The Museum's vast collections of meteorites, rocks, minerals and fossils support our staff's unique expertise in natural resources, planetary geology and the evolution of life on Earth.

Recent Submissions

  • Biesiespoort revisited: a case study on the relationship between tetrapod assemblage zones and Beaufort lithostratigraphy south of Victoria West

    Day, M; Rubidge, BS (University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, 2018-12)
    The relationship between the tetrapod assemblage zones of the South African Karoo Basin and the lithostratigraphic divisions of the Beaufort Group is well-established, and provides an independent means of dating fossil occurrences. However, this relationship may not be consistent across the basin; a discrepancy exists between the historical tetrapod assemblages in the vicinity of Victoria West, Northern Cape Province, and the expected tetrapod assemblage zones based on mapped geology. In order to examine this disconnect, we collected fossils at two localities close to Biesiespoort railway station, a locality that was visited on a number of occasions by Robert Broom. Our fossil samples support the biostratigraphic determinations of Broom and thus confirm that the stratigraphic extent of the biozones at these localities differs from their type areas further south. The reasons for this are unclear but could be related to the northward younging of the lithological units, implying complex depositional processes, or result from difficulties in mapping. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised when using mapped geology near Victoria West as a guide to the age of fossils found there.
  • The Lyell Collection at the Earth Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, London (UK)

    Sendino, MCSL (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-02-19)
    This paper provides a quantitative and general description of the Lyell Collection kept in the Department of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum of London. This collection started to be built by the eminent British geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) in 1846 when the first specimen reached the Museum. The last one entered in 1980 donated by one of Lyell’s heirs. There are more than 1700 specimens, mainly hand specimens with 93% of the fauna and flora from the Cenozoic of the Macaronesian archipelagos of the Canaries and Madeira. Those specimens that belong to the Lyell Collection with certainty have been databased and imaged. Currently they are being geo-referred automatically with the rest of the site geo-references at the NHM. This collection could be increased by a couple of dozen more specimens with those specimens located in the same drawers, but they do not have collector details. The work of data collection of these specimens was implemented over a year from 2016 to 2017, including annelids; brachiopods; bryozoans; echinoderms; scyphozoans; bivalves; gastropods; scaphopods; trilobites; plants; reptiles; fishes; and mammals. Access to the specimen-level data is available through the NHM data portal with the images associated. This is the first time that a description of the Fossil Lyell Collection dataset is available in the literature.
  • The alteration history of the Jbilet Winselwan CM carbonaceous chondrite: An analog for C-type asteroid sample return

    King, A; Russell, S; Schofield, P; Humphreys-Williams, E; Strekopytov, S (Wiley, 2018-12-13)
    Jbilet Winselwan is one of the largest CM carbonaceous chondrites available for study. Its light, major, and trace elemental compositions are within the range of other CM chondrites. Chondrules are surrounded by dusty rims and set within a matrix of phyllosilicates, oxides, and sulfides. Calcium‐ and aluminum‐rich inclusions (CAIs) are present at ≤1 vol% and at least one contains melilite. Jbilet Winselwan is a breccia containing diverse lithologies that experienced varying degrees of aqueous alteration. In most lithologies, the chondrules and CAIs are partially altered and the metal abundance is low (<1 vol%), consistent with petrologic subtypes 2.7–2.4 on the Rubin et al. (2007) scale. However, chondrules and CAIs in some lithologies are completely altered suggesting more extensive hydration to petrologic subtypes ≤2.3. Following hydration, some lithologies suffered thermal metamorphism at 400–500 °C. Bulk X‐ray diffraction shows that Jbilet Winselwan consists of a highly disordered and/or very fine‐grained phase (73 vol%), which we infer was originally phyllosilicates prior to dehydration during a thermal metamorphic event(s). Some aliquots of Jbilet Winselwan also show significant depletions in volatile elements such as He and Cd. The heating was probably short‐lived and caused by impacts. Jbilet Winselwan samples a mixture of hydrated and dehydrated materials from a primitive water‐rich asteroid. It may therefore be a good analog for the types of materials that will be encountered by the Hayabusa‐2 and OSIRIS‐REx asteroid sample‐return missions.
  • Glastonbury Lake Village Revisited: A Multi-proxy Palaeoenvironmental Investigation of an Iron Age Wetland Settlement

    Hill, T; Hill, G; Brunning, R; Banerjea, R; Fyfe, R; Hogg, A; Jones, J; Perez, M; Smith, D (Taylor & Francis, 2019-01-14)
    Glastonbury Lake Village is one of the most iconic late prehistoric wetland settlements in Europe. A new excavation in the core of Glastonbury Lake Village, for the first time since 1907, provided the opportunity for sampling of deposits associated with occupation of the site and for reconstructing the environmental conditions before the settlement was constructed. The results of a detailed multiproxy study are presented, including palaeoecological proxies (Coleoptera, plant macrofossils, diatoms, pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs), geoarchaeological methods (soil micromorphology), supported by new radiocarbon determinations. The results highlight how the difficult process of creating a settlement in a wetland was achieved, both within structures and in the spaces around them. Evidence for grain storage within the macrofossil assemblages, and the presence of animals on the settlement reflected in coleopteran assemblages and non-pollen palynomorphs has refined our understanding of the interaction between the settlement and the neighbouring dryland.
  • Assessing Thallium Elemental Systematics and Isotope Ratio Variations in Porphyry Ore Systems: A Case Study of the Bingham Canyon District

