dragon: A New Tool for Exploring Redox Evolution Preserved in the Mineral Record


The flow of energy and elements between the geosphere and biosphere can be traced through changing redox chemistry of Earth’s surface. Deep-time trends in the mineral record, including mineral age and elemental composition, reveal a dynamic history of changing redox states and chemical speciation. We present a user-friendly exploratory network analysis platform called dragon (Deep-time Redox Analysis of the Geobiology Ontology Network) to facilitate investigation of the expanding redox chemical network preserved in the mineral record throughout Earth’s history and beyond. Given a user-indicated focal element or set of focal elements, dragon constructs interactive bipartite networks of minerals and their constituent elements over a specified range in geologic-time using information from the Mineral Evolution Database (http://rruff.info/evolution/). Written in the open-source language R as a Shiny application, dragon launches a browser-based dashboard to explore mineral evolution in deep-time. We demonstrate dragon’s utility through examining the mineral chemistry of lithium (Li) over deep-time. dragon is freely available from CRAN under a GPL-3 License, with source code and documentation hosted at https://github.com/sjspielman/dragon.

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