World Geoscience News

Oldest spearpoints, or error in dating?

Tracking coprostanol, a by-product of the digestion of cholesterol

Greek cave may have inspired Hades myths.

Much detail about various Rhino's fossilized in various volcanic eruptions.

Trying to reconstruct a new dinosaur.

Fossil ciliate found in fossilized leach cocoon.

New way to protect limestone buildings.

Prof looking for some large volcanic rocks mislaid in Wausau area for Mead volcanic display.

4 winged dino crow had good flight control.

Great fossils along Alabama River.

Biggest ammonite fossil mold yet found.

Horner not giving up on creating dinosaurs from chickens.

Perspectives on earthquake geologists convicted of manslaughter in Italy.

Amazing ocean sediment bacteria conduct electricity to aid respiration.

Salton Sea volcanoes not very old at all and starting to smell.

Vast number of fossilized turtles found in China.

Meteor preserve in Poland produces large iron meteorite

Legend of a whole planet made of diamonds.

What had 1400 elaborate teeth and lived 65 million years ago.

Ancient spider and wasp trapped in resin.

Amazing photos of rivers in iceland volcanic area.

Spending $1 billion to drill to mantle.

Monogenetic volcanoes only erupt once

Dinosaur likened to a 2 legged porcupine with a parrot beak rediscovered.

A 1,000-year-old ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analyzed by scientists and has been found to be carved from a meteorite.

New fossil site found in Burgess shale. 

Photo of checking Burgessshale on mountainside.

Claim of massive numbers of diamonds created by meteor impact.

Drought could be worse and spur fire devils.

Fungi put an end to coal formation?

Giant viruses an ignored branch of life?

Beautiful roman mosaics found in Turkey.

Some cambrian oddities lived longer than previously thought.

300,000 year old spears found in brown coal mine.

Evolution of insect metamorphosis

More kinds of rock "berries" found on Mars.

Green rust a rare form of iron has interesting properties.

They said it couldn't be found: elemental flourine. It has been found and it stinks.

Minimoons that visit earth and possibly orbit a while.
Display of giant snake that lived 58 millon years ago.

Prehistoric Lobsters Made Homes of Ancient Ammonoid Shells

How moon came to keep mottled side always in view from earth.

Fleas as big as 3/4 inch plagued dinosaurs.

Microrapter colored much like modern grackles but more wings and much longer tail.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that southeastern Missouri experienced a 4.0 magnitude earthquake Tuesday morning.
2/21/2012 The earthquake happened around 4:00 a.m. with the epicenter about nine miles east-southeast of Sikeston, Missouri.
Did rocks just fall off the glacier into a nice circle? You be the judge.
In 2000, fossil remains from the Miocene Age were discovered in Northeast Tennessee at what is today known as the Gray Fossil Site, offering a window into life on Earth 7 to 4 1/2 million years ago.
Within months, the site was determined to have been the location of a semicircular sinkhole that once harbored a pond environment.
Pompeii-like, a 300-million-year-old tropical forest was preserved in ash when a volcano erupted in what is today northern China.
Iceage plant grown from seed in 30,000 year old squirrel burrow in Siberian permafrost.
Studying the fastest growing volcano Uturuncu in Bolivia.

Dangerous dust: Erionite - an asbestos-like mineral causing a cancer epidemic in Turkey - is found in at least 13 states
An evolutionary transition that took several billion years to occur in nature has happened in a laboratory, and it needed just 60 days.

Archaeopteryx feather found to be black, which color makes feathers stronger than other colors.

Fossils collected by a young Charles Darwin have been discovered in a gloomy corner of a British Geological Survey vault.
Massive 1,100+ year old Maya site discovered in Georgia's mountains. Its name was Yupaha.
 A Macalester professor and her colleagues have found that Madagascar dinosaurs carried giant, hollow bones in their skin that may have helped them survive the harsh environments they inhabited.
Earth always has a second temporary moon, researchers claim
Evidence of the single-celled ancestors of animals, dating from the interval in Earth's history just before multicellular animals appeared, has been discovered in 570 million-year-old rocks from South China nest found in Mongolia of 15 baby dinosaurs that had been about 1 year old when they died.
"Over the past 20 years, Argentinean and Brazilian paleontologists have been unearthing bigger and bigger dinosaurs, putting the rest of the world in the shade," Fowler said in an MSU news release issued Tuesday. "However, our new finds not only show that Alamosaurus is newly recognized as the biggest dinosaur from North America, but also that it was right up there with the biggest South American species: The U.S. is back in the fight for the No.1 spot."
Scientists from Japan and Russia believe it may be possible to clone a mammoth after finding well-preserved bone marrow in a thigh bone recovered from permafrost soil in Siberia, a report said Saturday.

