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The image shows native sulfur, yellow, and calcite crystals, clear or white. Credit: Didier Descouens.{{free media}}

The chalcogens are the elements of group 16 of the Periodic Table. These include oxygen (O), sulfur (S), selenium (Se), tellurium (Te), polonium (Po), and livermorium (Lv).

Chalcogen minerals are those with a high atomic percent of chalcogens.

Oxygens[edit | edit source]

Native oxygen does not exist as a mineral on the surface of the Earth.

Oxygen-based minerals are those minerals with more than 25 at % oxygen. Oxygen often combines with most of the other elements in the periodic table.

"Samples were cut in the field for oxygen isotope and deuterium analysis (with a resolution of about 3 cm in parts of the core), for trace gas analysis, for measurements of 10Be, and mechanical properties of the ice, among others."[1]

"Measurements of borehole temperatures have allowed a re-calibration of the oxygen isotope-temperature relation for the GRIP ice core. This work indicates that the temperature chnage at the end of the last glacial period was more than 20 degrees, a result found independently in the GISP2 borehole. These increased temperature changes provide a renewed challenge to those seeking mechanisms for the transitions."[1]

Oxidanes[edit | edit source]

This is a graph of the global mean atmospheric water vapor superimposed on an outline of the Earth. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Vatnajökull, Iceland has an ice cap. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
An amazing photo of Bubbles trapped and frozen under a thick layer of ice creating a glass type feel to the frozen lake. Credit: Paul Christian Bowman.{{fairuse}}

These are minerals composed of or more than 25 at % H2O.

The ice cap on Vatnajökull, Iceland, in the right image is water ice.

Black ice (congelation ice) "forms as water freezes on the bottom of the ice cover and the latent heat of crystallization is conducted upwards through the ice and snow to the atmosphere."[2]

"Congelation ice is often referred to as black ice because it has a high optical depth that permits significant light transmission to the underlying water."[2]

The image on the left shows high optical depth and bubbles trapped and frozen under a thick layer of black ice.

"It is well known that bulk brittle ice has a hexagonal stucture, while brittle ice that forms in pores may be cubic in structure [...]. Adjacent surfaces appear to further alter the dynamics and structure of confined liquids and their crystals, leading in the case of a water/ice system to a state of enhanced rotational motion (plastic ice) just below the confined freezing/melting transitions. This plastic ice layer appears to form at both the ice-silica interface and the ice-vapour surface, and reversibly transforms to brittle ice at lower temperatures."[3]

Systems "with larger dimensions (∼10nm) contain brittle cubic ice and also some hexagonal ice (if a vapour interface is present); even larger systems (> ∼30nm) contain predominately hexagonal ice. It is conjectured that this layer of plastic ice at vapour surfaces may be present at the myriad of such interfaces in macroscopic systems, such as snow-packs, glaciers and icebergs".[3]

Black ices[edit | edit source]

The pond ice cover illustrates black ice (right) and white ice (left). Credit: Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observatory Network (ALISON).
This black ice on a lake in Östergötland, Sweden, is 39 mm thick. Credit: Kr-val.{{free media}}
Black ice is over a river in Holland. Credit: David van der Mark.{{free media}}

Black ice (congelation ice) "forms as water freezes on the bottom of the ice cover and the latent heat of crystallization is conducted upwards through the ice and snow to the atmosphere."[2]

In Swedish kärnis means "blue ice", whereas the English term is "black ice". Lots of "blue ice" occurs on lakes with clear water over a sandy bottom. At right is an image of black ice (kärnis) on Lake Vättern.

On the left is an image of black ice over a river in Holland.

Glaciology[edit | edit source]

This is a vertical thin section showing granular snow ice (top) and columnar black ice (bottom). Credit: Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observatory Network (ALISON).{{fairuse}}

Black ice "growth rate is proportional to the rate at which energy is transferred from the bottom surface of the ice layer to the air above."[2]

At the right is a vertical thin section through the black ice of the pond. It shows granular snow ice (top) and columnar black ice (bottom).

