Archives par mot-clé : Geology

A Second Letter to the Geological Society

by Andy May, August 29, 2018 in WUWT

In June of this year, Howard Dewhirst, a fellow of The Geological Society (London), wrote a letter to the President of the Society voicing the concern of 33 current and former fellows of the society, as well as other concerned geoscientists, that the Society’s position on climate change is outdated and one-sided. As of this writing, receipt of the letter has been acknowledged, but no reply has been received. Given the long period of time, Howard has sent a second letter to the Society, it is reproduced below.

Dear President

We understand that the council is reviewing the The Geological Society’s 2010 and 2013 position papers on climate change which was the subject of the letter we wrote to the society in early June. We also understand that despite the clear interest amongst Fellows – and other scientists, that the society will not be publishing further letters until the new position paper has been agreed. If true, we (the contributors to the first letter) think this is unfortunate, as now would be the very time to solicit informed opinion from Fellows and others as there clearly is not a consensus. …

Geologists uncover new clues about largest mass extinction ever

by University of Tennessee at Knoxville, August 27, 2018 in ScienceDaily from Nature.

Through the analysis of samples, Broadley and his team tried to determine the composition of the lithosphere. They found that before the Siberian Flood Basalts took place, the Siberian lithosphere was heavily loaded with chlorine, bromine, and iodine, all chemical elements from the halogen group. However, these elements seem to have disappeared after the volcanic eruption.

“We concluded that the large reservoir of halogens that was stored in the Siberian lithosphere was sent into the earth’s atmosphere during the volcanic explosion, effectively destroying the ozone layer at the time and contributing to the mass extinction,” Broadley said.

Integrated genomic and fossil evidence illuminates life’s early evolution and eukaryote origin

by Holly C. Betts et al., August 20, 2018 in NatureEcology&Evolution

We derive a timescale of life, combining a reappraisal of the fossil material with new molecular clock analyses. We find the last universal common ancestor of cellular life to have predated the end of late heavy bombardment (>3.9 billion years ago (Ga)). The crown clades of the two primary divisions of life, Eubacteria and Archaebacteria, emerged much later (<3.4 Ga), relegating the oldest fossil evidence for life to their stem lineages. The Great Oxidation Event significantly predates the origin of modern Cyanobacteria, indicating that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved within the cyanobacterial stem lineage. Modern eukaryotes do not constitute a primary lineage of life and emerged late in Earth’s history (<1.84 Ga), falsifying the hypothesis that the Great Oxidation Event facilitated their radiation…

Chemical nature of the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool microfossils

by J. Allen et al., 2018 in GeochemicalPerspectiveLetters

The biogenicity of putative traces of life found in early-Archean rocks is strongly debated. To date, only equivocal lines of evidence have been reported, which has prevented a full consensus from emerging. Here we report elemental and molecular data from individual organic microfossils preserved within the 3.4 billion-year-old cherts of the Strelley Pool Formation, Western Australia. The present results support the growing body of evidence advocating their biogenicity, promoting them as the oldest known authentic organic microfossils. These microfossils consist of nitrogen- and oxygen- rich organic molecules that have been only slightly degraded despite experiencing temperatures of ~300 °C. Such molecular preservation emphasises the palaeobiological potential of the Earth’s oldest geological record, whilst providing a promising window into the early biosphere.

See also here

A new volcanic province: an inventory of subglacial volcanoes in West Antarctica

by M. Van Wyk De Vries et al., August 16, 2018 in Geol.Soc.London

Abstract: The West Antarctic Ice Sheet overlies the West Antarctic Rift System about which, due to the comprehensive ice cover, we have only limited and sporadic knowledge of volcanic activity and its extent. Improving our understanding of subglacial volcanic activity across the province is important both for helping to constrain how volcanism and rifting may have influenced ice-sheet growth and decay over previous glacial cycles, and in light of concerns over whether enhanced geo- thermal heat fluxes and subglacial melting may contribute to instability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Here, we use ice-sheet bed-elevation data to locate individual conical edifices protruding upwards into the ice across West Antarctica, and we propose that these edifices represent subglacial volcanoes. We used aeromagnetic, aerogravity, satellite imagery and databases of confirmed volca- noes to support this interpretation. The overall result presented here constitutes a first inventory of West Antarctica’s subglacial volcanism. We identified 138 volcanoes, 91 of which have not previously been identified, and which are widely distributed throughout the deep basins of West Antartica, but are especially concentrated and orientated along the >3000 km central axis of the West Antarctic Rift System.

Blow to warmists, the proposed ‘Anthropocene’ epoch has been denied by ICS

by Anthony Watts, August 13, 2018 in WUWT

The global body tasked with naming geological eras, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, has rejected the proposed Anthropocene epoch,  the controversial ‘geological’ epoch in which mankind allegedly dominates natural processes. The international commission has now rejected the proposal and has instead split the Holocene Epoch into three different geological ages, all of which were primarily shaped by natural, not human factors.

See also here

“Back to the future of climate change”

by Anthony Watts, August 10, 2018 in WUWT

Syracuse University professor uses ancient marine sediment as benchmark for present, future climate models

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Researchers at Syracuse University are looking to the geologic past to make future projections about climate change.

