Exploring Carbon Mineral Systems: Recent Advances in C Mineral Evolution, Mineral Ecology, and Network Analysis

Shaunna M. Morrison, Joy Buongiorno, Robert T. Downs, Ahmed Eleish, Peter Fox, Donato Giovannelli, Joshua J. Golden, Daniel R. Hummer, Grethe Hystad, Louise H. Kellogg, Oliver Kreylos, Sergey V. Krivovichev, Chao Liu, Andrew Merdith, Anirudh Prabhu, Jolyon Ralph, Simone E. Runyon, Sabin Zahirovic, Robert M. Hazen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Large and growing data resources on the spatial and temporal diversity and distribution of the more than 400 carbon-bearing mineral species reveal patterns of mineral evolution and ecology. Recent advances in analytical and visualization techniques leverage these data and are propelling mineralogy from a largely descriptive field into one of prediction within complex, integrated, multidimensional systems. These discoveries include: (1) systematic changes in the character of carbon minerals and their networks of coexisting species through deep time; (2) improved statistical predictions of the number and types of carbon minerals that occur on Earth but are yet to be discovered and described; and (3) a range of proposed and ongoing studies related to the quantification of network structures and trends, relation of mineral “natural kinds” to their genetic environments, prediction of the location of mineral species across the globe, examination of the tectonic drivers of mineralization through deep time, quantification of preservational and sampling bias in the mineralogical record, and characterization of feedback relationships between minerals and geochemical environments with microbial populations. These aspects of Earth’s carbon mineralogy underscore the complex co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere and highlight the possibility for scientific discovery in Earth and planetary systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number208
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
StatePublished - Aug 27 2020


  • carbon
  • carbon minerals
  • mineral ecology
  • mineral evolution
  • network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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