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This Place Really Has Atmosphere

Of all the bodies in the solar system, only eight have a substantial atmosphere.  If you add in those with tenuous atmospheres, you can add in Triton and Mercury, and maybe a few others, till it becomes pedantic to call it an atmosphere if there are only a few short-lived molecules hovering over a moon.  […]

Mudstones Make Ripples

Most of the sediments in the world are mudstones – including shales and clays.  Until recently these were thought to form only in calm, placid seas.  Now, two geologists are continuing to show that they can form in flowing or turbulent water.     Two years ago, Schieber and Southard burst a paradigm by explaining […]

Milankovitch Cycles Indistinguishable from Randomness

A claim has often been made by geologists that the rock sediments record cyclical changes in Earth’s orbit.  Milankovitch cycles, named for the man who analyzed them, are a set of regular periodic changes to the orbital eccentricity, obliquity, and axial precession of the Earth over tens and hundreds of thousands of years.  These subtle […]

Who Gets the Blame for This Oil Spill?

Who could forget the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, that leaked 10.8 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s pristine coastal waters?  That mistake cost Exxon a billion dollars in damages for the ecological disaster it caused and sparked one of the biggest cleanup operations in history.  Imagine 80 times as much.  That’s how much […]

Are Secular Geologists Ready to Consider a Global Flood?

Everyone knows the Bible tells the story of a global flood in Noah’s day.  Creation scientists argue that its effects would have left visible evidence today – including most of the sedimentary layers and most of the fossil record.  Secular geologists have laughed off this story since the 18th century as nothing but myth, of […]

Evolution: A Theory in Revision

Evolution is not so much a fact of nature that Darwin discovered, as it is a framework for interpreting evidence.  Within that framework are many subplots that can be overturned without falsifying the framework.  Here are some recent examples: Chicxulub loses impact:  We’ve seen the animations of a giant impact wiping out the dinosaurs.  The […]

Geophysical King Dethroned?

There’s been a quiet revolution in geophysics.  Richard Kerr asked in Science, “Great Oxidation Event Dethroned?”1  The Great Oxidation Event (GOE) is an assumed time before multicellular life appeared when microbes had just learned the secret of photosynthesis and started pumping vast quantities of fresh oxygen into earth’s atmosphere (10/18/2006).  The GOE idea reigned like […]

Evolution of Photosynthesis: A Theory in Crisis

“Although the last word on the origins of oxygen-making photosynthesis isn’t in,” writes Mitch Leslie in Science,1 “researchers say they are making progress.  One thing is for certain, however: Without this innovation, Earth would look a lot like Mars.”  That’s the end of his story.  What did he say in the beginning and middle?  Not […]

Permian Extinction: The Origin of Specious Geological Events

The Permian extinction – one of the most dramatic events in the history of life on Earth, in which some 90% of species went extinct – lay people assume scientists can back up this story with evidence from geology and fossils, but where is it?  Whatever happened at the prime site in South Africa, from […]

Darwin’s Wrong Turn in Argentina

When the Beagle was sailing the coast of Argentina in 1834, it stopped at the mouth of the Santa Cruz River.  25-year-old Charles Darwin, who had been reading Lyell’s Principles of Geology, got out and explored the area on foot as the crew made camp on the cliffs.  Darwin was impressed by the six-mile-wide canyon […]

Titan Methane Age Still a Problem

“Our new map provides more coverage of Titan’s poles, but even if all of the features we see there were filled with liquid methane, there’s still not enough to sustain the atmosphere for more than 10 million years.”  So said Elizabeth Turtle, lead author of a paper in Geophysical Research Letters,1 in an article on […]

The Moon Has Core Values

Did the moon have a molten core?  There has been “a long-held consensus that objects in the solar system smaller than than [sic] Mars, can’t sustain magnetic fields,” said National Geographic News based on a paper in Science January 16.1  Apollo rock samples seem to indicate the presence of long-lived magnetism.  It suggests a molten […]

Time for Mars Life Again

Methane detection around Mars is giving new life to claims there is life on Mars.  Space.com #1 and Space.com #2 explain why NASA scientists are looking to see if the methane can be explained geologically or biologically.  Some news sites, like The Sun, go over the top with claims life has been discovered.  Only the […]

World’s Largest Dino Graveyard Found

China boasts the world’s largest known dinosaur graveyard, a report from China View claims.  Over 7,600 fossils have been found so far.  These include hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, ankylosaurs, and tyrannosaurids.  Though known since at least 1980, the area has yielded new fossil sections during mining operations.  “A 2m skull of a large ceratopsian was found here,” […]

Comparing Geological and Biological Patterns

Beehives have hexagons.  So do lava flows.  Is there any difference in how they form?  Science Daily shows a picture of polygon-shaped tops of basalt columns at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.  Similar formations are found in the Grand Canyon, at Devil’s Postpile in California, and in many places around the world.     Researchers […]
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