Geology

Geology is the study of the composition and physical properties of rocks, minerals, gems and other related earth materials, including diamonds and crystals. Scientists gain an understanding of the Earth's history by studying its composition.

Topics to Explore

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How England Broke off From Mainland Europe 450,000 Years Ago

Talk about a Brexit! Scientists have clues to catastrophic flooding that destroyed a land bridge that once connected England and France.

Arctic World Archive Puts Data on Ice for 1,000 Years

You might be in trouble when the end of the world is near, but at least your data won't be.

Hot or Not: What Makes Some Places Naturally High in Radioactivity

Surprisingly, living in a city with a high level of natural radiation doesn't have any ill effects.

Newly Discovered Fossil Reveals Ancient Penguins Were Huge

The prehistoric penguin was the size of a small adult human, which says a lot about penguins' evolution.

Changing Climate Taking Its Toll on Colorado River Flow

The American West may seem rugged, but it's a fragile environment. 21st-century flow levels for the Colorado are down 19 percent from 20th-century averages.

World's Largest Tropical Peatland Identified in Remote Congo Swamps

The Cuvette Centrale peatlands hold astounding amounts of carbon scientists had never fully mapped. The new discovery emphasizes a need for protection.

World War II Relics Still Haunt Pacific Waters

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

Antarctic Ice Shelf Melting From the Inside Out, Which Is Not a Good Thing

Recent icebergs and unexpected glacial rifts are indicating that something troubling is going on beneath the ice.

Do People Still Die in Quicksand?

Science has determined that disappearing completely into quicksand isn't possible — but that doesn't mean that getting stuck still won't kill you.

Earth Is in a New Epoch Because of Humans, Scientists Say

Sea level change, plastic pollution and invasive species aren’t just political issues — they’re likely signs of a new epoch called the Anthropocene, geologists say.

This One's More Than Two Months' Salary: World's Largest Diamond Up for Auction

The uncut gem is 3 billion years old and may fetch $70 million.

Underwater 'Lost City' Wasn't Built by Humans, Study Shows

Snorkelers found what looked to be the ancient ruins near the Greek island of Zakynthos, but not all that glitters is gold.

A Catastrophic Ancient Landslide Shaped Zion National Park

Geologists have for the first time recreated the details of the enormous event that created the terrain in what became one of the West's most iconic national parks.

New Expedition Hunts for Dinosaurs — And More! — Beneath Antarctic Ice

Antarctica is tough to get to. Tougher still, for a group of paleontologists, is not knowing what's under all that ice. This expedition looks to remedy that problem.

So You Dug Up a Woolly Mammoth in Your Backyard. Can You Keep It?

Can you keep ancient things you unearth? While the short answer is, yes, there are, of course, legal and ethical considerations depending on the circumstances.

10 Extinct Hominids

Decades of fossil discoveries have revealed much about the extinct members of our hominid family tree, but we're far from having all the answers. What have we learned from some of these fascinating finds?

Could we resurrect dinosaurs from fossil embryos?

You likely heard that paleontologists uncovered a cache of dinosaur embryos, bone fragments and eggshells in China. You also may recall that we've made crazy leaps forward in genetics and genomics. Can we put the two together and create a dinosaur?

How are crystals made?

From the Hope diamond to the shiny bits in instant coffee, crystals have always held the power to fascinate us humans. Are they more than just a bunch of pretty facets?

Fossils: From Organic to Rock in a Matter of Millennia

From dinosaur skeletons to petrified wood, fossils help us learn about prehistoric creatures' anatomy and physiology. See pictures of incredible examples of fossils from around the world.

How Anthropology Works

Anthropologists specialize in, well, us. But studying humankind doesn't mean you have to hole up in a library or laboratory. Take a peek at this article to learn more about the dynamic, enriching field of anthropology.

What is the oldest fossil ever found?

When it comes to fossils, specimens like Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex grab much of the attention. And while Sue is a staggering 67 million years old, she's a new kid on the block, compared to some of the oldest fossils ever found. What's older than Sue?

How incomplete is the fossil record?

At best, fossilization is a long and tricky process that mineralizes an occasional Tyrannosaurus rex or other extraordinary find. How has that affected our chances at charting a model of life itself?

Is there fossil evidence for human evolution?

It's easy to trace the evolution of the automobile. Your family tree poses a whole different challenge. Even an extensive genealogy chart can only reach back so far. So how do we chart the evolution of the human race?

How can soft tissue exist in dinosaur fossils?

Crack open any science textbook and the authors will tell you that such things don't happen. So how did a couple of paleontologists and an acid bath turn that widespread belief on its head?

Is there a definite link between birds and dinosaurs?

Birds then dinosaurs or dinosaurs then birds? It's a lot like the chicken-and-egg question, only with paleontologists. Who's arguing what these days, and what are they citing as evidence?


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