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1000 km down: seismologists probe the mid-mantle

Many questions remain unanswered about the mid-mantle, 600 to 1200 km below Earth’s surface. Does this layer decouple convection between the upper and lower mantle? How are processes here linked to plate tectonics and volcanism? Cambridge Earth Scientists are using seismic constraints to determine the compositional heterogeneity in the mid-mantle. They hope to identify processes which could obstruct or divert convection 1000 km down.

1000 km down: seismologists probe the mid-mantle - Read More…

Brachiopods prove tougher than previously thought

Brachiopods prove tougher than previously thought

A remarkable 120-year record of resilience to environmental change in the world’s oceans has been uncovered within a group of marine organisms called brachiopods. Although they are not well known today, brachiopods have had considerable importance in the evolution of seabed life.

Brachiopods prove tougher than previously thought - Read More…

Hot, warm or cold?: new insight into how columnar jointing forms

Hot, warm or cold?: new insight into how columnar jointing forms

A new study by researchers at the University of Liverpool, with contributions from Cambridge Earth Sciences PhD student Fiona Iddon, has identified the temperature at which cooling magma cracks to form geometric columns such as those found at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Hot, warm or cold?: new insight into how columnar jointing forms - Read More…

Two billion year old salt rock reveals rise of oxygen in ancient atmosphere

Two billion year old salt rock reveals rise of oxygen in ancient atmosphere

A two billion year old chunk of sea salt provides new evidence for the transformation of Earth's atmosphere into an oxygenated environment capable of supporting life as we know it.

Two billion year old salt rock reveals rise of oxygen in ancient atmosphere - Read More…

Observing deep carbon with an Icelandic volcano

Observing deep carbon with an Icelandic volcano

An important new chemical dataset from the basalt lavas of the Icelandic Borgarhraun volcano is helping Cambridge earth scientists John Maclennan and Dan McKenzie with colleagues from the US and Iceland estimate the carbon dioxide content of Earth’s mantle. Borgarhraun is one of the few places in the world from where it is possible to probe the mantle CO2. This new data, published in the latest issue of Geology will improve understanding of the link between volcanism and long-term climate change.

Observing deep carbon with an Icelandic volcano - Read More…

Evolution of land plants transformed sedimentation on Earth

Evolution of land plants transformed sedimentation on Earth

The vegetation of our planet irrevocably changed surface processes on Earth. New research suggests the evolution of land plants in the Ordovician caused an increase in the volume of mud preserved on the continents. This marked a change in global sedimentation, with implications for the study of sedimentary processes on our planet and beyond.

Evolution of land plants transformed sedimentation on Earth - Read More…

Investigating the warm climate stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet

Investigating the warm climate stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet

Recent modelling studies predict that anthropogenic warming could lead to the loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in the next few centuries, and a big rise in sea level.

Investigating the warm climate stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet - Read More…

Blue mussel shape is a powerful indicator of environmental change

Blue mussel shape is a powerful indicator of environmental change

Scientists at the University of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey have developed a new method to identify natural patterns of shell shape variation in common blue mussels.

Blue mussel shape is a powerful indicator of environmental change - Read More…

Pteropods tougher than thought

Pteropods tougher than thought

Elegant little sea butterflies, more technically known as pteropods, are important members of the marine ecosystem because they are so abundant and are a food source for other marine organisms, especially whales.

Pteropods tougher than thought - Read More…

RAS Gold Medal for Professor Robert White

RAS Gold Medal for Professor Robert White

Congratulations to Robert (Bob) White, Professor of Geophysics and Fellow of St Edmund’s College, who has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold Medal for a lifetime of distinguished achievement in solid Earth geophysics.

RAS Gold Medal for Professor Robert White - Read More…

The beginnings of communal life – 565 million years ago

The beginnings of communal life – 565 million years ago

Ancient rock strata exposed within the World Heritage Site of Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland, record one of Life's very first communities of seabed dwelling macro-organisms. Known as the Ediacaran biota, it is around 565 million years old.

The beginnings of communal life – 565 million years ago - Read More…

Going underground: Cambridge digs into the history of geology with landmark exhibition

Going underground: Cambridge digs into the history of geology with landmark exhibition

A box full of diamonds, volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius, and the geology guide that Darwin packed for his epic voyage on the Beagle are on display at the Cambridge University Library as part of the first major exhibition to celebrate geological map-making.

