Mineral nucleation and growth processes are well studied for material science and industry applications under controlled laboratory conditions, but our understanding of these complex multistage pathways in natural environments is still rather incomplete. Monitoring precise and quantitative environmental parameters over long time periods is often difficult, imposing great uncertainties on growth processes and physicochemical properties of minerals used to reconstruct Earth’s history, such as microbialites, speleothems, or authigenic cements. Recent findings suggest that nano-clusters, colloidal particles, organic matter or microbes may be fundamental to nucleation and growth processes, especially if kinetics are sluggish at Earth surface temperatures. Thus, it is imperative to investigate mineral formation at the nano- and micro-scale within a broad, interdisciplinary perspective.
In this session we welcome oral and poster presentations from multiple fields including sedimentology, mineralogy, geochemistry, physical chemistry, biology and engineering that contribute to a better understanding of mineral nucleation and growth processes. Contributions may include process-oriented studies in modern systems, the ancient rock record, experiments, computer simulations, and high-resolution microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. We intend to reach a wide community of researchers sharing the common goal of improving our understanding of the fundamental processes underlying mineral formation, which is essential to read our Earth’s geological archive.