Questions tagged [earth-history]

Questions relating to Historical Geology.

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14
votes
1answer
336 views

How did helium deposits form?

I always wondered, because helium gas is so lightweight, how did it get into the deposits like the ones that people tap? Is it formed underground, or was it trapped?
11
votes
1answer
402 views

How long did it take for Earth's magnetic field to first appear?

Merely what the title states. My knowledge of geography/geology/*logy is limited to high-school, and some snippets, and snatches of conversation. As I understand Earth's magnetic field is attributed ...
12
votes
2answers
424 views

Determining the paleoelevation of mountain ranges

In New Delhi, a lot of people say that the Aravali range used to be as tall as the Himalayas. How do scientists know that some mountain range used to be a lot taller millions of years ago, and what ...
7
votes
1answer
311 views

Historical atmospheric partial pressure & Henry's law constant

The explanation given for the fact that temperature has historically led CO₂ levels is Henry's law. Figure 1: Vostok ice core records for carbon dioxide concentration (Petit 2000) and temperature ...
7
votes
1answer
113 views

Who originated Taylor's axiom of lunar formation, and where?

I've been doing a bit of reading about the formation of the moon, and I've found multiple references (1, 2, 3) to something called Taylor's axiom, stated in link (3) above as: The best models for ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Life on Earth previous to us

I've seen in several places that there seems to be an extinction cycle on Earth of approximately 27 million years. I've read this here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1294372/Life-...
14
votes
1answer
118 views

In what sense did the Oklo reactor “trap” its own nuclear waste?

A number of popular writings on the natural fission reactor at Oklo, Gabon (e.g. here) state that some of the energetic byproducts (krypton and xenon, presumably 85Kr and 133Xe) of the reactor were "...
11
votes
1answer
274 views

Regarding the theory of the origin of water on Earth through meteorites, why wouldn't the water evaporate on impact?

Water on earth has been theorized to have come through comets trapped inside crystals. But why wouldn't that water evaporate on impact, and wouldn't the atmosphere at that time allow the vapours to ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Historically, how has the fraction of Earth covered by water changed?

Today, 70.8% of the Earth is covered in water (± a few tenths of a percent depending on how you account for lakes).1 How has this figure changed over the history of the Earth, and why? Of course, if ...
10
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1answer
156 views

Sediment layer chronology

In the new Cosmos series, Neil DeGrass Tyson in explaining different ways the age of the world has been determined, shows how sedimentary layers at the Grand Canyon are a fossil record of a lot of the ...
7
votes
1answer
767 views

Is a billion years of Earth's history missing?

Appears that a 4.4 billion-year-old crystal is oldest piece of Earth, and the crystal's chemistry -- specifically, the ratio of oxygen isotopes within it -- suggests that the temperatures on Earth 4.4 ...
5
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2answers
5k views

Are there more earthquakes near the equator or poles?

When comparing the average distance of the all known earthquake epicenters to the nearest pole, is the longitudinal distance to the equator or the poles the smallest of the two? Please note that any ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Why is earth's axis tilted?

Why is the axis of earth tilted? It can't possibly be that the Northern hemisphere is larger causing it to be pulled toward the sun, because then it would always be summer in the N hemisphere and ...
18
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3answers
28k views

Why does the earth spin clockwise?

Why does earth rotate in a clockwise direction? Did a large meteor collide with earth causing earth to rotate? If that is what happened, could another, larger meteor cause earth to reverse its ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Is Earth an organism?

According to Wikipedia, "all known types of organism are capable of some degree of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development and self-regulation via homeostasis." Further, watching a ...
26
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3answers
33k views

Why is Earth's inner core made of an iron-nickel alloy?

This question has puzzled me for a while. I know that earth's mantle is made of different minerals, metals and rocks etc. and that has always made complete sense to me. But why is the inner core made ...
15
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2answers
3k views

How did tectonic plates originally come to form?

Plate tectonics is a theory which describes Earth's lithosphere as being composed of distinct plates which are able to move atop of the underlying asthenosphere. At plate boundaries, this movement ...
20
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2answers
937 views

How are the banded-iron-formation iron-ores formed?

Many of the richest and purest iron ores are found in so called banded iron formations, cm thick magnetite or hematite layers intermixed with iron poor rock layers. Since these are usually of pre-...
14
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3answers
261 views

How have global sedimentation rates changed over the last billion years?

Do we have a graph of how sedimentation rates changed over time?