Geology, News, Space

Jupiter’s Moon Europa found to have Plate Tectonics

Europa's lineae, colorized. Image via NASA.

Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon is the only body in the Solar System found to have plate tectonics (besides Earth). A new study has found several defining features, including plate subduction, broken linear features and offset likely caused by strike slip faults. An introduction to plate tectonics Plate tectonics is one of the newest big theories in science. Developed in the…

Geology, News

Wrinkles in ancient rock may be signs of early life

Image via MIT.

Take a walk along any shore line – the odds are you’ll see at least a few rocks with a wrinkled pattern like the one below; what are these wrinkles? The answer is surprisingly complex, and has had geologists scratching their heads for decades, but now, that riddle may have finally been answered. The problem with these patterns is that…

Astrophysics, Geology, News, Space

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover Arrives at Martian Mountain

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It’s been a while since we’ve talked about the Curiosity rover, but that doesn’t mean that it stopped studying the Red Planet. Now, NASA’s rover has reached one of its main destinations: Mars’ Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity now will begin a new chapter from…

Biology, Geology, News

Dreadnoughtus schrani, a newly named dinosaur, is the largest to ever walk the face of the Earth

Lacovara Lab, Drexel University

A newly found superdinosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani, is the largest known land animal for which mass can be accurately calculated, a recent study concluded. The giant speciment, which isn’t even fully grown, probably measured 85 feet long and weighed about 65 tons. The name literally means “fear nothing”, and the dinosaur has already been nicknamed Dread. It is named after the British battleship HMS…

Geology, News

Iceland’s volcano situation heating up again

Bardarbunga volcano. Image source.

Seismic activity is continuing at the Bárðarbunga volcano and an eruption may still take place, scientists said on Sunday, but the emergency level has been downgraded from red to orange. “There are no indications that the activity is slowing down, and therefore an eruption can not be excluded,” the Icelandic Met Office said. Over 700 earthquakes have been recorded on Sunday…

Climate, Geology, News

‘Widespread methane leakage’ from ocean floor off US coast

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A worrying report states that over 500 bubbling methane vents were found on the seafloor off the US east coast. The unexpected finding suggests that there are large volumes of the gas contained in a type of sludgy ice called methane hydrate and as global waters continue to heat up, the methane will be released in large quantities. Methane hydrate (also called…

Environmental Issues, Geology, News

California issued rights for five times the water it actually has

How bad is California's drought? Just look above. Photo: Wiki

California is facing one of its direst drought streaks, and only last year it came out of its warmest winter on record. Clearly, things aren’t looking that good and the most vulnerable resource to these conditions is at the same time the most valuable: water. Desperate times, call for desperate measures, and this means in some instances policymakers need to…

Chemistry, Geology, News

One third of fracking chemicals are of unknown toxicity

Basic fracking life cycle scheme. Image: Wikipedia Commons

A while ago I wrote about the disheartening status quo of energy today: frack now, ask questions later. In the article, I argue that there’s a disproportion between the amount of hydraulic fracturing (9 out of 10 wells in the US are fracking wells) and the number of research articles that discuss the bio impact of the practice in the…

Biology, Geology, News

Hallucigenia revealed: the most surreal creature from the Cambrian

Dickinsonia costata, an iconic Ediacaran organism, displays the characteristic quilted appearance of Ediacaran enigmata. Image via Wikipedia.

It looks like a painting from Salvador Dali – but Hallucigenia was very much real. Truly one of the most surreal creatures to ever walk the face of the planet, it was finally deciphered and understood (at least partially) by paleontologists, after 4 decades of study. The process discovered not only its position in the tree of life, but also…

Environment, Geology, News

Study shows hydraulic fracking is sometimes shallow, in drinking water

fracking

Among the main arguments of hydraulic fracking proponents is the claim that fracking does nothing to threaten drinking water supply, because the process takes place much deeper. But now, a recent study conducted by Stanford researchers concludes that energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water….