How and when plate tectonics initiated remain uncertain. In part, this is because many signals that have been interpreted as diagnostic of plate tectonics can be alternatively explained via hot stagnant-lid tectonics. One such signal involves early Archean phaneritic ultramafic rocks. In the Eoarchean Isua supracrustal belt of southwestern Greenland, some ultramafic rocks have been interpreted as tectonically-exhumed mantle during Eoarchean subduction. To explore whether all Archean phaneritic ultramafic rocks originated as cumulate and/or komatiite – i.e., without requiring plate tectonics – we examined the petrology and geochemistry of such rocks in the Isua supracrustal belt and the Paleoarchean East Pilbara Terrane of northwestern Australia, with Pilbara ultramafic rocks interpreted as representative of rocks from non-plate tectonic settings. We found that Pilbara ultramafic samples have relict cumulate textures, relative enrichment of whole-rock Os, Ir, and Ru versus Pt and Pd, and spinel with variable TiO2, relatively consistent Cr#, and variable and low Mg#. Similar geochemical characteristics also occur in variably altered Isua ultramafic rocks. We show that Isua and Pilbara ultramafic rocks should have interacted with low Pt and Pd melts generated by sequestration of Pd and Pt into sulphide and/or alloy during magma generation or crystallization. Such melts cannot have interacted with a mantle wedge. Furthermore, altered mantle rocks and altered cumulates could have similar rock textures and whole-rock geochemistry such that they may not distinguish mantle from cumulate. Our findings suggest that depleted mantle interpretations are not consistent with geochemistry and/or rock textures obtained from Isua and Pilbara ultramafic rocks. Instead, cumulate textures of Pilbara samples, whole-rock Pt and Pd concentrations, and spinel geochemistry of Isua and Pilbara ultramafic rocks support cumulate origins and metasomatism involving co-genetic melts that formed in hot stagnant-lid settings. Collectively, these findings permit ≤ 3.2 Ga initiation of plate tectonics on Earth.
The roof and spire of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris that caught _re and collapsed on April 15, 2019, were covered with 460 tons of lead (Pb). Government reports documented Pb deposition immediately downwind of the cathedral and a 20-fold increase in airborne Pb concentrations at a distance of 50 km in the aftermath. For this study, we collected 100 samples of surface soil from tree pits, parks, and other sites in all directions within 1 km of the cathedral. Concentrations of Pb measured by X-ray uorescence range from 30 to 9000 mg/kg across the area, with a higher proportion of elevated concentrations to the northwest of the cathedral, in the direction of the wind prevailing during the fire. By integrating these observations with a Gaussian process regression model, we estimate that the average concentration of Pb in surface soil downwind of the cathedral is 430 (95% interval, 300-590) mg/kg, nearly double the average Pb concentration in the other directions of 240 (95% interval, 170-320) mg/kg. The di_erence corresponds to an integrated excess Pb inventory within a 1 km radius of 1.0 (95% interval, 0.5-1.5) tons, about 0.2% of all the Pb covering the roof and spire. This is over 6 times the estimated amount of Pb deposited downwind 1-50 km from the cathedral. To what extent the concentrated fallout within 1 km documented here temporarily exposed the downwind population to Pb is di_cult to con_rm independently because too few soil, dust, and blood samples were collected immediately after the fire.
In the face of ongoing marine deoxygenation, understanding timescales and drivers of past oxygenation change is of critical importance. Marine sediment cores from tiered silled basins provide a natural laboratory to constrain timing and implications of oxygenation changes across multiple depths. Here, we reconstruct oxygenation and environmental change over time using benthic foraminiferal assemblages from sediment cores from three basins across the Southern California Borderlands: Tanner Basin (EW9504-09PC, 1194 m water depth), San Nicolas Basin (EW9504-08PC, 1442 m), and San Clemente Basin (EW9504-05PC ,1818 m). We utilize indicator taxa, community ecology, and an oxygenation transfer function to reconstruct past oxygenation, and we directly compare reconstructed dissolved oxygen to modern measured dissolved oxygen. We generate new, higher resolution carbon and oxygen isotope records from planktic (Globigerina bulloides) and benthic foraminifera (Cibicides mckannai) from Tanner Basin. Geochemical and assemblage data indicate limited ecological and environmental change through time in each basin across the intervals studied. Early to mid-Holocene (11.0-4.7 ka) oxygenation below 1400 m (San Clemente and San Nicolas) was relatively stable and reduced relative to modern. San Nicolas Basin experienced a multi-centennial oxygenation episode from 4.7-4.3 ka and oxygenation increased in Tanner Basin gradually from 1.7-0.8 ka. Yet across all three depths and time intervals studied, dissolved oxygen is consistently within a range of intermediate hypoxia (0.5-1.5 ml L-1 [O2]). Variance in reconstructed dissolved oxygen was similar to decadal variance in modern dissolved oxygen and reduced relative to Holocene-scale changes in shallower basins.