By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth’s marrow cells, embryos with mammoth DNA can be produced, Kyodo said, citing the researchers.

The scientists will then plant the embryos into elephant wombs for delivery, as the two species are close relatives, the report said.

Ancient super-predator eyes found in Australia  Australian scientists on Thursday hailed the discovery of a pair of insect-like eyes belonging to a freakish prehistoric super-predator which trawled the seas more than 500 million years ago.

Measuring three centimetres (1.2 inches) across and with a whopping 16,000 individual lenses the fossilised eyes, from a huge shellfish-type creature called anomalocaris, were found in rocks on Australia’s Kangaroo Island.     
Two billion years ago— eons before humans developed the first commercial nuclear power plants in the 1950s— seventeen natural nuclear fission reactors operated in what is today known as Gabon in Western Africa..Despite their modest power output, the Gabon nuclear reactors are remarkable because they spontaneously began operating around two billion years ago, and they continued to operate in a stable manner for up to one million years..  Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

The biggest volcanic eruptions of the past half eon had seemed a likely culprit in the greatest mass extinction Earth has seen. Now the closest look yet at events 252 million years ago is linking those eruptions even more closely not only to the biotic cataclysm in the sea but also to the mass extinction on land.
The dating also establishes that the extinction on land, apparently driven by extreme drying and warming, happened simultaneously with the marine extinction. And the new age for the extinction of 252.28 million years puts it within a mere few tens of thousands of years of the humongous lava outpourings that formed large deposits of volcanic rock known as the Siberian Traps. "We think the timing is consistent with the Siberian Traps eruptions being the major cause of the extinctions," Erwin says.
In Chile's dry, hot, desert-like Atacama Region, a group of Smithsonian researchers are digging up whales.
The team has found more than 20 complete whale skeletons, and about 80 individual specimens, as well as other types of marine mammals. Facing a deadline sometime next month, the team has been working as quickly as possible to remove the fossils.
Theorize Neanderthal's short legs were an advantage in navigating steep hills.
Small stromatolites found living at Ireland coast.

The Iron Ore of Bell Island, Conception Bay, Newfoundland

Smithsonian's presentation on Mazon creek fossils.
Luminescence dating requires nothing more than grains of sand, which means it can be used instead of the popular C-14 method at different sites and in different situations. After all, C-14 dating requires organic material. Luminescence dating can be used to date sediment from anywhere between just a few years to over 150,000 years old. It is also used in other disciplines, such as archaeology and art history

IRA FLATOW, host: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you attended a session, Session 120 at this week's Geological Society of America meeting, you heard quite a story: A murder mystery, really, that started about 220 million years ago. Here's what we know about the evidence, actually fossil evidence.

Nine giant ichthyosaurs, swimming dinosaurs about 45 feet long, died or were killed, and their bones were arranged in what looks like a pattern. The fossils were discovered in the 1950s in what is now Nevada, and since that time, paleontologists have been puzzling, just puzzling over the remains.

Were the ichthyosaurs stranded in shallow water? Did they die in a toxic algal pool? And at Monday's meeting, paleontologist Mark McMenamin threw his own theory into the ring. The ichthyosaurs, he says, were murdered by a giant octopus-like creature, a kraken, who arranged the bones in - well, in sort of a self-portrait.
A new paper published in the journal Science reveals the discovery of a primitive woolly rhino fossil in the Himalayas, which suggests some giant mammals first evolved in present-day Tibet before the beginning of the Ice Age.
U.S. space officials say they expect a dead satellite to fall to Earth in about a week. NASA has been watching the 6-ton  satellite closely. On Friday officials moved up their prediction for its arrival to Sept. 23, give or take a day. Scientists have calculated that the satellite, named the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, will break into 26 pieces as it gets closer to Earth. The agency will offer  the public more detailed information early next week
The fossilized teeth of a beaver found by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees on federal land represents the earliest record of the animal in North America and are estimated to be 7 to 7.3 million years old. The teeth come from the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, a protected area with an abundance of fossils, Fox News is reporting.

Surprisingly, the fossil teeth are almost identical to the chompers of living beavers and illustrate that the animal has changed little in seven million years.
They stretch from Syria to Saudi Arabia, can be seen from the air but not the ground, and are virtually unknown to the public.

