Geology news

Sea Level change

In the journal Geology (28th July 2015) doi:10.1130/G36914.1 ... there is an article that seeks to establish a synchronicity in key Holocene chronologies by extracting evidence from Irish bog pines - by Max Torbenson, et al. (a collaboration between scientists from Queens University in Belfast, Gottingen in Germany and the University of Alabama). It was described as an opportunity to test the stability of the Greenland Ice Cor chronology against IntCa (C14 calibration curve) and the idea was to see if there was any corresponding evidence of the 6200BC event.

Roger Higgs

Roger Higgs featured at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver (2016) a few weeks ago, and presented a paper that claimed there was historic evidence for a 5m rise in global sea levels in the Late Roman/early Saxon era. Higgs, who lives in Bude, famous for its surfers on the north Cornish coast, runs his own company and is a busy man, as they say. At face value this idea would seem to support the climate change position as the inference is that the Roman Warm period was responsible for the rapid and steep rise in sea levels (at least around Britain).


At ... the origin of Saudi Arabia's Ghawar giant oil field is the subject of this link. It would take a massive amount of vegetation to be transformed into the massive oil field - virtually dense tropical vegetation. Plate Tectonics doesn't seem to be the answer. It is too slow. The vegetation must have been converted much more quickly - or this is the thrust of the article. Of course, quickly in geological terms is nothing like instantaneous - but reading between the lines we may wonder why not.

Caribbean Sea Change

At ... scientists looking at the K/T boundary crater off the coast of Yucatan have discovered it was dry land at the height of the Late Glacial Maximum, between 23,000 and 18,000 years ago. How can this be? The obvious mainstream answer is that a lot of ocean water was locked up in the hypothetical ice sheet that covered a great deal of the northern hemisphere. An outside the box answer might involve a change in the earth's geoid - but that would require a rise in sea levels somewhere else.

NZ Earthquake

At ... the recent earthquake in New Zealand affected up to six faults - and uplifted significant portions of coastal New Zealand

   During the earthquake bystanders took images on their cell phones of earthquake lights (see

New Zealand earthquake

At ... is about the threat of tsunamis from earthquakes while at ... the focus is on the earthquake itself, magnitude 7.5 - and a plate boundary situation is being blamed (and the inevitable subduction zone). However, it was not as simple as that it would seem as lateral slop on a strike-slip fault is also involved - and a thrusting within the Pacific plate (close to the epicentre). In other words the epicentre of the earthquake was not at the plate boundary (or a subduction zone).

Australia on the Move

At ... Australia shifts and tilts back and forth by several millimetres each year because of changes to the Earth's centre of mass (Journal of Geophysical Research, Nov 2016). Measuring millimetres must be subject to some scepticism but presumably it involves GPS. The centre of mass is thought to be in the core but what is it they think causes changes - ice and water during winter months.

proving subduction is ...

Presumably the theory of subduction (plates sliding beneath other plates and causing mountains to form) is still a theory - and has not been verified (or observed) which is why it has now received the modelling treatment in earnest. A paper in Nature Geoscience (Nov 2016) seeks to show carbon in the Mantle is derived from subducted crust - see

Magma Lake

At ... Scientists have discovered the existence of a huge magmatic lake (composed of magma and water) 15km across below a dormant volcano in Bolivia. The body of water, which is dissolved into partially molten rock at a temperature of 1000 degrees celsius is comparable in size to some of the world's biggest lakes on the surface. The water may go some way to explain how and why volcanoes erupt - if water is commonly found beneath volcanoes.

Fossil Trees

Fossilised wood from trees, such as branches, twigs, stumps, broken trunks, and all manner of pieces of woody material which even include whole woodland floor flora are fairly common in the geological record. At ... where we have a stump of a giant redwood tree found in a diamond mine in the North West Territories of northern Canada. It is fossilised redwood - a tree that now grows in California. It illustrates perfectly the manner in which climate has moved across the globe, from one epoch to the next.