Martian meteorites are the only direct samples from Mars, thus far. Currently, there are a total of 262 individual samples originating from at least 11 ejection events. Geochemical analyses, through techniques that are also used on terrestrial rocks, provide fundamental insights into the bulk composition, differentiation and evolution, mantle heterogeneity, and role of secondary processes, such as aqueous alteration and shock, on Mars. Martian meteorites display a wide range in mineralogy and chemistry, but are predominantly basaltic in composition. Over the past six years, the number of martian meteorites recovered has almost doubled allowing for studies that evaluate these meteorites as suites of igneous rocks. However, the martian meteorites represent a biased sampling of the surface of Mars with unknown ejection locations. The geology of Mars cannot be unraveled solely by analyzing these meteorites. Rocks analyzed by rovers on the surface of Mars are of distinct composition to the meteorites, highlighting the importance of Mars missions, especially sample return. The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will collect and cache --- for eventual return to Earth --- over 30 diverse surface samples from Jezero crater. These returned samples will allow for Earth-based state-of-the-art analyses on diverse martian rocks with known field context. The complementary study of returned samples and meteorites will help constrain the evolution of the martian interior and surface. Here, we review recent findings and advances in the study of martian meteorites and examine how returned samples would complement and enhance our knowledge of Mars.
The Proterozoic Kayad Zn-Pb deposit in Ajmer, Rajasthan is located within the Aravalli-Delhi Fold Belt in western India. Mineralization of sphalerite and galena, commonly associated with chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite, is hosted primarily by graphitic quartz mica schist (QMS) and subordinately by calc-silicate, quartzite and pegmatite. In QMS, both massive ore, evidently formed by remobilization, and laminated ore are present. Calc-silicate and quartzite contain disseminated sulfides while pegmatites contain sulfide veins that cause massive mineralization. Mineral replacement textures such as replacement of albite and muscovite by K-feldspars and biotite by chlorite suggest that Fe-Cu sulfides, represented by chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite, formed during potassic and acidic alteration. Trace element characterization demonstrates that between co-existing chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite, Ag, Zn, Sn, In, Cd, Ga are strongly portioned in chalcopyrite whereas Co and Ni are partitioned in pyrrhotite. High concentration of Ag (up to ~9000 ppm) in chalcopyrite adds to economic potential of the deposit. Barring the exception of massive ore in QMS, the trace element compositions of chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite are host-rock-independent suggesting profound control of the parental hydrothermal fluid on their composition. In laminated QMS, pegmatite and quartzite, higher Co, Cd, Mn and In in sphalerite and higher Ag, Sb, Bi, Se in galena compared to chalcopyrite suggest that these phases co-crystallized during their formation. In contrast in remobilized massive ore in QMS, higher Co, Cd and Mn in sphalerite over chalcopyrite and higher Ga, Sn and In in chalcopyrite over sphalerite and galena possibly indicate co-crystallization followed by recrystallization. Furthermore, constant yet distinct Cd:Zn ratios of chalcopyrite and co-existing sphalerite may indicate involvement of two different fluids. The observed trace element characteristics can be best explained by co-crystallization of chalcopyrite and sphalerite by fluid-mixing and subsequent recrystallization leading to the formation of part of the massive ore.
Committees touch nearly every facet in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research enterprise. However, the role of gatekeeping through committee work has received little attention in Earth and space sciences. We propose a novel concept called, “regenerative gatekeeping” to challenge institutional inertia, cultivate belonging, accessibility, justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in committee work. Three examples, a hiring committee process, a seminar series innovation, and an awards committee, highlight the need to self-assess policies and practices, ask critical questions and engage in generative conflict. Rethinking committee work can activate distributed mechanisms needed to promote change.