Icebergs[edit | edit source]

When the polar sea is calm, the underside of icebergs can easily be observed in the clear waters of the Arctic Ocean. Credit: AWeith.{{free media}}
Black ice growler from a recently calved iceberg is closing in on the shore at the old heliport in Upernavik, Greenland. Credit: Kim Hansen.{{free media}}
Surface texture on a growler of black ice. Credit: Kim Hansen.{{free media}}

The first image on the right shows that when the polar sea is calm, the underside of icebergs can easily be observed in the clear waters of the Arctic Ocean.

Centered in the image second down on the right is a black ice growler from a recently calved iceberg closing in on the shore at the old heliport in Upernavik, Greenland. Such black ice growlers originate from glacial rifts, or crevasses, filled with melting water, which freezes into transparent ice without air bubbles.

On the left is an image of the surface texture on a black ice growler. There are bowl-like depressions in the surface created by the melting process of sea water.

Lake ices[edit | edit source]

Black ice is on Lago Bianco, Berninapass, Switzerland. Credit: Paebi.{{free media}}
The black ice of frozen Lake Katzensee is shown. Credit: TobiasGr.{{free media}}

"Lake ice occurs primarily in the Northern Hemisphere [of Earth], where most of the ice is seasonal: it forms in the autumn, thickens during the winter and melts in the spring."[2]

Brittle ices[edit | edit source]

This map of Antarctica shows the icequakes triggered by Chile's 2010 earthquake. Credit: Zhigang Peng, Georgia Tech.{{fairuse}}

"Only 12 of Antarctica's 42 seismometers picked up icequakes after the Maule earthquake, but the signals seemed to fit a pattern. The pattern suggests that opening or closing of shallow crevasses generated the tiny tremors. For example, seismic stations near Antarctica's mountain ranges and fast-flowing ice rivers known as ice streams were more likely to see icequakes. These are areas with a lot of crevasses. The high-frequency shaking also fits with cracking of brittle ice."[4] Bold added.

"For fault zones and tectonic earthquakes, there is a dependence on which direction the wave came from."[5]

Just "one kind of seismic wave, a surface wave, gets the blame for most of Antarctica's icequakes. [...] a Rayleigh wave [...] travels close to the Earth's surface, rolling along like a wave in a lake or the ocean. [...] At some stations, there was also a short icequake burst from a seismic "P wave," which travel through the Earth's interior."[4]

Astroglaciology[edit | edit source]

"Antarctica's ice snapped and popped because of a major earthquake in Maule, Chile, halfway around the world [...] Antarctica has been touched by great earthquakes before. In March 2011, Japan's Tohoku tsunami tore off two Manhattan-size icebergs from the Sulzberger Ice Shelf, more than 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) south. Sailors also reported a massive Antarctica iceberg-calving event after Chile's 1868 great earthquake."[4]

Glacial fracturing[edit | edit source]

"Icequakes are seismic tremblings caused by sudden movement within a glacier or ice sheet, such as from a fracturing crevasse. (Anyone who has dropped an ice cube into a glass of water knows ice snaps under stress.)"[4]

"Chile's magnitude-8.8 earthquake on Feb. 27, 2010, set off a flurry of Antarctic icequakes, each lasting from one to 10 seconds, researchers report today (Aug. 10) in the journal Nature Geoscience. The epicenter was 2,900 miles (4,700 km) north of Antarctica."[4]

"We think the crevasses are being activated by the surface waves from this big earthquake coming through, and that's making the icequake."[5]

Planetary sciences[edit | edit source]

Satellite composite image shows the ice sheet of Greenland. Credit: NASA.

"Regular icequakes probably occur all the time in Antarctica and other polar regions."[6] "What we found is that they occurred more during the seismic waves of the Maule event."[6]

"Many different kinds of icequakes rumble across Antarctica and Greenland. Known icequake triggers include opening and closing of the fractures called crevasses; glaciers tearing away from sticky bedrock; water runoff; and calving, the breaking off of an iceberg. Spooky underwater sounds from melting, cracking icebergs were once called The Bloop."[4]

Colors[edit | edit source]

This a thin section of an ice core from Antarctic sea ice; microscope view under polarized light. Credit: Sepp Kipfstuhl, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany.{{free media}}
This is a thin section of an ice core from the Antarctic. Credit: Sepp Kipfstuhl/Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI).{{free media}}

At the right is a thin section of Antarctic sea ice. It was taken from an ice core.

