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Xavier Middleton
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260-million-year-old skulls reveal new information about the origin of turtles | #Geology #GeologyPage

A research team led by NYIT scientist Gaberiel Bever has determined that a 260-million year-old fossil species found in South Africa's Karoo Basin provides a long awaited glimpse into the murky origins of turtles.

Bever, describes the extinct reptile, named Eunotosaurus africanus, as the earliest known branch of the turtle tree of life.

Read more : http://www.geologypage.com/2015/09/260-million-year-old-skulls-reveal-new.html

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Dinosaur Claws | #Geology #GeologyPage

A dig in Dry Mesa, Colorado, revealed these Jurassic jewels: claws from a creature now extinct. All theropods (bipedal dinosaurs that included T. rex and Velociraptor) possessed curved, hooklike claws on their hands and feet, similar to today's birds of prey. Each claw ended with a sharp point ideally suited for digging into the flesh of prey. When worn down, bony claws developed a sharp edge ideal for cutting and slashing.

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Has it been two decades already?

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Research redefines the properties of faults when rock melts | #Geology #GeologyPage

A new discovery in the study of fault slip seeks to redefine our understanding of how melt-bearing faults behave, say scientists at the University of Liverpool.

Geoscientists have used friction experiments to investigate the processes of fault slip. Fault slip occurs in many natural environments – including during earthquakes – when large stress build-ups are rapidly released as two sliding tectonic plates grinds together.

Read more : http://www.geologypage.com/2015/07/research-redefines-properties-of-faults.html

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Ammonite from Seatown | #Geology #GeologyPage

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A massive ancient ocean once covered nearly half of the northern hemisphere of Mars making the planet a more promising place for alien life to have gained a foothold, Nasa scientists say.

The huge body of water spread over a fifth of the planet’s surface, as great a portion as the Atlantic covers the Earth, and was a mile deep in places. In total, the ocean held 20 million cubic kilometres of water, or more than is found in the Arctic Ocean, the researchers found.

Unveiled by Nasa on Thursday, the compelling evidence for the primitive ocean adds to an emerging picture of Mars as a warm and wet world in its youth, which trickled with streams, winding river deltas, and long-standing lakes, soon after it formed 4.5bn years ago.

The view of the planet’s ancient history radically re-writes what many scientists believed only a decade ago. Back then, flowing water was widely considered to have been a more erratic presence on Mars, gushing forth only rarely, and never forming long-standing seas and oceans.

“A major question has been how much water did Mars actually have when it was young and how did it lose that water?” said Michael Mumma, a senior scientist at Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland....

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/05/nasa-finds-evidence-of-a-vast-ancient-ocean-on-mars
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