Geology

  • Into the Mouth of a Volcano
    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.
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    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.
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    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
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    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.
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  • Plate Tectonics Could be Essential for Life
    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.
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  • Ancient Escape Hatches
    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.
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  • Life’s Growth Spurts
    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.
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  • Astrobiology Top 10: Earth’s Mineral Evolution
    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
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  • Timing Tectonics
    Plate tectonics on Earth may have started much earlier than previously believed. An active Earth could have had profound implications for the origin of life.
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  • Earth’s Mineral Evolution
    New research shows that 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 the geology of Earth.
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  • Earth’s Oldest Rocks
    Scientists have discovered rocks that are 4.28 billion years old, making them 250 million years more ancient than any previously discovered rocks. Our planet formed about 4.6 billion years ago, so these rocks could provide a unique window on the young Earth.
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  • Diamonds May Be Life’s Birthstone
    Researchers have come up with a new model in which the first molecules of life formed on diamonds.
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  • Lukewarm Supervolcano
    Yellowstone is known for its hot springs and geysers, and the unique forms of life that inhabit them. Scientists are now learning more about the mysterious 'supervolcano' that powers these environments, and whether or not the giant could erupt again.
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  • Complex Volcanoes
    For the first time, scientists have mapped an elaborate maze of magma chambers beneath the volcanoes of Iceland. The unique view into a complex subterranean world could provide important information about earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
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  • Revising Earth’s History
    Geologists have found that major basins in India are 500 million years older than previously thought. The study may lend weight to idea that complex life originated earlier in Earth's history.
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