At the left is a thin section of half an ice core from Antarctica.

"Thin sections were made in the field to examine crystal sizes and fabrics."[1]

"The GRIP core offers a unique possibility to study the growth, rotation and recrystallization of polar ice at an ideal location, covering a time span of more than 100,000 years. This information is obtained by a comprehensive thin section study of crystal sizes and c-axis orientations along its entire length. The results confirm earlier, basic observations on deep ice cores and have led to new insights. A significant variation of crystal size with climatic parameters is shown to persist to a great depth in the core; the development of a strong crystalline anisotropy in the ice sheet is also demonstrated."[1]

Entities[edit | edit source]

"It's an interesting result. A big earthquake on the other side of the world can shift things in the Earth and make it crack."[5]

Sources[edit | edit source]

"It was possible to count annual layers in the GRIP core to obtain an excellent dating, particularly back to the Younger Dryas period. Parameters used to date the core included ECM, dust, nitrate and ammonium, which all give excellent annual layers, particularly in the Holocene period. Comparison with the previously dated Dye 3 core, using volcanic and other tie-points, provided a starting point. Numerous volcanic eruptions were documented, allowing the possibility to make comparisons with other cores. Deeper ice was dated using ice flow models."[1]

Objects[edit | edit source]

"The [Greenland] Dye 3 1979 core is not completely intact and is not undamaged."[7]

“Below 600 m, the ice became brittle with increasing depth and badly fractured between 800 and 1,200 m. The physical property of the core progressively improved and below ~1,400 m was of excellent quality.”[8]

“The deep ice core drilling terminated in August 1981. The ice core is 2035 m long and has a diameter of 10 cm. It was drilled with less than 6° deviation from vertical, and less than 2 m is missing. The deepest 22 m consists of silty ice with an increasing concentration of pebbles downward. In the depth interval 800 to 1400 m the ice was extremely brittle, and even careful handling unavoidably damaged this part of the core, but the rest of the core is in good to excellent condition.”[9]

The depth interval 800 to 1400 m would be a period approximately from about two thousand years ago to about five or six thousand years ago.[10]

"Melting has been commonplace throughout the Holocene. Summer melting is usually the rule at Dye 3, and there is occasional melting even in north Greenland. All of these meltings disturb the clarity of the annual record to some degree."[7]

“An exceptionally warm spell can produce features which extend downwards by percolation, along isolated channels, into the snow of several previous years. This can happen in regions which generally have little or no melting at the snow surface as exemplified during mid July 1954 in north-west Greenland4. Such an event could lead to the conclusion that two or three successive years had abnormally warm summers, whereas all the icing formed during a single period which lasted for several days. The location where melt features will have the greatest climactic significance is high in the percolation facies where summer melting is common but deep percolation is minimal4. Dye 3 in southern Greenland (65°11’N; 43°50’W) is such a location.”[11]

"The brittle zone mentioned above [...] corresponds in Dye 3 1979 with the steady state grain size (crystal size) from ~637 - ~1737 m depth range. This is also the Holocene climatic optimum period."[7]

Electromagnetics[edit | edit source]

The image shows an electrical conductivity measurement being made in the field on the GRIP ice core. Credit: K. Makinson.

"Continuous measurements made in the field included dielectric profiling and electrical conductivity (related to the concentrations of neutral salts and acid)."[1]

Continua[edit | edit source]

This chaotic terrain on Europa has areas consisting of densely packed blocks with fractures and narrow lanes of matrix between them. Credit: G. C. Collins, J. W. Head III, R. T. Pappalardo, and N. A. Spaun.
The image shows areas on Europa consisting of almost all matrix and no blocks. Credit: G. C. Collins, J. W. Head III, R. T. Pappalardo, and N. A. Spaun.
Conamara Chaos, the most intensely studied chaos area, lies near the middle of this continuum. Credit: G. C. Collins, J. W. Head III, R. T. Pappalardo, and N. A. Spaun.
High-resolution (10 m/pixel) image shows a plate surrounded by matrix material within Conamara Chaos. Credit: G. C. Collins, J. W. Head III, R. T. Pappalardo, and N. A. Spaun.

