Articles on Geology

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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.
The scientific drilling ship JOIDES Resolution arrives in Honolulu after successful sea trials and testing of scientific and drilling equipment. IODP

Scientists have been drilling into the ocean floor for 50 years – here’s what they’ve found so far

The ocean floor holds unique information about Earth's history. Scientific ocean drilling, which started 50 years ago, has yielded insights into climate change, geohazards and the key conditions for life.
Luckily, monitoring systems at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano allowed some warning before fissures opened up in 2018. United States Geological Survey/AAP

Would an eruption in Melbourne really match Hawaii’s volcanoes? Here’s the evidence

Melbourne lies at the eastern end of a volcanic province, but when's it going to blow? Understanding the geology of Melbourne and comparing it to Hawaii is really helpful in calculating risk.
Successive governments have seen the Great Barrier Reef not just as a scientific wonder, but as a channel to further economic development. Superjoseph/Shutterstock.com

Politicised science on the Great Barrier Reef? It’s been that way for more than a century

The $444 million awarded to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has been criticised as a politically calculated move. But governments have been asking what the reef can do for them ever since colonial times.
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.

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