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GEOLOGY returns to Naica Cave, Mexico, and extends its reach to Mercury
Date:12/21/2012

such as the present day Aleutian and Izu-Bonin-Mariana island chains form where an oceanic tectonic plate subducts into the mantle beneath another piece of oceanic lithosphere. Ancient island arcs are believed to have been the fundamental building blocks that were assembled by plate tectonics to create the continents over the last approx. three billion years. However, the process through which the relatively buoyant continental crust is derived from the denser rocks that form much of island arc crust is unclear. Seismic refraction surveys, which estimate a proxy for crustal composition, namely the seismic wave speed, indicate that arc crust is commonly too thin (12-35 km) to contain the dense mafic/ultramafic root that should be produced when continental-like andesitic rocks that form the middle crust of many island arcs are generated. Deep seismic reflection profiling over the eastern Aleutian arc shows a 25 km-thick package of reflectors, which extends from the lower crust to depths as great as 50 km. However, reflective roots are not apparent further west in the central Aleutian arc. Deep arc roots can be denser than the uppermost mantle, detach from the base of the evolving island arc and sink back into the underlying mantle, and this process may explain the differences observed beneath the Aleutian arc.


An extensive and dynamic ice sheet on the West Greenland shelf during the last glacial cycle

C. Cofaigh et al., Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. Posted online 30 Nov. 2012; http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G33759.1.

The extent and timing of the advance and retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet on the West Greenland continental shelf bordering Baffin Bay during the last glaciation remains uncertain. This paper resolves this issue for the continental shelf offshore of Disko Bay and Uummannaq Fjord, central West Greenland. Marine geophysic
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Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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