"The morphology of chaotic terrain forms a continuum from areas consisting of densely packed blocks with fractures and narrow lanes of matrix between them ([first image at the right]), to areas consisting of almost all matrix and no blocks ([first image at the left]). Conamara Chaos, the most intensely studied chaos area ([second image at the right]), lies near the middle of this continuum, with -60% of its area consisting of matrix and the remainder consisting of blocks [Spaunet al., 1998]. In addition to these large chaos areas, chaotic terrain also occurs in the interiors of some small (-10 km diameter) features [Spaun et al., 1999] known as "lenticulae.""[12]

"In Conamara Chaos, where data with spatial resolution of up to ten meters per pixel were obtained, the hummocky matrix appears to be a jumbled collection of ice chunks of all sizes, from a kilometer to tens of meters across ([second image on the left])."[12]

Plastic ices[edit | edit source]

"Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Neutron Scattering of the dynamics and phase-fractions of water/ice systems in templated porous silicas (SBA-15) indicate that what was believed to be a non-frozen surface water layer is actually plastic ice, the quantity varying (continuously and reversibly) with temperature, and converting to a brittle (mainly cubic) ice at lower temperatures."[13]

Astrochemistry[edit | edit source]

"Chemical measurements made continuously in the field were ammonium, nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, formaldehyde, calcium and dust, while discontinuous measurements of other anions and cations were made by ion-chromatography."[1]

Compounds[edit | edit source]

Graph of carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature, and dust concentration measured from the Vostok, Antarctica ice core. Credit: Petit et al.

At right in green is a plot of carbon dioxide concentration with temperature and dust concentration.

Materials[edit | edit source]

"The ice loads on marine structures are affected by the failure process of ice. Brittle failure is one of the important failure modes. Ice fails in a brittle manner when the loading rate is high or the temperature is low."[14]

Antarctican ices[edit | edit source]

This is a detailed map of the WAIS Divide Region. Credit: Tguinane.{{free media}}

"Among numerous other findings, new insights using markers of biological material have proved particularly exciting. Methane has been found to change in time with many rapid climate changes. Spikes of ammonium and organic acids have been found to be markers for biomass burning, while background concentrations of these species indicate the advances of vegetation in North America."[1]

Earth has ice caps, ice sheets, ice fields, and glaciers.

Mars[edit | edit source]

Aureum Chaos is a large crater that was filled with sediment after its formation. After the infilling of sediment, something occurred that caused the sediment to be broken up into large, slumped blocks and smaller knobs. Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU, modified by Jim Secosky.

In the image at the right, "Aureum Chaos is a large crater that was filled with sediment after its formation. After the infilling of sediment, something occurred that caused the sediment to be broken up into large, slumped blocks and smaller knobs. Currently, it is believed that the blocks and knobs form when material is removed from the subsurface, creating void space. Subsurface ice was problably heated, and the water burst out to the surface, maybe forming a temporary lake."[15]

Europa[edit | edit source]

This view from the Galileo spacecraft of a small region of the thin, disrupted, ice crust in the Conamara region of Jupiter's moon Europa shows the interplay of surface color with ice structures. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.
This Galileo spacecraft image of Jupiter's icy satellite Europa shows surface features such as domes and ridges. Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/University of Arizona.
This rendering of Europa shows the temperature field in a simulation of the icy moon's global ocean dynamics, where hot plumes (red) rise from the seafloor and cool fluid (blue) sinks down from the ice-ocean border. Credit: K. M. Soderlund/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.
This rendering of Jupiter's icy moon Europa shows so-called isosurfaces of warmer (red) and cooler (blue) temperatures in a simulation of Europa’s global ocean dynamics. Credit: J. Wicht/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.
Mosaic of Galileo images shows features indicative of internal geologic activity: lineae, lenticulae (domes, pits) and Conamara Chaos. Credit: NASA / JPL / Arizona State University.
Craggy, 250 m high peaks and smooth plates are jumbled together in a close-up of Conamara Chaos. Credit: NASA/JPL.
Chaotic terrain is typified by the area in the upper right-hand part of the image. Credit: NASA / JPL.

