The European Space Agency has released a series of new images of Orcus Patera, a long crater near Mars's Mons Olympus whose rim rises some 6,000 feet. But the images, taken by the Mars Express craft, only deepen the mystery of the crater's origin.
It’s been a great day for interplanetary H2O. First we hear that Mars was once covered in a massive, deep ocean. Now scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory are reporting that the moon may harbor 100 times more water than previously thought.
Right now, every mining company CEO in the world has one thing on the mind: Afghanistan.
Yesterday, the Pentagon announced that American geologists have discovered an estimated $1 trillion worth of untapped geological resources there, including vast reserves of rare earth metals and lithium, which are becoming increasingly sought-after for high-tech manufacturing. The cache is large enough to have profound geopolitical implications. But judging by the state of play at another remote, developing-world mineral stash—the lithium deposits of Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, which I recently visited—it's not easy to go from desolation to natural-resource riches. Updated.
Since BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded into one of the worst man-made ecological disasters in history, one big question has remained unanswered: Just how big of a mess is it? While BP asserts there's no way to know, marine experts say that if the oil giant would but release more video from its submersible ROVs and provide a little data on the well itself, they could deduce the magnitude of the leak, as well as inform the effort to plug the leaking well pipe.
If you’ve been anywhere near a television or Web enabled device in the last week (and you must have been), you know that a volcanic eruption in Iceland has grounded airline flights across Europe and even halted a few flights into the northeastern-most areas of Canada. What you probably don’t know is how to pronounce the name of the volcano (Eyjafjallajökull) or why an eruption in Iceland is grounding flights in London, Madrid and Berlin.
On December 8, 2006, Markus Häring caused some 30 earthquakes -- the largest registering 3.4 on the Richter scale -- in Basel, Switzerland. Häring is not a supervillain. He's a geologist, and he had nothing but good intentions when he injected high-pressure water into rocks three miles below the surface, attempting to generate electricity through a process called enhanced geothermal. But he produced earthquakes instead, and when seismic analysis confirmed that the quakes were centered near the drilling site, city officials charged him with $9 million worth of damage to buildings.
The 8.8 magnitude seismic shock that rocked Chile over the weekend likely also rocked the Earth's axis, shifting the planet's mass enough to shave 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second) from all Earthly days going forward, a NASA scientist says. But that's nothing; the magnitude 9.1 Sumatran quake that spawned the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 subtracted a whopping 6.8 microseconds.
DARPA wants to know what's happening in the skies overhead and seeks full situational awareness on the ground, so we suppose it's no surprise that now it wants full, real-time surveillance of what's happening beneath the surface.
The geological time scale, with its familiar Cretaceous, Cambrian, and Eocene periods, works great as a calendar for the history of the Earth. Indeed, the different periods only cover the 3.8 billion years of life on Earth, with everything before that time lumped into one nondescript eon called the Hadean. But for some geologists, that lack of specificity simply won't work any more.
Frustrated by referring to Hadean-era events with vague phrases like "around the time of Moon formation" or "shortly after Earth cooled", four scientists, including two from NASA, have chopped up the Hadean into distinct geologic periods, and even extended the time scale back to the formation of the solar system, with a new eon called the "Chaotian."
Seismologists and geologists would love to know which volcano is going to erupt next. Now, so do bookies, odds-fixers and those with a taste for games of chance. Paddy Power, Ireland's largest bookmaker, is taking bets on which volcano around the world will next blow its top to the tune of a VEI-3 eruption. Following the recent eruption of Philippine's Mount Mayon, apparently Paddy Power was flooded with requests by -- and we're quoting here -- "punters around the globe" who wished to wager on nature's next super-destructive geo-seismic event. Apologies up front to Japan; it seems the odds are stacked against you.