They are the Middle East's own version of the Nazca Lines — ancient "geolyphs," or drawings, that span deserts in southern Peru — and now, thanks to new satellite-mapping technologies, and an aerial photography program in Jordan, researchers are discovering more of them than ever before. They number well into the thousands.
The Academy of Natural Sciences today announced the discovery of a new species of large predatory fish that prowled ancient North American waterways during the Devonian Period, before backboned animals existed on land.
Tree resin captures evolution of feathers on dinosaurs and birds
Magnetic mysteries of Earth's Core
An underground river has now been discovered beneath the mighty Amazon River, flowing miles below the surface.
Thermal signatures of groundwater suggest that the Hamza flows west to east just like the Amazon, except at a depth of about 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) below the Earth's surface. Computer simulations suggest that at a higher depth of about 2,000 feet (600 meters), the river actually flows vertically.

Not a river and not fresh water says another article:
A reindeer herder in Russia's Arctic has stumbled on the prehistoric remains of a baby woolly mammoth poking out of the permafrost, local officials said Friday.

The herder said the carcass was as perfectly preserved as the 40,000-year-old mammoth calf Lyuba discovered in the same remote region four years ago, authorities said, adding that an expedition had set off hoping to confirm the "sensational" find.
The forests of South Fork Mountain in northern California draw nitrogen from bedrock, making them some of the state's most productive forests. Understanding and quantifying this newly identified source of nitrogen may significantly impact scientists understanding of forest productivity, carbon storage and nitrogen cycling on land.
"This nitrogen is released slowly over time and helps to maintain the long-term fertility of many California forests," Dahlgren said. "It is also interesting to consider that the nitrogen in the rocks from our study site originates from the time of the dinosaurs, when plant and animal remains were incorporated into the sediments that eventually formed the rocks."

Amazing blog of pre-dinosaur lifeforms maintained by a 7 year old.
How do diamonds the size of potatoes shoot up at 40 miles per hour from their birthplace 100 miles below Earth's surface? Does a secret realm of life exist inside the Earth? Is there more oil and natural gas than anyone dreams, with oil forming not from the remains of ancient fossilized plants and animals near the surface, but naturally deep, deep down there? Can the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, be transformed into a pure solid mineral?
See the Aug 23rd Virginia earthquake detected by seismic sensors distributed across the us (with an amazing number in
the central part of the country.)
Oldest fossils on earth discovered.

A team of researchers that included an North Carolina State University geologist found evidence that our ancestors were crossing open water at least 130,000 years ago. That's more than 100,000 years earlier than scientists had previously thought.

Their evidence is based on stone tools from the island of Crete. Because Crete has been an island for eons, any prehistoric people who left tools behind would have had to cross open water to get there
The ability to cook and process food allowed homo erectus, the Neanderthals and homo sapiens to make huge evolutionary leaps that differentiated them from chimpanzees and other primates, said researchers at Harvard University.
Jurassic shrew sized mammal fossil found. "As the earliest known fossil ancestor to placental mammals, Juramaia provides fossil evidence of the date when eutherian mammals diverged from other mammals: metatherians (whose descendants include marsupials such as kangaroos) and monotremes (such as the platypus)"
Extremely old faults can still move.
IAMOND AS BIG AS A PLANET found. (A lot of assumptions lead to that.)
Due to melting ice at poles, the earth is getting fatter at the equator.
"The planet's radius is about 13 miles bigger at the equator than at the poles right now, says Nerem. This means that the point on the Earth's surface furthest away from its center is not the summit of Everest but rather the top of an Ecuadorian volcano."
Like a poodle on a leash, a tiny asteroid runs ahead of Earth on the planet's yearlong strolls around the sun, scientists report.
Diggers at an excavation in west-central Colorado turned up almost 5,000 large bones in seven weeks from mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths, bison, horses, deer and camels. They also uncovered thousands and thousands of smaller remains, such as rodent teeth and salamander vertebrae.
Impurities in diamonds illustrate movement of continents.
The diprotodon, described as an SUV sized wombat, is believed to be the largest marsupial ever to have walked the earth, weighing in at some three tonnes (3000 kilograms) and stretching to 14 feet long (4.3 meters). A herbivore, the giant beast would have presented a challenge to early predatory humans nonetheless if was anything like a wombat, which has sharp rodent-like teeth and has been known to bite, charge and bowl over those that cause it alarm.
In 2000, microbiologist Russell Vreeland of West Chester University in Pennsylvania and his colleagues found a 250-million-year-old bacterium — still alive — inside a tiny droplet of water in a salt crystal, they wrote in Nature. Although the find was controversial, further studies have found evidence of other microorganisms called archaea surviving tens of thousands, if not millions, of years in salt crystals.

