United Monarchy

At https://phys.org/444413501.hhtml ... new evidence pointing to the existence of the kingdom of David and Solomon has been uncovered - so it is said. It is published in the journal Radiocarbon so I suppose it is relying on C14 dating methodology. An archaeological site in the Shephalah region has unearthed a four room building on the summit of the tell which is said to have been destroyed in the 8th century - which they are attributing to the Assyrian invasions of the southern Levant.

Volcanism in Rocks

At https://phys.org/print444408979.html ... new evidence that volcanism drove the Late Devonian extinctions. Perhaps this title should be stood up on its head - new evidence that the Late Devonian extinction event involved volcanism (with the caveat that it is not known what caused volcanism to come into play). It is otherwise an enjoyable read on an event dated 370 million years ago (one of the Big Five). It is said to have killed 80 per cent of species, including the Devonian coral reef system. It seems the presence of mercury is an indicator of volcanism.

Old Rocks

At https://phys.org/print444379905.html ... why parts of earth have hardly changed over the last 3 billion years. This title refers to ancient rocks in the western deserts of Australia (and elsewhere). Geologists are not agreed on what the earth was like prior to the formation of the plates (as in plate tectonic theory). Research published in the journal Geology (April 2018) claims earth was highly volcanically active and the evidence of a violent transition to plate tectonics (or a fractured crust) can still be seen on the surface today.

Neanderthals and Boats

At www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/04/neandertals-stone-age-people ... it seems that Neanderthals may have been using boats to reach islands in the Mediterranean. In this instance, the Greek island of Naxos. This follows the discovery a decade ago of a cache of Neanderthal stone tools on the island of Crete - dating back 130,000 years ago. Crete, it is thought, has been an island for a very long time (although some people may argue otherwise).

Gold Prospectors

The lure of gold in the 19th century (gold fever) seems to have affected the Russians as much as any other Europeans - and they had the vast wilderness of Siberia in which to explore. In 1894 gold seekers dug out part of a peat bog near Yekaternburg and unearthed a beautifully preserved wooden idol, five metres in length (yes, 5 metres). The wood was first transformed into a flat plank and then was covered back to front with human faces and hands, zigzag lines, and various other symbols. It also had a human head at the top - with its mouth open.


How a bit of practical knowledge can reshape archaeological views. At www.dispatch.com/news/20180422/teaming-up-to-tackle-mystery-of-hopewell-... ... archaeologists unearth all kinds of objects during excavations and some of them feel propelled to guess as to identify them simply because some people do not like loose ends. The finds tray, particularly in days gone by, had to have an explanation - even when it comes to the discovery of black soapstone pebbles.

Sun Halo

   ... This image was taken by Harlan Thomas of Bowness of a concentric sun halo. This is Bowness in the US as he claims he was working in the yard (garden in the UK). This is an odd-radius sun halo and they are caused by ice crystals in the shape of pyramids. Sunlight passing through these unusual crystals create rings with radii of 9, 18, 20, 23, 24, and 35 degrees.

Sun Mystery

There was an outbreak of auroral displays on Friday the 20th April - across the Canadian border and lighting up Illinois and Indiana (and many other States). The display was caused by an inteplanetary shock wave according to http://spaceweather.com (April 23rd) - but there is a mystery. The shock waves are supersonic disturbances in the solar wind which cause discontinuities in the speed, temperature, and density of the plasma. During periods of high solar activity these are routinely delivered to Earth by corononal mass ejections (CMEs) - explosions on the Sun.

Global Warming White Stuff

  ... it has been a bad winter right across the northern hemisphere. In Japan they have walls of snow 56 feet high (and tourists are flocking to see them). The image is from NOAAs polar orbiting satellite. It is a composite picture from 14 fly-overs of the North Pole.

Ancient Civilisations

An article at https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobi... ... the Silurian hypothesis has been aired this month - considering how geology erodes over millions of years would it be possible to detect an industrial civilisation in the geological record - which is an interesting point. However, if catastrophism was at play surely some hint of an industrial complex would have been preserved along with fossils etc.