Geology news

Asphalt Domes

At www.physorg.com/print191397828.html April 25th ... in 700 feet deep water off Santa Barbara in California is a series of asphalt domes that it is thought derive from flows of petroleum deposited by an underwater volcano 35,000 years ago. The deposits hardened into asphalt domes (see Nature Geoscience April 25th). The domes were discovered by a deep submersible vehicle and were teeming with life - like an artificial reef.

The Origin of Water on Earth

At http://wattsupwiththat.com April 18th ... we have a post by Steven Goddard, 'Volcanoes and Water' ... with a series of stunning images. Water vapour is consistently the most abundant of volcanic gases - normally comprising some 60 per cent of total emissions. C02 accounts for between 10 to 40 per cent. Around 70 per cent of the surface of the earth is covered with water - but where did all that water come from?

Gulf dry and wide

At www.gulf-times.com April 11th there is a story in which a team of archaeologists from Birmingham University (who pioneered research on the North Sea bottom) have been in Qatar and looking at the sea floor of the Gulf (in conjunction with the Qatar Natural History Museum). They have been able to demonstrate how the Gulf has changed during the last ten thousand years as a result of sea level rise. During the Ice Age the peninsular of Qatar was part of a huge plain stretching all the way across to Iran - broken just by a couple of fresh water lakes.

Mount St Helens - 30 years after

Science News April 10th ... this is a preview of a paper to be published on April 24th in Science News volume 177. If you have ever wondered what happened in the Mount St Helens landscape in the 30 years since it blew it's top so dramatically this is the article to read - www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/58034/title/A_fresh_look_at_Mount_St_Helens.htm , an interesting read but is largely concerned with the recovery of flora and fauna.

Supervolcanoes under the sea

At www.redorbit.com id1847871 April 8th ... scientists have been looking at a 145 million years old supervolcano on the ocean floor east of Japan. Known as Shatsky Rise it is composed of a huge outflowing of magma, some individual flows being as much as 75 feet thick. Geologists have argued about the formation and origin of large oceanic plateau - the mystery being in the origin of the magma. Was it deep mantle or from a shallower depth? They also seem to occur at the boundaries of tectonic plates.

Tails of a Recent Comet

At http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.0416 there is a reference to an SIS article, 'Tails of a Recent Comet' by Milton Zysman and Frank Wallace, in which they describe eskers and drumlins that appear to swarm up hills and across streams and valleys in discontinuous strands sometimes for 100s of km. They say they have their parallel beneath the oceans - a reference I think to the material attributed to iceberg activity in the Heinrich event model.

Glaciers

At http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/greenmelt.htm has a story on Greenland glaciers - and what lies beneath them. The research is of course AGW orientated, but useful - the role of water flowing beneath the glaciers. They have found that such water has little actual influence on ice loss around the coast - which is caused by inter-action with the ocean.

Lava, climate change, and amber

Science Daily April 7th (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406142602.html ) new research suggests the Columbia Plateau in the NW of the US was formed by a series of lava flows - and these happened much more quickly than previously imagined. It may even have changed earth's climate and caused some fauna and flora to become extinct.

Mid Pliocene

The Daily Galaxy, March 31st (www.dailygalaxy.com) ... prehistoric fossils from a geological period, the mid-Pliocene (3.3 to 3.0 million years ago) that was apparently very warm, are being used to demonstrate how AGW will affect the earth in the future. No surprises there as the research was probably funded in order to find such a link with global warming - and therefore a gloss on that subject was a necessary feature of the findings.

Ice Ages in the early history of the earth

Getting back to March 31st 2010 www.physorg.com/print189258390.html another geologist claims to have solved a mystery - why earth's surface was not a big lump of ice four billion years ago when radiation from the sun was thought to have been weak. Previously, scientists had assumed the atmosphere then consisted of 30 per cent C02 trapping heat like a greenhouse (but see Peter Warlow's talk at the SIS Autumn Meeting a couple of years ago).