Geologic Processes

Geological processes have helped to create many iconic features on Earth. Processes, such as plate tectonics, are what shapes the face of the Earth. Here you can discover the power of geological processes.

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Imagine walking through a dusty, arid landscape when you stumble upon a seemingly ordinary rock. Its rough exterior might not catch the eye, but what lies within surely will. Geodes are one of nature’s most spectacular treasures, offering a glimpse into the geological processes that shape our Earth.

By Clarissa Mitton

The notion of Africa splitting has the attention scientists and geologists worldwide, as the Great Rift Valley stretches and tears at the Earth's crust.

By Clarissa Mitton

In the western Sahara Desert lies a natural wonder that has intrigued scientists and adventurers for centuries. Known as the Richat Structure — or, more commonly, the Eye of the Sahara — this massive geological formation resembles a giant eye.

By Marie Look

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The Atacama Desert, situated in northern Chile, is not just any ordinary arid region. Spanning over 600 miles (965 km) along the Pacific Coast of South America, it is one of the most extreme landscapes on the planet. Thanks to certain oceanic conditions, there are areas that have received zero rainfall throughout recorded history, making the Atacama Desert the driest place on Earth.

By Marie Look

One of Earth's most interesting natural features, the Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water on the planet, defying conventional classifications to be both a sea and a lake.

By Marie Look

Decades after the massive conflict, reminders of battles linger in pristine Pacific waters.

By Christopher Hassiotis

The world of our far-future descendants may be as unrecognizable to us as our bustling, urbanized world would be to our bewildered ancient forefathers. Will energy drive many of those changes?

By Robert Lamb

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The Doll's Theater of Carlsbad Caverns looks otherworldly and took ages to form. What other incredible sights await us below ground?

By Julia Layton

One grows from the ground and one from the ceiling, but sometime's it's hard to remember which is the stalactite and which is the stalagmite. How do they get there, anyway?

By John Fuller

Nutty Putty Cave, near Salt Lake City, Utah, was discovered in 1960 and sealed up forever in 2009. But why?

By Dave Roos & Austin Henderson

There are caves all over the world, but some are in places that are hard to explore — hidden by rocks, ruins or even under ice. We've found seven secret caves you probably never knew existed.

By Stephanie Parker

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Waterfalls are mainly reliant on precipitation to keep flowing. Here are six famous waterfalls that slowed to a trickle when drought set in.

By Laurie L. Dove

The Pacific's Ring of Fire is a 25,000 mile long "ring" that's home to 75 percent of all the world's volcanic activity and 90 percent of the planet's earthquakes. So what makes this area so active?

By Mark Mancini

Countless movies and television shows depict quicksand as some kind of living creature that sucks its victims down into a bottomless pit, never to be heard from again. Well, you can't believe everything Hollywood tells you.

By Kevin Bonsor

Carbon-14 dating is something that you hear about in the news all the time. Everything from mastodons to the Shroud of Turin has been dated using this technique! Learn about how carbon-14 dating works and why it is so accurate!

By Marshall Brain

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Did you know that sand dunes can sing? And, their artistic curves certainly make for a gorgeous photograph. In fact, you might call the sand dune the diva of the desert.

By Debra Ronca

The end of Earth will likely come about because of the sun in our solar system. This much you might already know, but we actually have an approximate date.

By Robert Lamb

Earthquakes and volcanoes get all the press. But the landslides they trigger are often more devastating. What makes the ground suddenly rip downhill, taking trees and homes with it?

By Jennifer Horton & Mark Mancini

Sand dunes belch, moan and hum. They roll across the desert, seeking out new locales. You might even say they breed. It's no wonder people call these giant sand formations lifelike.

By Debra Ronca

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Ash flows, deadly gases and vog are just a few of the other reasons why we all need to respect volcanoes.

By Brittany Brand

If you think the largest desert in the world is hot and sandy, think again. These 10 deserts spanning the globe are massive, but they're not all sunbaked.

By Mitch Ryan

Arizona isn't all desert. Take Grand Falls, aka "Chocolate Falls." It is dry most of the year, but when it rains, this waterfall pours.

By Patty Rasmussen

Scientists are concerned that the Thwaites Glacier is melting at a rapid pace, though some don't love the name "Doomsday Glacier." What does the rapid melt of this huge glacier mean for the future of our planet?

By Mark Mancini

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One term might give you the impression of something grand and mysterious, while the other makes you think of claustrophobia-inducing environs that threaten human life. But what's the real difference?

By Nathan Chandler

The U.S. is full of exceptional geological formations. But these five set the bar high as far as landmarks go.

By Mark Mancini