Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [geology]

The science comprising the study of the rocks Earth is composed of, and the processes by which they change. Some subfields of geology are petrology, mineralogy, and geophysics.

19
votes
1answer
58k views

Why are oceanic plates denser than continental plates?

In the theory of tectonic plates, at a convergent boundary between a continental plate and an oceanic plate, the denser plate usually subducts underneath the less dense plate. It is well known that ...
19
votes
2answers
345 views

To what accuracy and precision do we know the volume of the Earth?

Satellites such as GOCE and GRACE measure the geoid with unprecedented accuracy. Altimeters can determine local surface elevation with millimetre-precision. This makes me wonder: to what precision ...
19
votes
2answers
765 views

How does one measure what causes earthquakes?

I know that they occur when energy that was previously stored is released in seismic waves. But how is the energy stored in the earth in the first place, and what can trigger the release of such ...
21
votes
3answers
381 views

Is fracking likely to produce earthquakes?

Post Christchurch-2011 earthquake, there was much concern that fracking in the surrounding areas might lead to further quakes, as was rumoured to have happened elsewhere in the world. Is there ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

In what geological situations can I find gold?

I've heard that gold ore is often associated with quartz veins. What geological processes enable gold particles to naturally cluster together like this? What characteristics/properties should I look ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Which ocean is going to be swallowed by the Supercontinent Cycle, Atlantic or Pacific?

The register shows several supercontinents have been formed on Earth's History: "The most recent supercontinent, Pangaea, formed about 300 million years ago (0.3 Ga). There are two different ...
30
votes
3answers
9k views

Is it true that earthquakes are not felt in a cave?

I took a tour of a cave in northern California last weekend. The tour guide asked us, "If an earthquake occurred, what would we feel in here?" My answer was, "fear," but she said we would feel ...
23
votes
3answers
31k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
157 views

What controls the acidity of the ocean?

I have learned that: coral reefs are made up mostly of calcium carbonate coral reefs are mainly distributed in the tropical zone The calcium carbonate will be decomposed in the reaction as ...
31
votes
4answers
5k views

How and why did the oceans form on Earth but not on other planets?

Earth is the only planet in our solar system that has copious amounts of water on it. Where did this water come from and why is there so much water on Earth compared to every other planet in the ...
33
votes
3answers
13k views

Why is Earth's age given by dating meteorites rather than its own rocks?

Reading a course on Precambrian, I read that: Earth Age (around 4.5 billion years) is dated thanks to the meteorites hitting Earth during its formation rather than the inner materials composing the ...
26
votes
2answers
7k views

Is there sand in Antarctica?

There's a song "Blizzard's Never Seen the Desert's Sand". Given Antarctica is a desert, someone questioned the title's validity. BUT is there sand in Antarctica? I'd imagine yes as it's a pretty ...
40
votes
6answers
93k views

Are Richter-magnitude 10 earthquakes possible?

The largest earthquake since 1900 according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) was Richter-9.5 magnitude quake in Chile in 1960. Are magnitude 10 earthquakes possible? If so, what is the ...
40
votes
2answers
5k views

Farthest point from the center of the Earth

At first glance, this seems like such a simple question of "What's the highest point on Earth". However, I also know that the Earth isn't perfectly round. So that "highest point" may be in a ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

Does the existence of limestone nodules in a clay soil horizon indicate a limestone bedrock?

A profile (clay soil) was excavated to a depth of 100 cm in the north of Tunisia. We have found limestone nodules, colluvium and alluvium. What I would like to know is the nature of the bedrock of ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

How can I identify “tough” (mixed) granites?

I am trying to parse an old geologic description of stone suitable for use as road metal: Care must be taken to distinguish the difference between the hardness of a stone and its toughness......
2
votes
1answer
36 views

could a rhyolitic magma melt a ferromagnesian mineral like olivine?

if the temperature of a felsic magma is about 800-650 °C and olivine melting point oscillates between end members forsterite and fayalite near 1900-1200 °C, Does this mean that an olivine crystal in ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How could this pyramidal Mountain have been formed?

