Earth in Five Reactions

American Mineralogist Special Issue

An upcoming special issue of American Mineralogist will focus on Earth in Five Reactions from a deep carbon perspective. At a lively workshop in Washington, DC in March 2018, 50 scientists from a variety of disciplines came together to determine the five most important carbon-related reactions on the planet. The debate was lively, to say the least, but at the end of two-days, the assembled scientists reached a consensus. The five most important reactions were deemed to be: hydrogenation/dehydrogenation, carboxylation/decarboxylation, carbonation/decarbonation, aqueous silicate melt/solid, and hydration/dehydration.

These five most important reactions will be used as the central themes to synthesize and disseminate deep carbon knowledge and findings, while providing a new and integrative perspective for scientists to understand and advance deep carbon science. This framework also has potential to motivate and guide future research by helping scientists identify data gaps in understanding and information needing to be refined, as well as the potential to establish new frontiers for scientific exploration and investigation.

Editors Jie (Jackie) Li, Simon Redfern, and Donato Giovanelli are assembling writing teams for the special issue, which is targeted for publication in early 2019. Anyone who is interested in participating in this process, should reach out to one of the editors.

Earth in Five Reactions
E5R special collection theme figure, showing where the reactions likely occur in Earth's deep carbon cycle. Reactions noted in orange are the ones selected by the March 2018 workshop participants. Credit Li and Wood.


About the Editors

  • Jie Li, University of Michigan
    Jie (Jackie) Li University of Michigan, USA
    Jie Li, University of Michigan
    Jie (Jackie) Li
    University of Michigan, USA

    Dr. Jie (Jackie) Li is an experimental geochemist and mineral physicist who has spent more than two decades studying material properties at extreme pressures and temperatures and investigating the thermal and chemical evolution history of the Earth and other terrestrial planetary bodies. Her research encompasses a wide spectrum of deep-carbon issues and has tested the hypothesis of hidden carbon in the Earth’s inner core, evaluated carbon distribution during core formation, proposed models involving iron-carbon melt to explain anomalous seismic signals at the Earth’s core-mantle boundary, assessed the fate of subducted carbon in the Earth’s transition, and traced the delivery of carbon from proto-planetary disc to Earth’s surface as an ingredient for life. She is a member of DCO’s Extreme Physics and Chemistry Science Community.

  • Simon Redfern, University of Cambridge
    Simon Redfern University of Cambridge, UK
    Simon Redfern, University of Cambridge
    Simon Redfern
    University of Cambridge, UK

    Dr. SImon Redfern is a mineral scientist with over 25 years research experience.The author of more than 240 peer reviewed papers (H-index 42), he has worked on a broad range of deep carbon-related research, including the behavior of carbonate minerals in the deep Earth, the biomineralization processes associated with biogenic carbonates in marine organisms (foraminifera), the role of aqueous solutions at deep Earth conditions in transporting or precipitating deep carbon, and the use of diamonds as laboratory tools for the study of materials at extreme conditions. Redfern has acted as journal editor for American Mineralogist, Mineralogical Magazine, and (currently) Frontiers in Earth Sciences: Earth and Planetary Materials, and has spent time as a British Science Association Media Fellow.

  • Donato Giovannelli, Earth-Life Science Institute, Japan
    Donato Giovannelli Earth-Life Science Institute, Japan
    Donato Giovannelli, Earth-Life Science Institute, Japan
    Donato Giovannelli
    Earth-Life Science Institute, Japan

    Dr. Donato Giovannelli is a microbial ecologist working on the microbiology of extreme environments. He currently holds an appointment as a joint EON Research Fellow at the Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo and Rutgers University, USA He is also  a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, USA, and an Adjunct Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy. He received a B.Sc. in Marine Biology (2005) and M.Sc. in Marine Ecology (2007) from the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy. His current research focuses on two major linked themes: 1) the metabolic and taxonomic diversity of prokaryotes in different geothermally influenced marine ecosystems; and 2) the emergence and evolution of early metabolism. Giovannelli is a member of DCO’s Deep Life community, a leader DCO’s synthesis projects Biology Meets Subuctionand Earth in Five Reactions, and was a recipient of DCO’s emerging leader award in 2015.


Earth in Five Workshop

On 22-23 March, 2018, 50 scientists from multiple disciplines meet for a lively debate to decide the five most important carbon-related reactions on Earth.  

Last Call for Survey

Last chance for input! Close to 100 respondents have completed the Earth in Five Reactions Survey. Project leaders are about to select participants for the all-expense paid workshop to decide on the five most important reactions in Washington, DC in March 2018. If you haven't completed your survey, please do so today to be considered for the workshop. Simply click here to complete it.

American Mineralogist Accepts Proposal

The editors of American Mineralogist agrees to a special issue focused on "Earth in Five Reactions."

Polling Conducted

The entire DCO science network has an opportunity to participate in a poll regarding the most important carbon-related actions, from which 50 participants will have a chance to attend the March workshop.

Debate Begins!

On 10-12 March, 2017, scientists at DCO's Third International Science meeting at St. Andrews, Scotland, begin the debate about the most important carbon-related actions on the planet. 

Further Reading

To learn more about how the process behind Earth in Five Reactions, visit here

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