Posts tagged with ‘geology

Scientists think they’ve found evidence of Theia, the planet that collided with Earth to create our moon

Among the most likely theories about the formation of the Earth’s moon is that a small-ish Mars sized planet, one of many in the early solar system, crashed into Earth at an angle, and the resulting catastrophic destruction created a disk of dust, rock and other debris around the Earth, which then quickly coalesced into the gray ball we now see in the night sky. This theory had been supported by lunar rock chemistry, but now scientists have gone even further, using lunar samples taken from the Apollo missions and examined them under electron microscopes, and the theory still holds up.

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US may already have Yellowstone-go-boom contingency agreements to move millions of Americans to S. America, Australia and Africa

According to one source, in the very unlikely event that the Yellowstone supervolcano were to asplode in the near future, the US government has already worked up contingency agreements with Australia, Brazil, Argentina and the African National Congress to relocate potentially tens of millions of American citizens. Even if most geologists agree that the chances of a massive explosion in the next million years is very unlikely, and even though newer studies suggest that the magma in the caldera is mostly slush that won’t erupt, I guess it’s a good idea for the US government to have some kind of plan in their back pocket, just in case. Just in case millions die in an extinction event sized explosion and whoever is still alive west of the Mississippi have to be moved somewhere, with “flooding the east coast with millions of people” not really an option.

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It looks like there’s liquid water flowing on Mars right fucking now

The majority of exploration into the presence of water on Mars deals with looking for evidence that there was water on the planet at some point in the past. But NASA JPL has announced they think water may be flowing right this very moment. A combination of salt and iron may be giving this seeping groundwater a natural antifreeze property, and you wouldn’t want to drink it, but still, shit… water on Mars as we speak.

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So the really bad news is the Yellowstone caldera is over twice as big as once thought

If you want something to keep you up at night, read stuff on the Yellowstone caldera megavolcano and how bad it’s going to be if that thing blows all at once while humans are still on the planet. It would make even the worst volcanic eruptions in human history look like a middle school science fair baking soda volcano. It would even dwarf the destruction and extinction caused by the asteroid that started the decline of the dinosaurs. Now imagine that nightmare scenario amplified by 250%. Because that’s how much bigger the caldera is compared to measurements from even just a few years ago. Chances are good that it won’t explode for tens of thousands of years, but it theoretically could blow at any time, and destroy everything you love.

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Scientist drinks billion year old water… just for the fuck of it

Sometimes in science, you have to have the mindset of a child. If something is out there to be done or to be tested, sometimes you just have to do it to see what happens. So after a cache of underground water was discovered in Canada last year that had lay undisturbed for 1.5 billion years, Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar had to see what it tasted like. For science.

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Antarctica’s hidden mountain ranges revealed in amazing detail

Deep under the ice of Antarctica lies a mountainous land filled with ridges and peaks and valleys, but long, long ago, as Antarctica slid down to the bottom of the globe, all those spaces began filling in with snow and ice. The British Antarctic Survey has more or less completed, giving a peek of the mountains hidden under the frozen surface.

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A map of Pangea overlaid with the borders of modern countries
Waaaaay back when, when India and Antarctica and Australia were part of the same hills and plains.
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Submitted by KO

A map of Pangea overlaid with the borders of modern countries

Waaaaay back when, when India and Antarctica and Australia were part of the same hills and plains.

Via

Submitted by KO

NASA confirms that ancient microbial life once might have flourished on Mars

After analyzation of a sample of soil underneath the red dust of Mars, scientists at NASA have confirmed that parts of the red planet might once have been home to all kinds of microbial life in the shallow streams of Mars a long, long, long time ago. The sample is gray clay from what used to be a stream bed, and it’s chock full of all kinds of chemicals from a freshwater environment.

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Ancient lost continent found at the bottom of the Indian Ocean

It’s not Atlantis, but scientists have discovered a lost mini-continent in the Indian Ocean that disappeared under the waves around 85 million years ago. The chain of islands, now called Mauritia, was once between the southeast coast of Africa and India.

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Curiosity rover successfully drills into Martian virgin bedrock

In another outer space tech first, this past week, the Curiosity rover became the first manmade object to drill into the surface of another world when it drilled out a 2.5” deep circle of exposed bedrock on the Martian surface.

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Take an interactive helicopter ride over a volcano in Kamchatka

Spiegel has an interactive 360 degree helicopter panorama of a nasty, spewing volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. It’s like being there except less lens warping and it probably smells nicer wherever you are.

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Curiosity rover gets ready to drill down into the surface of Mars

Now that Curiosity has seen a couple sights and thoroughly tested out much of its equipment, it’s time to get down to serious business. And that serious business is drilling down into the surface of Mars to see what’s under the hood. And since this will be the first time we’ve ever actually drilled down into a rock on the surface of any planet, this could be a really big deal.

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Gorgeous photo of the grandest canyon in the solar system
Grand Canyon, meet your match—and then some. Mars’s Valles Marineris (shown in a false-color composite picture released October 22 by the German Aerospace Centre) is the largest canyon system in the solar system.  Stretching across the equatorial Martian highlands for some 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers), Valles Marineris yawns 124 miles (200 kilometers) wide and up to 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) deep. Earth’s 1.25-mile-deep (2-kilometer-deep) Grand Canyon could easily fit into one of Valles Marineris’s smaller side valleys.
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Gorgeous photo of the grandest canyon in the solar system

Grand Canyon, meet your match—and then some. Mars’s Valles Marineris (shown in a false-color composite picture released October 22 by the German Aerospace Centre) is the largest canyon system in the solar system.

Stretching across the equatorial Martian highlands for some 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers), Valles Marineris yawns 124 miles (200 kilometers) wide and up to 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) deep. Earth’s 1.25-mile-deep (2-kilometer-deep) Grand Canyon could easily fit into one of Valles Marineris’s smaller side valleys.

Via

Meteorites reveal the hints of warm water on an ancient Mars

While water may not have been as widespread on Mars as some once thought, there is new evidence that some of it was certainly warm enough to have harbored primitive life, so that’s good news.

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And here’s a gorgeous photo of the deepest canyon in the solar system
Stretching across the equatorial Martian highlands for some 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers), Valles Marineris yawns 124 miles (200 kilometers) wide and up to 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) deep. Earth’s 1.25-mile-deep (2-kilometer-deep) Grand Canyon could easily fit into one of Valles Marineris’s smaller side valleys.
Via

And here’s a gorgeous photo of the deepest canyon in the solar system

Stretching across the equatorial Martian highlands for some 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers), Valles Marineris yawns 124 miles (200 kilometers) wide and up to 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) deep. Earth’s 1.25-mile-deep (2-kilometer-deep) Grand Canyon could easily fit into one of Valles Marineris’s smaller side valleys.

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