Geology news

A New Greenland Ice Core in the offing

At we learn that a drilling team has reached bedrock in Greenland after 5 years of boring through 2.5km of solid ice. What they want are sample from the core dating between 130,000 and 115,000 years ago during what is known as the Eemian warming (the last inter-glacial period). It is thought temperatures were a few degrees warmer than they are now so they want to know to what extent the Greenland ice cap shrank.

Indonesian Geology

At there is a new intepretation of the Banda Arc, a giant 1000km long 180 degree curve in eastern Indonesia which has never been adequately explained. In fact, there has been considerable controversy about how to explain the feature - its origin and evolution. A paper in Nature Geoscience sets out to do just that, using a computer simulation or model.

A tectonic computer model

at July 16th ... a group of earth scientists has developed a new way to explain the global movements of tectonic plates on the surface of the earth. For example, the Basin and Range Province in Nevada was created by a plate sliding beneath the North American continent - just 30 million years ago.. This is fairly recent as far as geological time is concerned, and the paper, in Science July 16th, suggests plates in the modern world move at the rate of around a few centimetres per year.

Pliocene Warmth

At July 13th ... we are informed, soaring Arctic temperatures may have almost reached tipping point. However, before dismissing this as just another scary tale funded by AGW 'big money' grants, we need to find out why they think the Arctic is so sensitive to what has been so far a minimal amount of warming. It stems from a connection made between the modern world and the Pliocene epoch.

Geo-ablative Melt

A new post at is basically an update on ignimbrites - as perceived by the author. The word ignimbrite means something like 'fire cloud rock' but he goes on to say they were produced by thermal explosive processes of extraterrestrial origin. Volcnic Tuff and Impact Melt are two examples of ignimbrites but he wishes to add a third - with an origin in blast.

Earthquake synchrony

At we are informed that in nature random signals often fall mysteriously in step, one after the other. Fireflies flashing sporadically in the early evening have a tendency to flash in unison, or very closely after each other - flashing in bunches, and a similar harmonic behaviour can be conjectured while listening to crickets (grasshoppers) or even swinging clock pendulums.

Rare Earth Elements

At June 15th ... mentions the recently discovered mineral wealth of Afghanistan, worth an estimated one trillion dollars. These include rare earth elements such as dysprosium, erium, and ytterbium which are found concentrated in ores and these and other strangely named elements are used in computer hard drives, TV screens, and smartphones, LED lights, and magnets in electronics, wind turbines and hybrid cars etc.

Tibet Glacier ... glaciers in Tibet were never much larger than they are now -  even at the height of the Ice Age and in spite of the fact the plateau is the largest and highest mountain region in the world. The researchers, using a mathematical model, have shown that a small fall in temperature, around 5 degrees (which is not much, relative to the annual fall in temperatures during the Ice Ages) would cause a small ice sheet to start to form, and that would grow.

The Yangtze River

Again, at ... we are told the Yangtze River is 40 million years older than previously thought because a study of minerals by a team from Durham University says the river began to cut hrough the Three Gorges area around 45 million years ago. The Three Gorges is in SW China and cuts through a range of inaccessible mountains that surround Sichuan Province, the rice bowl of China.

Volcanoes and the Mantle

See ... if tectonic plates colliding cause volcanoes why do some volcanoes erupt far from a plate boundary? A study in Nature suggests that volcanoes, and even mountains, in the Mediterranean region, can grow from the pressure of the semi liquid mantle pushing on earth's crust from below.