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Concept: Slate


Isotopic discordance is a common feature in zircon that can lead to an erroneous age determination, and it is attributed to the mobilization and escape of radiogenic Pb during its post-crystallization geological evolution. The degree of isotopic discordance measured at analytical scales of ~10 μm often differs among adjacent analysis locations, indicating heterogeneous distributions of Pb at shorter length scales. We use atom probe microscopy to establish the nature of these sites and the mechanisms by which they form. We show that the nanoscale distribution of Pb in a ~2.1 billion year old discordant zircon that was metamorphosed c. 150 million years ago is defined by two distinct Pb reservoirs. Despite overall Pb loss during peak metamorphic conditions, the atom probe data indicate that a component of radiogenic Pb was trapped in 10-nm dislocation loops that formed during the annealing of radiation damage associated with the metamorphic event. A second Pb component, found outside the dislocation loops, represents homogeneous accumulation of radiogenic Pb in the zircon matrix after metamorphism. The (207)Pb/(206)Pb ratios measured from eight dislocation loops are equivalent within uncertainty and yield an age consistent with the original crystallization age of the zircon, as determined by laser ablation spot analysis. Our results provide a specific mechanism for the trapping and retention of radiogenic Pb during metamorphism and confirm that isotopic discordance in this zircon is characterized by discrete nanoscale reservoirs of Pb that record different isotopic compositions and yield age data consistent with distinct geological events. These data may provide a framework for interpreting discordance in zircon as the heterogeneous distribution of discrete radiogenic Pb populations, each yielding geologically meaningful ages.

Concepts: Atom, Sedimentary rock, Geology, Damage, Garnet, Metamorphic rock, Metamorphism, Slate


Two rainwater harvesting systems, which included first-flush diversion devices, connected to the roofs of two adjacent buildings, were monitored for water quality. The roofs were constructed from different materials, i.e., one roof was covered with ceramic tiles and the other was made of concrete. Water quality samples from the two storage tanks and the first-flush devices were collected and analyzed, showing satisfactory water quality in the tanks for residential non-potable use, while the water in the first-flush device was of poorer quality. Between the two collection surfaces, statistically significant differences were found only in the concentrations of NH4-N, orthophosphate, and Ca(2+). Total coliforms were detected in both the storage tanks and the first-flush devices, indicating that disinfection of harvested rainwater may be necessary if it is collected for potable uses. Finally, first-flush water quality was related to antecedent dry days, showing that when the number of dry days increased, the accumulation of materials on the concrete roof was reduced while it was increased on the ceramic tile roof. This is attributed to the fact that the concrete roof is nearly horizontal (very slightly sloped), and the wind action easily removes various materials which accumulate on it.

Concepts: Water, Statistical significance, Water purification, Roof, Tile, Roofs, Imbrex and tegula, Slate


Tremor occurs on megathrusts under conditions of near-lithostatic pore-fluid pressures and extremely weakened shear strengths. Although metamorphic reactions in the slab liberate large amounts of fluids, the mechanism for enhancing pore-fluid pressures along the megathrust to near-lithostatic values remains poorly understood. Here we show anti-correlation between low-frequency earthquake (LFE) activity and properties that are markers of the degree of metamorphism above the megathrust, whereby LFEs occur beneath the unmetamorphosed overlying plate but are rare or limited below portions that are metamorphosed. The extent of metamorphism in the overlying plate is likely controlled by along-strike contrasts in permeability. Undrained conditions are required for pore-fluid pressures to be enhanced to near-lithostatic values and for shear strength to reduce sufficiently for LFE generation, whereas well-drained conditions reduce pore-fluid pressures at the megathrust and LFEs no longer occur at the somewhat strengthened megathrust. Our observations suggest that undrained conditions are a key factor for the genesis of LFEs.

Concepts: Shear stress, Shear strength, Garnet, Metamorphic rock, Soil mechanics, Metamorphism, Slate


Paratesticular mesothelioma is a very rare entity of this aggressive malignancy. In 30-40 % of all cases an exposition to asbestos exists in the anamnesis. We report on a typical case of paratesticular mesothelioma in a roof slater and tiler who had had occupational contact with asbestos-containing materials over decades. The recommended diagnostics and therapy are discussed and the importance of the identification as an occupational disease is emphasized.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Medical terms, Case, Slate


Elevated As occurs in many meta-sedimentary bedrock aquifers where elevated bulk-rock As content is one of the primary controls on the concentration of As in groundwater. This study was designed to determine As concentrations in a black shale, black slate and black phyllite sequence that comprises the bedrock aquifer system of the Taconic Mountain region of southwestern Vermont and adjacent New York State. Variability in groundwater As concentrations provides the impetus for this study: 25% of wells in weakly metamorphosed shales and slates (

Concepts: Sedimentary rock, Aquifer, Rock, Metamorphic rock, Shale, Schist, Slate, Phyllite


Arsenic-bearing pyrite is the source of arsenic in groundwater produced in late Cambrian and Ordovician gray and black slates and phyllites in the Taconic region of southwestern Vermont, USA. The aim of this study is to analyze the sulfur isotopic composition of this pyrite and determine if a relationship exists between pyrite δ(34)S and arsenic content. Pyrite occurs in both sedimentary/diagenetic (bedding-parallel layers and framboids) and low-grade metamorphic (porphyroblast) forms, and contains up to >2000ppm As. The sulfur isotopic composition of arsenic-bearing pyrite ranges from -5.2‰ to 63‰. In the marine environment, the sulfur in sedimentary pyrite becomes increasingly enriched in (34)S as the geochemical environment becomes increasingly anoxic. There is a positive correlation between δ(34)S and arsenic content in the Taconic pyrite, suggesting that uptake of arsenic by pyrite increased as the environment became more reducing. This increased anoxia may have been due to a rise in sea level and/or tectonic activity during the late Cambrian and Ordovician. Low-grade metamorphism appears to have little effect on sulfur isotope composition, but does correlate with lower arsenic content in pyrite. New groundwater wells drilled in this region should therefore avoid gray and black slates and phyllites that contain sedimentary/diagenetic pyrite with heavy δ(34)S values.

Concepts: Plate tectonics, Sedimentary rock, Mineral, Sulfur, Coal, Water well, Metamorphism, Slate