THEME BY PISTACHI-O

science-junkie:

A soaring mountain range as tall as the Himalayas once towered over the U.S. East Coast. Some 20 miles (32 kilometers) of rock have since transformed into sand and mud, exposing an outcrop of the most extreme rocks in America.

Banded with colorful, unique garnets, the gneiss — a form of metamorphic rock — was pushed as far as rock can go before it melts, to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius), geologists report in the Dec. 13 issue of the journal Geology.

The find is the first discovery of ultrahigh temperature metamorphic rocks in the United States, said Jay Ague, a professor at Yale University and lead author of the study. The next hurdle is figuring out how they formed, he said.

“The fact that these rocks are there at all challenges all the existing models for mountain building in the area,” Ague said. “These ultrahot [rocks] are becoming an important part of how we think mountain belts form,” he told OurAmazingPlanet.

(via America’s Hottest Rocks)

Scientists use fossils to discover the ancient equator 

shychemist:

image

Credit: University of Western Ontario

(Phys.org)—Researchers at Western University have discovered where the equator was “precisely located” 450 million years ago, which is an important breakthrough for paleontologists and planetary scientists, as well as private and public mineral resource companies. The findings have been published in the journal Geology and were highlighted in today’s Editor’s Choice section of Science.    

Jisuo Jin and Phil McCausland from Western’s Department of Earth Sciences led an international research team that successfully traced a 6,000-kilometre stretch of fossils which proved the Ordovician equator ran through Northern Greenland, Manitoba (Canada), Utah and Nevada. The Ordovician geologic period, the second oldest of six of the Paleozoic Era, began 488.3 million years ago, following the Cambrian period, and ended 443.7 million years ago.

“If you consider the polar magnetic regions, you would have found those regions located in quite a different place 450 million years ago. And the equator, consequently, was located in quite a different place too,” explains Jin. “North America has rotated approximately 90 degrees since the Ordovician. What is North today would have been East.” 

“Because there are no hurricanes, there is no severe disturbance in the sea at moderate depth, so the sediment remains consistent for millions of years,” says Jin. “By tracing fossils and fossil records, we were able to locate the precise location of the Ordovician equator.”

According to Jin, locating past latitudes is vital to understanding anything that’s happened historically to the Earth, geologically.

Click title to read more.

mineralia:

Fluorite from Illinois
by Dan Weinrich

mineralia:

Fluorite from Illinois

by Dan Weinrich

wildcat2030:

The first Martian rock NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached out to touch presents a more varied composition than expected from previous missions. The rock also resembles some unusual rocks from Earth’s interior. The rover team used two instruments on Curiosity to study the chemical makeup of the football-size rock called “Jake Matijevic” (matt-EE-oh-vick). The results support some surprising recent measurements and provide an example of why identifying rocks’ composition is such a major emphasis of the mission. Rock compositions tell stories about unseen environments and planetary processes. “This rock is a close match in chemical composition to an unusual but well-known type of igneous rock found in many volcanic provinces on Earth,” said Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who is a Curiosity co-investigator. “With only one Martian rock of this type, it is difficult to know whether the same processes were involved, but it is a reasonable place to start thinking about its origin.” (via Mars rock touched by NASA Curiosity has surprises)

wildcat2030:

The first Martian rock NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached out to touch presents a more varied composition than expected from previous missions. The rock also resembles some unusual rocks from Earth’s interior. The rover team used two instruments on Curiosity to study the chemical makeup of the football-size rock called “Jake Matijevic” (matt-EE-oh-vick). The results support some surprising recent measurements and provide an example of why identifying rocks’ composition is such a major emphasis of the mission. Rock compositions tell stories about unseen environments and planetary processes. “This rock is a close match in chemical composition to an unusual but well-known type of igneous rock found in many volcanic provinces on Earth,” said Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who is a Curiosity co-investigator. “With only one Martian rock of this type, it is difficult to know whether the same processes were involved, but it is a reasonable place to start thinking about its origin.” (via Mars rock touched by NASA Curiosity has surprises)

scinerds:

Shiprock

Shiprock gives the impression of having been volcanically thrust out from the sands of the Mancos desert, but this isn’t the case. Shiprock is indeed a volcano but of a class called a “diatreme”, having formed explosively from gas-charged magma escaping at great velocity. It possessed a crater at the surface called a “maar”, but erosion has long since removed it along with much of the sedimentary strata through which it erupted.

