Geology news

Zealandia Research

At ... scientists are hoping to get a better handle on Zealandia during an exploration that began this week in Australia. As a geologist has said, Zealandia has everything any other land mass has - except it is under the waves. We may assume it was above sea level at one time, particularly pertinent if the geoid had changed in the past. Zealandia extends from south of New Zealand to New Caledonia in the north, and from the Kam Plateau off the coast of Australia to some distance into the Pacific.

dunes under the sea

Gary sent in the following links - .... which concerns a book by a controversial historian who seems to have hit on a way to make money by re-writing history, and ...--- NASA images show patterns exposed in giant crater. There are a lot of images to look at and digest but what kind of impact was involved - a meteor or an electrical discharge.

Sahara Dust

At ... geo-scientists have realised dust from the Sahara can play a role in defining Holocene history - and well watered periods of life in the Sahara. A sediment core from Lake Sidi in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains has revealed phases of Sahara dust capture that coincides with arid periods after 12,000 years ago. These are thought to have an origin in dust storms in what is now the Sahara desert and they have been dated at 10,200, 8,200 and between 6600 and 6000 years ago.

Mud Volcanoes

At ... (see also ) which tells you all you need to know about the biggest known mud volcano in the world, close by Sidoarjo in Java. It erupted eleven years ago and has not stopped since then. At its peak it disgorged 180,000 cubic metres of mud every day, buring villages under mud up to 40m thick.

Sixth Extinction

At ... University of Zurich researchers have homed in on an extinction event around 2 million years ago when a third of large marine animals, or megafauna as they describe them, such as sharks, whales, sea birds and sea turtles appear to have gone missing. Why did they disappear? It could have had an impact on the ocean ecosystem they conclude, drawing a parallel with the role of humans in the modern world. However, the event 2 million years ago was clearly catastrophic, as they go on to show (using models as well as data).


Laurence Dixon sent in details of a Royal Society paper by GG Nyambuya of the Dept of Physcis at Bulawayo University. He begins by saying 100+ years ago Alfred Wegener claimed Eareth's continental plates receded from each other over the course of Earth's history - the theory of continental drift. He also said they were stilll in a state of motion relative to one another. In order to explain this Wegener came up with the possibility the earth must be expanding. In reality, he had no adequate explanation as to why the plates were moving apart or the energy source responsible.

Sahara Sand

Gary Gilligan sent in this link to   ... which concerns his book, 'Extraterrestrial Sands'. The link provides a series of images of sand in the deserts of the world. He points out that from a landscape of lakes and savannah grassland, in the first half of the Holocene period, the Sahara degenerated into a dry and very arid swathe or band that stretched right across North Africa into the Arabian peninsular and even as far as the Thar Desert in India. Where did all that sand come from?

Water inside the earth

At ... Japanese and German researchers have found evidence that suggests the middle of the Mantle may hold as much water as the oceans on the surface. That is a lot of water. The experiment and research was published at Science Advances (an open access site) and involves the minerals wadsleyite and ringwoodite, thought to exist in quantity in the middle Mantle zone, and experiments how these minerals can absorb water.


At ... we learn that several 'hundred' miles off the Pacific NW coast a small plate, the Juan de Fuca, is slowly sliding under the North American continent - even though it has several hundred miles to go. It depends of course where the continental plate boundary is situated but as mainstream geology is certain that the mountains along the Pacific coast of North America are caused by plate subduction the author of the piece has no choice but to assume that is happening with Juan de Fuca.

A gnat with a big implication

At ... a new species of fungus gnat found in a piece of amber from India closely resembles its relatives in Europe (found in Baltic amber). This is said to disprove the concept of a strongly isolated Indian subcontinent - one of the tenets of Plate Tectonics. India is supposed to have been an island that bumped into Asia - a quite hard bump in fact as it is supposed to have produced the uplift of the Himalayas.