Geology news

Tree roots at the sea side

At ... winter gales in Wales have exposed the hidden remains of trees dating back 6000 years ago. However, on the TV a couple of locals popped up and pointed out some of the ruts near the trees were a relic from WWII - when amphibious landing craft with caterpillar tracks were being tested. Likewise, four squared off pits thought to go back thousands of years might also have a WWII origin. In addition, the coastline of Wales has changed in fairly recent times - have a look at Harlech Castle for starters.

Plate Tectonics ... inadequate?

A lovely dose of non-consensus thinking can be seen in the december issue of 'New Concepts in Global Tectonics Journal' (see ... and choosing one out of all the articles is difficult, but I'll opt for Gennady G Kochemasov of the Russian Academy of Sciences offering. He compares the geology of Earth with Mars and Mercury, and claim tectonic granulation in all three is somewhat similar - yet only Earth has Plate Tectonics.

Giant sub-glacial trench in the Antarctic

At ... we learn of a massive sub glacial trough, deeper than the Grand Canyon, in Antarctica. The British Antarctic Survey, based in the West Antarctic peninsular, were charting a mountain range below the ice (using satellite image data and ice penetrating radar towed behind skidoos or on board small aircraft). Sounds like a good job - and it is ongoing. The trough is so deep it effectively cuts the peninsular in half - making the upper bit an island (as far as sea level is concerned).

Kauri fossils found in Patagonia

At ... the Kauri tree grows in Australia. It's close relative the Dammar grows in Indonesia - but neither grows in the Americas. However, fossils of them have been found in Patagonia - giant coniferous trees. The fossils belong to the Eocene geological epoch, when S America is thought to have been joined with Antarctica and Australia.

A Broken Back

At ... apparently, a huge rift valley cleaved N America down the middle, one billion years ago - and then failed. Why?


At ... gems made from iradescent ammolite are quite striking - a confusion of colours. The colour and gem quality come from a thin iradescent shell material found in two species of extinct ammonite. You know, those nautilus fossils you find embedded in walls and buildings and which fall out of the Jurassic cliffs of Dorset. However, ammolite comes from a particular locality, a small arc along the St Mary River in SW Alberta in Canada.


Laurence Dixon sent in the link to this information. A super volcano has been found on the sea bed off Italy, at a midway point between Vesuvius (close to Naples) and Etna (on Sicily). It has been christened Marsili. If it blew it would create a Mediterranean length tsunami wave that would devastate a large populated area. The report is coloured by the assumption it sits on the boundary between the African and the European plates, and is in effect, a subduction zone.

A Lost World

I have probably done this one before but never mind. At ... it seems that on the floor of the Atlantic, to the NW of Scotland, there is a submerged landscape with furrows cut by rivers and peaks that were once mountains. It goes back 56 million years ago - and was found by oil companies mapping the sea bed and the sedimentary layers within that. It amounts to a very old fossil landscape to the west of Orkney and the Shetlands.

A Flooded Landscape

Not sure if this should be archaeology, geology, or catastrophism but the link to read is at .... we have what is claimed to be the worlds first prehistoric map of Britain. This ignores the fact Ordnance Survey have such a map, mostly of prehistoric sites mind you, and various geology maps are even older than prehistoric - and well worth having a gander.

Mysterious mounds on Mars

This is at ... mounds of light toned layered deposits surrounded by soft sand and dust are the focus of this piece. The mainstream explanation owes itself to earthbound geological theory. The chasm or scar in the landscape in which the mounds are found was due to volcanic activity - 3 billion years ago. Subsequently, at a later stage, the walls of the chasm collapsed inwards and facturing and faults allowed subsurface water to spill out and pool at the bottom of the chasm.