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Links 1 through 10 of 15 by Paul Raven tagged geology

"Super Earths, with a larger and hotter interior, would have a thinner planetary crust placed under more stress. This probably would result in faster tectonics, as well as more earthquakes, volcanism, and other geologic upheavals. In fact, Sasselov says the plate tectonics on Super Earths may be so rapid that mountains and ocean trenches wouldn't have much time to develop before the surface was again recycled.

[...] Sasselov says Earth has just enough water for tectonics to work. Tectonics on Super Earths might be so efficient that water isn't even needed.

On the other hand, it's possible that a SuperEarth could be entirely covered by water. Sasselov says that in the case of such an ocean world, most of the water will be in an exotic state known as iceVII ..."

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"It is truly amazing that more than a dozen natural reactors spontaneously sprang into existence and that they managed to maintain a modest power output for perhaps a few hundred millennia. Why is it that these parts of the deposit did not explode and destroy themselves right after nuclear chain reactions began? What mechanism provided the necessary self-regulation? Did these reactors run steadily or in fits and starts? The solutions to these puzzles emerged slowly after initial discovery of the Oklo phenomenon. Indeed, the last question lingered for more than three decades before my colleagues and I at Washington University in St. Louis began to address it by examining a piece of this enigmatic African ore."

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"Each has a seismometer for detecting earthquakes, an infrared sensor to detect heat from volcanic explosions, a sensor to detect ash clouds, and a global positioning system to sense the ground bulging and pinpoint the exact location of seismic activity.

Once in place, the bots reached out to each other to form what is known as a mesh network. "It's similar to the internet," says Steve Chien, the principal scientist for autonomous systems at JPL. "You just lay them out, and they figure out the best way to route the data.""

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"Right now, we do not have enough information to tell whether biology or geology -- or both -- is producing the methane on Mars," Mumma said. "But it does tell us the planet is still alive, at least in a geologic sense. It is as if Mars is challenging us, saying, 'hey, find out what this means.' " Is it too late for me to start astronaut training?

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"... some of the best evidence for our own system’s formation has to be dug out of the ground. It’s based on the chondrules found in certain meteorites that seem to have been formed in the earliest stages of its life."

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"... could we also hack the surface of the earth? Could we hack geology? Could we use plate tectonics to re-direct whole island chains, color rocks, print cities out of magma, and build mountains where mountains have no right to be?"

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"These rocks are clinging to the signal of an ancient magnetic field, dating back billions of years, to the times when Mars had a magnetic field like Earth’s."

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"The oceanic crust is usually 6km to 7km thick but [it] seems to be absent in this area of the Atlantic. Instead we have a window into the interior of the Earth, that simply shouldn't be there, according to the standard ideas of how the Earth works."

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"With binoculars, examine the rugged face of the Moon. It is pocked with thousands of impact craters from interplanetary asteroids and comets. Ever wonder why Earth, a much bigger target, apparently has so few craters?"

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"The new data support earlier research ... showing that carbonado diamonds formed in stellar supernovae explosions. Black diamonds were once the size of asteroids, a kilometer or more in diameter when they first landed on Earth."

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