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How Earth’s poles went walkabout

Posted on 4 Apr 2008 in Earth Science, Journalism

Stick a penny to the edge of a spinning top and its axis of rotation will shift. Now evidence is emerging that something similar may have happened more than once to the Earth. Image: FlyingSinger

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Earthquake activity is frozen by ice sheets

Posted on 11 Mar 2008 in Earth Science, Journalism

Can you put a freeze on earthquakes? It seems so, according to a computer model showing that earthquakes happen less often in areas covered by ice caps. Trouble is, quakes come back with a vengeance when the ice melts. Image: NH53

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Ancient sea mud records supernova blast

Posted on 4 Nov 2007 in Earth Science, Journalism

It is the oldest telescope in the world – and it lies at the bottom of the ocean. Ancient sea floor sediments have revealed that a supernova exploded during the Pliocene era and may have caused a minor extinction event on Earth. Image: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

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How the ‘Yellowstone Plume’ saves US states

Posted on 30 Oct 2007 in Earth Science, Journalism

Oregon and Washington states should be much more dangerous places to live. Located above a zone where the Pacific oceanic crust is sliding underneath the North American continent, the states should experience regular devastating earthquakes. That they don’t, it seems, is down to the lubricating effect of the Yellowstone plume. Image: DirectDish

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Himalayas created during a high-speed impact

Posted on 17 Oct 2007 in Earth Science, Journalism

It brings a new meaning to the land speed record. After the break-up of the Gondwanan supercontinent 140 million years ago, India sped north at 20 centimetres per year – about five times as fast as any other landmass in the recent geological past. The speed of its collision with Asia propelled the Himalayas to the top of the world. Image: James C Farmer

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