News from the Earth Sciences
Deep-water (below wave base) processes, although generally
hidden from view, shape the sedimentary record of more than 65% of
the Earth’s surface, including large parts of ancient
mountain belts. This book aims to inform advanced-level
undergraduate and postgraduate students, and professional Earth
scientists with interests in physical oceanography and hydrocarbon
exploration and production, about many of the important physical
aspects of deep-water (mainly deep-marine) systems.
Published: Feb 12, 2016 12:26:00 PM
The program will prepare the future leaders in the management of the natural resources value chain across the globe. The successful graduate from this program will be well versed in all aspects of the energy and natural resources industries, will be an effective communicator, will have a strong background in Earth Science and Engineering, will be aware of social responsibilities, will operate within international constraints and opportunities, and will have strong managerial skills. More...
Published: Dec 22, 2015 10:26:00 AM
It took 100 million years for oxygen
levels in the oceans and atmosphere to increase to the level that allowed the
explosion of animal life on Earth about 600 million years ago, according to study funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. Before now it was not known how quickly
Earth’s oceans and atmosphere became oxygenated and if animal life expanded
before or after oxygen levels rose.
Published: Dec 18, 2015 10:26:00 AM
A new examination of the Earth’s shape (non-hydrostatic geoid) with modern statistical techniques has revealed that the viscosity of Earth’s mantle increases by a factor of 10-100 but at depths far greater than previously thought. The jump occurs at around 1000 km, far deeper than expected based on the structure of Earth’s minerals. The new finding explains the stagnation of slabs and deflection of plumes seen in recent 3-D imaging of Earth’s mantle by seismic waves. More...
Published: Dec 11, 2015 10:26:00 AM
The carbon cycle is a vital aspect
of our planet’s well-being. However, there are fundamental aspects of it that
we do not understand, without which we cannot accurately quantify CO2 budgets. How, and at what rate, does the carbon cycle
respond to, and recover from, events of rapid and extreme global warming or
cooling? What process has maintained the climate within a habitable range for
billions of years? Silicate weathering is Earth’s main long-term CO2 removal process, and therefore a dominant climate control
mechanism. Critically, we do not understand the controls on silicate
weathering, or its full effects on atmospheric pCO2 and climate.
Published: Dec 11, 2015 10:26:00 AM
The Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was an interval of extreme global warmth, with elevated temperatures at the tropics and high latitudes. Arctic temperatures were greater than 20oC. At University College London masters students in Earth Sciences are examining a replica of an ocean core from the South Atlantic Ocean. This core was collected by the Ocean Drilling Program (now called the International Ocean Discovery Program). The sedimentary changes reflect dramatic variations in the Earth’s climate. During the PETM ocean acidification occurred, impacting the depth in the ocean that carbonate dissolves. More...
Published: Dec 7, 2015 8:26:00 PM
Who wanted to know about the science of minerals, meteorites and fossils? Quite a lot of people – including Humphry Davy, William Wollaston, William Smith and Joseph Banks – at the turn of the eighteenth century. A key player in meeting their needs was James Sowerby (1757-1822) who had the skills and resources to discover, illuminate and inform as well as being the focus of a network of active natural historians. Sowerby is often overlooked as a major contributor but that is a mistake. He might have lacked the social status of many scientists but he produced a remarkable body of original work that is still applicable to the present day. The first full biography of Sowerby by Paul Henderson is now published, is well illustrated and gives a fascinating insight into the science of those times. More...
Published: Nov 26, 2015 1:26:00 PM
Dr Stephen Edwards of the UCL Hazard Centre initiated a visit to UCL of the Mining Minister of Chile, Aurora Williams, which took place on 13 October 2015 and was coordinated through the UCL Office for International Affairs. The visit was made possible through Stephen’s contacts in UK Trade & Investment and the Chilean Embassy in London. The Minister first met with Dame Nicola Brewer, UCL Vice-Provost (International), and then Stephen chaired a roundtable discussion with the Minister’s delegation and UCL academics and Chilean postgraduate students. Discussion focused on the main challenges currently facing the mining sector in Chile, namely energy, water, tailings, natural disasters and community relations. Stephen will follow up on this initial discussion when he joins the UCL delegation to Chile in early December as part of his UCL-Santander Catalyst Award, which aims to build a network of experts dealing with the risks posed by natural and environmental hazards in Chile in order to generate productive research and training links with UCL. The initial focus will be the Earth and environmental sciences and people interested in this initiative should contact Stephen Edwards. More...
Published: Nov 25, 2015 5:26:00 PM
Maps of Arctic
sea ice thickness are again available in near real time from the Centre for
Polar Observation and Modelling, based on measurements acquired by the European
Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite mission (Figure 1). This operational dataset,
which aids maritime activities in ice infested waters and improves
scientific understanding of the Polar Regions, has been paused since May because melt ponds on sea
ice hamper the detection of sea ice thickness during summer.
Published: Nov 17, 2015 5:26:00 PM
As part of the International Earth Science Week 2015, UCL Earth Sciences and UCL PACE (Public and Cultural Engagement) presented a special pop-up exhibition exploring the age of one of the most geologically diverse places on Earth - the British Isles. The Earth Science Week is a yearly event run since 2011 and coordinated by the Geological Society with events all over the UK and Ireland. More...
Published: Oct 23, 2015 5:26:00 PM