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Department of Earth Sciences

Earth Sciences News

Researchers explore global ocean dead zones and hot greenhouse climate during the age of dinosaurs

An international team of scientists aboard research vessel JOIDES Resolution have just completed an eight-week voyage studying Australia’s climate and tectonics during the Cretaceous Period (the last age of the dinosaurs). 30 scientists from 15 countries, collected samples from deep beneath the ocean floor at five sites in water depths of 860-3850 metres mainlyin the Mentelle Basin off south-west Australia.

(29 Nov 2017) » Researchers explore global ocean dead zones and hot greenhouse climate during the age of dinosaurs


Yaoling Niu: UK's Most Highly Cited Geoscientist?

Yaoling has been honoured as a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher by the Web of Science (see: https://clarivate.com/hcr/2017-researchers-list/). He is one of just 141 geoscientists, including atmospheric scientists, worldwide, to achieve this award, of which 14 are UK-based. The other 13 work in the areas of climate and atmospheric science, so that we reckon that Yaoling is the most highly-cited geoscientist in the UK. Many congratulations Yaoling!

https://www.dur.ac.uk/earth.sciences/staff/academic/?id=2205

(28 Nov 2017)


Durham 73rd in world rankings for Physical Sciences

Durham University has been ranked 73rd in the world for Physical Sciences in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Subject Rankings 2017-18. 

(27 Nov 2017) » Durham 73rd in world rankings for Physical Sciences


Mars might be drier than previously thought

Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new study.

(21 Nov 2017) » Mars might be drier than previously thought


Mars might be drier than previously thought

Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new study.

The new findings, involving scientists at Durham University, the US Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Arizona, and the Planetary Science Institute indicate that present-day Mars may not have a significant volume of liquid water.

The water-restricted conditions that exist on Mars would make it difficult for Earth-like life to exist near the surface of the planet.

The research is published in Nature Geoscience 

(21 Nov 2017) » Mars might be drier than previously thought


Charles Henry Emeleus

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Emeritus Professor Henry Emeleus on November 11th, 2017. Henry joined the department in 1957, retired in 1994 and continued active research until just a few weeks ago. He is a huge loss and will be greatly missed by very many staff and students, past and present. More information on his long and remarkable career can be found below

(17 Nov 2017) » Charles Henry Emeleus


Experiments On Sublimating Carbon Dioxide Ice And Implications For Contemporary Surface Processes On Mars

CO2 ice sublimation mechanisms have been proposed for a host of features that form in the contemporary Martian climate. However, there has been very little experimental work or quantitative modelling to test the validity of these hypotheses. Here we present the results of the first laboratory experiments undertaken to investigate if the interaction between sublimating CO2 ice blocks and a warm, porous, mobile regolith can generate features similar in morphology to those forming on Martian dunes today.

(10 Nov 2017) » Experiments On Sublimating Carbon Dioxide Ice And Implications For Contemporary Surface Processes On Mars


How do stars mix chemicals in their interiors

Two scientists, Tamara Rogers (Newcastle University, UK) and Jim McElwaine (Durham University, UK), have investigated the role that internal gravity waves have in chemical mixing in stellar interiors.

The paper was published in AAS Nova, can be found here and featured on the ASS Nova web site

(19 Oct 2017)


Study lays groundwork for management of human-induced earthquakes

Earthquakes brought on by human activities, such as mining, building dams and fracking, are becoming more frequent and require evidence-based management, new research suggests. 

(3 Oct 2017) » Study lays groundwork for management of human-induced earthquakes


Clues Found That Earth May Have a Thermostat Set to “Habitable”. Weathering of rocks can control Earth’s temperature over geologic timescales, new geochemical data suggest.

Scientists have long speculated on the possibility of a planetary thermostat keeping climate change in check. A new study published in the journal Geochemical Perspectives Letters provides the first-ever evidence of its existence.

(6 Sep 2017) » Clues Found That Earth May Have a Thermostat Set to “Habitable”. Weathering of rocks can control Earth’s temperature over geologic timescales, new geochemical data suggest.