Weathering and Erosion
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Geologists solve the mystery of what tectonic plates float on

Geologists solve the mystery of what tectonic plates float on | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it

Any geologist will tell you the Earth’s crust is broken into tectonic plates that “float” around like gigantic rafts. But just what these rafts have been floating upon, has been a mystery – until now. A team of New Zealand scientists detonated tons of dynamite and listened for echoes to reveal the underbelly of the Pacific plate. They found a 10 kilometre thick channel of lubricating jelly-like rock, which they say allows the plate to slide above it, according to a report in Nature.


German meteorologist Alfred Wegener proposed the idea of rafting continents back in 1912 after perusing maps and noticing that the east coast of South America and the west coast of Africa would fit together like jigsaw pieces.


But scientists only started taking the idea seriously in 1963when geophysicists Fred Vine and Drummond Matthews showed that the crust on the ocean floor, on either side of the mid-oceanic ridges, was indeed moving.


These days plate tectonics is “obvious”, says Louis Moresi, a geologist at the University of Melbourne. “You can log on to Google Earth and actually plot the movement.” The plates themselves are composed of a thick layer of hard rock known as the lithosphere that lies above a softer layer known as the asthenosphere. But no one knew what lay at the lithosphere asthenosphere boundary (LAB).


In the past geologists relied on earthquakes originating on the other side of the planet of the planet to try and find out. Like doctors placing a stethoscope to the Earth’s surface, they detected seismic waves. The fact these waves move at different speeds through different layers allowed geologists to sketch a coarse picture of the medium through which they travelled. But natural seismic waves are 10-40 kilometers in length – too long to resolve the fine-grained structure below the plates. So the New Zealanders took matters into their own hands.


“Rather than relying on earthquake waves that come from below we create our own ‘earthquakes’ with dynamite shots,” says Tim Stern at Victoria University, Wellington, who led the project. The resulting waves are about 500 metres long and  able to resolve finer structures. The blast zone was sited on the southern tip of New Zealand’s North Island where the 73-kilometre thick Pacific plate dips beneath the Australian plate at the rate of about 40 millimetres a year.


The team set up 877 Coke can-sized seismometers strung like beads along 85 kilometers. Then from multiple boreholes they detonated half a ton of TNT in each. The seismic echoes revealed something unusual stuck to the Pacific plate’s underbelly – a channel of jelly-like rock about 10 kilometers thick.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Town Slowly deformed by Plate Tectonics

Town Slowly deformed by Plate Tectonics | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it

"The signs that something’s wrong are not immediately obvious, but, once you see them, it’s hard to tune them out. Curbs at nearly the exact same spot on opposite sides of the street are popped out of alignment. Houses too young to show this kind of wear stand oddly warped, torqued out of sync with their own foundations, their once-strong frames off-kilter. This is Hollister, California, a town being broken in two slowly, relentlessly, and in real time by an effect known as 'fault creep.' A slow, surreal tide of deformation has appeared throughout the city."

 

Tags: disasters, geomorphology, California, physical.


Via Seth Dixon
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Next supercontinent will amaze you

Next supercontinent will amaze you | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
Fifty million to 200 million years from now, geologists expect Earth's continents to smash together into one big supercontinent, just as they've done repeatedly in our planet's distant past — and a new computer model suggests that the Arctic Ocean...

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Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria Inc. (GTAV)'s curator insight, July 5, 2013 1:49 AM

CD - The causes, impacts and responses to a geomorphological hazard.

Samantha Hellessey's curator insight, April 1, 1:00 AM

CD - The causes, impacts and responses to a geomorphological hazard.

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Pangaea

Learn more: http://www.khanacademy.org/video?v=axB6uhEx628 Pangaea - the idea of Pangaea and some of the evidence behind it

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Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria Inc. (GTAV)'s curator insight, July 5, 2013 1:48 AM

CD - The causes, impacts and responses to a geomorphological hazard.

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The crumbling cliffs of Dover: Now France is even further away as thousands of tons of chalk crash into sea as winter takes its toll

The crumbling cliffs of Dover: Now France is even further away as thousands of tons of chalk crash into sea as winter takes its toll | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
Thousands of tons of chalk from the famous White Cliffs of Dover have collapsed into the sea following a huge rockfall.

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Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria Inc. (GTAV)'s curator insight, July 5, 2013 1:46 AM

CD - The geomorphic processes that produce landforms, including a case study of at least one landform.

Canberra Girls Grammar GSSF's comment, September 1, 2013 10:30 PM
Year 8 Unit 1
Keone Sinnott-Suardana's curator insight, June 22, 10:16 PM
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Washington State Landslide Destroys Home, Threatens Others - other global landsides as well.

Washington State Landslide Destroys Home, Threatens Others - other global landsides as well. | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
SEATTLE — Some residents evacuated from hillside homes on Washington state's Whidbey Island after a large landslide are being told they can return, now that geologists have taken a preliminary look at the area.

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Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson's curator insight, March 29, 2013 7:51 AM

This is not isolated incident. - this has hitten the globe with severe weather conditions. - this article page shows other news and coverage in the video section of other landslides.

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Global Rumblings: Mexico-SEVEN Feet of HAIL,Landslide,7 Dead,7 Places

Global Rumblings: Mexico-SEVEN Feet of HAIL,Landslide,7 Dead,7 Places | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it

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Lilleen Dee Rohe's curator insight, June 9, 2013 3:00 PM

 

 

Extreme weather in Central Mexico on May 31, 2013.  Had you heard about it?  