Gas hydrates stored in the continental margins of the world’s oceans represent the largest global reservoirs of methane. Determining the source and history of methane from gas hydrate deposits informs the viability of sites as energy resources, and potential hazards from hydrate dissociation or intense methane degassing from ocean warming. Stable isotope ratios of methane (13C/12C, D/H) and the molecular ratio of methane over ethane plus propane (C1/C2+3) have traditionally been applied to infer methane sources, but often yield ambiguous results when two or more sources are mixed, or when compositions were altered by physical (e.g., diffusion) or microbial (e.g., methanotrophy) processes. We measured the abundance of clumped methane isotopologue (13CH3D) alongside 13C/12C and D/H of methane, and C1/C2+3 for 46 submarine gas hydrate specimens and associated vent gases from 11 regions of the world’s oceans. These samples are associated with different seafloor seepage features (oil seeps, pockmarks, mud volcanoes, and other cold seeps). The average apparent equilibration temperatures of methane from the Δ13CH3D (the excess abundance of 13CH3D relative to the stochastic distribution) geothermometer increase from cold seeps (15 to 65 ℃) and pockmarks (36 to 54 ℃), to oil-associated gas hydrates (48 to 120 ℃). These apparent temperatures are consistent with, or a few tens of degrees higher than, the temperature expected for putative microbial methane sources. Apparent methane generation depths were derived for cold seep, pockmark, and oil seep methane from isotopologue-based temperatures and the local geothermal gradients. Estimated methane generation depths ranged from 0.2 to 5.3 kmbsf, and are largely consistent with source rock information, and other chemical geothermometers based on clay mineralogy and fluid chemistry (e.g., Cl, B, and Li). Methane associated with mud volcanoes yielded a wide range of apparent temperatures (15 to 313℃). Gas hydrates from mud volcanoes the Kumano Basin and Mediterranean Sea yielded δ13C-CH4 values from -36.9 to -51.0‰, typical for thermogenic sources. Δ13CH3D values (3.8 to 6.0‰) from these sites, however, are consistent with prevailing microbial sources. These mud volcanoes are located at active convergent plate margins, where hydrogen may be supplied from basement rocks, and fuel methanogenesis to the point of substrate depletion. In contrast, gas hydrate from mud volcanoes located on km-thick sediments in tectonically less active or passive settings (Black Sea, North Atlantic) yielded microbial-like δ13C-CH4 and C1/C2+3 values, and low Δ13CH3D values (1.6 to 3.3‰), which may be due to kinetic isotope effects. This study is the first to document the link between methane isotopologue-based temperature estimates and key submarine gas hydrate seepage features, and validate previous models about their geologic driving forces.
Although gender parity has been reached at the graduate level in the geosciences, women remain a minority in top-level positions. First authorship of peer-reviewed scholarship is a measure of academic success and is often used to project potential in the hiring process. Given the importance of first author publications for hiring and advancement, we sought to quantify whether women are underrepresented as first authors relative to their representation in the field. We compiled first author names across 13 leading geoscience journals from January 2013 to April 2019 (n = 35,183). Using a database of 216,286 names from 79 countries, across 89 languages, we classified the likely gender associated with each author’s given (first) name. We also estimated the gender distribution of authors who publish using only initials, which may itself be a strategy employed by some women to preempt perceived (and actual) gender bias in the publication process. Female-author names represent 13-30% of all first authors in our database, and are significantly underrepresented relative to the proportion of women in early career positions (30-50%). The proportion of female-name first authors varies significantly by subfield, reflecting variation in representation of women across subdisciplines. In geoscience, the quantification of this first authorship gender gap supports the hypothesis that the publication process; namely, achievement or allocation of first authorship is biased by social factors, which may modulate career success of women in the sciences.
