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Ancient crystals suggest Earth’s crust enjoyed growth spurt 3 billion years ago

Ancient crystals suggest Earth’s crust enjoyed growth spurt 3 billion years ago

Science
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Ancient crystals recovered from stream sediments in Greenland suggest bits of Earth's primordial crust seeded the growth of later generations of crust. According to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, the process fueled a massive crustal growth three billion years ago. Advertisement Scientists were able identify the origins of the ancient growth spurt by analyzing the chemistry of crystals eroded from ancient rocks. The chemical makeup of the ancient zircon crystals, found among modern stream sediment in Greenland, revealed signatures left their incorporation into younger crustal rocks and sediment during what scientists call lithospheric reworking. "We found there was a widespread bloom in crust production three billion years ago, during ...
A bit of gold grants crystals new electric properties

A bit of gold grants crystals new electric properties

Science
Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Crystals can acquire a variety of novel electric qualities when enhanced with just a bit of gold -- or any other noble metal -- according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Crystals are not defined by their chemical contents, but by the ordered, symmetrical structure of their molecules -- material scientists like patterned structures, but symmetry, not so much, they say. Advertisement "In physics, those materials are rather boring," Marin Alexe, a physicist at the University of Warwick in Britain, said in a news release. "From the point-of-view of functionality, symmetry is not the greatest thing you want to have. You want to break the symmetry in such a way that you would get new effects." Alexe and his colleagues at Warwick used gold and platinum to b...
Prime numbers, crystals share similar structural patterns

Prime numbers, crystals share similar structural patterns

Science
Sept. 6 (UPI) -- According to a new study, the distribution of prime numbers is similar to the positioning of atoms inside some crystalline materials. When scientists at Princeton University compared the pattern of prime numbers along a lengthy line of numbers with the atomic patterns revealed when crystals are blasted with X-rays, they were surprised by the similarities. "There is much more order in prime numbers than ever previously discovered," Salvatore Torquato, professor of chemistry and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, said in a news release. "We showed that the primes behave almost like a crystal or, more precisely, similar to a crystal-like material called a 'quasicrystal.'" Until recently, mathematicians thought prime numbers, numbers divisibl...
Meteorite's blue crystals offer insights into young sun's chemistry

Meteorite's blue crystals offer insights into young sun's chemistry

Science
July 30 (UPI) -- Scientists have found minerals old enough to shed light on the composition and behavior of the sun shortly after its birth, 4.6 billion years ago. The composition of the ancient blue hibonite crystals found inside the remnants of a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite suggest the sun was spewing a plethora of high-energy particles during its earliest years. "The sun was very active in its early life -- it had more eruptions and gave off a more intense stream of charged particles," Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum and a professor at the University of Chicago, said in a news release. Just as the sun was born, the newborn star was surrounded by a thick, swirling circumstellar disk of gas and dust. The disk hosted temperatures upwards of 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. As the ...