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Building blocks of early earth survived collision that created moon
University of Maryland    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Unexpected new findings by a University of Maryland team of geochemists show that some portions of the Earth's mantle (the rocky layer between Earth's metallic core and crust) formed when the planet was much smaller than it is now, and that some of this early-formed mantle survived Earth's turbulent formation, including a collision with another planet-sized body that many scientists believe led to the creation of the Moon. More

Study: Lunar surface still active
ABC Science    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new study indicates the Moon may not be as geologically dead as previously thought, showing signs that it is simultaneously stretching and shrinking. New high-resolution images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, show parts of the Moon's surface are being pulled apart by expansion, forming small narrow trenches or rift valleys in the mare basalts and the highlands of the Lunar far side. More

High arsenic concentrations lurk in underground lakes at Wind Cave National Park
National Parks Traveler    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Coming upon an underground lake at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, can be stunning, a pool of water surrounded by rock. But don't think about sampling the water, as it likely is high in arsenic. A four-year study by the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service detected the high arsenic levels, which are associated with the surrounding geology of the Minnelusa Formation. As part of the study, the scientists collected 100 water samples from 60 sites in and around the park from sources such as stream sinks, cave drips, cave water bodies, springs and wells. More

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Volcanic glass yields evidence of ancient water
LiveScience    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At underwater volcanoes in Southeast Asia, scientists have discovered evidence of ancient distilled seawater that has been preserved for 1 billion years. Seawater circulation pumps hydrogen and boron isotopes — hydrogen and boron have both light and heavy isotopes, which have differing numbers of neutrons in their nuclei — into the oceanic plates that make up the seafloor. Some of this seawater remains trapped as the tectonic plates descend into the mantle at areas called subduction zones, which are infamous for unleashing huge earthquakes. More

Eruption of El Salvador's Ilopango explains A.D. 536 cooling
EARTH Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
El Salvador's Lake Ilopango, near the capital city of San Salvador, is known for boating, diving and the rugged, scenic beauty of its 100 meter-tall cliffs — the lip of the caldera that holds the lake. However, 1,500 years ago, it may have been the site of one of the most horrific natural disasters in the world. It may also be the long-sought cause of the extreme climate cooling and crop failures of A.D. 535-536, reported Robert A. Dull of the University of Texas at Austin at the Association of American Geographers annual meeting. More

Geological Survey assesses shale oil potential for Alaska
The Associated Press via Anchorage Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A federal agency estimates Alaska's North Slope holds up to 2 billion barrels of oil and 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in a resource that has never been tapped in the state — shale. The U.S. Geological Survey released its first estimate of technically recoverable North Slope shale oil and gas in part because of success companies are having extracting it elsewhere. The formations, which feed the vast Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk oil fields, rank No. 2 for shale oil potential in the U.S. behind the Bakken Formation in the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana. More

Geology may have driven species extinction
UPI    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Biodiversity booms and busts every 60 million years could be tied to a geological cycle of periodic uplifting of the world's continents, U.S. researchers say. Study leader Adrian Melott at the University of Kansas says periodic increases in the amount of the isotope strontium-87 found in marine fossils corresponds to previously discovered low points in marine biodiversity in the fossil record roughly every 60 million years. More

Climate change will shake the Earth
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The idea that a changing climate can persuade the ground to shake, volcanoes to rumble and tsunamis to crash on to unsuspecting coastlines seems, at first, to be bordering on the insane. How can what happens in the thin envelope of gas that shrouds and protects our world possibly influence the potentially Earth-shattering processes that operate deep beneath the surface? The fact that it does reflects a failure of our imagination and a limited understanding of the manner in which the different physical components of our planet — the atmosphere, the oceans, and the solid Earth, or geosphere — intertwine and interact. More

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