Geology News -- ScienceDaily Geology news. From the discovery of new properties of deep earth and finds in fossil magma chambers to fossil fuels and more.

  • Deep impact: Deep-sea wildlife more vulnerable to extinction than first thought
    on March 22, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    The existence of the unusual yeti crabs (Kiwaidae) -- a family of crab-like animals whose hairy claws and bodies are reminiscent of the abominable snowman -- since 2005, but already their future survival could be at risk. New Oxford University research suggests that past environmental changes may have profoundly impacted the geographic range and species diversity of this family. The findings indicate that such animals may be more vulnerable to the effects of human resource exploitation and climate change than initially thought. […]

  • Two-billion-year-old salt rock reveals rise of oxygen in ancient atmosphere
    on March 22, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Salts left over from ancient seawater reveal new information about the oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere more than 2 billion years ago. […]

  • Seismologists introduce new measure of earthquake ruptures
    on March 21, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    A team of seismologists has developed a new measurement of seismic energy release that can be applied to large earthquakes. It provides a measure of earthquake rupture complexity that better captures variations in the amount and duration of slip along the fault for events that may have similar magnitudes. […]

  • Radar images show large swath of Texas oil patch is heaving and sinking at alarming rates
    on March 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Radar satellite images show a large swath of Texas oil patch is heaving and sinking at alarming rates, according to a geophysical team. Analysis of the images with oil activity data from the Texas Railroad Commission suggests decades of oil activity have destabilized localities of the 4,000-square-mile area, which is populated by small towns, roadways and a vast network of oil and gas pipelines and storage tanks. […]

  • Palm trees are spreading northward. How far will they go?
    on March 19, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    What does it take for palm trees, the unofficial trademark of tropical landscapes, to expand into northern parts of the world that have long been too cold for palm trees to survive? A new study attempts to answer this question. Researchers analyzed a broad dataset to determine global palm tree distribution in relation to temperature. […]

  • New understanding of Kenyan paleoenvironments opens window on human evolution in the area
    on March 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Interest in human evolution has stimulated new geological work in the southern rift valley of Kenya. A new article presents the results of more than 15 years of field research on complex strata representing the last 500,000 years of geological history in an active rift system. […]

  • Greenland glaciers' varied vulnerability to melting
    on March 14, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Using data from NASA missions observing Earth, researchers have created new maps of the bed topography beneath a score of glaciers in southeast Greenland, thereby gaining a much better understanding of why some are undergoing rapid retreat and others are relatively stable. […]

  • Scientists helping to improve understanding of plate tectonics
    on March 14, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Scientists are helping to improve understanding of how rocks in Earth's hot, deep interior enable the motions of tectonic plates, which regulate the water cycle that is critical for a habitable planet. […]

  • Underwater volcano behavior captured by timely scientific expedition
    on March 14, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Researchers got a rare opportunity to study an underwater volcano in the Caribbean when it erupted while they were surveying the area. […]

  • Unique diamond impurities indicate water deep in Earth's mantle
    on March 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Scientists have discovered the first direct evidence that fluid water pockets may exist as far as 500 miles deep into the Earth's mantle. […]

  • Study predicts wildlife of Africa's Albertine Rift will be threatened by climate change
    on March 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    A new study predicts that the effects of climate change will severely impact the Albertine Rift, one of Africa's most biodiverse regions and a place not normally associated with global warming. […]

  • New 3-D measurements improve understanding of geomagnetic storm hazards
    on March 8, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Measurements of the three-dimensional structure of Earth, as opposed to the one-dimensional models typically used, can help scientists more accurately determine which areas of the United States are most vulnerable to blackouts during hazardous geomagnetic storms. […]

  • Sinking land will exacerbate flooding from sea level rise in Bay Area
    on March 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Hazard maps use estimated sea level rise due to climate change to determine flooding risk for today's shoreline, but don't take into account that some land is sinking. A precise study of subsidence around San Francisco Bay shows that for conservative estimates of sea level rise, twice the area is in danger of flooding by 2100 than previously thought. Some landfill is sinking 10 mm per year, threatening the airport and parts of Silicon Valley. […]

  • Diamond discovery under pressure
    on March 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    For the first time, scientists have found Earth's fourth most abundant mineral -- calcium silicate perovskite -- at Earth's surface. […]

  • Photosynthesis originated a billion years earlier than we thought, study shows
    on March 6, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    The earliest oxygen-producing microbes may not have been cyanobacteria. Ancient microbes may have been producing oxygen through photosynthesis a billion years earlier than we thought, which means oxygen was available for living organisms very close to the origin of life on earth. Researchers studied the molecular machines responsible for photosynthesis and found the process may have evolved as long as 3.6 billion years ago. […]

  • Tiny bubbles of oxygen got trapped 1.6 billion years ago
    on March 2, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Take a good look at these photos: They show you 1.6 billion years old fossilized oxygen bubbles, created by tiny microbes in what was once a shallow sea somewhere on young Earth. […]

