Category Archives: Geology

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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10 Recently Lost Natural Wonders

The Earth is always changing. “The only thing that is constant is change, as Heraclitus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC) the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher once said. Unfortunately, things do not always happen the way we would have wanted. Here are 10 recently lost natural wonders that have been disappeared in recent centuries or even decades.

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Dragon Hole: World’s deepest “blue hole”

World’s deepest “blue hole” has been discovered in the South China Sea, and it is named “Dragon Hole”. With the depth of 300.89 meters (987.2 feet), it surpassed the Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas, which is 202 meters (663 feet) deep. For a comparison, the Eiffel tower is 324 meters (1,063 feet) tall, so the Dragon hole could swallow it almost completely.

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Megatsunami and The Wave (movie)

2015 Norwegian catastrophe drama film The Wave tells a fictional story about Geiranger, a small tourist village in Sunnmøre region of Møre og Romsdal county in the western part of Norway. In the movie, the village threatened a huge mass of rock tumbles into Geirangerfjord (which is one of Norway’s most visited tourist sites, and it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005). The rock sets off a 300 feet megatsunami. The villagers must rush to the mountains in ten minutes, before “the wave” reaches them.

Here is the trailer of the movie. Directed by Roar Uthaug (born 25 August 1973), it was Norway’s official submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.

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The World entered a new geological era called “Anthropocene”, scientists say

According to a study titled “The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene” and published on Science Magazine, we, humans,changed the world so much that now we can say the world entered a completely a new geological era, “Anthropocene”.

The term is not new. As early as 1960s, Soviet scientists used the term to refer to the Quaternary, the current and most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). The Quaternary follows the Neogene Period and spans from 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene (2.588 million years ago to 11.7 thousand years ago, the world’s recent period of repeated glaciations) and the Holocene (11.7 thousand years ago to today, began after the last major ice age).

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If Earth’s life time was the distance from Los Angeles to New York City

Our old planet, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. In fact, the human mind can no longer make any sense of large numbers like that. Numbers like 1, 2, 14, 20, 50 are all quantities that we encounter quite frequently in our daily lives. And our brain evolved to conceptualize numbers like that: our ancestors saw two lions; they hunted five deer in one hunting party, the population of their tribe was 20, etc… But when the numbers are getting big, i.e. 1,000; 10,000… the problem begins: these numbers become increasingly difficult to conceptualize. Now, what happens when we try to conceptualize quantities like billions, like the Earth’s age? We can’t actually rationalize the immensity of such a big number. Because we haven’t a model of 4.54 billion that’s been compressed into something recognizable to the human mind.

To put this number into a perspective, Alex Kuzoian of Business insider prepared a beautiful video: you can watch Earth’s lifespan as the distance from Los Angeles to New York City. Along the trip, we see the formation of our Moon, the beginning of the life, the evolving of the multi-cellular organisms, and the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Probably the most interesting part is that modern humans only evolved 175 meters (570 feet) from the finishing line of this journey. And the big jump to the first multi-cellular organisms.

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