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Feathers in amber

16 September 2011

At www.news.ualberta.ca/article.aspx?id=7F2465DE563B40C9882377C4C08E0F52 … University of Alberta scientists have found feathers preserved in amber, from the Late Cretaceous era (towards the end of the dinosaur age). No mention of sudden apocalyps. It is thought the feathers, blown in the wind perhaps, landed in tree resin which preserved them – but how long did it take for the resin to harden? Fossilised feathers have also been found preserved in sedimentary rocks.

At www.physorg.com/print235103807.html there is a piece about crystals discovered in a mine in Mexico. In the so called Cave of Crystals they are up to 36 feet long and 3 feet thick and this has sparked a controversy over how long it would have taken them to grow. Apparently, scientists in a laboratory have simulated crystal growth (a paper published by PNAS Sept 12th 2011). A beam of light was directed at the crystal to determine properties – and this gave them the information that crystallisation in the cave took place between 54 and 58 degrees Celsius (around 130F). These are minimum temperatures perhaps as at 55 degrees, a one metre piece of crystal would have formed in 990,000 years but increasing the temperature to 56 degrees the same piece of crystal would have formed in less than half that time. The abstract does not mention the temperatures required for a non-uniformitarian much quicker formation rate – perhaps it was considered unlikely. 

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