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49 votes
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Is there sand in Antarctica?

Yes. In fact, there are sand-dunes in Antarctica [1:15].
Christopher Klaus's user avatar
18 votes
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What is this weird looking structure in Ethiopian desert?

Zoom in for the clues. The lines are not radiating out from the village, but from the cattle kraals. These kraals are irregular enclosures built of acacia thorn, agave and other thorny bushes. The ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
17 votes
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How did the Ural mountains form?

The Ural mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. They started forming about 300 Ma ago by the subduction of the oceanic crust once attached to the Kazakhstania plate under the ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
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16 votes
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Why are deserts mostly located on the western side of continents?

Some of the driest deserts on Earth occur in the western side of continents and they are called Coastal Deserts. Examples of such deserts are the Atacama desert (Chile, the driest desert on Earth), ...
arkaia's user avatar
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14 votes

Could a massive flood have formed the Grand Canyon?

tl;dr: no. Long answer: First of all, like mentioned by others in the comments, you would need some physical mechanism to take a whole lot of water, evaporate it, and drop it at once at a place ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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14 votes
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How are giant sinkholes filled up?

How Japan Filled That Ginormous Sinkhole In Just One Week: The Fukuoka sinkhole measuring 8,700 square feet (808 square meter), 65 foot (20 m) deep: they poured a mixture of soil, water, and cement ...
Jan Doggen's user avatar
  • 2,679
14 votes

Is there sand in Antarctica?

This LiveScience article suggests the areas aren't major: The scant areas that are free of snow and ice make up less than 0.4 percent of the continental land mass. In places there, the wind has built ...
JeopardyTempest's user avatar
12 votes
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Strange craters in Afghanistan

These are qanats, a type of antique drainage system common in arid climate regions of the Middle East, particularly in Iran (as mentioned by @Spencer @Winwaed). Some of those are still in use for ...
marsisalie's user avatar
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12 votes
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Why does this shoreline change this way?

Short version; the beach moves because the waves change. Long version; Beaches, and in fact entire bays, conform in shape and alignment to the prevailing wave patterns in the area. The exact magnitude ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,270
11 votes

Origin of Andaman and Nicobar islands

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are neither orogenic or volcanic in origin. They are in fact an accretionary wedge, i.e., an accretion of sediments and oceanic crust "scraped" from the ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
10 votes
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Esker vs. Kame vs. Drumlin - what's the difference?

Eskers are glaciofluvial deposits from sediment carrying subglacial tunnels. As the water emerges from a tunnel at the bed of an ice sheet or glacier it will slow down. Since the sediment movement ...
Peter Jansson's user avatar
9 votes
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Identifying a desert landform

Star dunes, caused by the prevailing winds coming from multiple directions. Take a look at these different dune types.
John's user avatar
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9 votes
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Similarities and differences between lava flows and fluvial geomorphology (rivers)

The similarities pretty much end at the fact that both water and lava flow downhill seeking the lowest possible level. As even the most fluid lavas flow somewhat slower than water because of their ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,270
9 votes

What are these features on Eldon Hill?

These are marked up on the British Geological Survey's mapping as mineral veins cutting through the limestones, and in the associated memoir as sulphide ore veins. The surface expression that shows on ...
Andy M's user avatar
  • 2,091
8 votes

Why are deserts mostly located on the western side of continents?

Because of the Coriolis Effect, the prevailing winds on the earth between about the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer go from the East to the West (knows as the Trade Winds). To get to the ...
foobarbecue's user avatar
  • 2,583
8 votes

A circle shape in Madagascar

It is an extinct volcanic crater. The location is not listed as one of the active volcanoes in Madagascar. Simplified geologic map of Madagascar (reference) shows the crater to be mapped as basaltic /...
Earth Science Expatriate's user avatar
8 votes
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Could a massive flood have formed the Grand Canyon?

In addition to all of the above there are meanders inn the Grand Canyon which are hydraulic outcomes of 'minimum energy flow configurations'. This constrains the discharge rates that are possible - to ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
7 votes
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What causes jagged appearance of mountains in SE Asia?

David Hammen has already answered with the correct term in his comment. Karsts are formed as water dissolve rocks, typically carbonates (as limestone or dolomite) or evaporites. Karst landscapes ...
user2821's user avatar
  • 5,946
7 votes
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What causes these circular swirls of islands?

Near the Lake of the Woods, the island swirl or vortex is due to structures in bedrock beneath the lake. The rocks in this area are old and have been folded by tectonic action. The area has either ...
Earth Science Expatriate's user avatar
6 votes
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What causes such a narrow slit in a cliff? (see photo)

If you see the other user (Jan Doggen's) google maps link, you can see apparently similar features in different states - this is a particularly neat example of a general phenomenon. These notches ...
David Elliott's user avatar
6 votes

What separates the Karakoram Range, the Hindu Kush, and the Himalayan Range?

The River Indus in Jammu and Kashmir of India and Gilgit-Baltistan under Pakistan control is usually taken as the dividing line between Himalayas and Karakoram. The River Gilgit, a tributary of the ...
Kushal Pal Singh Shante's user avatar
6 votes
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How old are Chile's fjords?

The Quaternary is definitely a good guess. But it is difficult to answer your question because the "age of a fjord" is a rather ambiguous concept. Also, I'll asume you are interested in the bedrock ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
  • 17.7k
6 votes
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What causes these mound-like ground formations?

They're landslide deposits; Mam Tor gets its name, which translates as "mother hill", from the regular landslides that come off the higher slopes and form hillocks further down into the valley.
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,270
6 votes

How Could Sheep Graze these Steep Hillsides Without Leaving any Marks?

Those lines have nothing to do with animals. Those lines are generated by solifluction and frost heave. It is sometimes referred to as cryoplanation or soil creep. Basically as the thin hillside soil ...
John's user avatar
  • 6,931
6 votes
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Geomorphological feature identification

The place is called Urðarháls. I could not find much information about it in the scientific literature... It is mentioned in Sigmarsson & Halldórsson (2015): they say it's an interglacial basaltic ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
6 votes

What makes sand dunes shaped asymmetrically?

Saltation cannot proceed up a steeper slope under the wind conditions that prevail in the particular dune's formation. Dunes are basically traffic pile ups for wind driven sand grains, the slip face ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,270
5 votes

How did this rock dome (pictured) form?

This is a lava tumulus. Tumuli are a very common feature in pahoehoe lava flow fields. There is a classic paper by Walker (1991) describing their morphological characteristics and formation process. ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
5 votes

Is it possible to infer the depth of a river from the shapes of the islands and the banks?

The island morphology isn't necessarily an indication of the river's depth because the river can be bimodal, with shallows and deeply incised trenches. One thinks of the River Congo which has many ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
5 votes

What produces these distinct shapes in the Rub' al Khali seen from space?

This a great example of "self-organization" in a geomorphological system; this one an oscillating system at a fairly large scale. On a much smaller scale, you find similar structures on sand dune ...
Knob Scratcher's user avatar

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