Category Archives: Geology

Mount Etna is sliding into the sea

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano (also one of the most active volcanoes in the world) is sliding into the Ionian Sea at rates of centimeters per year. If part of it falls into the sea, it could create horrible mega-tsunamis that would devastate the eastern Mediterranean shores.

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Structure of the Earth

The universe is shrouded in mystery, and part of this mystery involves our own little planet. Although there has been countless research, the scientists and experts have only been able to barely scratch the surface (both figuratively and literally) in case of planet earth.

However, the studies in Seismology have allowed us to gather sufficient information about the Earth and its structure. The planet comprises several layers, which have their own attributes, and composition. So let’s dive in further to discover some enlightening aspects.

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What Time Are We Living In? Geologists Fight It Out!

Attention: Earth Science or Geology enthusiasts, scientists have recently uncovered findings that point to a new age in the timeline of the planet. The discovery of a stalagmite from a cave in Meghalaya, India led the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) declare that we have indeed reached the Meghalayan Age in the Holocene Epoch. The newly-discovered stalagmite is hailed as the official time stamp of the beginning of the Meghalayan Age, and it dates back about 4250 years.

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Kliuchevskoi Volcano from Space (NASA Image)

During the STS-68 mission (September 30-October 11, 1994), the crewmembers of Space Shuttle Endeavour used a 70 mm camera to photograph Klyuchevskaya Sopka (also known as Kliuchevskoi), a stratovolcano, the highest mountain on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia and the highest active volcano of Eurasia. The eruption was new when this photo was taken. It was photographed from 115 nautical miles (213 kilometers) above Earth.

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What did Ancient Earth Look Like

I stumbled upon an amazing web page showing what did ancient Earth look like. On “Dinosaur Pictures and Facts” web page (dinosaurpictures.org), there’s also an interactive animation. On this page, you can either select the years (i.e. 600 million years ago) or jump to a particular event (i.e. first multicellular life) and see how ancient Earth did look like then. You can also remove the clouds and stop the Earth’s rotation if you want to.

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Watch: How Earth will look in 250 million years

Earth’s outer shell is divided into multiple plates that slowly glide over the mantle. The movement of these plates slowly changes Earth’s surface over time by merging, or separating, continents. 250 million years from now, consistent with the supercontinent cycleNotes 1, there will be a possible future supercontinent called Pangaea Ultima. Hypothesized by Christopher Scotese, a geologist at the University of Texas at Arlington, Pangaea Ultima earned its name from its similarity to the previous Pangaea supercontinent, which was formed about 335 million years ago, and began to break apart about 175 million years ago. Here is a beautiful video published by the Tech Insider channel showing the formation of this supercontinent.

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Watch: Time-lapse of an Island Forming in Tonga

In December 2014, an underwater volcano has made a new island with a 120-meter (400-foot) summit in the South Pacific, between two older islands (Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai) in the kingdom of Tonga. NASA satellites captured the amazing process.

On December 19, 2014, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, a volcano located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) south-southeast of Fonuafo’ou (also known as Falcon Island) in the kingdom of Tonga began erupting. The nearby tourists filmed the huge explosion. The eruption continued into 2015. On January 11, 2015, a tall ash cloud rising 9 kilometers (30,000 feet) into the sky, causing a number of other flights between New Zealand and Tonga were canceled. By January 16, when the plume cleared and the ash settled, a new island had been formed by the explosion. The new island also called Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai.

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Humans can cause deadly Earthquakes

On May 12, 2008, a huge 7.9 MW earthquake hit Chengdu, a sub-provincial city which has served as the capital of China’s Sichuan province. Over 69,000 people lost their lives. 374,176 were reported injured, with 18,222 listed as missing as of July 2008. The earthquake also left about 4.8 million people homeless. Some scientists believe that the construction and filling of the Zipingpu Dam with 320 million tons of water over a well-known fault line may have triggered the earthquake Notes 1.

Sichuan earthquake is only one example of (but the deadliest by far, though) many earthquakes that triggered by the human activities, according to a study published in the journal Seismological Research Letters, titled “Database of earthquakes triggered by human activity is growing – with some surprises”.

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Animation – Earthquakes Between 2001 and 2015

The American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published an animation on youtube showing the Earthquakes of the First 15 Years of the 21st Century (between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2015). The animation shows every recorded earthquake in sequence as they occurred at a rate of 30 days per second. It is based on the new SOS dataset of all the earthquakes in that period from the US NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

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