How could this pyramidal peak have been formed in Antarctica? Little is known about it as far as I know but what is known is that its miles away from any existing plate boundary and its shape is also ...
11
votes
2answers
167 views

How did CO₂ originate on Earth before there was life?

To start life there has to be $\ce{CO2}$. $\ce{Solar energy + 6CO2 + 6H2O -> C6H12O6 (sugars) + 6O2}$ $C_6H_{12}O_{6} + O_2 \longrightarrow H_2O + {CO}_2 + \text{Energy}$ So to start this cycle, ...
16
votes
2answers
14k views

What caused the bend in the Emperor/Hawaii chain of islands, 45 million years ago?

What caused the bend in the Emperor/Hawaii chain of islands, 45 million years ago? Has there been any updates to this mystery I am unaware of? Are there any new theories that could potentially ...
4
votes
1answer
291 views

What are the differences in terms of appearance between sandstone and limestone?

On the field, I find it very difficult to differentiate the two types of rocks just by looking at them.I know that you should do some analysis of the sample before any conclusions. But, for example in ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there any evidence for higher air pressures in the geological past?

I was curious about how the Earth's overall air pressure has varied over time, and tried to take a look around the internet. However, Google pops up a lot of sites with questionable science proposing ...
10
votes
2answers
211 views

Is there a “submerged object” in Australia that causes a magnetic deviation of 20 degrees?

This answer quotes this blogpost as an example of a magnetic anomaly: Basalt formation, “Mt. Jim”, in remote north-east Victoria, Australia, has a magnetic anomaly -20 degree magnetic compass ...
2
votes
1answer
691 views

Which type of convergent boundary creates the tallest mountains? [closed]

Which type of convergent boundary creates the tallest mountains? Continental-Continental Ocean-Ocean Ocean-Continental
3
votes
1answer
156 views

Why doesn't Earth absorb our carbon emissions?

If we look at the carbon cycle, we see that man-made carbon emission only account for a tiny fraction of all $\text{CO}_2$ emissions. However, we see a steady rise in atmospheric $\text{CO}_2$-levels....
6
votes
1answer
124 views

Geological evidence about climate change: has there ever been a period with a rate of climate change as great as it is today?

Most statistics about climate change are based on climate data over the last 150 year (as long as records have been kept). This seems irrelevant in terms of the geological time scale of temperature ...
5
votes
2answers
554 views

Megathrust earthquakes on subduction zones

I am a beginner in geology and earthquake studies, and learning about subduction zones recently. Question is: do large earthquakes (sometimes referred to as megathrust quakes) occur on any point in ...
7
votes
1answer
92 views

How old are Chile's fjords?

Do we have any knowledge about the age of Chile's fjords, more specifically, those found near the Northern Patagonian Ice Field? Is it reasonable to conclude that they were formed in Quaternary given ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Are we at the beginning of a Heinrich Event?

Does our current weather trend properly reflect a Heinrich Event? It seems like the drastic weather swings are what I would expect but I realize that is not definitive. I don't see the term bandied ...
2
votes
1answer
201 views

Movements of the tectonic plates - collison between Indian Plate & Eurasian Plate

I am a high school student, my question is about the collision between the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. When this happens what happens to the area of the Asian continent. Does it increase or ...
9
votes
2answers
159 views

Why are there no deep caves in the continental US?

According to http://www.caverbob.com/wdeep.htm and http://www.caverbob.com/usadeep.htm, the only cave over 1000m deep in the US is a lava cave in Hawaii. In the continental US the deepest is 505m. On ...
11
votes
2answers
963 views

How high can a mountain possibly get?

Mount Everest is 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) above sea level and is the result of a continental plate smashing into another continental plate. Can a tectonic process build a mountain that's even higher?...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Is there a name for subduction boundaries at the North of Australia?