Previous studies have documented a weathering-limited regime in the upper reaches of the Ganges River Basin. Chemical weathering and element mobility at six sites in the lower reaches of the Ganges in the tidal floodplain of Southwest Bangladesh were investigated by comparing compositions of rice paddy soils, precursor tidal channel sediments, surface waters, and extract solutions, which represent the soluble fraction of solids. Little spatial variation in water and solid compositions is observed in each season, indicating similar processes are acting to transport elements across this region. Roughly one to several decades after deposition, rice paddy soils are not significantly different in mineralogy or composition from precursor tidal channel sediments, and both are similar to the composition of average upper continental crust. There is no detectable change in composition of tidal channel water between upstream and downstream sites. Rice paddy and tidal channel waters are saturated in the dominant minerals present in the silt-sized soils and sediments, including quartz and clay minerals. Together, these observations indicate the dominance of weathered material and weak chemical weathering in the tidal floodplain, consistent with a transport-limited regime. Multiple lines of evidence indicate a lack of exchange equilibrium between surface waters and coexisting solids, which may be a common feature in tidal river deltas where transport-limited regimes likely dominate.
Carbonate clumped isotope thermometry (Δ47) is a temperature proxy that is becoming more widely used in the geosciences. Most calibration studies have used ordinary least squares linear regressions or York models to describe the relationship between Δ47 and temperature. However, Bayesian models have not yet been explored for clumped isotopes. There also has not yet been a comprehensive study assessing the performance of commonly used regression models in the field. Here, we use simulated datasets to compare the performance of seven regression models, three of which are new and fit using a Bayesian framework. All models recover regression parameters within error of true values. Ordinary least squares linear and Bayesian models have the highest precision and accuracy. Congruently, for temperature reconstructions where the fitted model is used to predict temperature from Δ47, Bayesian models generally outperform other regression models in both precision and accuracy. Our analyses suggest that depending on the structure of the examined dataset and relative to classical models, Bayesian regressions could improve the accuracy and precision of (i) calibration parameter estimates and (ii) temperature reconstructions by at least a factor of two. We implement our comparative framework into a new web-based interface, BayClump. This tool should increase reproducibility by enabling access to the different Bayesian and non-Bayesian regression models examined here. We utilize this tool with a published data synthesis to assess regression parameters and show that while both yield similarly accurate results, uncertainty in estimates of the slope and regression are reduced.
Data from the South Pole ice core (SPC14) are used to constrain climate conditions and ice-flow-induced layer thinning for the last 54,000 years. Empirical constraints are obtained from the SPC14 ice and gas timescales, used to calculate annual-layer thickness and the gas-ice age difference (Δage), and from high-resolution measurements of water isotopes, used to calculate the water-isotope diffusion length. Both Δage and diffusion length depend on firn properties and therefore contain information about past temperature and snow-accumulation rate. A statistical inverse approach is used to obtain an ensemble of reconstructions of temperature, accumulation-rate, and thinning of annual layers in the ice sheet at the SPC14 site. The traditional water-isotope/temperature relationship is not used as a constraint; the results therefore provide an independent calibration of that relationship. The temperature reconstruction yields a glacial-interglacial temperature change of 6.7 ± 1.0 °C at the South Pole. The sensitivity of δ180 to temperature is 0.99 ± 0.03 ‰/°C, significantly greater than the spatial slope of ~0.8 ‰/°C that has been used previously to determine temperature changes from East Antarctic ice core records. The reconstructions of accumulation rate and ice thinning show millennial-scale variations in the thinning function as well as decreased thinning at depth compared to the results of a 1-D ice flow model, suggesting influence of bedrock topography on ice flow.
Hydrogen isotope ratios of sedimentary leaf waxes (δ2HWax values) are increasingly used to reconstruct past hydroclimate. Here, we add δ2HWax values from 19 lakes and four swamps on 15 tropical Pacific islands to an updated global compilation of published data from surface sediments and soils. Globally, there is a strong positive linear correlation between δ2H values of mean annual precipitation (δ2HP values) and the leaf waxes n-C29-alkane (R2 = 0.74, n = 665) and n-C28-acid (R2 = 0.74, n = 242). Tropical Pacific δ2HWax values fall within the predicted range of values based on the global calibration, and the largest residuals from the global regression line are no greater than those observed elsewhere, despite large uncertainties in δ2HP values at some Pacific sites. However, tropical Pacific δ2HWax values in isolation are not correlated with estimated δ2HP values from isoscapes or from isotope-enabled general circulation models. Palynological analyses from these same Pacific sediment samples suggest no systematic relationship between any particular type of pollen distribution and deviations from the global calibration line. Rather, the poor correlations observed in the tropical Pacific are likely a function of the small range of δ2HP values relative to the typical residuals around the global calibration line. Our results suggest that δ2HWax values are currently most suitable for use in detecting large changes in precipitation in the tropical Pacific and elsewhere, but that ample room for improving this threshold exits in both improved understanding of δ2H variability in plants, as well as in precipitation.
