Science - issue
On 7 February 2021, a catastrophic mass flow descended the Ronti Gad, Rishiganga, and Dhauliganga valleys in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India, causing widespread devastation and severely damaging two hydropower projects. More than 200 people were killed or are missing. Our analysis of satellite imagery, seismic records, numerical model results, and eyewitness videos reveals that ~27 x 106 cubic meters of rock and glacier ice collapsed from the steep north face of Ronti Peak. The rock and ice avalanche rapidly transformed into an extraordinarily large and mobile debris flow that transported boulders greater than 20 meters in diameter and scoured the valley walls up to 220 meters above the valley floor. The intersection of the hazard cascade with downvalley infrastructure resulted in a disaster, which highlights key questions about adequate monitoring and sustainable development in the Himalaya as well as other remote, high-mountain environments.
Mammalian SWI/SNF (mSWI/SNF) adenosine triphosphate–dependent chromatin remodelers modulate genomic architecture and gene expression and are frequently mutated in disease. However, the specific chromatin features that govern their nucleosome binding and remodeling activities remain unknown. We subjected endogenously purified mSWI/SNF complexes and their constituent assembly modules to a diverse library of DNA-barcoded mononucleosomes, performing more than 25,000 binding and remodeling measurements. Here, we define histone modification-, variant-, and mutation-specific effects, alone and in combination, on mSWI/SNF activities and chromatin interactions. Further, we identify the combinatorial contributions of complex module components, reader domains, and nucleosome engagement properties to the localization of complexes to selectively permissive chromatin states. These findings uncover principles that shape the genomic binding and activity of a major chromatin remodeler complex family.
The development of low-cost, efficient physisorbents is essential for gas adsorption and separation; however, the intrinsic tradeoff between capacity and selectivity, as well as the unavoidable shaping procedures of conventional powder sorbents, greatly limits their practical separation efficiency. Herein, an exceedingly stable iron-containing mordenite zeolite monolith with a pore system of precisely narrowed microchannels was self-assembled using a one-pot template- and binder-free process. Iron-containing mordenite monoliths that could be used directly for industrial application afforded record-high volumetric carbon dioxide uptakes (293 and 219 cubic centimeters of carbon dioxide per cubic centimeter of material at 273 and 298 K, respectively, at 1 bar pressure); excellent size-exclusive molecular sieving of carbon dioxide over argon, nitrogen, and methane; stable recyclability; and good moisture resistance capability. Column breakthrough experiments and process simulation further visualized the high separation efficiency.
Living tissue uses stress-accumulated electrical charge to close wounds. Self-repairing synthetic materials, which are typically soft and amorphous, usually require external stimuli, prolonged physical contact, and long healing times. We overcome many of these limitations in piezoelectric bipyrazole organic crystals, which recombine following mechanical fracture without any external direction, autonomously self-healing in milliseconds with crystallographic precision. Kelvin probe force microscopy, birefringence experiments, and atomic-resolution structural studies reveal that these noncentrosymmetric crystals, with a combination of hydrogen bonds and dispersive interactions, develop large stress-induced opposite electrical charges on fracture surfaces, prompting an electrostatically driven precise recombination of the pieces via diffusionless self-healing.
Catalytic conversion of methane to methanol remains an economically tantalizing but fundamentally challenging goal. Current technologies based on zeolites deactivate too rapidly for practical application. We found that similar active sites hosted in different zeolite lattices can exhibit markedly different reactivity with methane, depending on the size of the zeolite pore apertures. Whereas zeolite with large pore apertures deactivates completely after a single turnover, 40% of active sites in zeolite with small pore apertures are regenerated, enabling a catalytic cycle. Detailed spectroscopic characterization of reaction intermediates and density functional theory calculations show that hindered diffusion through small pore apertures disfavors premature release of CH3 radicals from the active site after C-H activation, thereby promoting radical recombination to form methanol rather than deactivated Fe-OCH3 centers elsewhere in the lattice.
Changes in the crystal system of an ionic nanocrystal during a cation exchange reaction are unusual yet remain to be systematically investigated. In this study, chemical synthesis and computational modeling demonstrated that the height of hexagonal-prism roxbyite (Cu1.8S) nanocrystals with a distorted hexagonal close-packed sulfide anion (S2–) sublattice determines the final crystal phase of the cation-exchanged products with Co2+ [wurtzite cobalt sulfide (CoS) with hexagonal close-packed S2– and/or cobalt pentlandite (Co9S8) with cubic close-packed S2–]. Thermodynamic instability of exposed planes drives reconstruction of anion frameworks under mild reaction conditions. Other incoming cations (Mn2+, Zn2+, and Ni2+) modulate crystal structure transformation during cation exchange reactions by various means, such as volume, thermodynamic stability, and coordination environment.