Geology news

Mammal Evolution

At .... a fossil discovery reveals the earliest relative of modern mammals - going back 300 million years ago. That is a very long time ago and you will not be surprised to learn that it is a mammal like reptile, a synoside. The fossil came from Nova Scotia - from the remains of a vast fossil forest. At the time Nova Scotia was located near the equator, it is thought.

erupting diamonds

At ... a Russian volcano erupts diamonds. Rather, very tiny diamonds created by crystallisation of volcanic gases. The volcano is actually situated in the Kamchatka peninsular just west of Alaska. Diamonds can get coughed up from deep in the earth - such as the kimberlite rock formations. Generally, diamonds are created by the immense pressure inside the earth's mantle and volcanoes can on occasion dredge them up. These diamonds are nothing like that, so small and hard to detect.

Greenland Grand Canyon

Here we have some catastrophic flooding - on Mars and beneath the Greenland ice sheet. Courtesy of Gary again. At ... and ... a network of canyons under the Greenland ice sheet includes one that is so deep and big it has been called the Greenland Grand Canyon. Its shape suggests it was caused by running water - followed by glaciation (or vice versa).

Sea Floor Venting

Robert sent in this one and it is a cracker - go to ... window to another world beneath the waves, bubbling up on the seafloor with petroleum from deep below. A hydrocarbon seep in the Gulf of Mexico emits a viscuous petroleum - much like asphalt. This sounds somewhat familiar - the tar traps in California spring to mind (but these are above sea level). Most life forms that inhabit such seeps, for exampel mussels and crabs, depend on micro-organisms that oxidise the petroleum compounds.

14,650 years ago

At arch warmer site .... tells us sea levels have jumped surprisingly quickly and steeply in the past. It is funny how problems for the consumption of the general public are glossed over, or ignored - and then someone lets the cat out of the bag. I have often wondered how a now recognised smaller northern hemisphere ice sheet equates with a jump in sea level rise at the end of the Late Glacial Maximum (LGM). Apparently, it doesn't.


This post was prompted by a question from a member of SIS - what is the progress and current thinking on the Meghalayan? Well, they are still discussing it I suppose, with no agreement as yet. I suspect many geologists are quite happy with the designation of the Holocene without carving it up into smaller segments. The idea of the Meghalayan Age first raised its public face at the IUGS conference of July 2018 (the International Union of Geological Sciences). It caused a bit of a stir at the time but this has since subsided.

Creationist Gripes

Robert sent in this link - ... three related stories that have already been posted on the News. Dinosaur footprints in a cave is the most ambiguous of those David Coppedge has brought together in a single post. His geology is 100 per cent Biblical flood related - but don't let that put you off. He begins with a little rant and says paleontologists force fit every bone, every piece of amber with an insect inside, and every fossil into their own creation myth - the uniformitarian model and timescale.

Tropical Antarctic

At ... the mid Cretaceous was one of the warmest periods in the history of the earth - which is why it pops up in research so often, as a result of modern climate change. It is like picking low hanging fruit, as they say, unable to get at the nice fat damsons a bit higher on the tree. You could use a walking stick I suppose and give them a biff to dislodge them so they fall - but they've tried that with a hockey stick.

El Nino inside Coral

At ... ancient corals in the Pacific have been found to be a record of past water temperature - and the comings and goings of El Nino events. The record, at the moment, goes back a thousand years - see ....

Koppie Loskop

The image below is a hill in South Africa with exposed strata from before and after the Permian extinction event (in geological terminology, a Member of the Balfour Formation). The upper part contains layers deposited after the extinction event 252 million years ago. According to new research the mass extinction played out differently and at different times on land and in the sea, as a result of redating a fossil bed in South Africa and another in Australia. Obviously, logic would demand that if there was a global catastrophe this could not be so.