The world as we know it has been shaped by the discoveries of the men and women who dedicated their lives to geology. From studying the origins of the earth to discovering how the earth’s crust was formed to finding evidence of extra-terrestrial life, their work has impacted just about every facet of our modern world. Here are just a few of their discoveries that have changed our modern world.
- The Ancient rainforest found under Antarctic ice
Scientists have discovered the remains of a rainforest buried under ice in Antarctica. The discovery, reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, could confirm the rainforest that existed in the region 25 million years ago. The discovery also further suggests that the ancient Antarctic rainforest was a subtropical environment or one with more in common with rainforests in Central and South America than the Arctic Circle.
Scientists have discovered a hidden rainforest deep beneath an Antarctic ice shelf. The rainforest, which is 2,000 years old, was discovered when scientists drilled into a lake beneath the Larsen B Ice Shelf, the largest floating ice shelf in Antarctica.
- The Lost tectonic plate that gets resurrected
The surface of planet Earth is constantly changing. Tectonic plates push and pull the continents, sometimes colliding with one another. Some plates, known as cratons, contain groundwater that provides critical freshwater resources. Scientists have recently used digital laser scanning techniques to reconstruct a 130-million-year-old tectonic plate called Resurrection digitally. This high-resolution map shows the topography of ancient Resurrection and shows it possibly gives rise to an arc of volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean. The plate disappeared 55 million years ago—but it has the ability to return.
- The Ancient seabed buried 400 miles beneath China
A 400-mile-long, 300-mile-wide seafloor has been discovered buried beneath China, 40 million years before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. This ancient seabed is buried under 10,000 feet of sediment, making it nearly impossible for scientists to study it. However, with the help of new radar technology, scientists have been able to peer below that layer of rock to the seabed below. The world first learned of the “nine-dash line” in 1953, when it was created by the government of the Republic of China. The map’s very existence was controversial, though, since no one could actually prove their claims that it had any bearing on Chinese sovereignty.
- The Underwater rivers found near Australia
Imagine swimming through a river that’s filled with waterfalls and caves. Underwater rivers are a rare phenomenon, but they’re surprisingly common in Australia. Australia’s geography and climate create unique environmental conditions that allow rivers to flow through layers of porous sandstone rock, known as the Hawkesbury Sandstone, and settle down to the ocean floor.
Australia’s Department of the Environment has revealed a new underwater river system in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The 17-mile-long waterway discovered features rivers flowing between granite islands and underwater caves. It is the most extensive known river system of its kind in the world. This discovery is great news for the Pilbara region since it shows it has the potential to become a refuge for marine life.
Geologists are scientists who specialize in the study of the Earth, its many natural features, and the processes that have shaped them. Their discoveries have shaped our world, from inspiring the creation of new theme parks to the discovery of mass extinction. Geologists are, in many ways, just scientists that happen to be able to spend a lot of time in the field studying the rocks and minerals of the Earth. Geologists take their science seriously, and over the years, there have been a number of major discoveries and theories that have allowed us to understand more about our planet, as well as ourselves.