Geology news

not up to scratch

The alternative geological journal New Concepts in Global Tectonics has some exciting stuff to read. The latest issue can be downloaded at and one article is highly critical of Plate Tectonics. Has it served its purpose, and is it now out of date and due for retirement? It seems a study of dinosaur migration patterns reveal possible land bridges that don't really fit into the Plate Tectonics paradigm. This appears to be a new angle for mavericks to attack mainstream - and may have some traction.

Sand Rippler

At ... Curiosity Rover has been looking at samples of sand and at sand dunes and presumably sandstones on Mars. A paper in the journal Science (this week) notes that some of these ripples are sinuous and resemble sand ripples that form under moving water on Earth (as you might encounter paddling in the tidal water at the sea side). Superimposed on these larger ripples are ripples the same size and shape as impact ripples on Earth - caused by the wind etc.

water on Mars

The water on Mars story is getting interesting. Is this another example of water as part of planetary make-up (even perhaps subterrranean water) (see post yesterday on Primary Water). Some interesting information is being beamed back to earth from Curiosity Rover on Mars, as it probes and analyses rock samples on the red planet. It has found manganese oxide in Martian rocks and scientists say this suggests the planet once had higher levels of oxygen (in order to facilitate the process of oxidisation).

Primary Water

This should perhaps be under physics but here goes with geology. The blog ... is the home of Louis Hissink, a geologist (but something of a maverick). He reports on a finding that was in the News a few weeks ago, waves monitored from the Mantle that appear to affect geology and long term sea levels. Seismologists identified a velocity change under the seas and under the continents known as the Mohorovicic Discontinuity. It is inferred from the different arrival times of P and S waves.

Cretaceous Warming

One feature of geology that seems to have become entrenched in recent years is the idea that during the Cretaceous era global warming was rampant. Initially, this was theorised in order to explain trees growing on Ellesmere Island and other unlikely places where it is dark for almost six months of the year. It also explained the apparent semi tropical habitat that appears to have prevailed in southern Britain, and so on. At ... this is expanded to inlcude palms growing in Canada and lily pads within the Arctic Circle etc.

Plate and Saucer

Plate Tectonics wasn't always accepted without question. There was a time when some geologists were more than a trifle sceptical. A paper published in 1972 illustrates some of the problems inherent within the new theory - go to ... Objections to Continental Drift and PlateTectonics.pdf

Lost river

At ... the fasted flowing of the glaciers on Greenland is actually situated on a lost river - in fact a huge river basin 12km wide and as deep as 1400m in places (all hidden under the ice). The river was in existence prior to glaciation.

At ... giant sink holes in Texas - are growing.

More on Surprising Mars

Gary Gilligan has replied to the first post, June 14th, and raised some interesting points about silica, and to the apparent violent history of Mars. The link provided, at ... actually implies that on earth tridymite forms at extremely high temperatures in an explosive paroxysm known as silicic volcanism (and Mount St Helens is cited as an example).

Another Seismic Query

At ... seismic activity is problematic as it doesn't choose to conform to theory. For example, sensors have been installed at fault lines in California in order to monitor EQ activity - especially in the vicinity of the San Andreas fault (widely tipped to shake itself sometime in the near future but apparently stubbornly refusing to co-operate with the sensors). Most of the time fault lines are very quiet and do not pick up any kind of bleep out of the sensors. It is all quiet on the San Andreas fault.

Super Computer Geology

At ... super computer modelling of Plate Tectonics and how it effects the crust and upper Mantle regions, has come up with some answers it is claimed. Old geological events may have actually come to life over and over again and are involved in earthquakes, any kind of seismic phenomena including mountain building, and various other earth processes not fully understood. You can do anything with a super computer it would seem, even iron out the anomalies in Plate Tectonics theory.