Geology News

New Horizons Discovers Frozen Plains on Pluto

July 18, 2015

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New Horizons Discovers Frozen Plains in the Heart of Pluto

The latest data from NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft shows a close-up image of a craterless plain on Pluto that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally […]

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New Timescale Firmly Implicates Volcanic Eruptions as the Dominant Drivers of Past Climate Variability

July 9, 2015

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Volcanic Eruptions Linked to Centuries of Cold Temperatures

A newly published study resolves the inconsistencies in the timing of atmospheric volcanic aerosol loading determined from ice cores and subsequent cooling from climate proxies such as tree rings and shows that large eruptions in the tropics and high latitudes were primary drivers of interannual-to-decadal temperature variability in the Northern Hemisphere during the past 2,500 […]

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Surfer-Shaped Waves Discovered at the Boundaries of Near-Earth Space

July 9, 2015

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NASA Shows Surfer-shaped Waves in Near-Earth Space

Two published papers reveal Kelvin-Helmholtz waves at the boundaries of near-Earth space, showing that they can appear under any conditions and are much more prevalent than previously thought. The universe overflows with repeating patterns. From the smallest cells to the largest galaxies, scientists are often rewarded by observing similar patterns in vastly different places. One […]

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NASA Study Provides New Estimates for the Global Water Cycle

July 8, 2015

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New NASA Estimates of Liquid Assets

A newly published study from NASA helps answer questions about droughts, flooding and how much water is on the move and where it is going. The new study provides estimates for the global water cycle budget for the first decade of the 21st century, taking the pulse of the planet and setting a baseline for […]

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Detects Impact Glass on Mars

June 9, 2015

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Detects Impact Glass on Surface of Mars

Newly detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars could provide details into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, such deposits might provide a delicate window […]

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Yale Researchers Illuminate Major Evolutionary Patterns of Snakes

May 20, 2015

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Researchers Generate a Family Tree for Living and Extinct Snakes

A team of researchers from Yale University analyzed snake genomes, modern snake anatomy, and information from the fossil record, generating a family tree for living and extinct snakes and illuminating major evolutionary patterns that have played out across snake evolutionary history. The ancestral snakes in the grass actually lived in the forest, according to the […]

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New Image Shows the Advance of Hubbard Glacier

May 20, 2015

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The Hubbard Glacier

New data from the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 shows the advance of Hubbard Glacier. Since measurements began in 1895, Alaska’s Hubbard Glacier has been thickening and steadily advancing into Disenchantment Bay. The advance runs counter to so many thinning and retreating glaciers nearby in Alaska and around the world. This image, acquired by […]

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The Mystery of India’s Rapid Move toward Eurasia 80 Million Years Ago

May 4, 2015

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Researchers Explain Mystery of India’s Rapid Move Toward Eurasia

A newly published study from MIT geologists reveals that a double subduction system may have driven India to drift at high speed toward Eurasia some 80 million years ago. In the history of continental drift, India has been a mysterious record-holder. More than 140 million years ago, India was part of an immense supercontinent called […]

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The First Complete View of the Yellowstone Magmatic System

April 24, 2015

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Newly Discovered Yellowstone Reservoir of Partly Molten Rock is Four Times Bigger than Shallower Chamber

A newly published study provides the first complete view of the Yellowstone magmatic system from the mantle plume to the upper crust, revealing a gigantic magma reservoir beneath the previously known magma chamber. University of Utah seismologists discovered and made images of a reservoir of hot, partly molten rock 12 to 28 miles beneath the […]

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Isotopic Evidence Confirms Interconnected Past of the Earth and Moon

April 9, 2015

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A Crucial Difference in the Fingerprints of Earth and the Moon

A newly published study brings scientists one step closer to understanding the close familial relationship between Earth and the moon. College Park, Maryland – Scientists at the University of Maryland are the first to confirm the accepted model of the moon’s formation using the “fingerprints” of the moon and Earth. The results suggest that the […]

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Isotopic Evidence Shows Life Could Have Flourished on Earth 3.2 Billion Years Ago

February 17, 2015

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Life Could Have Flourished on Earth 3.2 Billion Years Ago

New research from the University of Washington found evidence that life was pulling nitrogen out of the air and converting it into a form that could support larger communities 3.2 billion years ago. A spark from a lightning bolt, interstellar dust, or a subsea volcano could have triggered the very first life on Earth. But […]

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Geologists Discover Ancient Buried Canyon Along the Yarlung Tsangpo River

November 21, 2014

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Yarlung Tsangpo Valley close to the Tsangpo Gorge

The new discovery a deep canyon buried along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in south Tibet effectively rules out a popular model used to explain how the massive and picturesque gorges of the Himalayas became so steep, so fast. A team of researchers from Caltech and the China Earthquake Administration has discovered an ancient, deep canyon […]

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Earth Received Most of Its Water Relatively Early from Chondrite-Like Bodies

October 31, 2014

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Earth's Water Most Likely Accreted at the Same Time as the Rock

New research from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution shows that Earth’s water most likely accreted at the same time as the rock, suggesting that Earth received most of its water relatively early from chondrite-like bodies. Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface […]

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Low Atmospheric Oxygen Levels Delayed Rise of Animals

October 31, 2014

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Low Oxygen Levels Delayed the Appearance of Animals on Earth

A new study reveals that oxygen levels during the “boring billion” period were only 0.1% of what they are today, providing the first evidence that oxygen levels were low enough during this period to potentially prevent the rise of animals. Geologists are letting the air out of a nagging mystery about the development of animal […]

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New Calculations Challenge Assumptions about Rigid Lithosphere

August 27, 2014

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New Calculations Show Pacific Plate Shrinking as it Cools

A newly published study from geophysicists Rice University and the University of Nevada challenge assumptions about a rigid lithosphere, revealing that the Pacific plate is shrinking as it cools. Houston – The tectonic plate that dominates the Pacific “Ring of Fire” is not as rigid as many scientists assume, according to researchers at Rice University […]

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Geophysicists Detect Evidence of Large Amounts of Water in Earth’s Mantle

August 22, 2014

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Scientists Detect Evidence of Water in Earths Mantle

New research reveals large quantities of water bound up in the rock located deep in the Earth’s mantle. Researchers have found evidence of a potential “ocean’s worth” of water deep beneath the United States. Although not present in a familiar form, the building blocks of water are bound up in rock located deep in the […]

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New Questions About the Evolution of Dinosaurs in North America

August 19, 2014

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New Evidence Raises Questions About When Dinosaurs Evolved in North America

Scientists at MIT precisely dated the rocks in which the earliest dinosaur fossils were discovered in the southwestern United States, raising questions about when dinosaurs evolved in North America. The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were the golden age of dinosaurs, during which the prehistoric giants roamed the Earth for nearly 135 million years. Paleontologists have […]

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Martian Slopes of Arsia Mons May Have Been Home to a Habitable Environment

May 28, 2014

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Slopes of Arsia Mons Volcano May Have Been Home to a Habitable Environment

New research from geologists at Brown University reveals that the slopes of the Martian volcano Arsia Mons may have been home to one of the most recent habitable environments yet discovered on Mars. Providence, Rhode Island – Brown University – The slopes of a giant Martian volcano, once covered in glacial ice, may have been […]

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