Fossils of Mount Everest

The summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, is a sea floor. That may come as a surprise; after all, a sea should be at sea level. In practice, there is some flexibility on this. Three seas are below sea level: the Dead Sea, the Salton Sea and the Caspian Sea. All are…

Lava rocks!

What’s in a name. Would lava by any other name smell as sweet? Perhaps that is not the right question: lava is many things, but sweet-smelling it is not. It smells like a rose bush that was doused in some evil sulphurous pesticide and then put on fire. This rose also constantly explodes with a…

Kilauea – Slump or Slide?

As I have perused the internet in the last few days I have noticed that the “gargantuan landslide causing a mega-tsunami” meme is in full swing again, now in relation to Kilauea. Therefore, I think it is time to write a more laidback article about what is happening in that regard with Kilauea. But before…

Ancient foundations: the earth of the bible. Part II: Volcanics in the fertile crescent

In Part I, the five main faults in the region around the Levant were discussed: the Red Sea spreading ridge and its associated triple point, the Dead Sea transform fault, the Zagros suture, the Anatolian strike-slip fault (actually two near parallel faults), and the Aegean subduction zone. Every type of fault that is known occurs…

An Iceland Enigma – The Thórsmörk Ignimbrite

Today we welcome a guest post by volcanologist Dave McGarvie. Dave is a senior lecturer at the Open University and studies volcanoes in Iceland and Chile. He can be found on Twitter under the username @subglacial. One of the wonderful aspects of working as a volcanologist is Iceland is that fascinating new puzzles and their…

The Old Man or The Sea

The Lives of Lake Baikal It is said that a huge stone fell from the sky like they do now, sometimes. While it was falling it became red hot. When it hit the earth there was a great rainfall. Earth, stone, and water came to a boil and in that turmoil Lake Baikal was born.…

The dancing Earth: continental drift

In hindsight, continental drift should have been obvious. That the Earth moves up and down had been known for centuries, shown by the layered beaches of Sweden, the seashells of the Himalayas, or the sinking harbours of the Med. The drowned and resurfaced Pillars of Pozzuoli became famous as the frontipiece of Charles Lyell’s opus…

The Lisbon Earthquake

At one time, Portugal ruled the world. Its explorers discovered the Cape of Good Hope, created colonies around the Indian Ocean, reached China and Japan, founded the city of Nagasaki, and claimed much of South America. The glory days of the Portuguese empire lasted from 1415 to 1750, and left a rich heritage in Portugal.…

Jurassic escarpment in central Saudi Arabia

Volcanoes of Saudi Arabia

The rocky desert stretches as far as the eye can see: a fascinating vista, forbidding and seemingly unending. Distant hills shimmer in the heat and glare of the Sun. There is beauty here but it is on an inhuman and unearthly scale. The land has been baked bone-dry by many years of sun, heat and…

Gems!

Like all other original branches of science, geology has split and evolved into a multitude of sub-species such as geophysics, petrology, mineralogy, volcanology and seismology. The science that deals with natural and artificial gemstones, gemology, is considered to be part of the geosciences and specifically a branch of mineralogy. If we disregard artificially generated radioisotopes,…