geology

Explaining the Tiger Stripes of Enceladus

December 09, 2019
Saturn’s tiny, frozen moon Enceladus is a strange place. Just 300 miles across, the moon is thought to have an outer shell of ice covering a global ocean 20 miles deep, encasing a rocky core. Slashed across Enceladus’ south pole are four straight, parallel fissures or “tiger stripes” from which water erupts. These fissures aren’t quite like anything else in the solar system. 

Mutant Fern Spores Point to Mass Extinction Culprit

October 24, 2019
About 200 million years ago, much of the life on Earth was wiped out in the end-Triassic mass extinction. The catastrophe may have been caused by climate change related to massive volcanic eruptions.

Four Limbs Good, Three Legs Bad?

October 01, 2019
If “Why?” is the first question in science, “Why not?” must be a close second. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about why something does not exist. Such as a truly three-legged animal.

Pockets of Primordial Earth Still Remain

September 18, 2019
New research suggests specific giant rock regions in the mantle have existed for 4.5 billion years, since Earth’s beginning.

A Double Major for Digging Up Dinosaurs

Colin Boisvert always wanted to be a paleontologist. A double major in geology and biology will give him a solid foundation in science so he can pursue his dream of becoming a professor, he said. “A double major really helps give me the broadest background possible.”

Understanding How Pressures in Planets Evolve

September 04, 2019

A new study from Caltech and the UC Davis College of Letters and Science shows that giant impacts can dramatically lower the internal pressure of planets, a finding that could significantly change the current model of planetary formation.

Modeling Early Meteorite Impacts on the Moon

July 11, 2019
As our solar system was forming nearly four and a half billion years ago, a planet-sized object struck the early Earth, leading to the formation of the moon, possibly from a hot, spinning cloud of rock vapor called a synestia. But after the Earth and moon had condensed from the vapor, there was another phase of growth as meteorites crashed into both bodies.

Small Towns, Big Flood Waters

May 15, 2019
River flooding continues to be the deadliest and most costly natural disaster threatening the U.S. and the world. Research by Nicholas Pinter, the Roy J. Shlemon Professor of Applied Geosciences, and Huck Rees, undergraduate geology major, could help

Researchers Describe New Reptile Platypus From the Early Triassic

January 24, 2019
No animal alive today looks quite like a duck-billed platypus, a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal hailing from eastern Australia. But about 250 million years ago, something very similar swam the shallow seas in what is now China, finding prey by touch with a cartilaginous bill. The newly discovered marine reptile Eretmorhipis carrolldongi from the lower Triassic period is described in the journal Scientific Reports Jan. 24.