Articles on Geology

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Scientists have pieced together Game of Thrones’ geology as the show draws last breath on television. Kal242382 from Wikimedia Commons

We made a moving tectonic map of the Game of Thrones landscape

Even in this fantasy world, geological processes like tectonic plate movement, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions would have built the mountains, carved the rivers, and created vast oceans.
Photographed on Kangaroo Island, this rock – called a ‘zebra schist’ – deformed from flat-lying marine sediments through being stressed by a continental collision over 500 million years ago. Dietmar Muller

How Earth’s continents became twisted and contorted over millions of years

Giant forces slowly move continents across a viscous layer of the Earth, like biscuits gliding over a warm toffee ocean. This stresses the continents, and twists and contorts the crust.
Pedestrians in Tokyo pass a television screen broadcasting a report on May 4, 2019 that North Korea has fired several unidentified short-range projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast. AP Photo/Koji Sasahara

What geology reveals about North Korea’s nuclear weapons – and what it obscures

North Korea is a major military threat to the US and its Asian allies, but exactly how powerful are its nuclear weapons? An earth scientist explains why it's hard to answer this question.
A few days after baby molluscs come out from tiny eggs, they start building their shell layer after layer. Emily Nunnell/The Conversation NY-BD-CC

Curious Kids: how do shells get made?

Molluscs that have shells - like pipis, clams and oysters - have to build their own shell from scratch. And they keep building it their whole life, using chemicals from the sea and their own bodies.
The submersible Alvin about 8,500 feet down, studying seafloor volcanoes and eruptions. (c) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with thanks to Daniel Fornari – WHOI-MISO Facility (www.whoi.edu/miso) and National Science Foundation

Scientist at work: I’m a geologist who’s dived dozens of times to explore submarine volcanoes

When you study volcanoes at mid-ocean ridges, doing fieldwork means becoming an aquanaut – diving thousands of feet to the ocean floor in the submersible Alvin, trading tight quarters for amazing views.
Mountains keep growing and growing and growing for many millions of years until they are so heavy that they can no longer grow taller, only wider. Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash

Curious Kids: how do mountains form?

When I was little, geologists worked out Earth's surface was made of pieces, like a giant puzzle. Those pieces, called “tectonic plates”, move and bump into each other and mountains form.
The Tianshan mountains frame Sayram Lake in the Bortala Prefecture in Xinjiang, China. Gilby Jepson

How Eurasia’s Tianshan mountains set a stage that changed the world

Setting the scene for ancient Silk Road trading and now China's Belt and Road initiative, the Tianshan has changed humanity. Geological evidence shows us how this incredible mountain range formed.
Scientists working at the central peak of Gosses Bluff meteorite crater in Northern Territory. Nick Timms

How rare minerals form when meteorites slam into Earth

A meteorite hitting Earth at many kilometres per second puts 'ground zero' target rocks under immense pressure. A shock wave faster than the speed of sound can result – and new materials created.

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