    Fitzpayne, A; Prytulak, J; Wilkinson, JJ; Cooke, DR; Baker, MJ; Wilkinson, CC (MDPI AG, 2018-11-26)
    The Bingham Canyon porphyry deposit is one of the world’s largest Cu-Mo-Au resources. Elevated concentrations of thallium (Tl) compared to average continental crust have been found in some brecciated and igneous samples in this area, which likely result from mobilization of Tl by relatively low temperature hydrothermal fluids. The Tl-enrichment at Bingham Canyon therefore provides an opportunity to investigate if Tl isotope ratios reflect hydrothermal enrichment and whether there are systematic Tl isotope fractionations that could provide an exploration tool. We present a reconnaissance study of nineteen samples spanning a range of lithologies from the Bingham district which were analysed for their Tl content and Tl isotope ratios, reported as parts per ten thousand (ε205Tl) relative to the NIST SRM997 international standard. The range of ε205Tl reported in this study (−16.4 to +7.2) is the largest observed in a hydrothermal ore deposit to date. Unbrecciated samples collected relatively proximal to the Bingham Canyon porphyry system have ε205Tl of −4.2 to +0.9, similar to observations in a previous study of porphyry deposits. This relatively narrow range suggests that high-temperature (>300 °C) hydrothermal alteration does not result in significant Tl isotope fractionation. However, two samples ~3–4 km away from Bingham Canyon have higher ε205Tl values (+1.3 and +7.2), and samples from more distal (~7 km) disseminated gold deposits at Melco and Barneys Canyon display an even wider range in ε205Tl (−16.4 to +6.0). The observation of large positive and negative excursions in ε205Tl relative to the mantle value (ε205Tl = −2.0 ± 1.0) contrasts with previous investigations of hydrothermal systems. Samples displaying the most extreme positive and negative ε205Tl values also contain elevated concentrations of Tl-Sb-As. Furthermore, with the exception of one sample, all of the Tl isotopic anomalies occur in hydrothermal breccia samples. This suggests that ε205Tl excursions are most extreme during the migration of low-temperature hydrothermal fluids potentially related to sediment-hosted gold mineralization. Future investigation to determine the host phase(s) for Tl in breccias displaying both chalcophile element enrichment and ε205Tl excursions can potentially provide new information about hydrothermal fluid composition and could be used to locate sites for future porphyry exploration.
  • Episodic and Declining Fluvial Processes in Southwest Melas Chasma, Valles Marineris, Mars

    Davis, J; Grindrod, P; Fawdon, P; Williams, R; Gupta, S; Balme, M
  • Cerromojonite, CuPbBiSe3, from El Dragon (Bolivia): A New Member of the Bournonite Group

    Foerster, H-J; Bindi, L; Grundmann, G; Stanley, CJ (2018-09-21)
  • Fruit and seed floras from exceptionally preserved biotas in the European Paleogene

    Collinson, M; Manchester, S; Wilde, V; Hayes, P (2010-03-22)
  • A new Middle Jurassic diplodocoid suggests an earlier dispersal and diversification of sauropod dinosaurs

    Xu, X; Upchurch, P; Mannion, PD; Barrett, PM; Regalado-Fernandez, OR; Mo, J; Ma, J; Liu, H (2018-07-24)
  • The Hypanis Valles delta: The last highstand of a sea on early Mars?

    Davis, Joel M.; Fawdon, Peter; Gupta, Sanjeev; Warner, Nicholas H.; Adler, Jacob B.; Balme, Matthew R.; Bell, James F., III; Grindrod, Peter M.; Sefton-Nash, Elliot (2018-08-24)
  • Hypotheses for the Origin of the Hypanis Fan-Shaped Deposit at the Edge of the Chryse Escarpment, Mars: Is it a Delta?

    Adler, JB; Bell, JF; Fawdon, P; Davis, J; Warner, NH; Sefton-Nash, E; Harrison, TN (2018-05)
  • Thalhammerite, Pd9Ag2Bi2S4, a New Mineral from the Talnakh and Oktyabrsk Deposits, Noril'sk Region, Russia

    Vymazalova, A; Laufek, F; Sluzhenikin, SF; Kozlov, VV; Stanley, CJ; Plasil, J; Zaccarini, F; Garuti, G; Bakker, R (2018-08)
  • Chronology of martian breccia NWA 7034 and the formation of the martian crustal dichotomy

    Cassata, WS; Cohen, BE; Mark, DF; Trappitsch, R; Crow, CA; Wimpenny, J; Lee, MR; Smith, CL (2018-05)

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