Archives de catégorie : only geology

Global nickel anomaly links Siberian Traps eruptions and the latest Permian mass extinction

by Michael R. Rampino et al., October 2017, in Nature


Anomalous peaks of nickel abundance have been reported in Permian-Triassic boundary sections in China, Israel, Eastern Europe, Spitzbergen, and the Austrian Carnic Alps. New solution ICP-MS results of enhanced nickel from P-T boundary sections in Hungary, Japan, and Spiti, India suggest that the nickel anomalies at the end of the Permian were a worldwide phenomenon.

See also here and here

Did life on Earth start due to meteorites splashing into warm little ponds?

by McMaster University, October 2, 2017 in ScinceDaily


Life on Earth began somewhere between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, after meteorites splashed down and leached essential elements into warm little ponds, say scientists. Their calculations suggest that wet and dry cycles bonded basic molecular building blocks in the ponds’ nutrient-rich broth into self-replicating RNA molecules that constituted the first genetic code for life on the planet.

Lost continent of Zealandia: Scientists return from expedition to sunken land

by National Science Foundation, September 26, 2017  in ScienceDaily


Expedition co-chief scientist Rupert Sutherland of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand said researchers had believed that Zealandia was submerged when it separated from Australia and Antarctica about 80 million years ago.

Big geographic changes across northern Zealandia, which is about the same size as India, have implications for understanding questions such as how plants and animals dispersed and evolved in the South Pacific.

Submarine Volcanoes etc.

The most productive volcanic systems on Earth are hidden under an average of 8,500 feet (2,600 m) of water. Beneath the oceans a global system of mid-ocean ridges produces an estimated 75% of the annual output of magma. An estimated 0.7 cubic miles (3 cubic kilometers) of lava is erupted. The magma and lava create the edges of new oceanic plates and supply heat and chemicals to some of the Earth’s most unusual and rare ecosystems.

Diamonds show Earth still capable of ‘superhot’ surprises

by Europlanet Media Centre, September 21, 2017 in ScienceDaily


Diamonds may be ‘forever’ but some may have formed more recently than geologists thought. A study of 26 diamonds, formed under extreme melting conditions in the Earth’s mantle, found two populations, one of which has geologically ‘young’ ages. The results show that certain volcanic events on Earth may still be able to create super-heated conditions previously thought to have only existed early in the planet’s history before it cooled. The findings may have implications for diamond prospecting.

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Half-a-billion-year-old fossils shed light animal evolution on Earth

by University of Manchester, September 11, 2017 in ScienceDaily


The international team, including palaeontologist from The University of Manchester, found a new set of trace fossils left by some of the first ever organisms capable of active movement. Trace fossils are the tracks and burrows left by living organisms, not physical remains such as bones or body parts.

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Possible hominin footprints from the late Miocene (c. 5.7 Ma) of Crete?

by Gerard D. Gierlinski et al., August 31, 2017 in Proc.Geologist’sAssoc.


We describe late Miocene tetrapod footprints (tracks) from the Trachilos locality in western Crete (Greece), which show hominin-like characteristics. They occur in an emergent horizon within an otherwise marginal marine succession of Messinian age (latest Miocene), dated to approximately 5.7 Ma (million years), just prior to the Messinian Salinity Crisis.

A new estimate of biodiversity on Earth

by University of Chicago Press Journals, August 30, 2017 in ScienceDaily


To date, about 1.5 million species have been formally described in the scientific literature, most of them insects. Proportionally, bacteria comprise less than 1% of all described species.

In a new paper published in The Quarterly Review of Biology (September 2017), researchers from the University of Arizona have estimated that there are roughly 2 billion living species on Earth, over a thousand times more than the current number of described species.

The onset of widespread marine red beds and the evolution of ferruginous oceans

by Haijun Song et al., August 2017, in Nature


Banded iron formations were a prevalent feature of marine sedimentation ~3.8–1.8 billion years ago and they provide key evidence for ferruginous oceans. The disappearance of banded iron formations at ~1.8 billion years ago was traditionally taken as evidence for the demise of ferruginous oceans, but recent geochemical studies show that ferruginous conditions persisted throughout the later Precambrian, and were even a feature of Phanerozoic ocean anoxic events.