Geology, News, Observations

Dust from the Sahara Desert Fertilizes the Amazon’s Forests

The Sahara Desert actually "sends" dust to the Amazon rainforest, via global winds. Image via Wiki Commons.

The Sahara Desert and the Amazon area have few things in common – one is a dry, barren wasteland, while the other is the most fertile area on Earth. But according to a new NASA study, there may be more than meets the eye when it comes to the two – dust from the Saharan area makes the trans-Atlantic journey, fertilizing the Amazonian rainforest with phosphorus.

Geology, Great Pics

Wind Erosion Carves Spectacular Frozen Sand Formations on the Shore of Lake Michigan

DSC_8956-photo-by-Joshua-Nowicki

Wind erosion can create remarkable figures, as can be seen in these pictures by photographer Joshua Nowicki. He stumbled onto a bizarre phenomenon: dozens of small sand towers rising out of the beach. They were quite small, with only some reaching over a foot in height. Water, wind and low temperatures worked together to form these shapes. It all starts with the

Geology, News

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes Northern Japan, small tsunami created

Population per ~1 sq. km. from LandScan. Image via USGS.

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake (initially 6.9) has struck Northern Japan earlier today, with a small tsunami striking the coast without any significant damage. The tsunami was on the order of tens of centimeters. There was some worry, despite Japan being one of the most well prepared countries in the world to deal with earthquakes. “Overall, the population in this region resides

Geology, News

There’s an ancient Earth within a new Earth, new geochemistry findings suggest

earth_impact_moon

Billions of years ago, our ancient planet collided with a Mars-sized object called Theia. The impact released tremendous amounts of energy which is thought to have produced a whole mantle magma ocean, which should have erased pre-existing chemical heterogeneities within the Earth. Following the onslaught, a new Earth formed, along with the moon. New geochemical findings hint that the impact didn’t completely melt the whole planet, leaving clumps and patches intact. This ancient past is thought to still ripple in Earth’s mantle.

Biology, Geology, Science ABC

Are Birds Really Dinosaurs?

Archaeopterix fossil. Image via Science Views.

You sometimes hear people saying that birds are related to dinosaurs, but that’s really not true – birds aren’t related to dinosaurs… they are dinosaurs! 65 million years ago, a huge extinction wiped out all dinosaur groups except for one – that group of dinosaurs went on to become all the birds we see today. But let’s start from the beginning.

Geology, News, Pollution

400 Year Old Pollution Found in South America

A section of ice core that researchers at The Ohio State University extracted from the Quelccaya Ice Cap in Peru in 2003. Though the ice appears pristine, it contains evidence of human-produced air pollution from as early as the 16th Century. Photo by Paolo Gabrielli, courtesy of The Ohio State University.

We tend to think of pollution as a modern thing; after all, industrial pollution should be, well… industrial, right? Well, not quite: a group of researchers found 400 year old traces of pollution in the Peruvian Andes. The pollution was caused when the conquistadors forced the Inca to mine silver from “mountaintop mines”. Ancient Pollution In the 16th century, Spain

Geology, News, Physics

Ice Ages Make The Earth’s Crust Thicker

The Earth's climate affects the thickness of the crust, a new study found. Image via Wikipedia.

It’s hard to think that the crust’s thickness (which varies between several and several tens of km) can be affected by what happens on the surface – but that’s exactly the conclusion of a recent study conducted by British researchers. They found that during an ice age, when sea levels are low, the magma that spreads out from mid-ocean ridges flows

Biology, Geology, Science ABC

The World’s Largest Reptile

Saltwater crocodile with a GPS-based satellite transmitter attached to its head for tracking. Image via Wiki Commons.

If you’re asking yourself what the world’s biggest reptile is, then the answer is a bit complicated, because we have to make a significant distinction – do you want to know the largest living reptile, or the largest reptile ever? For the former, the answer is pretty straightforward: the saltwater crocodile takes the crown, with a maximum documented weight of 2 tons.

Feature Post, Geology

Doggerland – the land that connected Europe and the UK 8000 years ago.

Doggerland, Britain and Western Europe. Image via National Geographic.

We all know that Earth used to look much differently in the past, but few would imagine that Europe was such a different place only 8,000 years ago. Back then, continental Europe was connected to UK with a land mass called Doggerland. The area had a thriving history both for wildlife or for humans before it got flooded and met

Geology, News

A new island was just made in the Pacific Ocean by an underwater volcano

volcano2

An underwater volcano that’s been spewing ash and lava for the past month just created a new island off the Tonga archipelago. The volcano, called Hunga Tonga, has since stopped erupting and the island might not be long lived. Mostly made of ash and formed around the crater of the volcano, the half-mile long island is expected to erode away