Nanogeoscience: From the movement of electrons to lithosphere plates

Authors


Abstract

Researchers of nano-scale science explore the workings of nature in the dimensional space spanning a single nanometer (nm) to about 100 nm. While geoscientists pride themselves on looking at very large-scale, highly complex processes, the origins of nearly all things geologic are rooted deeply in nanoscale phenomena. The near surface of the Earth is composed of what has been conservatively estimated as 1030 square nm of inorganic and biological surfaces [Hochella and White, 1990; Whitman et al., 1998]. These two types of surfaces have been interacting for over 3 billion years on our planet. A growing number of geoscientists, supported by U.S. agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF),the Departments of Energy and Defense, and even the National Institutes of Health, are embracing the intricate nano-scale world and helping to forge the frontiers of nanoscience through geological studies.