Geology and Archaeology News

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Unusually high sulfur content causes Kawah Ijen volcano to spew beautiful, brilliant, spectral blue lava

Kawah Ijen, part of the Ijen volcano complex, is a group of stratovolcanoes in East Java, Indonesia. With an active crater that’s over 200 meters deep, the volcano complex is also home to the world’s largest turquoise-colored acidic lake, full of sulfuric acid, that produces a highly-unusual effect on the volcano’s lava flows. Instead of the expected reddish-orange lava flows, Kawah Ijen gushes with brilliant, glowing, electric-blue lava.
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Oldest human footprints in North America identified -10,500-year-old footprints smash record

In 1961, during a highway construction project in northeastern Mexico, less than 200 miles from the Texas border, a pair of tracks, one left and one right, were uncovered in the Chihuahuan Desert. The tracks were excavated and taken to a local museum (Saltillo’s Museo del Desierto) for study. Now, over 50 years later, researchers have determined that the tracks are a mind-boggling 10,500 years old, smashing the previous record by thousands of years.
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So that’s where all the water went! Delaware-size underground water reservoir discovered in drought-stricken Kenya.

Scientists have found a vast underground water reservoir in one of Kenya’s driest regions that they say could allow the drought-stricken country to meet its water needs for at least the next 70 years. The massive water reservoir, located 1,082 feet underground, was found in the desert of Kenya’s Turkana region. Named the Lotikipi Basin Aquifer, they have estimated it contains more than 200 billion cubic meters of fresh water – about the side of Rhode Island – nearly nine times Kenya’s current reserves.
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Significant submerged archaeological site discovered off the Alikanas beach on northeast Zakynthos in Greece

A submerged archaeological site has been discovered, with extensive sunken architectural remains, by an Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities team, located at a depth of 2-6 meters off the Alikanas beach on northeast Zakynthos island in the Ionian Sea island. The team had been surveying the area since the May 13, 2013. The site covers around 3 hectares and contains visible traces of paved floor and courtyard, colonnade bases, while ancient building material is spread all over it. At least 20 circular column bases, each bearing a large central hole that were probably used to support wooden columns, were counted.
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World’s oldest flowing water found in Canada 1.5 miles underground – scientists testing for life

Canadian and British scientists announced last week that they have discovered the world's oldest flowing water deep under an Ontario copper and zinc mine in Canada. The scientists recovered the water through boreholes drilled underneath the mine. The cache of water was discovered 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) underground and is believed to date from 1.5 to 2.64 billion years old (dated via analysis of the amount of xenon gas dissolved in it). That would put the water's origin to around the time the first multicellular life arose on the planet. They noted that the water is rich with dissolved hydrogen and methane, both components that could theoretically support microbial life.
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Archaeologists discover Pluto’s “Gate to Hell” in southwestern Turkey

Known as Pluto's Gate, the famous "Gate to Hell" cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition. It was said to be located in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described as filled with lethal mephitic vapors. Last week, Italian archaeologists announced that they have found the mystical ruins in southwestern Turkey.
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12-pound gold nugget discovered in field where hundreds of prospectors had searched before

An anonymous gold prospector using a Minelab GPX-5000 metal detector has discovered a 12-pound gold nugget worth a whopping $315,000 dollars. The prospector was searching in a field near the city of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, in a well-known, previously searched gold prospecting field. It is estimated that hundreds of prospectors had searched the same field in the past. The $5,200 metal detector, which of course was not available to gold prospectors when Ballarat’s 1862 gold rush began, is a state of the art gold detecting machine.
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3.5 billion year old fossils found that predate oxygen on Earth

Researchers have found fossils of bacteria in northwest Australia's Pilbara region, that are dated at 3.49 billion-years-old. That’s older than oxygen and just one billion years after Earth’s formation. The fossils, which are textures on the surfaces of sandstone thought to be sculpted by once-living organisms, are believed to be the oldest visible fossils ever uncovered.
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Volcano power arrives in the United States – producing electricity by extracting heat from an Oregon volcano

Located in Central Oregon, Newberry Volcano is one of the largest and youngest volcanoes in the United States (its last eruption was about 1,300 years ago). AltaRock plans to use the Newberry Volcano to create a geothermal reservoir via a unique combination of drilling and fracking. The process began in 2008 when a 10,060 feet deep well was dug into the rock about 4 miles from the center of the volcano. This well will serve as the primary conduit for extraction of heat from the 600 degree Fahrenheit rock around the volcano.
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Historic spot of Julius Caesar’s assassination may have finally been discovered by archaeologists in Rome

History has been clear that Julius Caesar was killed in the portico of the Theater of Pompey on March 15, 44 B.C. (the Ides of March) as he made his way to a session of the Senate - but the infamous site has never been found. Now according to a new Spanish National Research Council report, archeologists believe they have discovered the first physical evidence of the historic spot.
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Unusual April 2012 Indonesian Earthquake may have broken tectonic plate and created new plate boundary

The April 11, 2012 series of Earthquakes in Indonesia may have been a bigger event than originally thought – they may have broken the tectonic plate. The largest of the quakes was a magnitude 8.7 offshore quake that produced stronger ground-shaking than any earthquake in history. Scientists found it odd that it triggered several earthquakes around the world.

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