Geology news

Egypt in the last interglacial

We are going back over 100,000 years ago but at ... is a wonder. We have a reconstruction of the landscape of the Nile Valley during the last interglacial episode. It seems a huge 45,000km2 freshwater lake existed in what is now the Sudan. It would have been comparable to modern lakes such as Lake Michigan and Lake Tanganyika.

When did large land masses first appear?

If you are into the Expanding Earth theory the land masses have been there all along and it is the oceans that have grown and become the biggest part of the globe. If you are into Plate Tectonics you have a different take - and if you are fond of moving bits of continental plate around a computer screen you might not be too bothered in any case. At ... a paper is discussed from the journal Geology by some German geologists from the Universities of Cologne and Bonn.


In early issues of SIS Workshop there were several references in Monitor, and a letter from Jill Abery, concerning the Mid to Late Miocene geological period, where uniformitarianism assumptions were used to describe what could better be explained by catastrophism. These are due to go up on the web site in full, as an SIS resource that anyone can tap into, and as a lasting legacy. The problem is that they are still at it - go to ...

The age of the Grand Canyon

At ... and this is somewhat overdue some might say. The story brings to light a geological skirmish over the age of the Grand Canyon. It seems that not all of it is as ancient as consensus would have us all believe. It is usually said to be 70 million years of age. It is now thought some of it is just 5 or 6 millions years of age - still a very long time ago. We might wonder if this story is telling us more about a geological compromise.

Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach, between Weymouth and Abbotsbury, is a huge bank of pebbles, which are graded. Various theories exist about how it originated. However, behind the pebble ridge there are a couple of lagoons, a sort of fossil beach - or is it? In February's issue of the BBC CountryFile magazine there is a short piece on unusual beaches in various parts of the country. For example, along the eastern North Sea shore there are several examples of sea spits and sandbars.

Interstadials in the Ice Ages

This debate began at Anthony's site, Watts Up With That, some time ago, after the publication of a climate paper that made a great deal of the discovery of mosses that had been under the ice since an interstadial dated 43.5 to 39 thousand years ago. According to EM Smith (see this implies it must have been warmer then than it is now - during an interstadial smack bang in the middle of the last 100,000 year Ice Age.

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.