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Eye on Io
May 14, 2011
Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io continues to erupt, its heat flowing into science journals. Planetary scientists are mapping its surface and devising new ideas about what drives its activity. A paper in Icarus presented a new global geologic map of Io’s surface.1 The most common feature is plains (65.8%), followed by lava flow fields […]
Saturns Titan Is Changing
May 10, 2011
The giant smog-shrouded moon of Saturn, Titan, is changing – both in situ and in the minds of planetary scientists. Several news stories show not only dynamic processes in play, but revolutions in what scientists think about the moon and its history. Readers will need to determine which ideas are solidly based on observational evidence. […]
Colorado Plateau Uplift: Solved?
May 3, 2011
In Nature, a team of geologists from four universities has proposed a new model for how the Colorado Plateau rose up over a mile from its surroundings.1 Based on seismic data, they propose a “mantle drip” mechanism by which parts of the lower crust dropped into the mantle, replaced by upwelling magma that condensed and […]
Original Soft Tissue Found in Mosasaur Fossil
May 2, 2011
Original collagen has been found in a mosasaur fossil. Mosasaurs are marine reptiles that lived in the age of dinosaurs. This one, found in chalk layers in Belgium, is alleged to be 70 million years old. The press release on PhysOrg said, “the discovery demonstrates that the preservation of primary soft tissues and […]
Are Earthquakes Increasing?
April 22, 2011
The recent rash of deadly earthquakes has many people asking: is this unusual? Have the frequency and intensity of earthquakes been increasing in recent years? Geologists secular and theistic have weighed in on the question. Two reporters at Live Science (Live Science #1 and Live Science #2) took up the issue and quoted […]
Complexity Appears Earlier than Thought
April 14, 2011
Widely-separate branches of science seem to converge on a common puzzle: complexity goes farther back than scientists expected – evolutionary scientists, that is. Cosmology: More evidence has come that galaxies formed very early. A mature galaxy detected through gravitational lensing was announced by the Hubble Telescope team, with an estimated redshift of 6.027. In the […]
More Youth on Titan
April 9, 2011
Hopes that Saturn’s giant moon Titan might have volcanoes just dropped. A new paper in Icarus1 concludes Titan gets its geology from the outside, not the inside. If confirmed, it implies all the surface features were created by wind, impacts and weather – not by active geology. The hopeful cryovolcano announced last year (Sotra Facula, […]
Assuming Reality: Can Crater Dating Be Tested?
April 3, 2011
Two astronomers in Paris have come up with a new crater chronology for the moon and offered it as a way to date other objects in the inner solar system. Their paper in Icarus,1 however, assumes so many unobservable things, the reader may wonder if it talks about the true history of the moon or […]
Scientists: Who Can You Believe?
March 29, 2011
Scientists form a kind of knowledge priesthood in our modern world, but when long-taught principles get overturned, it raises questions on what scientists really know. Windy geology: Wind is a more powerful force for eroding mountains than previously thought. University of Arizona quoted Paul Kapp, an associate professor of geosciences at U of A saying, […]
More Soft Tissue Found in Old Fossils
March 23, 2011
A reptile skin fossilized in rock said to be 50 million years old has been found. According to Science Daily, scientists at the University of Manchester reported the discovery of amide molecules in “fossilized soft tissue of a beautifully-preserved reptile.” The original paper, accessible to the public, was published in the Proceedings of the Royal […]
Its Raining Methane on Titans Dunes
March 18, 2011
Imagine a world where it rains liquid natural gas. That world is Titan, the Mercury-sized moon of Saturn. In Science this week,1 Cassini scientists reported large equatorial clouds over Titan’s vast dune fields, and a darkening of the surface after an apparent cloudburst. Since only hydrocarbons can be liquid at the temperatures there, and methane […]
Mummified Trees in the Arctic: Are They Millions of Years Old?
March 17, 2011
Arctic wood in a “polar desert” has been discovered that is “so well preserved that the wood can still burn, and even the most delicate tree structures, such as leaves, are present” reported PhysOrg. Joel Barker (Ohio State) remarked, “The dead trees look just like the dried-out dead wood lying outside now.” How old are […]