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Geology

Modern plate tectonics arose 3.2 billion years ago

Plate tectonics – geological developments that have given the Earth its current appearance, with oceans, continents, mountains and deep valleys – started 3.2 billion years ago, new research shows.

Colour secrets revealed in fossilised fish-eye

A Swedish palaeontologist and Danish researchers have now proved that prehistoric fossils still have traces of colouring from the animal’s skin, hair or feathers.

Lack of oxygen led to first mass extinction

The first mass extinction of animal life on Earth was previously blamed on a rise in the oxygen concentration in the oceans as a result of a cooler climate. But a new study shows the catastrophe was really caused by a massive decrease in oxygen.

Harmful bacteria invade the groundwater

New research reveals that bacteria in farm slurry seep down to the groundwater before they can be broken down in the subsoil.

The Earth has lost a quarter of its water

In its early history, the Earth's oceans contained significantly more water than they do today. A new study indicates that hydrogen from split water molecules has escaped into space.

Trees survived the Ice Age in Scandinavia

The genetic structure of ancient trees suggests that we may have to rethink how life reacts to climate change.

How to see through rock

It’s costly to drill deep into the ground for thermal energy. So you may want to know what’s going on down there. Mathematicians can help.

Finland, the new lithium powerhouse?

Lithium is in high demand all over the world. Now mining for the valuable metal is about to start in Finland.

The basement solves an oxygen puzzle

The Earth’s atmosphere did not become rich in oxygen in a single event, but through a series of episodes spread over hundreds of millions of years.

Historically large glacier losses in 2000s

The sharp reduction of a Greenlandic glacier in the 2000s was historically large and was caused by short-term climate changes, new research reveals. It also shows the first definite link between climate change and glacial melting.