Geology

Ancient rocks hold climate forecast

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 2, 2011   View Article

What will the planet’s climate be like by the end of this century? The answer may lie in really, really old rocks, according to a new report that urges a coordinated research effort to study them.

Scientists have already pieced together a comprehensive record of Earth’s changing climate from studies of rocks and ice that stretches back about 2 million years. The problem is that the amount of carbon dioxide already pumped into the atmosphere is 25 to 30 percent higher than at any point in that record.

Pictures: Giant Undersea Volcano Revealed

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 15, 2010   View Article

Captured by high-resolution cameras aboard a robotic submersible, mineral-rich water spews from hydrothermal vents in this June 30 picture of Kawio Barat, a massive undersea volcano off Indonesia.

During the past few weeks, the submerged volcano—one of the world’s largest—was mapped and explored in detail for the first time by a joint Indonesian-U.S. expedition north of the island of Sulawesi.

Oldest Land Walker Tracks Found – Pushes Back Evolution

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 6, 2010   View Article

The first vertebrates to walk the Earth emerged from the sea almost 20 million years earlier than previously thought, say scientists who have discovered footprints from an 8-foot-long (2.4-meter-long) prehistoric creature.

Dozens of the 395-million-year-old fossil footprints were recently discovered on a former marine tidal flat or lagoon in southeastern Poland.

Mystery Volcano Solves Global Cooling Puzzle

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 9, 2009   View Article

A newly detected 19th-century volcanic eruption may solve the mystery of a strangely cool decade in the early 1800s, researchers say—but the location of the volcano itself remains a puzzle.

Scientists have long blamed the 1815 eruption of an Indonesian volcano, Tambora, for a worldwide cold snap the following year—the so-called year without a summer.

Earth Hums, and It’s “Loudest” in Europe, Americas

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 10, 2009   View Article

Earth hums, and it’s the west coasts of Europe and parts of the Americas that are the main sources of the sound, a new study says.

Since 1998 researchers have known that Earth emits a low-frequency hum inaudible to humans. The sound waves register on instruments used to detect earthquakes even when no quakes are occurring.

Mystery Glaciers Growing as Most Others Retreat

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 22, 2009   View Article

Two South American glaciers are displaying strange behavior for the times: They’re growing.

Most of the 50 massive glaciers draped over the spine of the Patagonian Andes are shrinking in response to a global warming, said Andrés Rivera, a glaciologist at the Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia, Chile.

Mercury Pollution’s Oldest Traces Found in Peru

Publication: National Geographic magazine   Date: May 18, 2009   View Article

Demand for the mercury compound vermilion was strong enough to support a large-scale mercury mining industry in the Andes as far back as 1400 B.C., according to a new study.

A bright red pigment, vermilion was used in ancient Andean rituals and is frequently found adorning gold and silver ceremonial objects in ancient burials of kings and nobles in South America.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach