could represent the delivery of exotic interstellar material to the inner solar system via impact.
    • Why barcode? High-throughput multiplex sequencing of mitochondrial genomes for molecular systematics

      Timmermans, MJTN; Dodsworth, S; Culverwell, CL; Bocak, L; Ahrens, D; Littlewood, T; Pons, J; Vogler, AP (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2010-09-28)
      Mitochondrial genome sequences are important markers for phylogenetics but taxon sampling remains sporadic because of the great effort and cost required to acquire full-length sequences. Here, we demonstrate a simple, cost-effective way to sequence the full complement of protein coding mitochondrial genes from pooled samples using the 454/Roche platform. Multiplexing was achieved without the need for expensive indexing tags (‘barcodes’). The method was trialled with a set of long-range polymerase chain reaction (PCR) fragments from 30 species of Coleoptera (beetles) sequenced in a 1/16th sector of a sequencing plate. Long contigs were produced from the pooled sequences with sequencing depths ranging from ∼10 to 100× per contig. Species identity of individual contigs was established via three ‘bait’ sequences matching disparate parts of the mitochondrial genome obtained by conventional PCR and Sanger sequencing. This proved that assembly of contigs from the sequencing pool was correct. Our study produced sequences for 21 nearly complete and seven partial sets of protein coding mitochondrial genes. Combined with existing sequences for 25 taxa, an improved estimate of basal relationships in Coleoptera was obtained. The procedure could be employed routinely for mitochondrial genome sequencing at the species level, to provide improved species ‘barcodes’ that currently use the cox1 gene only.