Earth’s Critical Zone (CZ), the near-surface layer where rock is weathered and landscapes co-evolve with life, is profoundly influenced by the type of underlying bedrock. Previous studies employing the CZ framework have focused almost exclusively on landscapes dominated by silicate rocks. However, carbonate rocks crop out on approximately 15% of Earth’s ice-free continental surface and provide important water resources and ecosystem services to ~1.2 billion people. Unlike silicates, carbonate minerals weather congruently and have high solubilities and rapid dissolution kinetics, enabling the development of large, interconnected pore spaces and preferential flow paths that restructure the CZ. Here we review the state of knowledge of the carbonate CZ, exploring parameters that produce contrasts in the CZ in different carbonate settings and identifying important open questions about carbonate CZ processes. We introduce the concept of a carbonate-silicate CZ spectrum and examine whether current conceptual models of the CZ, such as the conveyor model, can be applied to carbonate landscapes.We argue that, to advance beyond site-specific understanding and develop a more general conceptual framework for the role of carbonates in the CZ, we need integrative studies spanning both the carbonate-silicate spectrum and a range of carbonate settings.
Fossil-bound organic material holds great potential for the reconstruction of past changes in nitrogen (N) cycling. Here, with a series of laboratory experiments, we assess the potential effect of oxidative degradation, fossil dissolution, and thermal alteration on the fossil-bound N isotopic composition of different fossil types, including deep and shallow water scleractinian corals, foraminifera, diatoms and tooth enamel. Our experiments show that exposure to different oxidizing reagents does not significantly affect the N isotopic composition or N content of any of the fossil types analyzed, demonstrating that organic matter is well protected from changes in the surrounding environment by the mineral matrix. In addition, we show that partial dissolution (of up to 70-90%) of fossil aragonite, calcite, opal, or enamel matrixes has a negligible effect on the N isotopic composition or N content of the fossils. These results suggest that the isotopic composition of fossil-bound organic material is relatively uniform, and also that N exposed during dissolution is lost without significant isotopic discrimination. Finally, our heating experiments show negligible changes in the N isotopic composition and N content of all fossil types at 100 οC. At 200 οC and hotter, the N loss and associated nitrogen isotope changes appear to be directly linked to the sensitivity of the mineral matrix to thermal stress. These results suggest that, so long as high temperature does not compromise the mineral structure, the biomineral matrix acts as a closed system with respect to N, and the N isotopic composition of the fossil remains unchanged.
Global ice volume (sea level) and deep-sea temperature are key measures of Earth’s climatic state. We synthesize evidence for multi-centennial to millennial ice-volume and deep-sea temperature variations over the past 40 million years, which encompass the early glaciation of Antarctica at ~34 million years ago (Ma), the end of the Middle Miocene Climate Optimum, and the descent into bipolar glaciation from ~3.4 Ma. We compare different sea-level and deep-water temperature reconstructions to build a resource for validating long-term numerical model-based approaches. We present: (a) a new template synthesis of ice-volume and deep-sea temperature variations for the past 5.3 million years; (b) an extended template for the interval between 5.3 and 40 Ma; and (c) a discussion of uncertainties and limitations. We highlight key issues associated with glacial state changes in the geological record from 40 Ma to present that require attention in further research. These include offsets between calibration-sensitive versus thermodynamically guided deep-sea paleothermometry proxy measurements; a conundrum related to the magnitudes of sea-level and deep-sea temperature change at the Eocene-Oligocene transition at 34 Ma; a discrepancy in deep-sea temperature levels during the Middle Miocene; and a hitherto unquantified non-linear reduction of glacial deep-sea temperatures through the past 3.4 million years toward a near-freezing deep-sea temperature asymptote, while sea level stepped down in a more uniform manner. Uncertainties in proxy-based reconstructions hinder further distinction of “reality” among reconstructions. It seems more promising to further narrow this using three-dimensional ice-sheet models with realistic ice-climate-ocean-topography-lithosphere coupling, as computational capacities improve.