 

http://globalrumblings.blogspot.com/2013/06/mexico-seven-feet-of-haillandslide7.html

 

777 What does it mean?

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One dead, two missing in Austrian floods, landslides

One dead, two missing in Austrian floods, landslides | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
VIENNA (Reuters) - Torrential rain caused widespread flooding and landslides across Austria on Sunday, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.At least one person died and two were missing

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Erosion: The White Cliffs of Dover

Erosion: The White Cliffs of Dover | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
Thousands of tons of chalk from the famous White Cliffs of Dover have collapsed into the sea following a huge rockfall.

 

An excellent example of erosion and the processes that have shaped an iconic landscape.  The accompanying article has numerous pictures from a variety of angles that truly tell the story.   


Via Seth Dixon
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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 13, 2014 10:41 AM

The White Cliffs of Dover serve as an natural icon for England. The cliffs are composed of chalk, giving them their white milky appearance. During the Cretaceous period, calcium carbonate from small coccolithophores and other phytoplanktons deposited on the bottom of the ocean and over time turned into chalk. While these cliffs have stood the test of time, it is important to remember that landscapes are always changing, especially now with drastic climate change. With increased amounts of erosion, weather anomalies, and acid rain, it will be interesting to see how some of these iconic landscapes are affected.

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Erosion in Action

News 8 chief photojournalist Kevyn Fowler captured a road collapsing in Freeport, Maine during a storm.

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Francisco Javier 's curator insight, May 12, 2013 8:53 PM

Erosion in Action | @scoopit via @APHumanGeog http://sco.lt/...

Shelby Porter's curator insight, December 11, 2013 10:23 PM

Normally we see erosion on a piece of land over a long period of time. In this short video, we see what erosion can do to in mere minutes. It is scary to think how much the roads we drive on are eroding right underneath our cars. It is amazing how much the environment around us can change due to the weather. 

megan b clement's comment, December 16, 2013 12:30 AM
This video is crazy! It shows the erosion of a road during a storm. The water was supposed to run under the road and flow through a large pipe. As you can see after watching the video the road eventually erodes and then the pipe begins to bouy up and down. Later the road is completely deteriorated and the pipe ran down the river with the rest of the road.
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Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it

A superb interactive science resource about the structure of the Earth, plate Tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes.

http://ictmagic.wikispaces.com/science


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Top 20 Earth Images

Top 20 Earth Images | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
With five satellites scanning the globe, DigitalGlobe has collected impressive imagery of planet Earth this year. Check out their top 20 images here.

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Alex Schaerer's curator insight, December 5, 2013 11:50 AM

Incredible images of Mother Earth. It is all of our responsibility to look past our short term existence here to ensure that she flourishes for millenia for our future generations. 

Joy Kinley's curator insight, December 6, 2013 10:49 AM

The views of Earth from Space are fascinating.  Mountains, deserts, volcanoes, islands all seen from above.  My favorite is the city of Aleppo. What is yours?

megan b clement's comment, December 15, 2013 11:31 PM
Five satellites have taken some of the most amazing photos of amazing places all over the world. The photos show the beauty of each place some places i never even knew existed.
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100 years of earthquakes

100 years of earthquakes | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
This map of all the world's recorded earthquakes between 1898 and 2003 is stunning. As you might expect, it also creates a brilliant outline of the plates of the Earth's crust—especially the infamous "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific Plate.

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Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria Inc. (GTAV)'s curator insight, July 5, 2013 1:49 AM

CD - The causes, impacts and responses to a geomorphological hazard.

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Earth Action! Massive Cornwall rockfall captured amazingly on camera…

Earth Action! Massive Cornwall rockfall captured amazingly on camera… | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
Extraordinary footage from the UK’s North Cliffs near Hell’s Mouth shows tens of thousands of tonnes of rock crashing into the sea.

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Mass Wasting

This topic explains the concept of mass waste its types. This is a product of Mexus Education Pvt. Ltd., an education innovations company based in Mumbai, In...
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Mine landslide will hurt Utah economy in short term; company will run out of copper in months

Mine landslide will hurt Utah economy in short term; company will run out of copper in months | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
SALT LAKE CITY - The landslide that washed over the terraced steps of a mining pit nearly a mile deep left only the tip of one giant electric-powered shovel poking out of the dirt

Via Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson
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Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson's curator insight, April 29, 2013 10:12 AM

Company officials say 165 million tons of waste rock and dirt slid down a wall of the pit. They have said they expected it for months and kept workers away that very day.

 
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Nepal landslide kills seven: police

Nepal landslide kills seven: police | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
Kathmandu (AFP) June 06, 2013 - Seven members of the same family, including three children, were killed on Thursday when a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rains buried their house in a remote village in northeastern Nepal, police said.

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Mass Wasting

Mass Wasting | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 22, 2013 9:07 AM

A steep slope and unstable ground in this picture from Egypt results in mass wasting and the 'flow' of the sand down the slope.  Sand dunes are often formed more by aeolian (wind) processes, making this image especially noteworthy.

 

Tags: physical, geomorphology, erosion, landforms.

Claudia M. Reder's curator insight, May 22, 2013 12:30 PM

Strange happenings.

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Idol Rock – Nature’s Balancing Act

Idol Rock – Nature’s Balancing Act | Weathering and Erosion | Scoop.it
The 50-acre expanse of Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire, England is home to a number of curious rock formations shaped by tens of thousands of years of erosion, but the most impressive of all is Idol Rock, a 200-ton monolith balancing on a tiny...

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CineversityTV's curator insight, August 22, 2013 10:46 AM

but it looks great.