Stanford University researchers are proposing to use opal to sequester uranium at contaminated sites. The idea springs from natural deposits of opal, containing uranium, that have been stable for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
The appearance of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere probably did not occur as a single event, but as a long series of starts and stops, according to an international team of researchers who investigated rock cores from the FAR DEEP project.
Existing theories of plate tectonics had failed to explain several features of the development of the Andes, so a geoscience expert in Australia built a new model to explain large gaps in the historical record. The new model provided the answers and may be useful for examining not just how plates move, but also when.
While the causes of the end-Permian extinction are unknown, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led team of researchers has now established that the catastrophe was extremely rapid, triggering massive die-outs both in the oceans and on land in less than 20,000 years.
Scientists at the University of Virginia recently set up experiments to measure ozone produced by crushing or drilling into different igneous and metamorphic rocks. With the discovery that ozone is produced only in conditions that fracture rocks, the possibility exists that detecting ozone will serve as an early warning for earthquake activity.
About 252 million years ago, a wave of cataclysmic vulcanism commenced the Great Dying, which wiped out three-quarters of life on Earth. A new study based on a digs in China has greatly shortened the period of death to less than 100,000 years, and revealed details on how much the climate changed during that period.
Since first discovered largely buried beneath the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains have mystified scientists trying to figure out how they formed. The answer, which involves comparisons to East Africa’s great rift valley system, will help scientists find out how and when he Antarctice ice sheets formed.
In a significant finding in the search for life beyond Earth, scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere have discovered what appears to be a body of liquid water the volume of the North American Great Lakes locked inside the icy shell of Jupiter's moon Europa.
Geologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have unearthed rare, flask-shaped microfossils dating back 635 to 715 million years, representing the oldest known ciliates in the fossil record.
Commercially crude oil occupies a region 5 to 10 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, but there is increasing interest in "abiogenic" hydrocarbons from much deeper in the Earth, which might make their way to the surface in some places. A new project to understand this "deep carbon" could affect both our thinking about energy supplies and the global movement of carbon.
In the first university-based planetary science experiment at the National Ignition Facility, researchers have gradually compressed a diamond sample to a record pressure of 50 megabars, or 50 million times Earth’s atmospheric pressure. The effort replicates conditions found in the cores of recently discovered super-Earth exoplanets.
Information about the Earth’s mostly liquid center is scant. We know its pressure, but its exact temperature and composition remain a mystery. Scientists using the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility’s newly opened ID24 X-ray beamline are hoping its unprecedented speed and sample volume can answer some of these questions.
A new NASA study suggests if life ever existed on Mars, the longest lasting habitats were most likely below the Red Planet's surface. Spectral evidence gathered by orbiters support a new hypothesis that persistent warm water was confined to the subsurface, and erosional were carved during brief periods when the surface supported stable water.
According to the first Google.org-funded geothermal mapping report, thermal resources totalling more than 3 million MW of power are stretched out across the U.S. The report’s authors say that, using current technologies, enough could be recovered to exceed coal plant production.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have generated a 3D image of the pore structure of sandstone that contains more than 35 trillion voxels. By comparison, typical medical magnetic resonance images contain just 720 million voxels. Knowledge of sandstone structure is important in oil recovery and groundwater management.
The discovery of the mineral jarosite in rocks analyzed by the Mars Rover, Opportunity, on the Martian surface had special meaning for a team of Syracuse University scientists who study the mineral here on Earth. Jarosite can only form in the presence of water. Its presence on Mars means that water had to exist at some point in the past.
This week's move by China’s biggest producer of rare earths to suspend production of exotic rare earths minerals might fuel tensions with the United States and Europe. The hiatus is expected to last one months and is explicitly intended to boost slumping prices.
By investigating a link between atmospheric oxygen levels and rising concentrations of chromium in the rock of ancient sea beds nearly 2.5 billion years ago, researchers in Canada theorize that the oxygen-breathing bacteria arrived on land earlier than previously thought.
Seeking to better understand the level of death and destruction that would result from a large meteorite striking the Earth, Princeton University researchers have developed a new model that can not only more accurately simulate the seismic fallout of such an impact, but also help reveal new information about the surface and interior of planets based on past collisions.
Many people in Bangladesh and other parts of Asia have been poisoned by drinking groundwater laced with arsenic leaching from sediments. New understanding of this naturally-occurring process may help others wells, including those in the United States.
Earth's largest mass extinction event eradicated an estimated 90% of Earth's marine life. To better understand the cause of this "mother of all mass extinctions," researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Cincinnati used a new geochemical technique to discover something new: the relative change in anoxia conditions in the ocean.
The lack of a settled legal framework that balances private property rights while maximizing the public good ultimately hinders the large-scale commercial deployment of geologic carbon sequestration, according to published research by a University of Illinois expert in renewable energy law.
In California’s rift, the San Andreas Fault, the center of the action lies in the lithosphere, which makes up the tectonic plates and includes the crust and part of the upper mantle. Researchers at Brown University have produced the highest-resolution picture of the bottom of the lithosphere in southern California, yielding new insights on the complex geologic region.
At the end of the last Ice Age, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose rapidly as the planet warmed; scientists have long hypothesized that the source was carbon dioxide released from the deep ocean. But a new study using detailed radiocarbon dating of foraminifera found in a sediment core from the Gorda Ridge off Oregon reveals that the Northeast Pacific was not an important reservoir of carbon during glacial times.
Stanford University Earth scientists lend geophysical support to a theory of life's origins—but show that, if it's accurate, the first organisms could only have arisen during one brief stretch of geological time, long ago.