  • Secret of magmas that produce global treasures
    on March 1, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    South Africa's history and economy has been built on its rich natural treasures of a number of precious metals, stones and minerals. The country's mineral deposits have been created over hundreds of millions of years through processes that are still not completely understood. One of these processes is the origin of chromitite layers hosted by layered intrusions - a major source of chromium on our planet. The study reveals the formation of these layers. […]

  • Do you know where your xenon is?
    on March 1, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    The paradox of the missing xenon might sound like the title of the latest airport thriller, but it's actually a problem that's stumped geophysicists for decades. New work provides the first experimental evidence of previously theorized compounds of iron and xenon existing under the conditions found in the Earth's core, potentially explaining why our planet's atmosphere is much more depleted in xenon than it should be. […]

  • New data helps explain recent fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field
    on February 28, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Using new data gathered from sites in southern Africa, researchers have extended their record of Earth's magnetic field back thousands of years to the first millennium. The new data also provides more evidence that the region may play a unique role in magnetic pole reversals. […]

  • Modern volcanism tied to events occurring soon after Earth's birth
    on February 28, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Plumes of hot magma from the volcanic hotspot that formed Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean rise from an unusually primitive source deep beneath the Earth's surface. The mantle differentiation event preserved in these hotspot plumes can both teach scientists about early Earth geochemical processes and explain the mysterious seismic signatures created by dense deep-mantle zones. […]

  • Human-made earthquake risk reduced if fracking is 895m from faults
    on February 28, 2018 at 4:33 am

    The risk of human-made earthquakes due to fracking is greatly reduced if high-pressure fluid injection used to crack underground rocks is 895m away from faults in the Earth's crust, according to new research. […]

  • Another clue for fast motion of the Hawaiian hotspot
    on February 27, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Recent studies have suggested that the Hawaiian hotspot moved relatively quickly southward in the period from 60 to about 50 million years ago. This hypothesis is supported by a new study. Researchers have evaluated new rock dating of the Rurutu volcanic chain and added data from the Hawaiian-Emperor chain and the Louisville chain. It shows that the Hawaiian-Emperor hotspot displays strong motion between 60 and 48 million years ago. […]

  • New insight into how magma feeds volcanic eruptions
    on February 22, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Researchers have provided new insights into how molten rock (magma) moves through the Earth's crust to feed volcanic eruptions. Using laboratory experiments involving water, jelly and laser imaging, researchers were able to demonstrate how magma magma flows through the Earth's crust to the surface through magma-filled cracks called dykes. […]

  • Laser-ranged satellite measurement now accurately reflects Earth's tidal perturbations
    on February 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Tides on Earth have a far-reaching influence, including disturbing satellites' measurements by affecting their motion. The LAser RElativity Satellite (LARES), is the best ever relevant test particle to move in the Earth's gravitational field. In a new study, LARES proves its efficiency for high-precision probing of General Relativity and fundamental physics. […]

  • Scientists eavesdrop on volcanic rumblings to forecast eruptions
    on February 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Sound waves generated by burbling lakes of lava atop some volcanoes point to greater odds of magmatic outbursts. This finding could provide advance warning to people who live near active volcanoes. […]

  • Soft tissue fossil clues could help search for ancient life on Earth and other planets
    on February 16, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Fossils that preserve entire organisms (including both hard and soft body parts) are critical to our understanding of evolution and ancient life on Earth. However, these exceptional deposits are extremely rare. New research suggests that the mineralogy of the surrounding earth is key to conserving soft parts of organisms, and finding more exceptional fossils. The work could potentially support the Mars Rover Curiosity in its sample analysis, and speed up the search for traces of life on other planets. […]

  • Key to predicting climate change could be blowing in the wind
    on February 15, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Dust that blew into the North Pacific Ocean could help explain why the Earth's climate cooled 2.7 million years ago, according to a new study. […]

  • Analysis of major earthquakes supports stress reduction assumptions
    on February 14, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    A comprehensive analysis of 101 major earthquakes around the Pacific ring of fire between 1990 and 2016 shows that most of the aftershock activity occurred on the margins of the areas where the faults slipped a lot during the main earthquakes. The findings support the idea that the area of large slip during a major earthquake is unlikely to rupture again for a substantial time. […]

  • Dance of auroras: First direct observation of electron frolic
    on February 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    The shower of electrons bouncing across Earth's magnetosphere -- commonly known as the Northern Lights -- has been directly observed for the first time by an international team of scientists. While the cause of these colorful auroras has long been hypothesized, researchers had never directly observed the underlying mechanism until now. […]

  • Earthquakes continue for years after gas field wastewater injection stops, study finds
    on February 13, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Shutting down oil and gas wastewater injection wells may not stop human-induced earthquakes quickly, say seismologists. The scientists analyzed earthquakes at DFW Airport that began in 2008 and found that even though wastewater injection was halted after a year, earthquakes continued for at least seven more years. They concluded that high-volume injection, even for a short time, can induce long-lasting seismicity when it's near a critically stressed fault. […]