Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


At Phys.org: Aluminous silica: A major water carrier in the lower mantle

"Water is transported by oceanic plates into the Earth's deep interior and changes the properties of minerals and rocks, affecting the Earth's internal material cycle and environmental evolution since the formation of the Earth." Read More ›

Researchers: How plate tectonics, mountains and deep-sea sediments have maintained Earth’s ‘Goldilocks’ climate

In an article summarized at The Conversation, recent research affirms the suite of conditions involving plate tectonics and resultant mountain-building, coupled with erosion and volcanic activity, that has helped to maintain a habitable climate on our planet. Read More ›

Can a now-lost continent shed light on the evolution of mammals?

At ScienceDaily: A team of geologists and palaeontologists has discovered that, some 50 million years ago, there was a low-lying continent separating Europe from Asia that they have named Balkanatolia. At the time, it was inhabited by an endemic fauna that was very different from those of Europe and Asia. Read More ›

Did glaciers cause a billion-year gap in information about the development of life?

At Vice: This giant lapse in Earth’s memory exceeds one billion years in some places, resulting in 550 million-year-old rocks sitting atop ancient layers that date back 1.7 billion years, with no trace of the many lost epochs in between… Read More ›

Apparently, some people have noticed the nonsense at Nature Communications about geology as not a safe field for persons of color

About that third comment above: There is no reason to put “scholarship” and “Nature Communications” in the same sentence if this “paper” is supposed to be an example of the type of thing it produces. Read More ›

Did a magnetic field reversal doom the Neanderthals?

A theory this exotic is bound to be popular. Archaeologist and anthropologist Anna Goldfield assesses the evidence. She points out that Neanderthals generally didn’t live in the areas where they’d be most affected ... (more) Read More ›

Casey Luskin is back, after years in the field!

Why he left (the non-conspiracy version): My PhD project focused on the “Pongola Supergroup,” a major section of supracrustal rocks in southeastern South Africa (Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces) and southern Swaziland, aged ~2.8 – 3.0 billion years old. Suffice to say, this project involved months and even years of fieldwork, lab work, data analysis, and writeup. Like most PhDs, mine had its ups and downs, complete with excitement, fun, blood, sweat, tears, near-madness, sheer terror, and utter boredom. Read More ›

The Privileged Planet, Redux

We’ve all heard about the fine-tuning of physical constants–just change them ever so slightly and a different kind of universe emerges. Then, there’s simply our location in our galaxy that allows us to see outwards to the galaxy itself, and beyond. Now, even the radioactivity in the earth’s core seems to be conducive to life. At Phys.Org there is a press release on this paper (behind paywall). “What they found is that if the radiogenic heating is more than the Earth’s, the planet can’t permanently sustain a dynamo, as Earth has done. That happens because most of the thorium and uranium end up in the mantle, and too much heat in the mantle acts as an insulator, preventing the molten Read More ›

Sabine Hossenfelder: Flat Earthers are wrong but not stupid

Hossenfelder: It is not possible for each and every one of us to redo all experiments in the history of science. It therefore becomes increasingly important that scientists provide evidence for how science works, so that people who cannot follow the research itself can instead rely on evidence that the system produces correct and useful descriptions of nature. Read More ›