Geology, News, Physics

Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Earth's magnetic field is shown in midreversal.COURTESY OF GARY A. GLATZMAIER University of California, Santa Cruz, AND PAUL H. ROBERTS University of California, Los Angeles

Geologists have known for quite a while that the Earth’s magnetic field has flipped many times throughout the planet’s history. Its dipole magnetic field, like that of a bar magnet maintains the same intensity, but for unknown reason(s), it sometimes becomes weaker and changes polarity. Now, a new study has showed that this phenomenon could happen much faster than previously believed –…

Geology, News, Space

Ancient Magma found on the Moon, below the Dark Spots

uried rift features, detected through gravity mapping, are seen superimposed on a full moon. Image credits: KOPERNIK OBSERVATORY/NASA/COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES/MIT/JPL/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

Scientists have discovered an almost rectangular feature consisting of ancient magma. The features are similar to rifts here on Earth, a linear zone where the Earth’s crust and lithosphere are being pulled apart. However, since the Moon doesn’t have any plate tectonics to cause rifts, the origin of this magma is still questionable. Magma on the Moon Several kilometers below the…

Geology, News

Strange Spherical Fossils may be Among World’s Earliest Multicellular Animals

Early developmental stages of Megasphaera. Xiao et al.

Some bizarre spherical fossils found in China may be remnants of some of the world’s earliest animals (not unicellular organisms). A recent analysis has revealed that they are not bacteria or single celled protists, but rather algae, or even embryos from early animals. “The real value of these fossils is that we now have some direct evidence about how this transition…

Geology, News

Geologists find changes in well water chemicals prior to earthquakes

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A team of geologists from Iceland, Sweden and Saudi Arabia has found changes in groundwater chemicals prior to earthquakes. They emphasize that they haven’t found a precursor to earthquakes, but there seems to be a connection between these chemical changes and incoming earthquakes. There is no reliable earthquake warning system, and there almost certainly won’t be any (at least in…

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…