Corals covered the Australian desert once – maybe they’ll grow back if we screw in the right light globes?

by Jo Nova

The remnants of a long gone coral reef are not in the water here, but on top of the cliff. This is what real climate change looks like:*

The whole coral reef is now 100 m out of the water | Bahnfrend |

The Nullabor Plain.

It turns out the high plateau desert called the Nullarbor was once a coral reef. It’s a thousand kilometer stretch without a tree that’s now about 100m above sea level. Obviously it’s a wilderness that’s begging to be restored to its true Miocene glory. The question is whether we can put on enough solar panels to save this reef, or if we can melt the Antarctic and raise the oceans…

Researchers looking at satellite images spotted a suspicious looking dome and ring (below) . They figured out it was not a meteor crater but probably made of coral atoll. It’s about one kilometer across and corals built this (probably) 14 million years ago. Tectonic shifts lifted the land out of the ocean. If only the polyps had put in a carbon tax?

The Nullarbor is a bit special because the surface is well preserved. There is not […]

Unthreaded Weekend

Carved granite | Photo: Jo Nova

Each year the winter whitewater carves out a tiny bit more rock, and each summer we see the ripples in the granite.

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Most of Earth covered with life powered on hydrogen. Living Rocks?

File this under: What don’t we know?

We just discovered slice “2” is alive. |1 – Continental crust | 2 -Oceanic crust | 3 – Upper Mantle | 4 – Lower Mantle | 5 – Outer Core | 6 – Inner Core | Image Credit: Dake

You might have thought that photosynthetic life forms had the Earth covered, but according to some researchers the largest ecosystem on Earth was just discovered and announced last Thursday, and it’s powered by hydrogen, not photosynthesis.

The Oceanic Crust is the rocky hard part under the mud that lies under the ocean. It covers 60% of the planet and it’s 10km thick. (The oceans themselves are a paltry 4km deep on average.) We’ve known for years that the isolated hot springs in trenches held life. But who thought that all the hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of basalt rock in between had its own life cycle? Last week a group from the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University, Denmark announced that they had drilled through crust that was 2.5km underwater and 55 km away from anything that mattered. They found life in the basalt.

“We’re providing the first direct evidence of life […]