"Galileo spacecraft observations of Europa suggest the existence of a brittle ice crust (or lithosphere) at most -2 km thick, and maybe thinner locally, overlying a liquid water or ductile ice layer [Carr et al., 1998; Pappalardo et al., 1998, 1999]. Elastic and viscous models of buckling based on the spacing between possible folds in the Astypalaea Linea region give a thickness for the buckling layer of -2 km [Prockter and Pappalardo, 2000]. Evidence derived from the width troughs (interpreted as possible grabens) in the surroundings of Callanish, a possible impact structure, might denote a brittle-ductile transition locally as shallow as 0.5 km [Moore et al., 1998]. Besides this, study of ice flexion induced by a dome-type structure located close to Conamara Chaos suggests an elastic lithosphere thickness of only -0.1-0.5 km [Williams and Greeley, 1998]."[16]

The "odd surface terrain patterns [of Europa] likely come about due to convection. [...] The ice shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa is marked by regions of disrupted ice known as chaos terrains that cover up to 40% of the satellite’s surface, most commonly occurring within 40° of the equator. Concurrence with salt deposits implies a coupling between the geologically active ice shell and the underlying liquid water ocean at lower latitudes. Europa’s ocean dynamics have been assumed to adopt a two-dimensional pattern, which channels the moon’s internal heat to higher latitudes. [...] heterogeneous heating promotes the formation of chaos features through increased melting of the ice shell and subsequent deposition of marine ice at low latitudes."[17]

"This rendering [at the second right] of Europa shows the temperature field in a simulation of the icy Jupiter moon's global ocean dynamics, where hot plumes (red) rise from the seafloor and cool fluid (blue) sinks down from the ice-ocean border. More heat is delivered to the ice shell near the equator, consistent with the distribution of chaos terrains on Europa."[18]

"This rendering [at the second left] of Jupiter's icy moon Europa shows so-called isosurfaces of warmer (red) and cooler (blue) temperatures in a simulation of Europa’s global ocean dynamics. More heat is delivered to the ice shell near the equator where convection is more vigorous, consistent with the distribution of chaos terrains on Europa."[19]

The fourth image at the right is a "view of the Conamara Chaos region on Jupiter's moon Europa taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft shows an area where the icy surface has been broken into many separate plates that have moved laterally and rotated. These plates are surrounded by a topographically lower matrix. This matrix material may have been emplaced as water, slush, or warm flowing ice, which rose up from below the surface. One of the plates is seen as a flat, lineated area in the upper portion of the image. Below this plate, a tall twin-peaked mountain of ice rises from the matrix to a height of more than 250 meters (800 feet). The matrix in this area appears to consist of a jumble of many different sized chunks of ice. Though the matrix may have consisted of a loose jumble of ice blocks while it was forming, the large fracture running vertically along the left side of the image shows that the matrix later became a hardened crust, and is frozen today. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City would be just large enough to span this fracture."[20]

"North is to the top right of the picture, and the sun illuminates the surface from the east. This image, centered at approximately 8 degrees north latitude and 274 degrees west longitude, covers an area approximately 4 kilometers by 7 kilometers (2.5 miles by 4 miles). The resolution is 9 meters (30 feet) per picture element. This image was taken on December 16, 1997 at a range of 900 kilometers (540 miles) by Galileo's solid state imaging system."[20]

"Chaotic terrain on Europa is interpreted to be the result of the breakup of brittle surface materials over a mobile substrate."[12]

At the third left, "the mottled appearance results from areas of the bright, icy crust that have been broken apart (known as "chaos" terrain), exposing a darker underlying material. This terrain is typified by the area in the upper right-hand part of the image. The mottled terrain represents some of the most recent geologic activity on Europa. Also shown in this image is a smooth, gray band (lower part of image) representing a zone where the Europan crust has been fractured, separated, and filled in with material derived from the interior. The chaos terrain and the gray band show that this satellite has been subjected to intense geological deformation."[21]

GRIP ice core[edit | edit source]

The image shows a researcher sawing the GRIP core on site. Credit: Eric Wolff.

