Geology

  • Earth in the Balance
    Imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that it could force our entire planet to spin on its side after a few million years, tilting it so far that Alaska would sit at the equator. Princeton scientists have now provided the first compelling evidence
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  • Sulfur Stinks up Oxygen Theories
    Ancient sediments that once resided on a lake bed and the ocean floor show sulfur isotope ratios unlike those found in other samples from the same time, calling into question accepted ideas about when the Earth's atmosphere began to contain oxygen, according to researchers from
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  • Jigsaw Earth
    Like pieces in a giant jigsaw puzzle, continents have split, drifted and merged again many times throughout Earth's history, but geologists haven't understood the mechanism behind the moves.
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  • Bobbing Mountains
    Two new studies by a University of Rochester researcher show that mountain ranges rise to their height in as little as two million years--several times faster than geologists have always thought. Each of the findings came from two pioneering methods of measuring ancient mountain elevations,
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  • 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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