Geology news

The Inflating Earth

This is a term picked up from Tim Cullen and it epitomises the subject somewhat better than the 'expanding earth'. It is better by far as we are talking about a release of gases from inside the Earth, oxygen and hydrogen. It's nice to know somebody else out there has also been trawling through David Pratt's article at www.ncgt.org/newsletter.php and at the same time finding a lot that is positive - see http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/the-inflating-earth/

A medley of Antarctica, the ITCZ, and geology off the coast of Spain

At http://phys.org/print288877504.html ... Prior to the ice cap Antarctica had a tropical, or a near tropical environment - or was it just temperate? - which is how this piece begins. Not such a good start perhaps and the headline is even more dramatic - the ice cap arrived 33 million years ago. In the Oligocene. However, when we enter the nuts and bolts of the piece we might put the above down to a keen PR piece of prose for the purpose of a press release as it doesn't appear to actually involve dating the ice cap at all.

Earth's Mantle and Sea Level Changes

You could knock me down with a napkin. Funny thing but after reading David Pratt, who said that heat flow from the mantle caused changes in the crust, uplift and subsidence, we have a press release from Syracuse University in the US where Prof Robert Moucha argues the mantle affects long term sea level rise activities as a result of uplift, and/ or subsidence - see http://phys.org/print288539123.html

Sea Floor Spreading ... another consensus theory with hopeful pretensions

David Pratt, in the NCGT journal (March, 2013), see www.ncgt.org/newsletter.php ... says there have been numerous finds of old continental crust in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans (and remember the post last week where some new old continent was found near Mauritius). He says this contradicts the claim the present ocean floors are of fairly recent origin (or at least post-Jurassic). This evidence alone, he assures the reader, contradicts the idea of continents drifting thousands of miles around the surface of the Earth.

Coral Reef Formation

This story is at http://phys.org/print287650630.html ... and concerns various theories of how coral reef islands have formed over evolutionary time. A paper in the journal Geology (see also http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/early/2013/05/09/G34109.1.full.pdf+htaml and web.mit.edu/newsoffice/ for MIT News). Darwin suggested fringe reefs, barrier reefs and atolls, all slightly different from each other, form in stages as islands that sink into the ocean floor - the fate of all volcanic islands it was thought.

Uncertainty in Geology

At http://phys.org/print287302604.html ... the American Geophysical Union (see also http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tect.20025/abstract) have published a paper on the Zagros fold and thrust belt that stretches from the Persian Gulf into eastern Turkey (Anatolia), a region of crustal deformation and seismic activity which is interpreted, by necessity, to uniformitarian parameters.

Now we have the leftovers of continental crust in the South Atlantic

It's getting weird from the consensus Plate Tectonics angle,  weirder and weirder. At http://phys.org/print287119098.html ... Brazilian geologists have dug a rock out of the ocean bottom, 900 miles east of Rio de Janiero, that appears to be a piece of continental crust that was submerged when the South Atlantic was formed as Africa and South America moved apart. Basically, it is granite and all granites are perceived to be continental rock.

Flint

Soemtimes called a rock, sometimes a mineral, flint is usually grey or black (but can also be red or brown when affected by iron oxides, in Aylesbury Vale for example) or even blueish hues. Flint is one of the few rocks or minerals mentioned in the Bible (the Book of Psalms for example, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, etc). In Ireland it is only found in situ in the NE, in the chalk of Co Antrim. However, flint (transported by water and ice) also crops up as far south as Leinster (and as pebbles on the beaches near Dublin).

Crust where it shouldn't be

In Down to Earth issue 83 (May 2013), a geological magazine published by Geosupplies of Chapeltown, Sheffield) there is an interesting take on the Indian Ocean discovery recently published, tagged on the end of the news section. It concerns a piece of continental crust centred around the islands of Reunion and Mauritius and it is suspected it is a strip of crust once attached to Madagascar, the Seychelles, and India. What caught my eye was it then said, the discovery added to the growing debate as to the existence of so-called mantle plumes.

Folding of Mountains

At www.ncgt.org/newsletter.php (March issue) there is also a letter by Peter M James of Tasmania, and he updates some of the information and data pertaining to his article in a previous issue of the journal. Basically, his theory is that the equatorial bulge causes mountain building - and geosyncline activity. This is quite apposite to plate tectonics but this is the primary focus of New Concepts in Global Tectonics. It is a forum for alternative geological scenarios. However, whether they are real or mistaken is for the reader to judge.