Articles on Geology

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Diamond or zirconia? Apart from the price, it can be hard to tell these two gems apart. from www.shutterstock.com

A disappointing earring, and the world’s hottest rock: zirconia

Zirconia is a mineral with a crystal structure made from the elements zirconium and oxygen. It looks pretty like diamond, but is only worth a fraction of the value.
The first three Natural History Museum painites – including one in its natural state with rubies that had been sitting in their collection for years. It had initially been misidentified as the much less valuable tourmaline. © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

What is a gem? And why painite from Myanmar can fetch US$60,000 per carat

What makes a stone a gem? It boils down to a few key qualities: beauty and durability. But opal, the national gemstone of Australia, is an anomaly - it's soft.
Some explosive volcanoes can send ash high up into the sky and it can travel around the world over different countries. Shutterstock

Curious Kids: Why do volcanoes erupt?

When magma rises towards the surface gas bubbles start to form. Whether or not they can escape as the magma is rising affects how explosive the eruption will be.
It’s been 50 years since the find of burnt bones in ancient soil, eroded from deep in shoreline dune in NSW. Jim Bowler

Time to honour a historical legend: 50 years since the discovery of Mungo Lady

It's been half a century since Jim Bowler discovered Mungo Lady which changed the course of Australian history. But now he says the find has fallen off the national radar, leaving a legacy of shame.
Long’s Peak framed by rock outcrop, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Roy Luck

Nitrogen from rock could fuel more plant growth around the world – but not enough to prevent climate change

Scientists have long thought most nitrogen in Earth's ecosystems comes from the air, but new research shows it also is released as rocks weather. This could boost plant growth and help sequester carbon – but not fast enough to avert climate change, as some pundits have claimed.
In the field studying the rock association in the Doolena Gap greenstone belt, 30 km north of Marble bar in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. David Murphy

How the Pilbara was formed more than 3 billion years ago

The remote Pilbara region of Western Australian formed many billions of years ago when the Earth was much hotter and the crust softer than it is today.
Seismic shockwaves after a meteorite’s collision could affect systems all over the planet. solarseven/Shutterstock.com

More bad news for dinosaurs: Chicxulub meteorite impact triggered global volcanic eruptions on the ocean floor

Research suggests a new threat to life on Earth from the meteorite's crash: Via seismic waves, the impact triggered massive undersea eruptions, as big as any ever seen in our planet's history.

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