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Incredible Preservation of Beetle Wings Found

Beetle wings with their original shimmering luster have been found preserved in fossilized peat in Japan.  The strata in which they were found have been labeled middle Pleistocene and dated at 600,000 years old.  Yet these same wings, when dried in the sun, lose their luster within hours.     The authors of the paper […]

Specious Theories Obey the Law of Inertia

Last March, scientists publishing in Geology falsified the so-called “Permian Extinction,” calling it a “non-event.” (see 03/09/2009).  Not only was there no smoking gun of a catastrophe in the rocks, the scientists said that the “claims of rapid vertebrate recovery… also must be called into question.”  Our commentary at the time wondered how long it […]

Cave Dates and Climate Estimates May Be Off

The steady drip, drip, drip of water from stalactites should provide a way to calculate the age of cave formations, right?  Don’t be too sure.  A scientist at Florida State found that calcite deposition is a function of how the cave “breathes,” reported New Scientist.  This finding “pours doubt on ancient climate records derived from […]

Debunker Busters

Often in science reports, new findings debunk previously held beliefs.  But then, a thoughtful reader might ask, didn’t the previously held belief debunk a belief prior to that?  Sometimes it gets difficult to believe the current belief has any credibility, when the debunkers turn on each other. A dilemma about dilemmas:  Psychologists and philosophers have […]

Darwin Was Wrong About Geology

Field geologists have revisited a site Darwin visited on the voyage of the Beagle, and found that he incorrectly interpreted what he found.  A large field of erratic boulders in Tierra del Fuego that have become known as “Darwin’s Boulders” were deposited by a completely different process than he thought.  The modern team, publishing in […]

Ferocity of Geological Change Stuns Scientists

A crack in Ethiopia 500 meters long took just days to form.  New Scientist reported about a team of scientists who used seismic sensors to reconstruct the event.  “They found that a 60-kilometre-long, 8-metre-wide dike of solidified magma formed in the rift, causing the crack, in a matter of days.”  They believe the crack will […]

Comets Didn’t Bring Earth’s Oceans

So much for the “water balloon” theory of how Earth got its oceans.  A new study by Belgian planetary scientists pretty much rules out comets as the source of our planet’s abundant water.  Their results are published in this month’s Icarus.1     “The origin of water on Earth is still puzzling,” they began.  Our […]

Trilobites Found in Fool’s Gold: What Does It Mean?

Trilobites are icons of the Cambrian and Ordovician periods.  When thousands are found in beds over a wide area encased in pyrite, with no sign of decay, what does it mean?  A team publishing their findings in Geology suggests it means rapid burial.1  Here’s the abstract from their paper: Pyritization of soft tissues is extremely […]

Earth Size Gives Life Edge

The earth seems to be holding onto its status as a privileged planet.  New Scientist reported that a rocky planet’s size is linked to its ability to sustain a magnetic field and plate tectonics.  This means that some of the “super-earths” found around other stars (5-10 times the size of earth) may not be habitable.  […]

Milking the Martian Meteorite

One would think everything has been told about ALH 84001, the Martian meteorite that made a splash in 1996 with claims it contained fossils of living organisms.  That claim was essentially discarded in subsequent years.  Its major contribution was giving life to a new science called astrobiology and energizing NASA’s Mars program.  Now, a new […]

What’s Up With the Planets?

Here are planets and moons making news in our celestial neighborhood, the solar system.  Maybe we’ll drop in on another neighborhood while we’re looking around. Venus resurfacing:  Planetary geologists can’t get away from the evidence that Venus underwent a planet-wide volcanic resurfacing epoch.  Crater counts and lava flow surveys leave little room for doubt that, […]

Faint Young Sun Paradox Resolved

For decades, astronomers and geologists have worried about a paradox.  Stellar evolution theory claims sunlight on the early earth would have been 20-30% dimmer than it is today, but geology shows the oceans were liquid in the earliest (Archean) rocks.  For that matter, so does the book of Genesis, but that record is not usually […]

Paper View:  A Geology Paradigm Suffers a Paradox

A pair of geologists found a paradox in a paradigm.  That paradigm is the belief that ancient ocean levels rose and fell in cycles as ice sheets retreated and advanced, and the cause of the cycles was periodic changes in earth’s orbit.  They modeled this process and couldn’t get it to work.  They couldn’t get […]

Oil Can Come from Rock

Methane and other hydrocarbons can be produced in the mantle, reported Science Daily.  This disputes earlier beliefs that oil and gas are products of organisms that lived and died.  Carnegie Institute scientists have produced ethane, propane, butane, molecular hydrogen, and graphite in high-pressure equipment simulating conditions 40 to 95 miles deep in the crust and […]

Raising a Titanic Geological Plateau

The Colorado Plateau is a huge region covering parts of four states.  It’s over a mile higher than its surroundings, but its layers are remarkably flat.  How did this region, littered with marine fossils, rise into the sky?  Three American scientists writing in Nature last week believe they have a mechanism:1 it heated from underneath […]
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