A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
Wired Science News for Your Neuron
Humans Could Have Geomagnetic Sight
"The ability to see Earth’s magnetic field, thought to be restricted to sea turtles and swallows and other long-distance animal navigators, may also reside in human eyes."
Ancient sewer excavation sheds light on the Roman diet

Archaeologists working in a system of connected sewers and drains under the ancient town of Herculaneum in the Bay of Naples area of Italy have analyzed the human excrement found there and discovered the diet of ordinary Romans included a lot of vegetables and fruits, especially figs, and protein sources such as sea urchins and dormice.
If you thought the Icelandic volcano was bad – think again. According to a new study, the recent ash clouds that grounded aircraft and marooned holiday-makers were “just a taste” of the widespread air pollution, public health problems and agricultural crises that future, bigger eruptions could bring.

These are just a few of the conclusions of what, rather ironically, claims to be a “non-catastrophist” new book by the University of Cambridge volcanologist, Dr. Clive Oppenheimer, entitled Eruptions That Shook The World and published by Cambridge University Press.
During the winter of 1811-1812, three strong earthquakes between magnitude 7 and 8 rocked the New Madrid seismic zone, which runs through parts of eastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. The quakes opened deep fissures, destroyed forests and lakes, and produced intense ground shaking that liquefied the soil, turning the land to the consistency of jelly across an area of 10,000 square kilometers. They also became the stuff of legend — legend that has been hard to shake, and has made it difficult to realistically assess the modern hazard in the region, asserts Seth Stein, a seismologist at Northwestern University and the author of a new book, “Disaster Deferred: How New Science is Changing Our View of Earthquake Hazards in the Midwest.”
Stonehammer Geopark lies along the rugged Bay of Fundy on Canada’s southeast coast. Centered on Canada’s oldest incorporated city, Saint John, New Brunswick, it is the first North American member of the Global Geoparks Network, 77 parks established over the past decade with the assistance of UNESCO
As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.

All three of these lines of research to point to the familiar sunspot cycle shutting down for a while.

“If we are right,” Hill concluded, “this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.”

VANCOUVER — Phoebe Cohen was awestruck when she first looked through a high-powered electron microscope at a rock sample hammered out of the wilderness of the Yukon.

What she saw was 800 million-year-old fossilized evidence that organisms were trying to protect themselves by forming their own shield-like plates.

It is the oldest evidence ever of biomineralization, the use of minerals by a living thing to form a hard shell, similar to the way clams or lobsters form their own protection. The tiny fossils date back between 717 and 812 million years. compounds from a meteorite may hold clues to the origin of life on Earth, according to a study published today (June 9) in Science
The space rock was discovered in 2000, after a meteoroid blazed through the atmosphere and fell in pieces to the frozen surface of Tagish Lake, in Northern British Columbia. A local man gathered nearly two pounds of fragments; to avoid contamination and to preserve them, he didn’t touch them and kept them frozen for years. In 2008, a consortium of Canadian research institutions purchased them for $850,000.
An alternative interpretation of the data is that the compounds formed when a life form from outer space was degraded, said Chandra Wickramasinghe, an astrobiologist at the Cardiff Center for Astrobiology, who was not involved in the study.

Atmosphere Above Japan Heated Rapidly Before M9 Earthquake

Today, Dimitar Ouzounov at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland and a few buddies present the data from the Great Tohoku earthquake which devastated Japan on 11 March. Their results, although preliminary, are eye-opening.

They say that before the M9 earthquake, the total electron content of the ionosphere increased dramatically over the epicentre, reaching a maximum three days before the quake struck.

At the same time, satellite observations showed a big increase in infrared emissions from above the epicentre, which peaked in the hours before the quake. In other words, the atmosphere was heating up.

Scientists Discover Fossil of Giant Ancient Sea Predator

Now a team led by former Yale researcher Peter Van Roy (now at Ghent University in Belgium) and Derek Briggs, director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, has discovered a giant fossilized anomalocaridid that measures one meter (more than three feet) in length.

In addition, the creature dates back to the Ordovician period, a time of intense biodiversification that followed the Cambrian, meaning these animals existed for 30 million years longer than previously realized.

8.66 Carat Diamond Found at Park in Murfreesboro,0,4933541.story

Go deep, small worm
Discovery in South African mine suggests life can thrive in unexpected places
Tiny worms can live in solid rock up to 3.6 kilometers underground, researchers have found, far deeper than anyone has encountered complex organisms before. The discovery of nematode worms in three South African gold mines underscores that Earth’s biosphere reaches well into subterranean realms. It also suggests habitable environments may exist buried way down on other planets, such as Mars.