Geology news

Insects and fish in one buried deposit

William sent in the link to ...  paleontologists have unearthed around 2000 fossils in SER Australia - insects, fish, spiders, and plants [leaves and broken stems]. They existed during an era of prehistoric rainforest, it is claimed, just 15 million years ago. The fossils are remarkably well preserved.One would think it involved instantaneous burial in silt and mud. Funnily enough, the paleontologists were looking for fossils from the Jurassic period, in the hills and flats of SE Australia.

The Mystery of Sand

Gary sent in this link .... William actually sent the link to Gary who forwarded it on to SIS. The mainstream theory is that weathering creates sand. Rocks break apart from frost and heat and continue to break down piece by piece until they are the size of sand granules. Wind and water play a role in this process. There is, or there should be, an unlimited supply of sand on earth. The gradualist models virtually guarantee it. Facts, however, are sometimes stranger than fiction.

Slow Seismic Waves

At ... subduction zones are central to Plate Tectonics theory. One plate is thought to slide under another in order to compensate for new growth on the sea floor [and avoid earth expansion]. Apparently, it has been found that at least one subduction zone the seismic waves are slower than anticipated. Various theories why are on offer.

Quartzite Burrows

Another link sent in by Gary. See ... the mystery is a geological one. Perforations in an Australian rock section, namely in a quartzite, appear to resemble animal burrows of some kind. They are thought to belong to marine crustaceans - which is even more perplexing. They have been known about for some 50 years, roughly, and until now nobody has come up with a sound explanation. The quartzite is as hard as cement. The rock is very old. How could animals dig burrows in such hard rock.

Mangroves on the Yucatan

At ... this story is all about the vagaries of computer modeling and how conclusions can be reached by not factoring in all the evidence. They may be right - and they may be wrong. I don't know. Deep in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, there is an ancient mangrove forest 124 miles from the nearest ocean. Mangroves are salt tolerant trees and shrubs that usually flourish along tropical and sub tropical coastlines.

Isle of Wight of Monsters

At ... the Isle of Wight has been a good hunting ground for dinosaur fossil bones over the years. The Wight is derived from the chalk which caps the island - although it is also famous for its cliff of coloured sands. Paleontologists from nearby Southampton University assign the newly discovered dinosaur pair to a new species of spinosaurid, predatory theropods. Their unusual crocodile like skulls allowed them to hunt prey both on land and in water [it is thought].

Water Water Everywhere

Robert sent in the link to ... with the comment that deep hot water was found at the Kola super deep bore hold, casting doubt on the popular image of molten lava beneath our feet. Such deep fluids were predicted by Thomas Gold - and the origins of hydrocarbons. This was his Deep Earth Gas Theory. The earth may be a lot more porous than it has been thought. In 1955 Fred Hoyle wrote about this very subject - what he called 'Gold's Pore Theory' - how the earth could be porous, even at great depths.

Super Volcanoes on Mars

Sent in by Gary- ... ancient Mars was dotted with thousands of massive super volcanoes discovered after scientists mistook their extinct calderas as craters from extraterrestrial impacts. They also looked at the walls of canyons  and craters from the  calderas to determine that the ash was still in the same place as if the eruption had recently happened. Earlier this year, researchers said some volcanoes on Mars may still be active.

Interior Seaway

At ... the author, a geologist, comments on an article in Hakai magazine [which you can get to online]. It revolves around a paleontological site in what is now Alabama, some 250 km inland from the Gulf of Mexico. It was of course submerged in the so called period of the Interior Seaway, cutting a swathe across the middle of North America in the Cretaceous period. Gullies of white chalk are said to represent the remnants of the bed of an ancient sea - the remains of an algae bloom.

Alaskan Prime Pastures

At ... scientists have been forced to accept that during the Late Glacial Maximum summers were several degrees warmer than in the modern world. These were endemic to Siberia and Alaska - north of the Arctic Circle. The old view that during the extent of the last Ice Age, or at least from 60,000 years ago onwards, to the beginning of the Holocene, a huge ice sheet covered the northern hemisphere from one end to the other, has been abandoned.