Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Pluto

Geology Fun Fact

Myth: Pluto was stripped of planethood because people didn’t like it. 

In reality, the reason Pluto got demoted is because the definition of a planet was not set until the International Astronomical Union (IAU) defined it in August 2006. In short, they stated that a planet:

  1. Orbits the Sun
  2. Is relatively round
  3. Has cleared its orbital neighborhood

#3 is the reason Pluto was demoted. Pluto’s moon, Charon is about half the size of Pluto and does not orbit Pluto. Essentially, they orbit the same point in space making it more of a binary system and not a lone planet. So, by definition Pluto is not a lone object orbiting the sun and therefore is not a planet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Moonquakes

Geology Fun Fact


Even though the moon is technically “inactive” there is some shaking still going on. The epicenters range from 700 km below the surface to 20km below. And since the moon is so dry, they can keep going from 10 minutes up to several hours to fully stop. It’s like vibrating a tuning fork.

    If you would like to read more, head on over to the NASA webpage

Monday, October 29, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Early Life

Geology Fun Fact

Early Life.

The Phanerozoic Eon is the time period consisting of the last 540 million years and means “Visible life”. Although originally thought to correspond with the evolution of life it is now known to represent the evolution of hard parts (like shells). Life truly evolved over 3.2 Ga (billion years ago) and possibly even as early as 3.85 Ga.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Earthquake Waves

Geology Fun Fact

What kind of waves are produced in an earthquake?

It is usually thought that there are only two main types of seismic (earthquake) waves. These are the Primary (P) Waves and the Secondary (S) Waves. But there is also a third main category called Surface Waves. These can be broken into 2 categories called Love Waves and Rayleigh Waves. Surface Waves produce the most shaking and the most damage of the land surface. Love Waves shake the ground back and forth while Rayleigh Waves shake it up and down.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Dense as a Rock

Geology Fun Fact

Dense as a Rock? 

Rocks are generally assumed to be hard, dense objects that would sink in water without a problem. But there are rocks out there that are not dense at all. The least dense rock is pumice, which is produced during a volcanic eruption when lava is blasted into the air and cools. As the lava cools it has a lot of air pockets, or pores, that produce enough buoyancy that pumice can actually float.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - The Scream

Geology Fun Fact

Geology in Art: 

It is thought that the reason the sky is red in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is due to a volcanic sunset, which was caused by the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.

You can find out more information on this at this NY Times article

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Old Diamonds

Geology Fun Fact

Theory: Diamonds are older than the dinosaurs

Actuality: The youngest naturally occurring diamond is over 900 million years old, while the earliest dinosaur is estimated to be less than 250 million years old. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Common Minerals

Geology Fun Fact

Question - What is the most common mineral in the crust and surface of the Earth? 

Answer: Depending on how you look at it there are two possible minerals. Quartz is the most common mineral on the surface of the Earth, but Feldspar is the most common mineral in the crust. Feldspar though, is commonly considered a group of minerals, which includes Potassium-Feldspar and Plagioclase.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Ice

Geology Fun Fact

Theory: Ice is a Mineral. 

Minerals are defined by being an inorganic, naturally forming, substance with a definite chemical composition, and usually a definite crystal structure.  All of which ice satisfies. So, by definition, ice is a mineral. Just one with a significantly lower melting point than most people are usually accustomed to.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Geology Fun Facts - Diamonds

Geology Fun Fact

Theory: A diamond is forever

Actuality: Diamonds are actually not forever. Since diamonds are formed at much higher pressures, they are unstable on the Earth’s surface and will eventually degrade into a stable form of carbon (graphite). But don’t worry, this won't happen for several million years.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Seismology

Geology Fun Fact


The study of earthquakes began in at least 350 BC when Aristotle noticed that soft grounds shake more than the hard rocky ground.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Birthstones

Geology Fun Fact

Theory: Birthstones are minerals or gems. 

Actuality: Only 11 of the 12 birthstones are minerals. Minerals are naturally occurring substances with definite properties. The 12th, pearls, are not naturally occurring, they are produced biologically by mollusks.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Concrete

Geology Fun Fact

Theory: Concrete is a rock. 

Actuality: Minerals are always considered naturally formed, whereas depending on the definition you look at, rocks don’t always have to be. So, in essence, sometimes concrete (and other non-natural rock/mineral conglomerates) can be considered rocks (from a certain point of view).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Summer Heat

Geology Fun Fact

Theory: It is warmer in the summer because we are closer to the sun. 

Actuality: Only the southern hemisphere is closer to the sun in their summer (Dec-Mar). The northern hemisphere is actually further away for theirs (Jun-Sept). The real reason for the warmer season is due to the angle of sunlight. When the northern hemisphere is pointed towards the sun, the sun is more directly overhead, and therefore it is warmer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Deserts

Geology Fun Fact

Myth. The only continent without a desert is Europe. 

Actuality: Europe actually has a few areas, which may classify as a desert, specifically Almería. Also, a desert is determined by the amount of precipitation it gets (less than ~10 inches a year), not the temperature, and since there is very little precipitation in Antarctica, it ends up being the largest desert on Earth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - The Oldest Rock on Earth

Geology Fun Facts

What is the Age of the Oldest Rock on Earth? 

The oldest rock on Earth is a granite protolith that has been dated to 4.03 Ga (billion years). There are reports of a possibly older rock (a faux-amphibolite) dated up to 4.28 Ga, but there is some controversy about those rocks. Both of these rocks have been found in northern Canada.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Geology Fun Fact - Fossil Chalk

Here is an old series that I am in the process of updating:

Geology Fun Facts

Fossil Chalk
Naturally forming chalk is actually made up of millions of little fossils called coccoliths, which were the round “shells” of phytoplankton (a type of marine micro-plant) called coccolithophores.