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With the help of a tiny fragment of zircon extracted from a remote rock outcrop in Australia, the picture of how our planet became habitable to life about 4.4 billion years ago is coming into sharper focus.
Writing today (Feb. 23, 2014) in the journal Nature Geoscience, an international team of researchers led by University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscience Professor John Valley reveals data that confirm the Earth’s crust first formed at least 4.4 billion years ago, just 160 million years after the formation of our solar system. The work shows, Valley says, that the time when our planet was a fiery ball covered in a magma ocean came earlier...
#oldestcrust #zircon #Australia  
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Michelle Skirrow's profile photodalbir singh's profile photoFrank Reiser M.S.'s profile photo
 
Great!  too bad zircon seems to be only found in such small sizes.  It would be great if we could find large specimens of zircon.  It's also such a little time machine.
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Geology

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Virtual fly-through of San Francisco Bay revealing the seafloor as if the water was drained from the Bay. The movie flies through the south and central Bay, pausing over prominent seafloor features including, large sand waves, rock pinnacles, current scour pits, as well as many human impacts on the seafloor.
http://gallery.usgs.gov/videos/536
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Yohanes Arifin's profile photoFrank Reiser M.S.'s profile photoUlrich Schenz's profile photoVicky Gallardo's profile photo
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+Vicky Gallardo   In terms of appropriate engineering, yes, that seems counterintuitive!
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Conglomerate rock from the local canyon shows an interesting variety of minerals including calcite and decomposed granite fragments. Behind the angle of the photo there is a large clast of what is probably dolomite.
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Naj M's profile photoRich Maiklem's profile photohooman moradpour's profile photoZeinab Azadbakht's profile photo
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I just collected a felsic granite that had an ultramafic, discontinuous (on the Bowen's scale) covering of green dunite on it.  How does ultramafic dunite wind up in a felsic granite?
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Geology

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Science or Soundbite? Shale Gas, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Induced Earthquakes
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Yohanes Arifin's profile photoFrank Reiser M.S.'s profile photoRich Maiklem's profile photo
 
It's neat to see a geographical map with lines that represent distance from the shore, by the plates.  We are used to seeing maps with lines like these representing heights.
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The Mother of all Sciences