Geology news

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).

Eocene anomaly and sea floor spreading ... again

This time, a paper in Nature July 7th (see ) that claims not just push and pull at plate boundaries are responsible for tectonic events but plumes of hot magma rising up from the deep interior of the earth play a role in plate tectonics - but what might cause such upwellings is something else.

Sea Floor Strips

Musings from the Chiefio, July 4th 2011 ( ... EM Smith looks at consensus theory on sea floor spreading, mainly in the Pacific as he lives in California, and finds some apparent anomalies. This is a not a serious study of sea floor spreading but the blog author just playing around with an idea. He therefore does not reach a firm conclusion - merely points out that the sea floor itself may move, in pieces, but not necessarily in a uniformitarian pattern.

Under the sea volcanic activity

An interesting post at is a bit of typical sleuthing by EM Smith, wondering just how much co2 might be produced by under the sea tectonics and volcanic activity. He takes it a stage further by speculating that it might influence the transfer of heat by the ocean circulation system that runs around the globe, an area of research that is poor in comparison with other palaeo-climatic endeavours.

The St Kilda archipelago

BBC News (see ) on June 17th reported on archaeologists discovering an extensive field system and terraces cut for cultivation on Boreray, a small island in the archipelago. The evidence was covered in turf and soil but is unmistakable - at some point in the past farmers lived on this small outcrop in the Atlantic which today is home just to seabirds. The St Kilda group lie some 41 miles from the Hebrides - and there is deep water between them.

Continents - are they adrift?

At there is a provocative article on continental drift which questions some of the assumptions basic to Plate Tectonics theory. We forget that it is still a theory and assume it is a proven scientific concept - as it is consensus science. Read the article and you might be surprised by what is said. For example, what caused Plate Tectonics to be accepted as mainstream science was the discovery in the 1950s and 1960s of a series of magnetic stripes in the rocks on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ice Cores

It seems the Vostok ice core extracted from the Antarctic ice sheet goes back around 700,000 years - and even this is a calculation based on a number of variabilities. It came to an end near the rock basement. I can remember reading something similar about a Greenland ice core - so what is actually going on. The Antarctic ice sheet is thought to be immeasurably older - by millions of years. It is thought old ice is squeezed laterally away towards the sea - to melt.