All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
17 10, 2017

Iron Oxide and Iron Deposits

By | October 17th, 2017|Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Banded Iron Formation

Whilst in Frankfurt a few days ago, a team member from Everything Dinosaur took the opportunity to photograph some of the amazing outdoor exhibits on display opposite the Senckenberg Naturmuseum (Frankfurt Natural History Museum).  Amongst the stunning replicas of prehistoric plants and of course, the iconic, life-size model of Tyrannosaurus rex, our staff member spotted a beautiful example of a banded iron formation.

Not Too Difficult to Spot – A Huge Monolith (Banded Iron Formation)

Banded Iron Formation

An example of a banded iron formation.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Record of a Changing Atmosphere on Planet Earth

Formed in marine environments at least 2.5 billion years ago, these deposits provide information about when the atmosphere of our planet and its oceans became oxygenated.  Iron oxide is not soluble, therefore the iron must have been transported in a non-oxidised form.  This could only have happened if there was almost no oxygen in the atmosphere or the oceans.

A Closer View of the Iron Banded Formation Showing the Deposition

A banded iron deposit close-up.

The individual layers can be clearly seen in this banded iron deposit.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows a close-up view of the banded layers.  Each layer is quite thin and these patterns are usually formed by alternating bands of iron-rich material (usually magnetite) and silica (chert).  During the Archean Eon, the primitive Earth had little free oxygen.  Rocks rich in iron were weathered at the surface and this iron remained largely unchanged as there was no free oxygen to combine with it and create iron oxide (rust).  The iron ions entered the sea in an unaltered chemical state.  They formed the band of iron-rich material seen in some of the layers. However, primitive cyanobacteria (blue/green algae), were beginning to become more abundant in surface waters.  As algae populations grew, there was a subsequent increase in photosynthesis.  Oxygen is a bi-product of photosynthesis and this free oxygen began to combine with the iron ions in the water to form magnetite (Fe3O4), iron oxide.  As more and more algae photosynthesised so the amount of oxygen available to combine with the iron increased, until a point was reached whereby the O2 production of the biomass in the marine ecosystem exceeded the amount of iron that was available to combine with.  The oxygen was left in the ocean and this gas rose to toxic levels decimating the cyanobacteria.  The algae population collapsed and led to the accumulation of a sedimentary layer on the seabed low in iron (the chert).  Over time, something like 800,000 years, algal blooms and peaks and troughs of oxygen production via photosynthesis led to the banded formations seen today in rocks dating from the Archean.

17 10, 2017

Frankfurter Buchmesse – A World of Learning

By | October 17th, 2017|General Teaching|Comments Off on Frankfurter Buchmesse – A World of Learning

Frankfurt Book Fair – A World of Learning

The 2017 Frankfurter Buchmesse has proved once again that the publishing world is full of innovation, especially when it comes to engaging the next generation of young scientists.  Figures released by the organisers of this internationally important event, suggest that some 7,300 exhibitors attended, representing 102 countries.  Visitor numbers were around four percent up compared to 2016, in all some 286,000 people attended this five-day book extravaganza.

Educationalists, Lecturers and Teaching Professionals from All Over the World Attended the Frankfurter Buchmesse

Visitors to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Visitor numbers up for the 2017 Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The International Education Sector was Prominent

At this year’s Book Fair, the international educational sector was very well represented with visitors flocking to Hall 4.2 to participate in the “World of Learning Lab”.  As well as the more traditional educational materials, digital media and its use in the education sector was prominent.  One exhibit that took the eye was the virtual dive on a coral reef using virtual reality (VR) goggles.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur who attended the Book Fair commented:

“The Frankfurter Buchmesse provided a one-stop shop for members of the teaching profession and school administrators.  Some of the advances involving the use of digital media in schools are breathtaking.  The effective use of these tools in conjunction with appropriate schemes of work and carefully thought out lesson plans can really help to engage pupils.”

The “Educational Hot Spot”

The dedicated area of the show known as the “Educational Hot Spot” provided a series of highlights for Everything Dinosaur team members.  The latest whiteboard technology was on display and there were plenty of opportunities to practice on the Smartboards and other classroom accessories.  Everything Dinosaur staff members came away with a number of new ideas on how to adapt scientific research and make it accessible to teachers and teaching professionals.

Education was Definitely in the Spotlight in the “Educational Hot Spot” Area

Education in the spotlight at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The “Educational Hot Spot” at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Sofa talks, workshops and interactive presentations were on offer, along with the chance to review some of the latest science orientated teaching publications.  The primary schools sector was particularly strong with dozens and dozens of companies at the show which serve the primary school sector.  There were also several seminars that visitors could attend, providing insights into the latest teaching methods, pedagogical trends and inspirational ideas to help support term topics.

Plenty of Time to take in Expert Opinion at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Learning about the latest educational trends.

Seminars on a number of education related topics were offered.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It really does take five days to cover the event, Everything Dinosaur team members felt that they had “hardly scratched the surface”, there was so much to see and do.  We even found a few books on dinosaurs…

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