NEWS ABOUT: geology

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Experts Warned of 'Catastrophic' Landslide in Wash.

'We’ve known it would happen at some point. We just didn’t know when.'

(Newser) - "This came out of nowhere," a county official said yesterday of the landslide that killed at least 14 and left 176 more missing in Washington. "This was a completely unforseen slide." But geologists have actually been making dire predictions about the hill that collapsed since the... More »

Blarney Stone Mystery Solved

It's not a chunk of Stonehenge, tests reveal

(Newser) - Ireland's famous Blarney Stone isn't a slice of Stonehenge, part of Robert the Bruce's "Stone of Destiny," or anything else more exotic than local limestone, researchers say. The stone reputed to give those who kiss it the "gift of the gab" has been revealed... More »

'Hell Diamond' Signals Vast, Deep Water Deposit

Earth's mantle may have as much water as the oceans

(Newser) - A huge "wet zone" hundreds of miles beneath the surface of the Earth could hold as much water as all the oceans put together, according to researchers analyzing a mineral from deep in the mantle. The water is "not a Jules Verne-style ocean you can sail a boat... More »

Earth's Oldest Rocks: 4.4B-Year-Old Crystals

They're not much younger than the planet itself

(Newser) - When scientists claimed more than a decade ago that tiny crystals in Australia were 4.4 billion years old, they faced skepticism. The Earth itself, after all, is 4.5 billion years old, the Sydney Morning Herald notes. "Nothing in science goes without being questioned," geochemist John Valley... More »

Yellowstone Blasts Incredibly Old Helium

The gas has been building for hundreds of millions of years

(Newser) - Yellowstone National Park has long been known as a gassy place, and its reputation as such just got more firmly established. That helium emanates from the ground in the park is an established fact, Smithsonian Magazine explains, but when researchers dug into the makeup of that helium, what they found... More »

70M Years Old? No, Grand Canyon Mostly Just a Kid

Much of it is just 5M years old, geologists find

(Newser) - The Grand Canyon is nowhere near the grand old age of 70 million years that earlier studies claimed, according to new research. "The Colorado River found a path and carved the entire canyon 5 (million) to 6 million years ago," says a geologist who used data measuring the... More »

New Zealand's Tallest Mountain Has Shrunk

Ice collapse decades ago knocks almost 100 feet off Mount Cook

(Newser) - The highest point in New Zealand is about 100 feet shorter than we thought. A new measurement of Aoraki/Mount Cook puts its height at roughly 12,217.8 feet, down from an official listed height of 12,316.3 feet, Stuff.co.nz reports. That discrepancy likely isn't due... More »

Scientist: Massive Quakes Hidden in History

Huge seismic events missing from the records

(Newser) - The Earth might have a more turbulent past—and hence a more turbulent future—than we thought. In a presentation yesterday, Dr. Susan Hough of the US Geological Survey argued that hidden throughout history are a glut of giant earthquakes that either went unrecorded or have been underestimated. "Seismometers... More »

New Zealand Quakes Made Earth's Crust Weaker

Geologists find weakening for 3 miles around crust

(Newser) - How nasty were the deadly quakes that hit New Zealand one after another in 2010 and 2011? So bad that they appear to have seriously weakened the Earth's crust, scientists reveal in a new study. Geologists had previously believed that the strength of the Earth's crust was more... More »

Scientists Accidentally Discover Even Grander Canyon

In Greenland, but no one's ever seen it

(Newser) - Scientists have—totally by accident—come across a hidden canyon that dwarfs the Grand one, the BBC reports. The researchers were using radar to map out Greenland's bedrock when they stumbled upon the 2,625-foot deep feature, which, at 500 miles, is longer than the Grand Canyon's 277... More »

Latest Search for Alien Life Taking Place on Earth

NASA turns to geologists for help

(Newser) - NASA's latest partner in the search for alien life: a group of about 50 geologists who are hunting for evidence of ancient life here on Earth. The University of Wisconsin's Astrobiology Research Consortium last month started a five-year, $7 million project funded by a NASA grant. It'll... More »

New Study Offers Proof: Asteroid Wiped Out Dinos

New study puts mass extinction within 32K years of meteor

(Newser) - Paleontologists and dinosaur nerds have long debated what killed off the "terrible lizards"— one meteor or many , volcanoes , or something else. Now one researcher says he has the answer: an asteroid believed to be about six miles wide that landed in the Caribbean about 66 million years ago.... More »

Martian Rock Found in Sahara Thrills Experts

2B-year-old stone holds more water than others

(Newser) - After a rock from Mars was discovered in the Sahara desert, scientists investigated it for a year—and they're fascinated by what they've learned. At an estimated two billion years old, the rock is older than most Martian meteorites and holds more water, the AP reports. And it... More »

Study: Grand Canyon 70M Years Old, Not 6M

Which means dinosaurs might have roamed there, say researchers

(Newser) - Visit the Grand Canyon, and signs will inform you that scientists believe it is about 6 million years old, which, a new study suggests, is a mere 64 million years or so off. A group of "contrarian" geologists published a paper today arguing that the canyon is about 70... More »

Oldest Impact Crater Found in Greenland

Meteorite probably smashed down about 3B years ago

(Newser) - Scientists have uncovered what might be the oldest meteorite crater on Earth. Located in Greenland, it's about 62 miles wide and was likely formed 3 billion years ago when a 19-mile-wide meteorite collided with our planet, reports Space.com . Today, an impact that size likely would wipe out humans.... More »

Did Drilling Cause Oklahoma's Quakes?

Some blame fracking, amid sketchy evidence

(Newser) - Scientists aren’t entirely sure what caused the earthquakes that rocked Oklahoma last week , but many in the state are wondering whether it might have something to do with the oil wells and fracking operations that dot the state, the LA Times reports. Oil companies scoff at the notion—“... More »

Underwater 'Atlantis' Landscape Revealed

Vast submerged terrain shows signs of former terrestrial life

(Newser) - Deep underwater and far below ocean sediment lies what was, millions of years ago, a vast landscape. Complete with furrows and peaks that were once rivers and mountains, the North Atlantic site "looks for all the world like a map of a bit of a country onshore,” said... More »

Clues Suggest How Grand Canyon Formed

New data explains rising of huge Colorado Plateau

(Newser) - We know the Grand Canyon was formed when the vast Colorado plateau rose from the ground, then eroded. But scientists have long been stumped as to why the 130,000-square-mile region pushed more than a mile upward. Now, a team of researchers may have found the answer, and it lies... More »

Japan's Geologists Had the 'Big One' All Wrong

They'd predicted a massive quake southwest of Tokyo

(Newser) - For years, Japan’s scientists have been expecting a giant earthquake, pinpointing its location along a fault line southwest of Tokyo—but today’s disaster defied their forecasts. The country’s biggest earthquake occurred 231 miles northeast of the capital along a different fault, the Washington Post reports. Scientists had... More »

Africa Rapidly Breaking in Two

Quakes widen fissure at rarely-seen speed: scientists

(Newser) - Africa is gradually breaking apart—and in the past several months, the process has accelerated. Now, amid earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, it’s happening exceptionally quickly, reports Der Spiegel . Water is threatening to flood a fracture between Ethiopia and Mozambique, scientists say; while it will be millions of years before... More »

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