Giant Earthquakes

At ... giant earthquakes are not as random as thought. Analysis of sediment cores from lakes in Chile show that EQs reoccur at regular intervals. It is only when smaller EQs are added that the incidents show up randomly in time. A Chilean EQ in 1960 had a magnitude of 9.5 and produced a massive tsunami wave that pummeled the coastal regions and caused a wave that travelled right across the Pacific to kill 200 people in Japan. Strong EQs produce underwater landslides which are preserved in sedimentary layers.

Magnetic Poles

William sent in this link - ... apparently, earth's north and south magnetic poles, in the past, used to flip regularly, at 200 to 300,000 years intervals. Currently, we are led to believe, the poles have not flipped for the last 780,000 years. Is the dating methodology haywire and why do magnetic poles flip?

Stone Wall 23,000 years old

At ... I missed this back in 2010 - a 23,000 year old stone wall in front of a cave in Lalambaka in Greece, probably built to protect residents of the cave from cold winds or wild animals. It is apparently the oldest known example of a man made structure. It has all the hall marks of a Mesolithic repertoire but here might be a problem as Mesolithic people elsewhere appear after the end of the  Late Glacial Maximum (but this is slam bang in the middle of it).

Human DNA sequencing

William sent in the link, ... but see also ... where the genetics of modern humans appear to contradict fossil evidence of modern humans. It was suggested in the Phil Salmon post at (see yesterday's post) there was a bottleneck coinciding with the Mount Toba super volcano eruption that has been dated around 74,000 years ago.

Dinosaurs living in the dark

At ... Dinosaurs dug out of rocks in Victoria State, Australia, more than 120 million years of age, had to deal with prolonged periods of darkness and below freezing temperatures - according to a new study in Scientific Reports (January 2018). Problem with that assumption seems to be the difficulty plants might have to flourish in darkness as these were herbivores. Do plants grow in complete darkness and was Australia really at the pole 120 million years ago?

Out of Africa Going Backwards

At ... various people sent in links to the same story. William fowarded the link ... an international team led by Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University have discovered the earliest 'modern human' fossil ever found outside of Afriica. It mentions modern humans must have left Africa much earlier than previously thought.

Scottish Submerged Forest

This story is again interesting as far as changing sea levels and ocean configuration is concerned. At ... archaeologists are surveying Scotland's submerged forests (rather, wooded regions under the waves). This seems to revolve around the Bay of Ireland in the Orkneys and Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

Vitiaz Arc

A study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (January 2018) have been looking at lizards in Australasia, Melanesia and Polynesia. We are told that when you scroll back the distribution of geckos, and their variants, they have a common ancestor that may go back to the Vitiaz Arc, a near continuous chain of islands that stretched across the Western Pacific 30 to 40 million years ago (during the Oligocene). Nowadays, the arc is represented by landforms such as the Philippines and a string of islands as far as Fiji.

Halley's Comet

One from William. Why Halley's Comet may be linked to famine 1500 years ago. Sounds almost like Patrick McCafferty and Mike Baillie in their book, 'The Celtic Gods' - but it comes from Dallas Abbott. Did a piece of the comet slam into the Earth in AD536? This is already attributed to two volcanoes - now conceded by Baillie. However, Abbott approaches it slightly differently - and combines volcanoes with impact (did one spark the other?) The theory evolved after Abbott was looking at Greenland ice cores laid down between 533 and 540.

Geothermal Greenland

Pierre Gosselin provides a guest post by Kenneth Richards which has some interesting information - especially if you've visited hot springs in Canada, a very cold part of the world. Well, Greenland is a lot colder than most of Canada and it too has geothermal hot springs - right under the glaciated region. Go to ... and well I never.