I know the ridge at the South of Australia is named Southeast Indian Ridge. I would like to know if there is a geological name for the three subduction branches that cross indonesian zone, at the ...
-2
votes
2answers
93 views

What are the farthest Time Zone locations? [closed]

What place in the world has the farthest time zone? I heard it was Kiribati but then I found that Apia (Samoa) is further. So, is there anyplace that is the farthest in time than these two? What about ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

What is this translucent and blue vein crystal, 7.5 < Mohs < 9, Lustre: Aventurescence

It looks like quartz, but it has blue veins on the surface that look died. Not all surface scratches are blue though. Hardness: > 6.5. Nail file will not scratch it. > 7 quartz will not scratch it. >...
1
vote
1answer
173 views

Geological Differentiation: variables and size requirement

Geological/Planetary differentiation is one of those topics that gets glossed over in intro Geo courses. We know that differentiation occurs over deep time (and will never end) and is a result of the ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

An oblique-square-prism crystal?

Does any mineral crystallize in the shape of an oblique square prism? If so, what crystal system (monoclinic, cubic, hexagonal, etc.) would such a mineral fall under?
9
votes
1answer
214 views

Is it ever possible for an continental plate to subduct under an oceanic plate?

It is well known that oceanic plates subduct under continental plates. This may be attributed to the plate's age and density, plus the water on top of it. So I was wondering if it is ever possible for ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Artifact? Found in US North Carolina close to Morrow Mountain State park [closed]

Scale in inches. I found this in a river. One surface of it (narrow surface) is so flat that I couldn’t quit looking at this find.
6
votes
1answer
175 views

Why do we measure eustatic sea-level from the center of earth?

Earth is rotating so it has a ellipsoidal shape. The measurement will therefore be different from equator and pole. So why do we measure eustatic sea-level from the center of earth?
1
vote
2answers
41 views

Can gemstones be cut into sheets? [closed]

TL;DR: Without lasers, electricity, or otherwise modern tools, could large transparent gems be sliced (like glass window)? So I’m world building. On this planet they have caves with enormous gemstone/...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Reults of the glacials and interglacials of the ice age on the soil

I have read that the Earth has undergone five ice ages, the latest one is the Quaternary glaciation. I know that in the ice age there are glacial periods and interglacial periods, and we are currently ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

How Big Were the Siberian Traps ORIGINALLY?

252 million years ago, Siberia was subject to a mass series of flood basalt eruptions, creating a large igneous province called the Siberian Traps. Today, it measures 2.7 million square miles in area ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

If an asteroid strikes a glacier, does it make a print on the land below?

If an asteroid strikes a glacier, does it make a print on the land below? For example, a 10 km wide asteroid on a 2 km thick glacier, or a 2 km wide asteroid on a 2 km thick glacier.
-2
votes
1answer
85 views

At what rate does Earth's atmosphere shed heat into space? [closed]

If we had a heat bank account (the atmosphere) + heat cash supply (ice) + heat debt (the oceans) could governments find a way to balance our heat economy that doesn't kill ...
3
votes
1answer
326 views

What structures form due to the melting of subducting plates? [closed]

What structures form from the melting of subducting plates? Plutons, Accretionary wedges, Deep sea trenches, Faults?
8
votes
1answer
257 views

Is altitude of everything decreasing due to sea level rise?

We know that sea level is rising, though some people say climate change is fake. Altitude is defined as the height of something measured from sea level. Since sea level is increasing, and the ...
13
votes
3answers
10k views

Would oceans regenerate if removed?

On Earth, there is enough Hydrogen and Oxygen to make 13,88 million km$^3$ of water (calculation below). However, oceans contain only a tenth of that. Clearly, most of the hydrogen must be stored in ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Newton's estimate of the age of the Earth

I was reading many articles about estimates of the age of the Earth throughout the ages. I was dumbfounded when I read that Newton, arguably one of the greatest scientists ever to have ‘calculated’ ...