plate tectonics Archives - Page 2 of 3 - State of the Planet

Walter Pitman and the Smoking Gun of Plate Tectonics

“We had this magic key, this magic magnetic profile,” Pitman said. “We were able to date it and eventually use it not only as a tool that proved continental drift but a tool by which we could actually reconstruct the pattern of drift, that is the relative position of the continents, and the actual timing of the separation of the continents.”

by |April 20, 2016

Top Seismology Award Goes to Pioneer in Rock Mechanics: Christopher Scholz

For his pioneering work in rock mechanics and his skill at communicating earthquake science, Scholz is being honored on April 20 by the Seismological Society of America with its top award, the Harry Fielding Reid Medal.

by |April 20, 2016

The Floor of the Ocean Comes into Better Focus

The bottom of the ocean just keeps getting better. Or at least more interesting to look at.

by |January 7, 2016
Subduction zone mechanics

Ancient Faults & Water Are Sparking Earthquakes Off Alaska

Ancient faults that formed in the ocean floor millions of years ago are feeding earthquakes today along stretches of the Alaska Peninsula, and likely elsewhere, a new study suggests.

by |November 16, 2015
Sea floor spreading chart by Jean-Arthur Olive

Climate Change Leaves Its Mark on the Sea Floor? Maybe Not

A new study in Science questions the provocative idea that climate change may shape the texture of the sea floor. A Snickers bar helps explain what’s really going on.

by |October 15, 2015

Come Aboard: A Look at the R/V Marcus Langseth

A new video produced by Columbia University tells the story of what the research vessel Marcus G. Langseth is all about.

by |October 15, 2015

Photo Essay: Rising Islands, Monster Wave

Researchers at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have published a new study showing that a tsunami of unimaginable size swept over the Cape Verde Islands some 73,000 years ago. The discovery may have implications for the potential for modern hazards.  READ THE FULL SCIENTIFIC STORY

by |October 2, 2015

Orogenous Zones: How Rock Flows

The architects of Columbia’s modern Northwest Tower, at the corner of Broadway and 120th Street, made good use of some beautiful stones. In their polished and swirling surfaces, they tell a story of the clash of continents and the processes by which mountains are made.

by |October 13, 2014
Cobscook Bay State Park, Maine. Photo: W. Menke

What Geology Has to Say About Global Warming

The most important lessons drawn from geology are that the earth’s climate can change radically, and rapidly. We can’t say precisely at what CO2 level we’re in danger of melting Antarctica, but that threshold could be reached in 150-300 years, if CO2 levels keep rising at the current rate.

by |July 11, 2014

The Dawn of Plate Tectonics

An ancient grain of zircon found
In Jack Hill sandstone north of Perth,
Inside its crystal lattice bound:
Secrets of our planet’s birth.

by |March 14, 2014