At the right a researcher saws the GRIP core on site for analysis.

"A huge number of analyses were made on the core in the field, while other samples were prepared in the field for shipment to laboratories around Europe. measurements in the field helped scientists to select samples for special and urgen analyses, and to exclude the contamination risk from chemicals such as organic acids."[1]

Abernathyites[edit | edit source]

Pale yellow abernathyite crystals, around the edges, and green heinrichite crystals, in the center of the clusters, can be seen. Credit: Leon Hupperichs.

Abernathyite has the chemical formula KUO2AsO4·3H2O.[22] There are three oxygen groups in this mineral:

  1. UO2,
  2. AsO4, and
  3. 3H2O.

Each of these form mineral groups:

  1. uraninites, 16.7 at %,
  2. arsenates, 27.8 at %, and
  3. oxidanes, 50.0 at %, with the atomic percentages included.

On these bases, abernathyite is both an arsenate (27.8 at %) and an oxidane (50.0 at %). It is also an oxygenide at 50.0 at % oxygen. In terms of oxides, abernathyite is about 60.0 molecular percent H2O. While potassium does not occur on the surface of the Earth as native potassium, in abernathyite, the atom of potassium links to oxygens from all three oxides.

Hydroxides[edit | edit source]

Hydroxide minerals contain more than 25 molecular % OH.

Aeschynites[edit | edit source]

Aeschynite has the chemical formula (Ce, Ca, Fe, Th)(Ti, Nb)2(O, OH)6.[22]

Here there are two oxygen groups:

  1. O, oxygenides, from 11.1 to 55.6 at % likely, and
  2. OH, hydroxides, from 55.6 to 11.1 at % likely.

Silicates[edit | edit source]

Silicates contain more than 25 at % silicates.

Afwillites[edit | edit source]

The clear to white small crystals on the rock are afwillite. Credit: Dave Dyet.

Afwillite has had a couple of formulas:

  1. Ca3Si2O4(OH)6,[22] and
  2. Ca3(HSiO4)2·2H2O.[23]

Structurally, afwillite is a nesosilicate with isolated SiO4 tetrahedra.

Afwillite has two oxides:

  1. 2SiO4, Silicates, and
  2. 2H2O, oxidanes, with each having about 50 molecular %.

Calcium does not occur as native calcium. Here it links to the oxygens in the silicate tetrahedra and the oxidanes. Afwillite is 47.6 at % silicate and 28.6 at % oxidane.

Carbonates[edit | edit source]

Carbonates contain more than 25 at % CO3.

Calcites[edit | edit source]

Large crystal of Calcite is on display. Credit: Alkivar, National Museum of Natural History.

Calcite has the chemical formula CaCO3.[22]

Calcite contains one oxide: CO3, or carbonate. It is 50 molecular % carbonate, 50 at % calcium, or can be 50 molecular % (Mg,Ca,Fe2+).

Sulfurs[edit | edit source]

This shows sulfur crystals from the Smithsonian Institution. Credit: Deglr6328.{{free media}}
Native liquid sulfur in this photograph is red. Credit: National Iranian Gas Company.{{fairuse}}

Native sulfur occurs on the surface of the Earth.

At volcanic locations, native liquid sulfur can be seen flowing, such as in the image on the left, and it is red.

Native sulfurs[edit | edit source]

Sulfur crystals on the matrix (4.8 × 3.5 × 3 cm) were from El Desierto mine, San Pablo de Napa, Daniel Campos Province, Potosí, Bolivia. Credit: Ivar Leidus.{{free media}}
These sulfur crystals, the largest of which measure 3.0 cm across, are well formed, translucent and lustrous. Credit: Robert M. Lavinsky.{{free media}}

is theoretically created inside massive stars, where the temperature exceeds 2.5×109 K, by the fusion of one nucleus of silicon plus one nucleus of helium.[24]

Some carbonaceous chondrites may contain free sulfur.[25]

The distinctive colors of Io are attributed to various forms of molten, solid, and gaseous sulfur.[26]