scinerds:

Shiprock

Shiprock gives the impression of having been volcanically thrust out from the sands of the Mancos desert, but this isn’t the case. Shiprock is indeed a volcano but of a class called a “diatreme”, having formed explosively from gas-charged magma escaping at great velocity. It possessed a crater at the surface called a “maar”, but erosion has long since removed it along with much of the sedimentary strata through which it erupted.

jtotheizzoe:

PLANETCOPIA - Earth and Other Planets Re-imagined

This home we call Earth? Well, it’s the only home we know. But who among us, I ask, has not wondered what this planet would look like, say, if Antarctica was not an actual landmass, or if all the continents were upside-down? Even XKCD has wondered such things, when Randall showed us what an Earth with 90˚-rotated continents would look like.

Chris Wayan is someone who, until 2010 at least, actually made such worlds. He would envision a different scenario for Earth or another planet, find a globe, sand it flat and then (re-)build the new planet from scratch. This is no haphazard guessing-game, though. It’s not pin-the-continent-on-the-planet. Detailed predictions and calculations are made, involving orbit, atmosphere, reflection, currents, total water, modified tectonics … even biology. Here’s more about his process.

Then the new planet is sketched, sculpted, and the tour commences! I can barely fathom the planning, research and creativity that goes into these. Some that I have included above (clockwise from top left):

  • Dubia - A future Earth, showing the effects of twice the atmospheric carbon dioxide that we have today. The name is a not-so-subtle poke to a certain climate-denying former president. Note the 110-meter rise in sea levels.
  • Siphonia - An Earth where 90% of the water has been sucked up by thirsty alien invaders. The highlands are even higher and colder.
  • Mars terraformed - Picture Mars a thousand years in the future, after colonization and terraforming. Massive oceans and huge, ice-tipped volcanoes abound.
  • Turnovia - It’s Earth, flipped on its head. Easy one, right? Not so fast. Our rotation still continues in the direction we are used to now, which changes everything in terms of weather.

There’s more Earths, an uncovered Venus, and even a Europa or two. Awesomely cool stuff. Go check it out.

ikenbot:

Meteoroids Change Atmospheres of Earth, Mars, Venus

Similarities in the upper atmospheres of the three planets may be due to meteoroids’ shedding heavy elements as they pass through

Image: 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower + ISS passage Credit: Martin Wallgren

Meteoroids streaking through the atmospheres of planets such as Earth, Mars and Venus can change these worlds’ air, in ways that researchers are just now beginning to understand.

Most planetary atmospheres are made up of simple, low-mass elements and compounds such as carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen. But when a debris particle, or meteoroid, passes through, it can shed heavier, more exotic elements such as magnesium, silicon and iron.

Such elements can have a significant impact on the circulation and dynamics of winds in the atmosphere, researchers say.

“That opens up a whole new network of chemical pathways not usually there,” said Paul Withers of Boston University.

Full Article

ikenbot:

Meteoroids Change Atmospheres of Earth, Mars, Venus

Similarities in the upper atmospheres of the three planets may be due to meteoroids’ shedding heavy elements as they pass through

Image: 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower + ISS passage Credit: Martin Wallgren

Meteoroids streaking through the atmospheres of planets such as Earth, Mars and Venus can change these worlds’ air, in ways that researchers are just now beginning to understand.

Most planetary atmospheres are made up of simple, low-mass elements and compounds such as carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen. But when a debris particle, or meteoroid, passes through, it can shed heavier, more exotic elements such as magnesium, silicon and iron.

Such elements can have a significant impact on the circulation and dynamics of winds in the atmosphere, researchers say.

“That opens up a whole new network of chemical pathways not usually there,” said Paul Withers of Boston University.

