Geology news

Huge lava plume

A paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters ( see has found evidence of a lava plume on now widely distributed pieces of the earth's crust that at the time are thought to date from when all of them were joined together in what is geologically known as Gondwanaland (a combination of South America, Africa, India, Antarctica and Australia). The lava plume, it is suggested, broke apart Gondwanaland - but what event might have caused an outwelling of lava on such a scale? 

Geochronology, smokers, and dinosaurs that lived in darkness (?)

See - scientists at the University of York have developed a new dating technology for geological deposits of the Quaternary Period (the last 3 million years). Its basically a refinement of an older process, the use of amino acids in geochronology that measure the breakdown of proteins in fossil snails. Snails are commonly found at archaeological sites in Britain and in geological contexts.

Velikovsky, Hibben, and the Alaska 'muck' deposits

Velikovsky in Earth in Upheaval, at the very beginning of the book and therefore in order to draw the reader's attention, chose to quote Hibben on the Alaska muck deposits (he also quotes Rainey). Hibben was specific that the muck had a catastrophic origin - by tsunami or whatever. Hibben's article in American Antiquity, 1943 (volume 8:3) has over the last 60 years or so come under a lot of fire by detractors - but has enjoyed a consistent vogue amongst catastrophists of various persuasions, and is quoted endlessly by creationists resistant to uniformitarianism.

Iron meteorite, 25 tons

At there is news of a huge iron meteorite in the remote Altai mountains, on July 16th (2011). It has an estimated mass of 25 tones and is partly buried beneath a large slab of granite. This means both rocks have probably moved - and as it lies in a glacial valley the culprit is obvious. The question is how old is it, is it part of a larger cosmic object, and where might the other bits lie?

Volcanoes on the Moon

At (and many other blogs around the world) there is a report on the discovery of a volcano hotspot on the far side of the Moon (source being the journal Nature Geoscience) which came about as a result of images taken by NASAs Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The volcanic activity took place millions of years ago - 800 million years ago according to ABC. This is of course an estimate basied on consensus thinking of the Moon's geology and origin.

Historical sea level change on the opposite side of the North Sea

At we have a nice article on an area of the continent opposite East Anglia, bounded by the Frisian islands, the a few small Danish islands on the seaward side, and North Holland, Friesland, Groningen, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark on the landward side, some 12,500km in extent. The Wadden Sea is basically a tidal flat area bounded by barrier islands with a tendencyh to be covered by sea water during high tides.

Earth's internal heat

At there is a nice three page read on current views regarding the source of earth's internal heat - using temperature measurements from 20,000 boreholes around the world in order to estimate that some 44 trillion watts of heat continually flow out of earth's interior into space. Where does it come from? Half of it comes from radioactive decay, it claims - but what about the other half?

Changing levels of the sea

At is a guest post by Tony Brown at Judith Curry's web site Climate Etc - Brown has his own web site at Basically, there were big changes in sea level at the end of the Ice Age - and a further surge around 8000 years ago. Since that period the sea level has been surprisingly uniform - just a few jumps and plunges at significant points in time (3000BC for example, or towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC).

Dinosaur fishing expedition

At ... a paper in Biology Letters July 12th claims researchers from Yale University have found a dinosaur fossil buried just 5 inches below the K-T boundary event, blamed on an asteroid. The geological layer that marks the transition from the Cretaceous to the Tertiary 65 million years ago has become something of an issue.

Land beyond the bounds of Scotland

A paper in Nature Geoscience is featured at and has confirmed that the ocean floor off the northern coast of Scotland was at one time as much as a km above the sea - an area of 10,000 square miles NE of Orkney and the Shetlands, currently 2km below sea level. This information comes from geological soundings by oil contractors who mapped the sea bed. Beneath the layer of silt and other debris a lost land, one that had been pushed up by expansion of the mantle (it is conjectured).