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GEOLOGY starts 2013 with 25 new articles posted online ahead of print
Date:1/30/2013

n northeast Africa (specifically Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya). Nearby marine sediments act as a trap for dust, including waxy molecules from plant leaves and pollen grains, blowing off the continent. The waxy molecules record the types of plants that were present -- based on signals locked in when the plant synthesized its first sugar with either three (C3) or four carbon (C4) atoms. The C4 plants are found only amongst grasses and shrubs that like warm-season precipitation and low carbon dioxide levels and are also commonly drought tolerant; the C3 category includes most other plants. The authors added pollen evidence for proportions of grasses versus trees to build a complete picture of the changing landscape. They found that rainforests were not present in the source region at any time in the last 12 million years. Instead, the landscape was surprisingly open, with C4 grasses and shrubs increasing at 10 million years, replacing earlier C3 grasslands. These ecosystem changes may have shaped faunal evolution: landscapes were open much earlier than previously thought and the timing of the C4 rise confirms the fast uptake of this new foodstuff by the ancestors of modern horses.


Contrasting strike-slip motions on thrust and normal faults: Implications for space-geodetic monitoring of surface deformation
Andrea Hampel et al., Institut fr Geologie, Leibniz-Universitt Hannover, Callinstrasse 30, 30167 Hannover, Germany. Posted online 17 Jan. 2013; http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G33927.1.

Global positioning system (GPS) measurements are important tools for monitoring seismically active faults in Earth's crust. Both the abrupt surface motions during the earthquake and the slower postseismic movements over years to decades after the earthquake can be determined. Among the first intra-continental earthquakes recorded by GPS are the 2009 L'Aquila (Italy) and 2003 Chengkung (Taiwan)
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Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
303-357-1057
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert  

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