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A puzzle from the past

If we take part in a road trip (while we miss this at the moment), do not fall asleep. See the rhythms of nature. Every single rock has a story. A virtual tour: chalk cliffs vs. basalt columns South England's coastline features chalk cliffs. Chalk is made of skeletons of coccoliths. They sank down on the seafloor from the sunlit waters above. The 100 meters cliff shows a 100 million years history - peaceful deposition during the Cretaceous followed by dramatic movement of land and sea. Continue reading →

Hot vents, cool people

If you dive into the deep, you may find the ocean not as dark/silent as you thought. Back to the year 1977, a group of scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution saw photos of shimmering water drifting out of the seafloor along the Galapagos Rift. This was the first discovery of a hydrothermal vent, and it has since changed our understanding of the planet. Continue reading →

Trace metal in the ocean: less is more

Metals have been utilised by human beings since the Bronze Age, and 4000 years later they seem to be even more associated with the modern life. Mining (from land and controversially from seafloor) is the way we acquire metals, which include iron, chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, and so on. These are called trace elements as they differ from the major elements (carbon, nitrogen, sodium, etc.) in terms of concentration or other measure of amount in the earth’s material. Continue reading →

How far are we from the deep ocean?

Human beings have held two dreams for long: to jump out of the world and to dive into the deep. Decades of exploration has gradually turned the brilliant dreams into reality. In the year 1960, the deepest part of the ocean - Mariana Trench (deeper than 10000 meters), was visited by two oceanographers. This marked the milestone demonstrating our capability to reach wherever we would like to reach in the ocean. Continue reading →

Adventures of Clair Patterson

You may have been aware that our Earth is as old as 4.5 billion years. But do you know who found out this fantastic figure first? The destiny rests on shoulders on a young man, Clair Patterson, who was a PhD student at the University of Chicago in the 1940s. I'd like to share his story with you! The first task for Patterson was to measure the concentration and isotope composition of lead inside the zircon, which is extremely useful for geological dating. Continue reading →