Geology news

The essence of catastrophist geology

Dynamical processes in nature take place over a large range of time scales. In addition, subatomic particles decay over a time scale of billionths of a second. Some geological processes take millions of years. Physical science is full of examples of processes that play out over long periods - and short periods of frequency, too.

Erratic boulders in Sussex

This story was in 'Down to Earth' 84, August 2013, a geological magazine that organises a lot of field trips, in Europe and further afield, and has pieces by local geologists in various parts of the UK. There have been lots of erratic boulders found along the south coast between Portsmouth and Brighton. They include granites, syenites, schists, slates, vein quartz, quartzites, sandstones, and limestones, and some of them can weigh up to ten tonnes.

Siberian Ice Age

At http://phys.org/print299760553.html ... conclusive evidence of an ice cap in the Arctic Ocean has been foudn - on the continental shelf system of NE Siberia. The ice cap was so thick it gouged out scour marks across what is an undersea plateau situation - but is dated much earlier than the Late Glacial Maximum (29,000-18,000 years ago). Hence, what has been found is evidence of earlier ice formation - possibly many thousands of years prior to the Late Glacial Maximum.

Was the globe ice free in the Dinosaur Age?

Well, we know from UK geology that the climate during the Jurassic, in central England, was akin to the modern climate of Florida and the Caribbean. Why?

Some geologists think this is actual evidence of a higher level of co2 in the atmosphere back then - what else could cause the climate to warm? What, indeed.

Hokey-Cokey

First you go this way, wiggles around, in out in out and shake it all about, and then you go that way, do the .... which is a bit like the core of the Earth it seems. At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/300-year-old-proble... ... scientists at Leeds University claim the iron core super rotates (spins faster than the rest of the planet) in an eastwards direction. The outer core, they say, rotates more slowly in a westwards direction, and according to the research it does this as it is responding to the geomagnetic field. The paper was published by PNAS.

Rivers in the Desert

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-09/plos-pas090613.php ... we have a story about migrations through the Sahara when it had rivers. The full article can be dowloaded in full for free at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074834 'When rivers flowed across the Sahara during the last interglacial? implications for human migration through Africa.'

The Cambrian Explosion

In neo-catastrophism the Cambrian Explosion of Life is not a problem as the rock record is perceived as primarily a record of disasters (catastrophes) and not a spread sheet of uniformitarian progress over time - a book that is opened page by page. At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/09/darwins-dilemma-refers-to-charles-... ....

Subduction Processes

At http://phys.org/print298105107.html ... a possibly revealing post on the processes occurring at the junction of tectonic plates - in particular subduction zones where one plate is sliding under another. This is thought to be responsible for volcanism and deep earthquakes. It is also clearly a hypothesis as in the next paragraph it reads, many aspects of subduction are still poorly understood and research is critical to understanding where such orces could lead to human disasters (a reference I suppose to the Boxing Day Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami).

If at first you don't succeed, raise the profile

At http://phys.org/print297525077.html ... the West Antarctic ice sheet existed 20 million years earlier than previously thought runs the headline but how do scientists arrive at his kind of bald statement?

A super douper volcano

At http://phys.org/print297607227.html ... the Tamu Massif lies one thousand miles east of Japan and it is a giant volcano that has left its innards spread accross the sea floor, over an area the size of the British Isles, or New Mexico. There are even bigger volcanoes on Mars but the Tamu Massif is regarded as the largest one on Earth.