Geology news

A Bend in the Pacific

At ... Hawaii sits at the end of a chain of volcanoes running across the Pacific ocean floor. In the middle of this chain there is a sharp bend of 60 degrees - which geoscientists have struggled to explain, or so we are told in the press release. Research from the University of Oslo now suggest a collision event at the edge of the Pacific plate may be to blame. They arrived at this idea by sticking closely to the orthodox song sheet.

Pacific Basin Anomaly

This one came from an article in American Scientist (volume 105) which was provided by Jovan. Soon after 19th century cartographers captured the relative locations of Hawaii's volcanoes they became aware they lay on two roughly parallel tracks. Since then double tracked volcanoes have been found elsewhere in the Pacific basin. Not only that, they all seem to have switched location between 2 and 4 million years ago. Why? It is now thought Earth's largest tectonic plate, the basin of the Pacific Ocean, started to change direction at this time.


Robert sent in this link - go to ... Scientists claim to have mapped most of the tectonic plates, ancient and recent, which  they define as slabs of crust in the Mantle under Earth's surface geology. Modeling has invariably been used - but so too has some interesting field research. Some of these slabs, we are informed, sank into the Mantle at depths such as 10,000 miles. This is perhaps a guesstimate as it conforms to Plate Theory a bit too neatly.

Bursts in sea levels

At ... scientists have discovered sea levels did not rise slowly after the end of the Ice Age but rose in a series of steep bursts. These abrupt changes fit a catastrophist model but not necessarily a uniformitarian one. The research is published in Nature Communications (Oct 2017) and may cause a rethink on the waters around the UK. Currently, we have a smoothed rise in sea levels, with a leap around 8000 years ago. Since that date sea levels do not seem to have varied greatly - not by any dramatic degree.


Meanwhile, Scientific American asks - will Italy's supervolcano erupt soon?(sent in by Jovan) - go to .... this question  comes a few weeks after an 11 year old boy ventured on to an old volcano near Naples and fell into a fissure. His parents tried to pull him out but floor of the crater crumbled and they all died - watched by a younger child.

Old Faithful

The Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park attracts millions of visitors ( see ... but little is known about the geology of the Park - or the fluid pathway from below the surface. This has now been rectified to a certain degree as University of Utah earth scientists have mapped some of the geology following a seismic survey (and is published in Geophysical Research Letters, Oct 2017).


An article in Scientific American covers the same ground as a press release reported here a week or so ago - see ... which tells us geologists have been comparing early Earth with Iceland - where black lava fields stretch as far as the eye can see and beaches with black sand can be found. Black rocks and black sand can be seen elsewhere of course, with an origin in volcanic lava eruptions.

Ice Sheet Yukon

At ... in the first paragraph we learn the Mackenzie Trough westwards, including the Yukon part of the continental shelf system, is being researched in order to understand glaciation in north west Canada during the Late Glacial Maximum (and the events that brought it to an end). We are told, 'scientists have had to speculate on the extent and timing of glaciation because they've never been out there with equipment to collect data'.

Great Oxidation Event

Gary sent in this link to ... changesin Earth's crust 2.4 billion years ago increased oxygen levels in the atmosphere and triggered an explosion of life. Oxygen increased 10,000 times over within a period of 200 million years (or that is the estimate in uniformitarian time scales). It sounds like that might need modifying.