Picture of the Week
Discovering the physics and chemistry of the cosmos is different to carrying out experiments in the lab. In the lab, samples can be tested, experiments can be repeated, and if anything looks odd, you can always look from another angle to see if it's just a trick of perspective. For astronomers, none of this is possible: the only information they have is in the light that reaches their telescopes. More...
19 September 2013
Geology is not just about sterile, lifeless phenomena. The Earth's evolution over time has been driven in large part by life. The oxygen in the atmosphere was not present before life created it, thanks to photosynthesis by primitive algae around 2.5 billion years ago.
Rocks, too, are greatly influenced by life. The white cliffs of Dover are formed of chalk deposited by countless generations of marine organisms in the distant past.
The most famous and most obvious influences of life on rocks, though, are fossils.
This superb specimen of a trilobite is part of UCL's Geology Collections. Trilobites died out around 250 million years ago, though a distant relative, the horseshoe crab, still lives today. Despite being long-extinct, perfectly preserved specimens like these are quite common.
Photo credit: UCL Geology Collections
High resolution image
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Page last modified on 19 sep 13 16:41