Geology news

Cold, yet Hot

At ... this piece was on Phys Org a few days ago and has now popped up at Anthony's place. Scientists in Frankfurt, Germany, and Ottawa, Canada, have had a look at the Arctic climate during the Cretaceous era - between 145 and 66 million years ago. The Cretaceous, as most geologists will tell you, was one of the warmest periods in the history of the Earth - when global warming was rampant.

sideways rifting

At ... an international team of geoscientists have published a paper in Nature Communications (May, 2015) which they hope will revolve one of the problems inherent to Plate Tectonics. When South America split apart from Africa between 150 and 120 million years ago, bringing the South Atlantic into existence, the continental margins formed - but they are surprisingly different. You don't get the impression there is much wrong with Plate Tectonics when you read your average text book. These kind of problems are not for public consumption.

Sinai Rift

  This is an image of the nature and size of the Rift Valley from a position in Sinai and looking across the Gulf of Suez to Africa on the other side.

chalk outlier

Going back some weeks ago on chalk oddities, a chalk outlier near Killarney has caused geologists a few headaches. It is described as enigmatic and lies adjacent to the main road between Killarney and Trilee in SW Ireland - but a long way away from the chalk formations of southern England. It was exploited in the 19th century by lime burners but how did it get there, among a landscape of Upper Carboniferous shales and sandstones. One might predict no rational explanation was available - but that did not deter geologists.

sea levels Australia

At ... past tectonic movement in Western Australia is being blamed for coral platforms left high and dry. Apparently, the thinking is that uplift has caused this to happen rather than adjustments of global sea level. 

dinosaur tracks on a vertical face

Here we have evidence of tectonic forces difficult to imagine, dinosaur tracks, 462 trails of over 5000 prints, found on a verticle slab of limestone in Bolivia. The link was sent in by Robert Farrar - go to

expanding Hokkaido

The Eric Aitchison email thread on chronology was sent a link to ... by Johnny Godowski, who likes all things unusual, and concerns the strange appearance of newly formed land along the Shiretoko Peninsular on the SE coastline of Hokkaido Island (Japan). It measures 500m by 30m and is up to 15m in elevation - and may still be growing. Marine organisms such as sea weed and sea urchins are attached to rock on the piece of land which indicates it has risen out of the ocean floor. How can that be?


At ... we learn that the recent earthquake in Nepal which badly affected Katmandu that seismological data (using sound waves which travel through the Earth following an earthquake) suggests the land on which the city stands moved ten feet in a southwards direction. The rocks on top of the fault are thought to have slid southwards over the rocks underneath. The movement was therefore what is known as a slippage event - at a plate boundary. Or an assumed plate boundary.

Lake Titicaca

At ... click on the issue, March 2011 (and have another look at that date, 2011 - not 2015) and scroll down to page 44 - 'The Lake Titicaca Enigma' by Peter M James (again). He is a busy bee it seems. In this offering, from 4 years ago, he has a look at the geomorphology of Lake Titicaca, situated high above sea level in the Andes Cordillera (high plains country). It has saline water and sports oceanic fauna - so it was once connected to the sea (probably as a lagoon). The question is, how did it move from sea level - upwards.

sink holes, Dead Sea

This is a classic piece of geology as sink holes can pop up anywhere and usually have a reason, quite often due to human action - the law of unintended consequences. At there are a collection of images - see the one below