The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Mediterranean Week

The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood The Mediterranean Sea is massive, covering 2.5 million square kilometers (970,000 square miles). It contains 3.75 cubic kilometers of water, enough to fill more than 310 copies of Lake Superior. The body has nourished some of the planet’s greatest civilizations, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks to

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The Pillars of Hercules

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Mediterranean Week

The Pillars of Hercules The Mediterranean Sea stood at the center of the world for many archaic cultures of Europe, Asia, and Africa. To the Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, and all but the most intrepid Phoenician Sailors, the western reaches of the great sea represented the end of the world. This area reportedly bore the slogan Ne

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The Atlantic Fall Line

The Atlantic Fall Line The United Nations estimate that approximately 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of an ocean. A Reddit user named gnfnrf performed some back-of-the-napkin calculations and determined this area accounts for somewhere between 1.5% and 12.15% of Earth’s total landmass (measurements of coastline are notoriously difficult to determine), meaning people pack

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The Abyss of Time

The Abyss of Time   “The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time.”  — John Playfair“We find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end” — James Hutton Perhaps no physical phenomenon befuddles the human mind as much as time. Whether the result of unknown properties or the inability

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This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series New Mexico

Shiprock Today we travel to the northwest section of New Mexico, just southeast of the Four Corners, to visit a unique form that rises from the desert. Topping at 7,177 feet and rising 1,583 above the surrounding plain is the gargantuan Shiprock. Shiprock – photo by Bowie Snodgrass Shiprock’s location in New Mexico – Map by

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The Center Spins

The Center Spins A couple of years ago we learned we might need to reevaluate the layout of the planet that we learn in grade school. Instead of the quartet of crust, mantle, liquid outer core, and solid inner core, researchers used waves from earthquakes to determine the inner core might actually be comprised of two distinct

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The Mingan Sorcerer

The Mingan Sorcerer The timescales of geology are fickle artists. Some of the planet’s great features require millions of years to craft; other spots arise in the blink of a universal eye. Of course, on human scales, both these poles are unfathomably large. On the northern shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec, a master

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The Tube Oven

The Tube Oven In our previous exploration, we discovered London’s subway system – the Underground, lovingly called the Tube – features some strange mosquitoes. The scientific oddities of the Underground don’t stop there, however. The British constructed the earliest tunnels near the surface, but they quickly realized they could produce conduits deeper in the earth. One

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