Newly discovered mineral petrovite could revolutionize batteries

A mineral made in a Kamchatka volcano may hold the answer to cheaper batteries, find scientists.

Credit: Filatov et al.
  • Russian scientists discover a new mineral in the volcanic area of Kamchatka in the country's far east.
  • The mineral dubbed "petrovite" can be utilized to power sodium-ion batteries.
  • Batteries based on salt would be cheaper to produce than lithium-ion batteries.
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Zircon in a meteorite opens the door on Mars’ past

Zircons in a Martian meteorite widens the possible timeframe for life on Mars.

Credit: Deng, et al./University of Copenhagen
  • A meteorite from Mars unexpectedly contains zircons that reveal the planets history.
  • The rock likely comes from one of the solar system's tallest volcanoes.
  • Analyzing the zirconium required smashing some very expensive rock.
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Housebound? This map lets you travel through time

Interactive globe shows where your hometown was at various stages of Earth's deep geological past.

Image: Ancient Earth Globe, reproduced with kind permission.
  • If you love travelling, a pandemic like this is not the greatest of times.
  • But here's a way to go somewhere else without even leaving the house.
  • This interactive tool lets you travel up to 750 million years back in time.
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Earth’s first lifeforms breathed arsenic, not oxygen

The microbes that eventually produced the planet's oxygen had to breathe something, after all.

Credit: BRONWYN GUDGEON/Shutterstock
  • We owe the Earth's oxygen to ancient microbes that photosynthesized and released it into the world's oceans.
  • A long-standing question has been: Before oxygen, what did they breathe?
  • The discovery of microbes living in a hostile early-Earth-like environment may provide the answer.
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Rock study may have just revealed cause of Triassic mass extinction

Rocks from two hundred million years ago show us how everything died and how nothing is new.

Credit: Elenarts/Shutterstock
  • A new study suggests that the mass extinction that gave dinosaurs the evolutionary upper hand was caused by oceanic oxygen deprivation.
  • Using ratios of sulfur isotopes, researchers could estimate changes in ocean oxygen levels in ancient seas.
  • The authors suggest a similar mechanism as that which can cause dead zones in oceans today caused a mass extinction.
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