Geology

    • 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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    • Diamonds in the Rough
      Friedemann Freund is investigating the complex chemistry of common rocks like granite, in hopes of uncovering more clues to the origin of life and how oxygen came to support it since the early Earth.
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    • Earth’s Oldest Fossils Reverse Course
      It's a critical question of life science: Are microscopic structures found in 3.5 billion-year-old Archean rocks from Western Australia the oldest fossils of life on Earth? That depends, says one scientist, on whether you think the rocks formed from above -- or below.
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    • File Compression: New Tool for Life Detection?
      Some of Earth's oldest rocks contain intriguing layered structures. Were living organisms responsible, or was it merely a random chemical process? The answer, says one researcher, may be a simple matter of compressing a computer file.
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    • Diamond Time Capsules
      As the hardest natural substance, diamonds also preserve the early sulfur content of Earth. New research points to diamonds thrust volcanically to the surface as time capsules.
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    • Ancient Fossils – or Just Plain Rocks?
      How the 3.5 billion year history of Earth gets written depends on proposed fossilized bacteria found in rocks from Western Australia. If life did exist that early then biological beginnings predated significant atmospheric oxygen by about a billion years. The debaters have just
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    • When Did Life on Earth Begin? Ask a Rock
      Some of the oldest rocks on Earth, found in Greenland, hold important clues to life's beginnings. The problem is, experts disagree both about how to interpret the clues and about how old the rocks really are.
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    • Signs of Life in Acid-Washed Rocks
      Clues to early terrestrial life may be entombed in ancient sedimentary rocks, if only acid vapor can unveil their fossil shapes.
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    • Earth’s Oldest Mineral Grains Suggest an Early Start for Life
      The hills of Western Australia are home to zircons nearly four-and-a-half billion years old. The tiny crystals may change our understanding of the newly-formed Earth.
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    • Genomics Meets Geology
      Chemist Steven A. Benner and his colleagues are combining chemistry, geological history and paleontology in an approach aimed at better understanding of life on Earth.
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    • Did Tectonics Get an Early Start?
      A recent discovery near the Great Wall in China adds new support to the theory that plate tectonics began very early in the Earth's history.
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