Dear WM, The first of the five spaces of the Museo Universitario di Scienze della Terra (MUST: the new Earth Sciences University Museum) opens May 19th, 2018, part of the European Night of the Museums. The exhibition "Earth: What a surprise!" launches the Atrium as a multifunctional area that will host congresses, workshops, exhibitions and cultural events. It will comprise the first step on the road to opening the largest Italian museum dedicated to Earth Sciences. More than 150,000 samples of minerals, rocks and fossils, rare scientific instruments, ancient books and thematic maps will soon be on display in a space larger than 4000 m2. We invite you to the MUST Atrium! You will find surprises about our planet’s history, the resources we use, the hazards and risks caused by its dynamic state, and the magic of new discoveries!
–Michele Lustrino, Director Earth Science Museum, Univ. Rome
Dear WM, Water in olivine itself is generally low. As described in our recent paper on volatile concentrations in olivine-hosted melt inclusions from meimechite and melanephelinite lavas of the Siberian Traps, only high-Fo olivines contain few ppm of water according to FTIR measurements. However, in the water in olivine-hosted melt inclusions, which represent trapped melts at depth of olivine crystallisation, water is high. Examples of high water in olivine-hosted melt inclusions are rare and most are from arc basalts. Technically, such studies are hard. For flood basalts there are only three publications that describe with high water in olivine-hosted melt inclusions. These use the technique of melt-inclusion homogenization at high pressure in piston-cylinder apparatus, which was suggested by Sam Mukasa. Two of these studies were of Columbia River and Yellowstone basalts and our study was for the Siberian Traps. Use of the high-pressure homogenisation method is uncommon, but as we show in our study, it is probably essential to prevent water loss during melt homogenisation in the laboratory. A few publications attempt to measure water in olivine- or other mineral-hosted melt inclusions and conclude that water is low. All these publications used homogenisation at 1 atm and probably suffered from water loss in their experiments. Another possibility is that in our study we were simly lucky to find a nearly undegassed sample, whereas other studies did not. Water is easily degassed from magma and later from trapped melt inclusions through olivine. Usually only one or two samples are used for melt inclusion studies because it is painstaking and costly. The chance of choosing an inapropriate sample for such a study is thus high. I would also like to highligh a recent paper by Malcolm Hole about Baffin Island and West Greenland picrites which proposes that Baffin picrites are not the same as Siberian picrites and concludes they are not from a mantle plume–Alexei Ivanov
Dear WM, You may be interested in the following thought-provoking passage commenting on the collegiality of some eminent historical scientists–Bruce Julian
"Unlike Fermat, Descartes gave the impression that he was often uninformed of what others had done before him; at least he only rarely mentioned the work of anybody else in his writings. And when he did, it was often in the most unpleasant manner one could imagine: at various times in his life he called his critics "two or three flies," "less than a rational animal," "a little dog," and "extremely contemptible." The actual works of others were often rejected in incredibly offensive language, e.g., as being fit only for use as "toilet paper" or, in the case of Fermat, as being "shit."–Paul J. Nahin"