Elemental sulfur can be found near hot springs and volcanic regions in many parts of the world, especially along the Pacific Ring of Fire; such volcanic deposits are currently mined in Indonesia, Chile, and Japan. These deposits are polycrystalline, with the largest documented single crystal measuring 22×16×11 cm.[27] Historically, Sicily was a major source of sulfur in the Industrial Revolution.[28] Lakes of molten sulfur up to ~200 m in diameter have been found on the sea floor, associated with submarine volcanoes, at depths where the boiling point of water is higher than the melting point of sulfur.[29]

Native sulfur is synthesised by anaerobic bacteria acting on sulfate minerals such as gypsum in salt domes.[30][31] Significant deposits in salt domes occur along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and in evaporites in eastern Europe and western Asia. Native sulfur may be produced by geological processes alone. Fossil-based sulfur deposits from salt domes were once the basis for commercial production in the United States, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.[32] Currently, commercial production is still carried out in the Osiek mine in Poland. Such sources are now of secondary commercial importance, and most are no longer worked.

On Earth, just as upon Jupiter's moon Io, elemental sulfur occurs naturally as a geomineral or iomineral in volcanic emissions, including emissions from hydrothermal vents.

Sulfur has the chemical formula of S
.[31] The systematic chemical name of this allotrope is octathiocane.[31]

"Crystals are usually yellow to yellowish-brown blocky dipyramids, with thick tabular and disphenoidal crystals less common. Also found more typically as powdery yellow coatings. Most native sulphur is found in sedimentary rocks, where large deposits are formed by reduction of sulfates, often biogenically. Sulphur is a common sublimate from volcanic gases associated with realgar, cinnabar and other minerals. It is also found in some vein deposits and as an alteration product of sulphide minerals."[31]

Sulfur polycations, S2+
, S2+
and S2+
are produced when sulfur is reacted with mild oxidising agents in a strongly acidic solution.[33] The colored solutions produced by dissolving sulfur in oleum were first reported as early as 1804 by C.F. Bucholz, but the cause of the color and the structure of the polycations involved was only determined in the late 1960s. S2+
is deep blue, S2+
is yellow and S2+
is red.[34]

Sulfur forms several polyatomic molecules. The best-known allotrope is octasulfur, cyclo-S
. The point group of cyclo-S
is D
and its dipole moment is 0 D.[35] Octasulfur is a soft, bright-yellow solid that is odorless, but impure samples have an odor similar to that of matches.[36] It melts at 115.21 °C (239.38 °F), boils at 444.6 °C (832.3 °F) and sublimates easily.[37] At 95.2 °C (203.4 °F), below its melting temperature, cyclo-octasulfur changes from α-octasulfur to the β-polymorph.[34] The structure of the S
ring is virtually unchanged by this phase change, which affects the intermolecular interactions. Between its melting and boiling temperatures, octasulfur changes its allotrope again, turning from β-octasulfur to γ-sulfur, again accompanied by a lower density but increased viscosity due to the formation of polymers.[37] At higher temperatures, the viscosity decreases as depolymerization occurs. Molten sulfur assumes a dark red color above 200 °C (392 °F). The density of sulfur is about 2 g/cm3, depending on the allotrope; all of the stable allotropes are excellent electrical insulators.

Sulfides[edit | edit source]

Sulfates[edit | edit source]

Seleniums[edit | edit source]

Selenium (native) with pen for scale is from the mineral collection of Brigham Young University Department of Geology, Provo, Utah. Credit: Andrew Silver, USGS.{{free media}}
The dark gray mineral in the yellow sandstone is native selenium. Credit: James St. John.{{free media}}
These are native selenium needles from Katharine mine, Radvanice, Czech Republic. Credit: Asahi.{{fairuse}}

On the right is a photograph of native selenium from the mineral collection of Brigham Young University Department of Geology, Provo, Utah.

The second image down on the right shows dark gray selenium in sandstone from Westwater Canyon Section 23 Mine Grants, New Mexico.

In the magnified image of the sample on the left shows native selenium needles.

Achávalites[edit | edit source]

Black metallic crystals are the extremely rare iron selenide mineral achávalite from Cacheuta Mine, Mendoza, Argentina, associated with cacheutaite. Credit: David Hospital.{{free media}}

Achávalite has the chemical formula (Fe,Cu)Se.

