Geology News

Study Suggests Habitable Zone Alone Isn’t Sufficient to Support Life

August 22, 2016

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Planetary Habitability Depends on Internal Planet Temperature

New research from Yale University suggests that simply being in the habitable zone isn’t sufficient to support life. A planet also must start with an internal temperature that is just right. The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second “Goldilocks,” according to a Yale University researcher. For decades, it has […]

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MIT Geologists Trace Mercury’s Origins to Rare Meteorite

June 29, 2016

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Astronomers Trace Mercury’s Origins to Rare Meteorite

A newly published study shows that Mercury underwent a period of rapid cooling and that the planet likely has the composition of an enstatite chondrite — a type of meteorite that is extremely rare here on Earth. Around 4.6 billion years ago, the universe was a chaos of collapsing gas and spinning debris. Small particles […]

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Scientists Unveil the First Global Topographic Model of Mercury

May 9, 2016

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Global Topographic Model of Mercury

Using data from NASA’s MESSENGER mission, astronomers created the first global digital elevation model (DEM) of Mercury, revealing in stunning detail the topography across the entire innermost planet and paving the way for scientists to fully characterize its geologic history. NASA’s MESSENGER mission has unveiled the first global digital elevation model (DEM) of Mercury, revealing […]

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New Study Traces the Impact of Volcanic Activity on Climate Change

April 25, 2016

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New Research Traces the Impact of Volcanic Activity on Climate Change

A newly published study shows that for the majority of Earth’s history, continental arc volcanism has been the main driver of long-term climate variability. A geology-based analysis of Earth’s climate history over the past 700 million years provides evidence that climate change has occurred traditionally through slow shifts in the release of carbon dioxide — […]

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Was Frozen Mammoth or Giant Ground Sloth Served for Dinner?

February 8, 2016

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Yale Researchers Put Prehistoric Mystery Meat to the Test

A famous dinner for scientists in the 1950s supposedly served meat from a woolly mammoth that was discovered frozen in the arctic. Yale scientists obtained a preserved sample of the meat, which DNA analysis proves is actually from a modern green sea turtle. The green sea turtle is an endangered species, so the flesh sample […]

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New Findings Help Shape Our Understanding of Pluto and Its Moons

December 18, 2015

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Astronomers Gain a Better Understanding of Pluto and Its Moons

Using data from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto, astronomers continue to learn more about this icy world and its system of satellites. New Horizons science team members are highlighting the latest findings from the Pluto flyby at this week’s American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting in San Francisco. Among the highlights are insights into […]

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Scientists Should Focus on Changes in Species to Recognize and Avoid a Mass Extinction

December 17, 2015

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Reserachers Examine Rarity in Mass Extinctions and the Future of Ecosystems

New research from Yale University urges scientists to move their focus from species extinction to species rarity in order to recognize, and avoid, a mass extinction in the modern world. Writing in the journal Nature the week of December 16, Yale’s Pincelli Hull and colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution argue that modern extinction rates may […]

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Yale Researchers Find a Soft Spot in the Nazca Plate

December 3, 2015

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Researchers Find a Soft Spot in a Tectonic Slab

Using land-based seismic stations, researchers from Yale University found that part of the Nazca Plate weakened and deformed as it bent and slid under the adjoining South American Plate. The Earth’s tectonic plates may be more flexible than previously thought as they slide underneath each other and dive deep below the surface, according to new […]

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Temperature of Ancient Seas May Shape Global Climate

November 19, 2015

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Temperature of Ancient Seas Shape Global Climate

In a newly published study, scientists from Yale University detail the differences in ocean temperatures over the last 5 million years by creating a historical record for sea temperature gradients and comparing it with state-of-the-art climate model simulations. The study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Sea temperature gradients (contrasts) in the tropics and […]

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Astronomers Reveal High Concentrations of Ammonia on Charon

October 30, 2015

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Organa Crater is Rich in Frozen Ammonia

Astronomers have discovered a striking contrast between one of the fresh craters on Pluto’s largest moon Charon and a neighboring crater dotting the moon’s Pluto-facing hemisphere. The crater, informally named Organa, caught scientists’ attention as they were studying the highest-resolution infrared compositional scan of Charon. Organa and portions of the surrounding material ejected from it […]

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Massive Lunar Impact Appears to Have Created the Mafic Mound

October 19, 2015

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Researchers Discover a Mysterious Mound on the Lunar Surface

Geologists from Brown University detail the discovery of a giant mound near the Moon’s south pole that appears to be a volcanic structure unlike any other found on the lunar surface. They believe the mound was formed by unique volcanic processes set in motion by the impact that formed the basin. The formation, known as […]

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Drinking Water Contamination Likely from Hydraulic Fracturing Surface Releases, Not Migration from Gas Wells or Deep Shale Layers

October 13, 2015

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Elevated Organic Compounds Found in Pennsylvania Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing

Engineers at Yale University reveal that the presence of organic compounds in groundwater aquifers in Pennsylvania is likely the result of surface releases from hydraulic fracturing operations and not migration from gas wells or deep shale layers. In the largest study of its kind, a Yale-led investigation found no evidence that trace contamination of organic […]

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New Research Reveals Earth’s Inner Core Was Formed 1 – 1.5 Billion Years Ago

October 12, 2015

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New Study Reveals Earth’s Inner Core was Formed 1 – 1.5 Billion Years Ago

New data from the University of Liverpool reveals that the Earth’s inner core was formed 1 – 1.5 billion years ago as it “froze” from the surrounding molten iron outer core. The inner core is Earth’s deepest layer. It is a ball of solid iron just larger than Pluto which is surrounded by a liquid […]

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Curiosity Reveals Clues About Past Water, Climate, and Habitability on Mars

October 9, 2015

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Scientists Describe Ancient Water Flows and Lakes on Mars

Newly published research from Caltech describes ancient water flows and lakes on Mars, and what this might mean about the ancient climate. We have heard the Mars exploration mantra for more than a decade: follow the water. In a new paper published October 9, 2015, in the journal Science, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team […]

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New Horizons Reveals Charon’s Colorful and Violent History

October 2, 2015

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New Images of Pluto's Moon Charon

New images from NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft are the highest resolution images yet of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. The images reveal a surprisingly complex and violent past. At half the diameter of Pluto, Charon is the largest satellite relative to its planet in the solar system. Many New Horizons scientists expected Charon to be a […]

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Mars

September 28, 2015

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NASA Confirms Liquid Water Evidence on Mars

New research using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken […]

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New Horizons Reveals ‘Snakeskin’ Pluto Image and More

September 25, 2015

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New Pluto Images from New Horizons

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft continues to deliver data to astronomers, revealing new images and much more about the dwarf planet Pluto. The newest high-resolution images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons are both dazzling and mystifying, revealing a multitude of previously unseen topographic and compositional details. The image above — showing an area near the […]

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Scientists Discover the Remains of Cold Weather Dinosaurs

September 22, 2015

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Researchers Discover Fossils from Dinosaurs That Lived in Cold Weather

Scientists from Florida State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks have uncovered a new species of duck-billed dinosaur, a 30-footlong herbivore that endured months of winter darkness and probably experienced snow. The skeletal remains of the dinosaurs were found in a remote part of Alaska. These dinosaurs were the northernmost dinosaurs known to have […]

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