The ocean has absorbed the equivalent of 39% of industrial-age fossil carbon emissions, significantly modulating the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 and its associated impacts on climate. Despite the importance of the ocean carbon sink to climate, our understanding of the causes of its interannual-to-decadal variability remains limited. This hinders our ability to attribute its past behavior and project its future. A key period of interest is the 1990s, when the ocean carbon sink did not grow as expected. Previous explanations of this behavior have focused on variability internal to the ocean or associated with coupled atmosphere/ocean modes. Here, we use an idealized upper ocean box model to illustrate that two external forcings are sufficient to explain the pattern and magnitude of sink variability since the mid-1980s. First, the global-scale reduction in the decadal-average ocean carbon sink in the 1990s is attributable to the slowed growth rate of atmospheric pCO2. The acceleration of atmospheric pCO2 growth after 2001 drove recovery of the sink. Second, the global sea surface temperature response to the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo explains the timing of the global sink within the 1990s. These results are consistent with previous experiments using ocean hindcast models with and without forcing from variable atmospheric pCO2 and climate variability. The fact that variability in the growth rate of atmospheric pCO2 directly imprints on the ocean sink implies that there will be an immediate reduction in ocean carbon uptake as atmospheric pCO2 responds to cuts in anthropogenic emissions.
The delivery and burial of terrestrial particulate organic carbon (OC) in marine sediments is important to quantify, because this OC is a food resource for benthic communities, and if buried it may lower the concentrations of atmospheric CO2 over geologic timescales. Analysis of sediment cores has previously shown that fjords are hotspots for OC burial. Fjords can contain complex networks of submarine channels formed by seafloor sediment flows, called turbidity currents. However, the burial efficiency and distribution of OC by turbidity currents in river-fed fjords had not been investigated previously. Here, we determine OC distribution and burial efficiency across a turbidity current system within a fjord, in Bute Inlet (Canada). We show that 60 ± 10 % of the OC supplied by the two river sources, is buried across the fjord surficial (2 m) sediment. The sand-dominated submarine channel and its terminal lobe contain 63 ± 14 % of the annual terrestrial OC burial in the fjord. In contrast, the muddy overbank and distal flat basin settings contain the remaining 37 ± 14 %. OC in the channel, lobe and overbank exclusively comprises terrestrial OC sourced from rivers. When normalized by the fjord’s surface area, at least three times more terrestrial OC is buried in Bute Inlet, compared to the muddy parts of other fjords previously studied. Although the long-term (>100 year) preservation of this OC is still to be fully understood, turbidity currents in fjords appear to be efficient in storing OC supplied by rivers in their near-surface deposits.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas, and oceanic sources account for up to one third of total flux to the atmosphere. In oxygen-deficient zones (ODZs) like the Eastern Tropical North Pacific (ETNP), N2O can be produced and consumed by several biological processes that are controlled by a variety of oceanographic conditions. In this study, the concentration and isotopocule ratios of N2O from a 2016 cruise to the ETNP were analyzed to examine heterogeneity in N2O cycling across the region. Along the north-south transect, three distinct biogeochemical regimes were identified: background, core-ODZ, and high-N2O stations. Background stations were characterized by less dynamic N2O cycling. Core-ODZ stations were characterized by co-occurring N2O production and consumption at anoxic depths, indicated by high δ18O (> 90‰) and low δ15Nβ (< -10‰) values, and confirmed by a time-dependent model, which indicated that N2O production via denitrification was significant and may occur with a non-zero site preference. High-N2O stations were defined by [N2O] reaching 126.07±12.6 nM, low oxygen concentrations expanding into near-surface isopycnals, and the presence of a mesoscale eddy. At these stations, model results indicated significant N2O production from ammonia-oxidizing archaea and denitrification from nitrate in the near-surface N2O maximum, while bacterial nitrification and denitrification from nitrite were insignificant. This study also represents the first in the ETNP to link N2O isotopocule measurements to a mesoscale eddy, suggesting the importance of eddies to the spatiotemporal variability in N2O cycling in this region.