Achávalite (IMA symbol is Ahv[38]) a selenide mineral that is a member of the nickeline group. It has only been found in a single Argentinian mine system, being first discovered in 1939 in a selenide deposit. The type locality is the Cacheuta mine, Sierra de Cacheuta, Mendoza, Argentina.[39][40][41]

Telluriums[edit | edit source]

This is a native tellurium crystal from the Emperor Mine, Vatukoula, Tavua Gold Field, Viti Levu, Fiji. Credit: Robert Stravinsky.{{free media}}
On the upper left of the rock is native tellurium. Credit: Theodore W. Gray.{{fairuse}}

On the right is an example of native tellurium from the Emperor Mine, Vatukoula, Tavua Gold Field, Viti Levu, Fiji.

On the left is an encrustation of native tellurium on the upper left portion of a rock.

Poloniums[edit | edit source]

This photograph shows a 210Po halo in biotite from the Buckhorn pegmatite. Credit: Lorence G. Collins.{{fairuse}}
Uranium roll front occurs in quartzose sandstone in the Cretaceous of Colorado, USA. Credit: James St. John.{{free media}}
This photo shows a fracture in biotite in which migrating 210Po and/or 210Pb ions have created damage to the biotite lattice parallel to the fracture. Credit: Lorence G. Collins.{{fairuse}}

α-Po crystallizes in a simple cubic lattice.[42]

Native polonium may occur in minerals like pitchblende due to the decay of uranium. But, when the uranium is chemically bound, the polonium is likely to be also.

β-Po has a rhombohedral (trigonal) crystal structure.[43]

"Solid diorite and gabbro rock, which had previously crystallized from magma, has been subjected to repeated cataclasis and recrystallization. This has happened without melting; and the cataclasis provided openings for the introduction of uranium-bearing fluids and for the modification of these rocks to granite by silication and cation deletion."[44]

"In uranium ore-fields the extra uranium provides an abundant source of inert radon gas; and it is this gas that diffuses in ambient fluids so that incipient biotite and fluorite crystallization is exposed to it. Radon (222
) decays and Po isotopes nucleate in the rapidly growing biotite (and fluorite) crystals whence they are positioned to produce the Po halos."[44]

On the lower right is a photograph showing radioactive decay halos along a crack in biotite.

On the left is an example of groundwater incursion that has moved through a nearby fault. The groundwater has picked up dissolved uranium compounds and moved downward through adjacent porous sandstones. Uraninite then precipitated around a tongue of groundwater, resulting in the roll front seen in the image on the left.

Livermoriums[edit | edit source]

Although generated by heavy ion bombardment, the short-lived radioisotopes are not known to occur naturally on the surface of the Earth.

Hypotheses[edit | edit source]

  1. Chalcogens such as the poloniums can occur as native polonium due to diffusion of radon gas with subsequent radioactive decay to polonium without chemical combination.
  2. The polonium atoms adhere to fracture surfaces and decay to produce Po halos.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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  3. 3.0 3.1 J. Beau W. Webber (2010). "Studies of nano-structured liquids in confined geometries and at surfaces". Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy 56 (1): 78-93. http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/25821. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Becky Oskin (10 August 2014). Faraway Earthquake Triggered Antarctica Icequakes. LiveScience.com. http://www.livescience.com/47282-chile-earthquake-caused-antarctica-icequakes.html. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jacob Walter (10 August 2014). Faraway Earthquake Triggered Antarctica Icequakes. LiveScience.com. http://www.livescience.com/47282-chile-earthquake-caused-antarctica-icequakes.html. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Zhigang Peng (10 August 2014). Faraway Earthquake Triggered Antarctica Icequakes. LiveScience.com. http://www.livescience.com/47282-chile-earthquake-caused-antarctica-icequakes.html. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
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  17. Jason Goodman (December 2, 2013). Scientists Detect Hidden Ocean on Jupiter’s Moon. Astro Watch. http://www.astrowatch.net/2013/12/scientists-detect-hidden-ocean-on.html. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
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External links[edit | edit source]