Geology

  • 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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  • Predicting Primordial Weather
    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.
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  • Ice-Age Shell Game
    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
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  • Revealing Rocks on Earth – and Mars
    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
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  • Methane: the Great Dying?
    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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