Posted on March 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Earth hs often been marked by meteor impacts, and a new impact zone in Australia may the largest ever. Photo via USGS.
Geothermal exploration leads to unexpected discovery
FRISCO — Scientists exploring deep underground for geothermal resources in Australia got more than they bargained for when they found signs of an ancient 400-kilometer-wide impact zone from a huge meteorite that broke in two moments before it slammed into the Earth.
The crater from the impact millions of years ago has long disappeared. But a team of geophysicists has found the twin scars of the impacts — the largest impact zone ever found on Earth — hidden deep in the earth’s crust. Continue reading
Filed under: astronomy, Environment | Tagged: Geology, Australia, meteors, meteor impacts, earth history | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wind, water and ice are shown once again to be key geological drivers
FRISCO — Scientists have not only solved the mystery of the moving rocks at Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa — they documented the movement on video and even took measurements by attaching GPS units to some “non-native” rocks as part of a research project in the Southern California desert.
Some of the rocks weigh up to 100 pounds and leave behind distinct tracks as they scoot across the dry lake bed. Scientists have been studying the area for decades, but nobody has seen the process in action until now, according to a press release from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UC San Diego). Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Death Valley National Park, Geology, moving rocks, Racetrack Playa | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Compass readings help trace the impact of electrical storms
A bolt of lightning strikes near the Continental Divide, in Summit County, Colorado.
By Summit Voice
Geologists in South Africa say that lighting strikes are significant factor in shaping the summit areas of mountains, thereby shaping the evolution of mountain landscapes. Specifically, they found that many angular rock formations in the Drakensberg Mountains are caused by lightning blasts — and not necessarily by the melt-freeze cycle as commonly assumed. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: climate, Drakensberg, Drakensburg, Geology, lightning, mountains | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 23, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
100-foot chunk of rock breaks off canyon wall
The large lighter-colored area indicates the extent of the rock slide above Jones Hole Creek as seen from the fish hatchery in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo via NPS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A rockslide has closed portions of Dinosaur National Monument, According to the National Park Service, the slide has resulted in the closure of NPS lands from the boundary of the monument and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery to Ely Creek.
The first rock slide was reported June 18, when a large slab of rock broke free from a cliff face just a short distance inside the monument boundary, less than .25 miles from the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery. One fisherman reported having to run from a boulder that landed in the stream not too far from his location. After receiving reports, park rangers checked the scene and did not see any further activity. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Dinosaur National Monument, Geology, national parks, rockslides | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
UBC geologists examine pyroclastic deposits near summit of tephra cone on south side of Kima’Kho. Key attributes of these deposits established that they were deposited above the level of a surrounding englacial lake. Photo courtesy UBC Science.
Ancient tuyas hold climate clues
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —In what must have been incredible displays of fire and ice, ancient volcanoes once erupted under massive glacial ice sheets, leaving deposits that could help paleoclimatologists unravel some ice age puzzles.
In a recent study, University of British Columbia researchers surveyed those deposits at the Kima’ Kho tuya, which erupted under an ice sheet about 1.8 million years ago. Their findings suggest that he ancient regional ice sheet through which the volcano erupted was twice as thick as previously estimated. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: climate science, Earth Sciences, Geology, Ice sheet, Kawdy Plateau, Kima'Kho, Tuya, University of British Columbia, Volcano | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Mt. St. Helens erupts in 1980. Photo courtesy USGS.
New research suggests melting ice sheets could trigger more vulcanism
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Melting ice sheets may trigger an increase in global volcanic activity, according to researchers with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research (based in Kiel, Germany), and Harvard, who matched historic geological records of vulcanism with warm climate periods.
“In times of global warming, glaciers on the continents are melting relatively quickly. At the same time the sea level rises. The weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma,” said GEOMAR’s Dr Mario Jegen. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, world news | Tagged: climate, Earth Sciences, Geology, global warming, vulcanism | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
New geologic technique suggests the Grand Canyon is 60 million years older than previously thought
There’s no better place to contemplate Earth’s geological mysteries than the rim of the Grand Canyon, which may be quite a bit older than scientists had thought. Photo by Leigh Wadden.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — When you stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon, it becomes a little easier to visualize the almost unimaginably powerful forces that give Earth the shape we know today — and also to get a sense of how long some of those processes have been at work.
New research led by CU-Boulder assistant professor Rebecca Flowers suggests that the Grand Canyon may be 60 million years older than previously thought. An analysis of mineral grains from the bottom of the western Grand Canyon indicates it was largely carved out by about 70 million years ago — a time when dinosaurs were around and may have even peeked over the rim.
The scientists used a dating method that exploits the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium atoms to helium atoms in a phosphate mineral known as apatite, said Flowers, a faculty member in CU-Boulder’s geological sciences department. The technique may help researchers unravel other geological mysteries. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, national parks | Tagged: age of Grand Canyon, Colorado River, Geology, Grand Canyon, University of Colorado Boulder | Leave a comment »