Going underground: Cambridge digs into the history of geology with landmark exhibition - Read More…

Enhancing the growth of plants on inhospitable land using a biological fertiliser

Enhancing the growth of plants on inhospitable land using a biological fertiliser

A simple mixture of organic waste, such as chicken manure and zeolite, a porous volcanic mineral, has been developed into a powerful bio-fertiliser which can also reclaim semi-arid and contaminated land.

Enhancing the growth of plants on inhospitable land using a biological fertiliser - Read More…

Collaborating on carbon capture and storage

Collaborating on carbon capture and storage

Cambridge Earth Sciences is part of a global project researching new sites for carbon capture and storage (CCS), supported by leading multinational minerals and energy company BHP.

Collaborating on carbon capture and storage - Read More…

Acting Director of the Sedgwick Museum appointed

Acting Director of the Sedgwick Museum appointed

Dr Elizabeth Harper has been appointed Acting Director of the Sedgwick Museum following the retirement of Dr Ken McNamara.

Acting Director of the Sedgwick Museum appointed - Read More…

100 years since John E Marr elected Woodwardian Professor

100 years since John E Marr elected Woodwardian Professor

To mark 100 years since John E Marr became Woodwardian Professor, on 30 October 1917, a selection of documents have been digitised and will be available to view on the Sedgwick Museum website from 30 October.

100 years since John E Marr elected Woodwardian Professor - Read More…

Plate Tectonics at 50

Plate Tectonics at 50

The Geological Society of London has launched its new archive of Emeritus Professor Dan McKenzie’s work.

Plate Tectonics at 50 - Read More…

Christine Kelsey (1931-2017)

Christine Kelsey (1931-2017)

We are very sad to announce the death of Christine Kelsey on Wednesday 23 August.

Christine Kelsey (1931-2017) - Read More…

Alan Smith (1937-2017)

Alan Smith (1937-2017)

We were very sad to announce the death of Alan Smith on Sunday 13th August.

Alan Smith (1937-2017) - Read More…

Volcanic arcs recycle crustal carbon

Volcanic arcs recycle crustal carbon

New research by Cambridge scientists is helping answer a key question about the origin of carbon emitted from Earth’s volcanoes.

Volcanic arcs recycle crustal carbon - Read More…

Global cooling from a less leaky Ice Age Ocean

Global cooling from a less leaky Ice Age Ocean

A new survey and analysis of global radiocarbon dates derived from ocean-dwelling micro-organisms is providing important new measures of the difference between the ocean today and 20,000 years ago, at the height of the last Ice Age.

Global cooling from a less leaky Ice Age Ocean - Read More…

Shape-shifting rangeomorphs cut fractal frills to grow and grow

Shape-shifting rangeomorphs cut fractal frills to grow and grow

Around 571 million years ago life first made a grade-change from organisms that were only a few centimetres in size to those that grew to two metres or so high. The organisms that were able to take off in this way were the extinct rangeomorphs, softbodied frondose organisms that grew rooted in the seabed of late Precambrian times.

Shape-shifting rangeomorphs cut fractal frills to grow and grow - Read More…

Don’s Diary

Don’s Diary

This article first appeared in CAM - the Cambridge Alumni Magazine – Issue 81 Easter 2017. Professor Marian Holness is Professor of Petrology and a Fellow of Trinity College.

Don’s Diary - Read More…

‘Plumerang’ health risk

‘Plumerang’ health risk

Scientists have discovered that significant changes can occur in the composition of volcanic eruptive plumes whilst circulating high above the atmosphere. Nicknamed ‘plumerangs’, the evolution of such plumes represent a previously unappreciated health hazard.

‘Plumerang’ health risk - Read More…

Engaging with Science Policy

Engaging with Science Policy

Victoria Honour, 2nd year PhD student, writes about her experiences as a Science Policy Intern at the House of Commons.

Engaging with Science Policy - Read More…

Earth Sciences win second place in the Workplace Travel Challenge

Earth Sciences win second place in the Workplace Travel Challenge

A team of nine people from Earth Sciences, took part in the Workplace Travel Challenge at the end of April 2017.

Earth Sciences win second place in the Workplace Travel Challenge - Read More…

Jo Clegg wins competition with the most sustainable recipe

Jo Clegg wins competition with the most sustainable recipe

Earth Sciences' Jo Clegg wins a competition on sustainable food with the most sustainable recipe

Jo Clegg wins competition with the most sustainable recipe - Read More…

Cambridge Earth Sciences top in the Complete University Guide

Cambridge Earth Sciences top in the Complete University Guide

The Department of Earth Sciences is once again top amongst UK geology departments in the latest tables.

Cambridge Earth Sciences top in the Complete University Guide - Read More…