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geology

Ancient meteorites reveal early magnetic fields

Even before the birth of the planets, our solar system was hardly a lonely place. Small rocky bodies, called planetesimals, filled the inner solar system, eventually colliding together to form the planets. Now a new look at a group of ancient meteorites shows that at least some planetesimals generated their own magnetic fields — a feat many scientists thought extremely difficult for such small astronomical bodies. The work also has scientists rethinking how planets formed.

21 Jan 2009

Shell tectonics may explain Mars mysteries

Mars may be mythologically known as the Red Planet, but its topography can be as captivating as its celestial glow. Several striking features stand out with only a glance at a topographic map of Mars: the odd distribution of land on its surface and the equatorial string of giant volcanoes known as the Tharsis Rise. Since Mars has no plate tectonics, how these unique features formed has been a longstanding mystery.

16 Jan 2009

Underwater basalt formation looks like a city wall

Blogging on EARTH

The concept of sunken, undersea cities has long been present in almost every society, especially in the form of myths such as Atlantis. And now a recent discovery in the Taiwan Strait yields video of a geologic formation that resembles an ancient city wall.

Jeng Ming-hsiou, a biodiversity researcher and professor at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, discovered the formation. It is 200 meters long and 10 meters high and resembles tightly-packed pillars. He said it is basaltic and probably formed from a volcanic eruption around 1,800 years ago.

05 Jan 2009

Comet finished off North American big game animals, cooled the planet?

Fires from a comet shower may have killed off the big game in North America about 13,000 years ago, scientists say. Those extinctions have long been attributed either to an abrupt return to glaciation known as the Younger Dryas event or to over-hunting. But now, a team of scientists has found tiny, nanoparticle-sized diamonds in sediments from the Younger Dryas — signs that a cosmic impact may have ultimately been behind both the cold period and the extinctions.

02 Jan 2009

Swarm of earthquakes rattles Yellowstone

An abnormally high number of earthquakes has shaken up Yellowstone National Park in the past week. Since Friday, a “swarm” of more than 250 low-magnitude, shallow quakes has repeatedly rattled an area under Yellowstone Lake, with the highest-magnitude tremor — a magnitude-3.9 quake — on Saturday. The seismic activity has raised fears that the quakes may foreshadow a larger earthquake, or a volcanic eruption — but scientists say there isn’t yet reason to fear an eruption.

31 Dec 2008

Stonehenge's Mysterious Stones

A tale of glaciers, man, rocks and North America

Out of the mist that blankets the gently rolling hills of Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge rises above the horizon like a haunting beacon. Whatever its original purpose, one thing is certain: The stone monument draws visitors in and stays with them forever.

31 Dec 2008

AGU: Mount St. Helens has gone back to sleep

SAN FRANCISCO — After more than three and a half years of continuous eruption, Mount St. Helens in Washington quieted earlier this year. Following intense monitoring efforts, the volcano is officially “asleep,” researchers reported Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

18 Dec 2008

EIA: Worldwide oil demand will plummet in 2009

Blogging on EARTH

The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration is projecting that the global demand for oil will plummet even faster next year than it did this year — largely because of lower forecasts for global economic growth.

10 Dec 2008

Minerals also evolve

Taxonomy, the science of classification, connects creatures through genealogical relationships. But taxonomist Carl Linné (Linnaeus) didn't stop with living organisms; he applied his system to all natural objects — even minerals. And according to a new study, he may have been on to something: Iron may not pass genes to its rusted cousin iron oxide, but like living organisms, minerals have evolved considerably over the course of Earth’s history.

01 Dec 2008

The Disappearing Lake

For many tourists, Mountain Lake in southwestern Virginia has been an idyllic retreat. But in 2008, it pulled a disappearing act, leaving behind only cracked earth and a small pond.

In this multimedia presentation, EARTH reporter Cassandra Willyard tells the geologic story of Mountain Lake.

 

 

For more information on Mountain Lake, visit these sites:

20 Nov 2008

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