Category Archives: Plate Tectonics

Tuzo

“Tuzo’s dead.” That was the first time I’d ever heard of Tuzo. It was April 1993 and I wondered who – or what – Tuzo was. Now he was dead. I had already completed my University of Saskatchewan geophysics degree … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, How Geophysics Works, Plate Tectonics, Science Education | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Bad Luck of Extinction

Bad genes or bad luck? That’s the subtitle of Extinction,  David Raup’s romp through Earth history from his viewpoint as a preeminent palaeontologist. Raup (along with colleague Jack Sepkoski) became somewhat well known for their theory that extinctions occur in … Continue reading

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When Tectonics Started

The Earth is the only planet known to have continents adrift. Scientists are rather certain that the drifting began about a billion years into Earth’s history. This means that for a thousand million years, the continents just sat there. Idle. … Continue reading

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What’s that Smell?

Yesterday’s odoriferous eruption of Iceland’s Bárðarbunga volcano got me thinking about the nasty stuff just below our feet. The volcano has begun gassing smelly poisons and the scent of Iceland’s rotten eggs has been whiffed as far away as Finland. Why … Continue reading

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Signs of Plate Tectonics on Europa – Ice Plates, that is.

There is a lot to like in this next story. Life may exist on an ice-world that glows red in the light of Jupiter’s torch. This is an interesting idea derived from NASA data that had been sitting on a … Continue reading

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Into Subduction

On some level, we are all into subduction. But not many of us apply for the license. If you sometimes follow Randall Munroe’s creative web comic xkcd, then you may have seen this comic. What does it mean? I’d like … Continue reading

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A Conversation with the Earth

How many of us recognize the most important moment in our career? The instant when you realize exactly what you should work on, even if you don’t know where that might lead. It happened to a young theoretical physicist. He … Continue reading

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Earth Rising

I was a child when the first photograph of the Earth, as seen from orbit around the Moon, arrived at NASA. Lunar Orbiter 1 was up there, scouting places for a future landing party of American astronauts. As an afterthought, … Continue reading

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Chile Shaking. . . it will happen again, of course

Earlier this week, geophysicists reported an analysis of the April 1, 2014, Chilean earthquake which killed six and displaced tens of thousands close to the epicenter near the Peru border. They said the new study is yielding information which may … Continue reading

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Who gave Santa all that Oil?

This weekend Russia announced that the world’s most northerly oil well was about to spud.  Vladimir Putin did the actual announcing himself from his summer vacation palace in Sochi. (He is the guy behind the big desk, above.) He was … Continue reading

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