Archive for the Category ◊ Geology News ◊

In 2007 and 2008, two research papers reported in the journal Nature that a suite of zircons from the Jack Hills included diamonds. Now geologists have discovered using electron microscopy that the diamonds in the Jack Hills of western Australia are not diamonds but broken fragments of a diamond-polishing compound that got embedded when the zircon specimen was prepared for analysis by the authors of the Nature papers.
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New research resolves decades of scientific controversy over the origin of ultra-relativistic electrons in the Earth's near space environment, and is likely to influence our understanding of planetary magnetospheres throughout the universe.
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The Earth’s continental topography reflects the balance between tectonics, climate, and their interaction through erosion. However, understanding the impact of individual factors on Earth’s topography remains elusive. Scientists have now investigated the effect of global cooling and glaciation on topogrpahy over the last two to three million years. Their data show that mountain erosion rates have increased since circa 6 million years and most rapidly in the last 2 million years. Moreover, alpine glaciers play a significant role in the increase of erosion rates under a cool climate.
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The natural increase in solar luminosity -- a very slow process unrelated to current climate warming -- will cause the Earth's temperatures to rise over the next few hundred million years. This will result in the complete evaporation of the oceans. The first three-dimensional climate model able to simulate the phenomenon predicts that liquid water will disappear on Earth in approximately one billion years, extending previous estimates by several hundred million years.
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Scientists have found evidence for catastrophic oceanographic events associated with climate change and a mass extinction 375 million years ago that devastated tropical marine ecosystems.
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Researchers have developed a new global map of subduction zones, illustrating which ones are predicted to be capable of generating giant earthquakes and which ones are not.
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Researchers report that sea-level rise since the industrial revolution has been fast by natural standards and -- at current rates -- may reach 80 centimeters above the modern level by 2100 and 2.5 meters by 2200. The team used geological evidence of the past few million years to derive a background pattern of natural sea-level rise. This was compared with historical tide-gauge and satellite observations of sea-level change for the 'global warming' period, since the industrial revolution.
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It's official: East Antarctica is pushing West Antarctica around. Now that West Antarctica is losing weight -- that is, billions of tons of ice per year -- its softer mantle rock is being nudged westward by the harder mantle beneath East Antarctica. This movement is important for understanding current ice loss on the continent, and predicting future ice loss.
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Researchers have uncovered a vital clue about the mechanism behind a type of earthquake that originates deep within the Earth and accounts for a quarter of all temblors worldwide, some of which are strong enough to pose a safety hazard.
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The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) satellite, scheduled for launch in 2015, will demonstrate how accurate and wide-ranging measurements of Earth’s outgoing radiation can be made with a remarkably small instrument.
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