Geology

A new study has found that more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources., which means the extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought.

This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years.


A new study suggests that Saharan dust played a major role in the formation of the Bahamas islands. Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science showed that iron-rich Saharan dust provides the nutrients necessary for specialized bacteria to produce the island chain's carbonate-based foundation.


In Jeju, a place emerging as a world-famous vacation spot with natural tourism resources, a recent study revealed a volcanic eruption occurred on the island. The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) indicated that there are the traces that indicated that a recent volcanic eruption was evident 5,000 years ago.

That is the first time to actually find out the date when lava spewed out of a volcano 5,000 years ago in the inland part of the island as well as the one the whole peninsula.


A new global geologic map of Mars is the most thorough representation of the "Red Planet's" surface, bringing together observations and scientific findings from four orbiting spacecraft that have been acquiring data for more than 16 years.

The Appalachian mountain chain runs along a nearly straight line from Alabama to Newfoundland— 1,500 miles - except for a curious bend in Pennsylvania and New York.

Why it bends has been a mystery. When the North American and African continental plates collided more than 300 million years ago, the North American plate began folding and thrusting upwards as it was pushed westward into the dense underground rock structure—in what is now the northeastern United States. The dense rock created a barricade, forcing the Appalachian mountain range to spring up.  Yet the bend was cause for speculation.


Volcanic hazards aren't limited to eruptions, debris landslides can also cause a great deal of damage and loss of life. 

Stratovolcanoes, with their steep, conical shapes made up of lava and unconsolidated mixed materials, can reach a critical point of instability when they overgrow their flanks. This leads to partial collapse, and the product of this slope failure is a large-scale, rapid mass movement known as a catastrophic landslide or debris avalanche. 


The moon's surface has by millions of craters but it also has over 200 holes – and those steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

The pits range in size from about 5 yards across to around 1,000 in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO's Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).


By measuring how fast Earth conducts electricity and seismic waves, researchers have created a detailed picture of Mount Rainier's deep volcanic plumbing and partly molten rock that will erupt again someday.

In an odd twist, the image appears to show that at least part of Mount Rainier's partly molten magma reservoir is located about 6 to 10 miles northwest of the 14,410-foot volcano, which is 30 to 45 miles southeast of the Seattle-Tacoma area.

But that could be because the 80 electrical sensors used for the experiment were placed in a 190-mile-long, west-to-east line about 12 miles north of Rainier. So the main part of the magma chamber could be directly under the peak, but with a lobe extending northwest under the line of detectors.


Rainwater can penetrate below the Earth's fractured upper crust, according to a new study.

It had been thought that surface water could not penetrate the ductile crust, where temperatures of more than 300°C and high pressures cause rocks to flex and flow rather than fracture, but researchers have now found fluids derived from rainwater at these levels. 

Fluids in the Earth's crust can weaken rocks and may help to initiate earthquakes along locked fault lines. They also concentrate valuable metals such as gold. The new findings suggest that rainwater may be responsible for controlling these important processes, even deep in the Earth.


It's not a secret that groundwater levels in Texas have declined since the Dust Bowl era - the obvious reasons are what you expect - more population and more food grown to sustain them.

But there are other key contributing factors, and the news isn't all bad, according to a new analysis. The groundwater declines have been most severe in the past four decades, according to Dr. Srinivasulu Ale, Texas A&M  AgriLife Research geospatial hydrology assistant professor in Vernon.