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History of Geology

A.R. Wallace on Geology, Great Glaciers and the Speed of Evolution

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“Very scanty acquaintance with practical geology, I’m exceedingly interested in all wider problems with which it deals” Alfred Russel Wallace (1896) When Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” in November 1859 geologists were still discussing the age of the earth. Deep time was an essential prerequisite to explain the recent biodiversity by gradual and [...]

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History of Geology

May 12, 1931: Alfred Wegener’s last Journey

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March 1929 the German meteorologists Alfred Wegener, Johannes Georgi (1888-1972), Fritz Loewe (1895-1974) and Ernst Sorge (1899-1946) arrived to Greenland, searching a site for a coastal base camp – a starting point for an ambitious expedition to the inner ice sheet – they found it in the Kamarujuk Fjord. One year later 18 scientists, 25 [...]

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History of Geology

From Flood Myth to Martian Megafloods

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“No one with an eye for land forms can cross eastern Washington in daylight without encountering and being impressed by the “scabland.” Like great scars marring the otherwise fair face to the plateau are these elongated tracts of bare, black rock carved into mazes of buttes and canyons. Everybody on the plateau knows scabland…[]…The popular [...]

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History of Geology

The Science behind the Iceberg that sank the Titanic

The tragedy of the “unsinkable” Titanic – lost in the cold water of the Atlantic – became part of history and pop culture, but the story of the main culprit that caused the disaster is mostly forgotten and only vague descriptions and some photos exists of the supposed iceberg(s). One famous photography taken from board [...]

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History of Geology

How Plants survived the Ice Age

“No such hypothesis is sufficient to explain either the cataclysms or the glacial phenomena; and we need not hesitate to confess our ignorance of this strange, this mysterious, episode in the history of the globe….” BRISTOW, H.G. (1872): The world before the deluge by Louis Figuier – Newly edited and revised by H.W. Bristow. 2nd. [...]

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History of Geology

Accretionary Wedge #41: Memorable Geologic Event That You’ve Directly Experienced

The latest Accretionary Wedge, the acclaimed gathering of the Geoblogosphere, is hosted this time by Geologist Ron Schott at his “Geology Home Companion Blog” and he is asking for “the most memorable or significant geological event that you’ve directly experienced.“ If a geologist claims to have directly experienced a geological event there are only two [...]

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History of Geology

Cursed Glaciers

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Once, during the long and cold winter nights in the Alps, people gathered around the fireplace to tell each other ancient tales or myths. Some of these myths explain the origin or deal with the curse of glaciers. Various glaciers are said to be the results of an ancient curse: the Langgletscher in Swiss, the [...]

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History of Geology

Geology of the Mountains of Madness

“[]…we expected to unearth a quite unprecedented amount of material – especially in the pre-Cambrian strata of which so narrow a range of antarctic specimens had previously been secured. We wished also to obtain as great as possible a variety of the upper fossiliferous rocks, since the primal life history of this bleak realm of [...]

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History of Geology

Mammoth Mummies Mysteries

One of the most iconic movie-monsters is without doubt the “mummy“, mostly from ancient Egypt and with human shape (despite the fact that thousands of animal mummies are known). Still today we are fascinated by the effort put into the preservation of these bodies, the ultimate victory above decay and death himself. But there are [...]

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History of Geology

Glaciers from Mars

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man [...]

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