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Rocking the Cradle of Life
Topic: Geology
Summary: When did life begin? One evidential clue stems from the fossil records in Western Australia, although whether these layered sediments are biological or chemical has spawned a spirited debate. Oxford researcher, Nicola McLoughlin, describes some of the issues in contention.

Pebbles from an Overheated Earth?
Topic: Geology
Summary: The current understanding is that life evolved in a dramatically different environment than exists today. One way primordia differs depends on the carbon dioxide level for the early Earth. Pebbles from a South African goldmine may lock those secrets into their geological makeup.

Topic: Geology
Summary: Journey to South Africa with paleontologist Peter Ward, as he describes a day of fossil hunting and what it's like to chase a ghost from the greatest catastrophe on Earth.

The Greatest Catastrophe on Earth
Topic: Geology
Summary: Paleontologist Peter Ward of the University of Washington discusses his latest book, entitled "Gorgon: Paleontology, Obsession, and the Greatest Catastrophe on Earth", in which he follows the fossil trail of what might be left after over seven of every ten species on Earth disappeared 250 million years ago.

Siberia, The Big Bang of Life?
Topic: Geology
Summary: To appear in the fossil record prominently, an animal needs to leave a hard remnant after death, like a shell or bone. The earliest candidates for many are the 400-million year old forbears of crabs and lobsters, which are now linked in the fossil record to one of the most barren places on the planet, Siberia.

Clues to Life in the Mines of Murgul
Topic: Geology
Summary: The Mine of Murgul sounds like an ominous place in "The Lord of the Rings," a dark cavern filled with menacing orcs and trolls. But, in fact, this copper mine in Turkey may help shed light on life's origin.

Predicting Primordial Weather
Topic: Geology
Summary: For life to begin from simple organic molecules, some preconditions for biochemistry are needed. Looking at some of the oldest rocks on our planet have posed a challenge that one has to dig deep to understand what the early Earth might have been like.

Ice-Age Shell Game
Topic: Geology
Summary: Climate models that incorporate the influence of marine life and sea shells can dramatically alter the course of evolution, according to researchers at the University of California. Their model shows that by buffering the oceans, calcium carbonates like limestone protect against wild climate extremes and ice ages.

Revealing Rocks on Earth - and Mars
Topic: Geology
Summary: A British project will develop a technique to identify biomolecules in water that have been trapped in rocks for millions to billions of years. This technique will provide evidence for existence and nature of any life that was in samples when the water became sealed in rock.

Methane: the Great Dying?
Topic: Geology
Summary: Imagine a global catastrophe that could wipe out ninety percent of life in the oceans and seventy percent of land life. Just such a cataclysmic event, known as the Great Dying, happened on Earth 250 million years ago.

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