Geology news


At ... the asteroid that struck earth at the K/T boundary came in at an angle of 60 degrees according to a new study. This is said to have maximised the amount of climate changing gases that subsequently ascended into the upper atmosphere. It likely unleashed billions of tonnes of sulphur, blocking out the sun.

Stone Forests

At first I thought from the headline they were talking about petrified forests, but no. The stone forests (a sea of trees) are the pointy bits on mountains - in China and Madagascar for example. How they were created is the subject of another experiment, of a sort. They have puzzled geologists for some time. The research showed that flowing water carves ultra sharp spikes in land forms. Simulation is involved of course, so we may assume not every possibility was included in the experiment, such as the sort of landscape carving featured on Electric Universe videos.

Raining Sand

This is a good one. Sent in by Gary. We have two links, ... ... and here we have the different kind of exoplanets that have been discovered - orbiting other stars. Some look like planets in our solar system. Some do not. The smaller planets are generally rocky and the larger ones, it is thought, are gassified. Some may even be watery. That is the great hope. In a few short years from nothing to 4000 exoplanets are now known.

Geology in Japan

At ... Japan's geological history is now in question after the discovery of metamorphic rock with microdiamonds in it. Researchers in Japan have discovered microdiamonds in metamorphic rock strata, an unusual phenomenon that is also known from the Italian Alps. They are said to form in collision  zones - one plate crashing into another. Although it is possible collisions of the cosmic kind might be inferred, but left unsaid.

Fire in Late Glacial Maximum

At ... during the Late Glaical Maximum, when ice sheets are thought to have been at their greatest extent (in the last 100,000 years), fire activity in the natural environment seems to have been an order of magnitude more prevalent than today. We are talking about the period, 26,000 to 19,000 years ago, after which the ice sheet seems to have shrunk.

Pechevalavato Mammoth

This two links were sent in by Robert. At ... where we are told that Russian scientists are in the process of retrieving a well preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth. It still has ligaments attached to bone. It was found in silt and sediments of a lake in northern Siberia. Local reindeer hunters found pieces of bone and informed the authorities and scientists turned up to invesigate.

Breaking Plates

At ... In this article we are told that it is well understood that volcanoes and earthquakes can be explained by the 50 year old theory of Plate Tectonics. This theory claims earth's outer shell, or lithosphere, is subdivided into plates that move relative to each other, concentrating most tectonic activity along the plate margins. Surprisingly, we are then told, the scientific community have no firm concept on how plate tectonics began.

Update on Storegga

Clarification on the recent piece from the Daily Mail. The actual study does not mention climate change at all and has been inserted by the Daily Mail journalist, or an editor. It may of course have been inserted by whoever released the press story to the media. The full paper can be read at ... The event has nothing to do with climate change and is purely a geological phenomenon.

Carnian Pluvial Episode

The word pluvial is usually associated with water - a watery environment. The Wranglia is a large igneous province that spewed out lots of greenhouse gases - or volcanic gases to be more exact. Climate shifted in association with the Wranglia, leading eventually to a warmer world that was wetter, and humid. This was the Carnian Pluvial Episode. So, we have a massive tectonic event and evidence of a watery landscape. Where might we have heard that before. See ...

Lava Tubes

At ... why lava tubes should be a priority when visiting other planets. When magma comes out of the innards of the earth it flows as lava - liquid rock. The process has created some unusual land forms, such as lava tubes. These can be large affairs and several km in length. The Kazamura Cave on Hawaii is 46 miles long. Lava tubes seem to have formed on the moon - and on Mars. Several thousand cave entrances have been catalogued,  many of which may be lava tubes. NASA has been busy with a camera.