Harry Y. “Hap” McSween, Jr., Chancellor’s Professor emeritus in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. McSween is one of 120 members from around the world newly named to the academy, which recognizes distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Continue reading
Research Team Donates Laboratory Materials to Health Care Workers
After reading news reports about shortages of personal protective equipment and laboratory supplies, Annette Engel, the Donald and Florence Jones Professor of Aqueous Geochemistry, and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences lab manager Audrey Paterson contacted Brian Gard, director of emergency management at UT, to donate materials from previous projects in their interdisciplinary research lab in Strong Hall to health agencies in need.
Learn more at news.utk.edu.
Recognitions, February 26
There is much to celebrate as February comes to a close! This week’s recognitions include: Lab Manager Adrian Gonzalez joins TNI’s Chemistry Expert Committee; Celeste Carruthers is the first woman chosen as Editor-in-Chief of the Economics of Education Review; Oak Ridge National Laboratory and joint faculty member at UT awarded a grant of nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation; a 2019-2020 Tennessee Architecture Fellow wins a 2020 national AIA/ACSA Housing Design Education Award; and Professors in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences received their AAAS rosette pins at the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle. Continue reading
Geologists Uncover New Clues about Largest Mass Extinction Ever
A new study could help explain the driving force behind the largest mass extinction in the history of Earth, known as the End-Permian Extinction.
The event, also known as the Great Dying, occurred around 250 million years ago when a massive volcanic eruption in what is today the Russian province of Siberia sent nearly 90 percent of all life right into extinction. Geologists call this eruption the Siberian Flood Basalts, and it ran for almost 1 million years.
“The scale of this extinction was so incredible, that scientists have often wondered what made the Siberian Flood Basalts so much more deadly than other similar eruptions,” said Michael Broadley, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Petrographic and Geochemical Research, in France, and lead author of the paper.
The work, which was published in Nature Geoscience, was co-authored by Lawrence “Larry” Taylor, the former director of UT’s Planetary Geosciences Institute. Taylor, whose prolific UT career spanned 46 years, passed away in September 2017 at age 79.
According to Broadley, “Taylor was instrumental in supplying samples of mantle xenoliths, rock sections of the lithosphere (a section of the planet located between the crust and the mantle) that get captured by the passing magma and erupted to the surface during the volcanic explosion. Taylor also provided advice throughout the study.”
Study: Moon’s Crust Underwent Resurfacing After Forming from Magma Ocean
The Earth’s Moon had a rough start in life. Formed from a chunk of the Earth that was lopped off during a planetary collision, it spent its early years covered by a roiling global ocean of molten magma before cooling and forming the serene surface we know today.
A research team, led by Nick Dygert, assistant professor in the UT Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, took to the lab to recreate the magmatic melt that once formed the lunar surface and uncovered new insights on how the modern moonscape came to be. Their study shows that the Moon’s crust initially formed from rock floating to the surface of the magma ocean and cooling. However, the team also found that one of the great mysteries of the lunar body’s formation – how it could develop a crust composed of just one mineral – cannot be explained by the initial crust formation and must have been the result of some secondary event.
The results were published on Nov. 21 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Read more at tntoday.utk.edu.