2 February 2017
- Scientists have confirmed the existence of a "lost continent" under the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius that was left-over by the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago. The piece of crust, which was subsequently covered by young lava during volcanic eruptions on the island, seems to be a tiny piece of ancient continent, which broke off from the island of Madagascar, when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up and formed the Indian Ocean.
"We are studying the break-up process of the continents, in order to understand the geological history of the planet," says Wits geologist, Professor Lewis Ashwal, lead author on the paper "Archaean zircons in Miocene oceanic hotspot rocks establish ancient continental crust beneath Mauritius", published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.
26 September 2015
- Earthquakes may be triggered by sound waves that reduce the friction between rocks at a geological fault. That is the conclusion of an international team of researchers that has done laboratory-based experiments that mimic the process. The results support the "acoustic fluidization" theory of earthquake triggering, which seeks to explain the unexpected weakness of some faults. The research could also help to reveal how aftershocks are generated at great distances from the earthquakes that precede them.
Large earthquakes are often followed by a number of smaller tremors – called aftershocks – that can occur in geological faults thousands of kilometres from the epicentre of the original earthquake. While aftershocks are well documented, exactly how they are triggered remains a mystery.
12 December 2013
The new research, published in the journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, comes nine years after the giant earthquake and tsunami in Sumatra in December 2004, which devastated the region and many other areas surrounding the Indian Ocean, and killed more than 200,000 people.
Since then two other giant earthquakes have occurred at subduction zones, one in Chile in February 2010 and one in Japan in March 2011, which both caused massive destruction, killed many thousands of people and resulted in billions of dollars of damage.
6 September 2013
- A volcano the size of New Mexico or the British Isles has been identified under the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of Japan, making it the biggest volcano on Earth and one of the biggest in the solar system.
Called Tamu Massif, the giant shield volcano had been thought to be a composite of smaller structures, but now scientists say they must rethink long-held beliefs about marine geology.
“This finding goes against what we thought, because we found that it’s one huge volcano,” said William Sager, a geology professor at the University of Houston in Texas.“It is in the same league as Olympus Mons on Mars, which had been considered to be the largest volcano in the solar system,” Sager told National Geographic.
11 June 2013
- New findings suggest a series of current events are weakening the Earth's magnetic field. Above the liquid outer core is the mantle; a solid rock composition which can be moldable due to the intense heat and high pressure.
At the boundary between Earth's core and mantle at a depth of 2900 km (1,802 miles), there is an intense heat exchange.
28 March 2013
- An undersea eruption created a new Island off the coast of Tonga in March of 2012.
Tonga, a 170-island archipelago between Australia and Tahiti, is part of the Pacific "ring of fire".
Spectacular columns are spewing out of the sea in an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered, geologists said.
20 January 2013
- More powerful shifts appear to be taking place within the interior of our planet.
From January 6 to 13, in a span of only seven days, no less than 10 volcanoes were stirred into activity. Six volcanoes in Kamchatka alone are reporting activity.
At the planet struggles to equilibrate its thermal cycle, more and more of the planet’s systems that utilize thermal energy will be thrown into disorder: tectonic plates movements, sea-floor spreading rifts, sesimic events, climate, volcanic systems, and ocean circulation patterns.
- Incredible underwater images clearly show that the gap between Europe and the United States is widening!
To see how the tectonic plates are moving apart, one has to be prepared for some extreme diving.