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Volcanoes Set the Stage for an Ice Age
Topic: Geology
Researchers have discovered connections between volcanoes and a deadly ice age that occurred 450 million years ago. The study reports that the volcanoes may have release massive amounts of carbon dioxide, causing global warming. However, when they stopped erupting, an ice age began.

Battle of the Bands
Topic: Geology
Banded rocks scattered across the upper Midwest and elsewhere around the world are providing information about the environment of the early Earth. Once mined as a source of iron, these rocks can tell scientists about the geochemical conditions that existed on Earth more than 2 billion years ago.

Into the Mouth of a Volcano
Topic: Geology
NASA scientists are using high-tech 'spider' robots to monitor volcanoes on Earth. The low-cost sensors provide real-time monitoring of one of Earth's most challenging environments. The technology will help scientists studying processes on Earth - and could be used in locations beyond our own planet.

Heat of the Moment
Topic: Geology
Scientists have developed a way of studying ancient temperatures on Earth - from the body temperature of dinosaurs to the planet's surface temperature during the ice ages. The method could help scientists understand the connections between the biosphere and the early environment of Earth.

Rock Bands Spin an Oxygen Record
Topic: Geology
The rise of oxygen on early Earth may have been caused by a microbial changing of the guard between methane-producers and oxygen-producers. This swap may have been initiated by a drop in the ocean's nickel abundance. Continuing studies of the world's largest iron ore deposits could cement the case.

Explosive Extinction
Topic: Geology
Scientists have uncovered a previously unknown giant volcanic eruption that caused mass extinctions around the globe 260 million years ago. The eruption increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and warmed the entire planet, resulting in global environmental change.

Plate Tectonics Could be Essential for Life
Topic: Geology
Planetary scientists have been considering the potential importance of plate tectonics. Some believe that this geological process is essential for the development of complex lifeforms, and in the future could even be used as a biosignature to detect habitable worlds.

Ancient Escape Hatches
Topic: Geology
Scientists have determined that formations once identified as ancient tubeworm fossils are actually the remnants of 70-million-year-old methane vents. The discovery highlights how our understanding of life's evolution can change in light of new scientific evidence.

Life's Growth Spurts
Topic: Geology
New research has found important links between the evolution of life and the geological evolution of Earth. The study shows that increases in the maximum size of organisms on our planet may be linked to increases in atmospheric oxygen.

Astrobiology Top 10: Earth's Mineral Evolution
Topic: Geology
Astrobiology Magazine is looking back over 2008, highlighting the top 10 astrobiology stories of the year. At number 7 is research that shows minerals on Earth have co-evolved with life. Up to two-thirds of known minerals can be linked to biological activity, highlighting the important connection between the biosphere and geology. (This story originally was published on November 14, 2008).

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