Geology

  • Sculpting Mountains
    Glaciers, rivers and shifting tectonic plates have shaped mountains over millions of years, but earth scientists have struggled to understand the relative roles of these forces and the rates at which they work.
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  • Early Earth with Crust Please
    A surprising new study by an international team of researchers has concluded Earth's continents most likely were in place soon after the planet was formed, overturning a long-held theory that the early planet was either moon-like or dominated by oceans.
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  • Earth’s Super Rotating Core
    Scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have ended a nine-year debate over whether the Earth's inner core is undergoing changes that can be detected on a human timescale.
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  • Snowball Earth Culprit Found?
    For several years geologists have been gathering evidence indicating that Earth has gone into a deep freeze on several occasions, with ice covering even the equator and with potentially devastating consequences for life.
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  • Thumping the Earth like a Watermelon
    Oscillations begun by the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in December 2004 are providing important information about the composition of the Earth as well as the size and duration of the earthquake.
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  • Tides of Tectonic Forces
    Science-fiction author, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, provides perspective on the tsunami disaster from his home in Sri Lanka. As one of the first to call for global satellite networks in 1945, his half-century legacy has played a key role in mitigating tragedies that offered few
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  • The Breathable Earth
    How did Earth achieve an atmosphere that is oxygen-rich and breathable, while Mars and Venus couldn't? One answer is that deeper, mantle volcanoes started bringing up water vapor and carbon dioxide, instead of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
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  • Soft-Shelled Crab, Fossil-Style
    One of the mysteries in paleontology is how extraordinary preservation happens and whether a soft-shelled animal can be studied in the fossil record. One instance of this that seems plausible is the decayed carcass that gets consumed by bacteria, which then encase and preserve the
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  • Wireless Volcano Grid Erupts
    Harvard researchers have set up a wireless array of sensors to monitor seismic activity in Ecuador. Seismologists collect vast amounts of data, but their load back down the volcano will be lightened both in cost and burden by going wireless.
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  • Rocking the Cradle of Life
    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.
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  • Pebbles from an Overheated Earth?
    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.
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  • Gorgon
    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.
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  • The Greatest Catastrophe on Earth
    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
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  • Siberia, The Big Bang of Life?
    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
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  • Clues to Life in the Mines of Murgul
    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.
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