Taxonomy term

australia

Massive trove of dinosaur tracks cataloged in Australia

In a remote region of Western Australia, paleontologists have documented the world’s most diverse assemblage of dinosaur tracks. The scientists found preserved in Early Cretaceous rocks thousands of tracks, 150 of which can be assigned to at least 11, and possibly as many as 21, different known track types representing theropods, sauropods, ornithopods and armored thyreophorans.

18 Jul 2017

Down to Earth With: Paleoclimatologist Gifford H. Miller

“Hope for the unexpected.” This motto has pulled paleoclimatologist Gifford H. Miller to remote corners of the world to conduct fieldwork for more than half a century. Miller, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) and associate director of the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, thrives on the pursuit of knowledge, asking tough questions about the global climate system whose answers have far-reaching implications. But it’s the thrill of unexpected discoveries — of which he’s made many — that keep him returning for more. His discoveries, including the extinction timing of giant birds in Australia, the existence of “zombie mosses” that document the life-cycle of Arctic ice caps, and the finding of lake sediments that tell the story of Iceland’s deglaciation, have led to advances in our understanding of Earth’s climate history and the role humans have played in it.

30 Jun 2017

Fossil leaves provide clues to ancient Australian habitat

Researchers have long thought that the scrublands of Australia developed over the last 25 million to 30 million years as part of a global trend toward colder and drier climates in which rainforests yielded ground to more open, fire-prone environments.

20 Apr 2016

Travels in Geology: Australia's Whitsunday Islands: Sun, sand and silicic volcanism

Swimming and snorkeling near the Great Barrier Reef, hiking and ziplining through rainforests and waterfalls, and relaxing on a beach composed of 99 percent pure quartz sand can all be done in a couple days’ trip to the Whitsunday Islands and Queensland, Australia.

01 Sep 2015

Getting there and getting around the Whitsundays

The gateway airports to the Whitsundays are on Hamilton Island and near Proserpine on the mainland. Neither hosts direct flights from the U.S., but both connect to Sydney and Brisbane, Australia’s primary international arrival points, as well as Cairns, the most popular access point to the Great Barrier Reef. From Proserpine, Whitsunday Transit can transport you to accommodations throughout the region.
 
01 Sep 2015

Great drying led to great dying down under

If not for the megafaunal extinctions that wiped out many large animals at the end of the Pleistocene, the world might be a very different place today — with humans coexisting alongside still-living saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths and 3-meter-tall birds. The agents of these mass extinctions have been debated for decades: Were shifting climates, or our spear-wielding ancestors mainly responsible? A new study of the receding shorelines of Australia’s largest lake has found that a substantial drying of the environment, more so than human pressure, is mostly to blame for the loss of megafauna down under.
 
08 Jul 2015

Counting 'tree' rings in fish skulls provides climate clues

Most fish have little structures in their skulls that record growth patterns — periods of feast and famine — just like tree rings. Now, scientists are using these structures, called otoliths, to show how fish size may decrease as a result of a changing ocean. 

16 Jun 2015

Giant bolide hit South Africa 2.5 billion years ago

Some of the oldest scraps of continental crust on Earth cling to the southern tip of Africa and the western edge of Australia. In both places, geologists have found rock layers rich in tiny particles called spherules. Scientists think spherules form when meteorites strike the planet, vaporizing surface rocks that then condense into small droplets, blanketing the surrounding landscape. Now, research published in Geology confirms the extraterrestrial origin of a 2.5-billion-year-old layer of spherules in South Africa, which scientists say was produced by a bolide at least as large as the one that doomed the dinosaurs.
 
06 Jun 2015

Travels in Geology: Glaciers and grapes in South Australia

If you are passionate about your Earth history and your wine, there is no better travel destination than Adelaide, which boasts the type locales of two “Snowball Earth” episodes near worldclass vineyards.

17 May 2015

Getting there and getting around in South Australia

Adelaide, South Australia’s largest airport, doesn’t host direct flights to and from the U.S., but it is well connected to Sydney, Australia’s primary international arrival point, and other Australian cities. From the airport, you can take a taxi, a metro JetBus, or a Skylink minibus (www.skylinkadelaide.com) to get into town.

17 May 2015

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