Full Article

crownedrose:

ikenbot:

Mars Rover Sends Amazing Photos, 1st Human Voice from Red Planet
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has beamed home the first human voice ever sent from another planet, as well as some spectacular new images of its Martian environs.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover broadcast a greeting from NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, who congratulated the mission team for getting the huge robot to Mars safely. While the significance of the audio accomplishment is largely symbolic, NASA officials hope it presages a more substantial human presence on the Red Planet down the road.
“With this, we have another small step that’s being taken in extending the human presence beyond Earth, and actually bringing that experience of exploring the planets back a little closer to all of us,” said Curiosity program executive Dave Lavery, invoking the famous line late astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

Oh man, this photo really is such a geologist’s dream! As explained on Space.com:

This photo from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the layered geologic history of the base of Mount Sharp, the 3-mile-high mountain rising from the center of Gale Crater. Image taken on Aug. 23, 2012. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

crownedrose:

ikenbot:

Mars Rover Sends Amazing Photos, 1st Human Voice from Red Planet

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has beamed home the first human voice ever sent from another planet, as well as some spectacular new images of its Martian environs.

The 1-ton Curiosity rover broadcast a greeting from NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, who congratulated the mission team for getting the huge robot to Mars safely. While the significance of the audio accomplishment is largely symbolic, NASA officials hope it presages a more substantial human presence on the Red Planet down the road.

“With this, we have another small step that’s being taken in extending the human presence beyond Earth, and actually bringing that experience of exploring the planets back a little closer to all of us,” said Curiosity program executive Dave Lavery, invoking the famous line late astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

Oh man, this photo really is such a geologist’s dream! As explained on Space.com:

This photo from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the layered geologic history of the base of Mount Sharp, the 3-mile-high mountain rising from the center of Gale Crater. Image taken on Aug. 23, 2012. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

tenaflyviper:

Can we just take a minute here to appreciate opals?

From top left:

  1. Boulder opal.
  2. Ethiopian opal.
  3. Black crystal opal (considered the “Holy grail” of opals).
  4. Andamooka matrix opal.
  5. Yowah nut opal.
  6. Mexican fire opal.
  7. Mezezo opal.
  8. White harlequin opal.
  9. Panel boulder black opal.
crownedrose:

That’s some really nice watermelon tourmaline. Whew! Looks to also be naturally terminated on some very nice matrix.
Okay, just join my collection, please.

crownedrose:

That’s some really nice watermelon tourmaline. Whew! Looks to also be naturally terminated on some very nice matrix.

Okay, just join my collection, please.

sci-fact:


Contrary to popular belief, digging straight down through anywhere in the continental United States does not result in an emergence in China. Far from it. The other end of the hole would be at the bottom of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Australia. However, if you were to begin digging in the small town of Shelby, Montana, perfectly straight, you would emerge through the isolated Kerguelen Islands, about 2000 miles southeast of Madagascar, 1300 miles north of Antarctica. If excavation took place at a speedy rate of 10 meters per day, you’d be there in about 3500 years.

sci-fact:

Contrary to popular belief, digging straight down through anywhere in the continental United States does not result in an emergence in China. Far from it. The other end of the hole would be at the bottom of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Australia. However, if you were to begin digging in the small town of Shelby, Montana, perfectly straight, you would emerge through the isolated Kerguelen Islands, about 2000 miles southeast of Madagascar, 1300 miles north of Antarctica. If excavation took place at a speedy rate of 10 meters per day, you’d be there in about 3500 years.
ikenbot:

Mars Rover Sends Amazing Photos, 1st Human Voice from Red Planet

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has beamed home the first human voice ever sent from another planet, as well as some spectacular new images of its Martian environs.

The 1-ton Curiosity rover broadcast a greeting from NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, who congratulated the mission team for getting the huge robot to Mars safely. While the significance of the audio accomplishment is largely symbolic, NASA officials hope it presages a more substantial human presence on the Red Planet down the road.

“With this, we have another small step that’s being taken in extending the human presence beyond Earth, and actually bringing that experience of exploring the planets back a little closer to all of us,” said Curiosity program executive Dave Lavery, invoking the famous line late astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

ikenbot:

Mars Rover Sends Amazing Photos, 1st Human Voice from Red Planet

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has beamed home the first human voice ever sent from another planet, as well as some spectacular new images of its Martian environs.

The 1-ton Curiosity rover broadcast a greeting from NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, who congratulated the mission team for getting the huge robot to Mars safely. While the significance of the audio accomplishment is largely symbolic, NASA officials hope it presages a more substantial human presence on the Red Planet down the road.

“With this, we have another small step that’s being taken in extending the human presence beyond Earth, and actually bringing that experience of exploring the planets back a little closer to all of us,” said Curiosity program executive Dave Lavery, invoking the famous line late astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.