Christopher K. Junium, assistant professor of Earth sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), is the lead author of a study that uses the nitrogen isotopic composition of sediments to understand changes in marine conditions during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)–a brief period of rapid global warming approximately 56 million years ago.

Junium’s team–which includes Benjamin T. Uveges G’17, a Ph.D. candidate in A&S, and Alexander J. Dickson, a lecturer in geochemistry at Royal Holloway at the University of London–has published an article on the subject in Nature Communications (Springer Nature, 2018).

A Geological Perspective of Wildfires

by David Middleton, July 31, 1018 in WUWT

This post was inspired by Anthony Watts’ recent post about wildfires and their unwillingness to cooperate with the Gorebal Warming narrative.

A Geological Perspective of Wildfires

The Fire Window

Geological evidence for ancient wildfires generally consists of sedimentary charcoal deposits (inertinite).  Fossil charcoal is also a key factor in understanding the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere, particularly oxygen content.  The first clear evidence of fire is in the Late Silurian.

Study: abrupt shifts occurred in the ancient European climate

by A. Watts, July 23, 2018 in WUWT and NatureCommunications

From the University of Helsinki and the “no SUV’s needed” department comes this study which suggests big cold snaps occurred right in the middle of the warm Eemian period. My only concern is perhaps they over-rely on climate models. For reference (and not part of the study) here’s the Eemian graph in context. Data sources listed int he graph.

Billion-year-old lake deposit yields clues to Earth’s ancient biosphere

by McGill University, July 18, 2018 in ScienceDaily

The findings, published in the journal Nature, represent the oldest measurement of atmospheric oxygen isotopes by nearly a billion years. The results support previous research suggesting that oxygen levels in the air during this time in Earth history were a tiny fraction of what they are today due to a much less productive biosphere.

“It has been suggested for many decades now that the composition of the atmosphere has significantly varied through time,” says Peter Crockford, who led the study as a PhD student at McGill University. “We provide unambiguous evidence that it was indeed much different 1.4 billion years ago.”

The study provides the oldest gauge yet of what earth scientists refer to as “primary production,” in which micro-organisms at the base of the food chain — algae, cyanobacteria, and the like — produce organic matter from carbon dioxide and pour oxygen into the air.

Sound waves reveal diamond cache deep in Earth’s interior

by Jennifer Chu, July 16 in MITNews

There may be more than a quadrillion tons of diamond hidden in the Earth’s interior, according to a new study from MIT and other universities. But the new results are unlikely to set off a diamond rush. The scientists estimate the precious minerals are buried more than 100 miles below the surface, far deeper than any drilling expedition has ever reached.

The ultradeep cache may be scattered within cratonic roots — the oldest and most immovable sections of rock that lie beneath the center of most continental tectonic plates. Shaped like inverted mountains, cratons can stretch as deep as 200 miles through the Earth’s crust and into its mantle; geologists refer to their deepest sections as “roots.”

In the new study, scientists estimate that cratonic roots may contain 1 to 2 percent diamond. Considering the total volume of cratonic roots in the Earth, the team figures that about a quadrillion (1016) tons of diamond are scattered within these ancient rocks, 90 to 150 miles below the surface.

Scientists discover Earth’s youngest banded iron formation in western China

by University of Alberta, July 11, 2018 in ScienceDaily

Discovery provides evidence of iron-rich seawater much later than previously thought.

The banded iron formation, located in western China, has been conclusively dated as Cambrian in age. Approximately 527 million years old, this formation is young by comparison to the majority of discoveries to date. The deposition of banded iron formations, which began approximately 3.8 billion years ago, had long been thought to terminate before the beginning of the Cambrian Period at 540 million years ago.

The Early Cambrian is known for the rise of animals, so the level of oxygen in seawater should have been closer to near modern levels. “This is important as the availability of oxygen has long been thought to be a handbrake on the evolution of complex life, and one that should have been alleviated by the Early Cambrian,” says Leslie Robbins, a PhD candidate in Konhauser’s lab and a co-author on the paper.

New Holocene geological subdivisions. The Anthropocene nowhere to be found.

by Javier, July 9, 2018 in WUWT

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has announced that the proposal by the International Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (ISQS) for the subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch has been ratified unanimously by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).



nb:  ‘No Christiana, the geologists do not think the Anthropocene is a concept worthy of consideration, and you should be better informed.’

Oxford University Spreads Fake News

by Donna Laframboise, July 8, 2018 in BigPicNews

SPOTLIGHT: The most reputable publishers imaginable are misinforming the public about basic geology.

BIG PICTURE: Last September, a book titled The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Analysis and Commentary appeared. Five people are listed as editors, four of whom are lawyers. Two teach at universities. Another two are United Nations legal officers.

These people aren’t lightweights. You’d expect them to be in possession of elemental facts.

Nevertheless, not one of these editors objected to a blatant falsehood in the Foreword to this book. It’s hard to find a more distinguished publisher than Oxford University Press, but none of its editorial team caught it, either. …