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Seismic zones, river deltas, landslides, fossil reptiles, and more new Geology science
Date:3/6/2012

role in the marine and terrestrial biogeochemical cycles of major and trace nutrient elements. A peat bog record of atmospheric deposition in Switzerland shows considerable variation in dust deposition during the past 15,000 years, with abrupt changes in fluxes. Using geochemical and isotopic tracers, Gael Le Roux of Liege University, Belgium, and colleagues show that it is possible to clearly distinguish between volcanic inputs and those driven by climate change, such as the long-term aridification of the Sahara and regional erosion due to forest clearing and soil cultivation activities. Their results indicate that a major dust event in North Africa and Europe preceded a known northern hemisphere cooling event: the cold event 8,200 years ago by 200 years. This dust event may have played an active role in the climate cooling following the 8,200-year-old event. Isotopic fingerprinting evidence also record a relatively slow change in the dust regime over Europe from 7,000 years ago to 5,000 years ago due to expansion of the Sahara. These findings show that high-resolution peat records can provide remarkably sensitive indicators of dust load and sources and can support the need to better identify the impact of dust loading and the links with direct and indirect climate feedbacks.


No gap in the Middle Permian record of terrestrial vertebrates
Michael J. Benton, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK. Posted online 2 Mar. 2012; doi: 10.1130/G32669.1.

New work on fossil reptiles from Russia shows a more continuous evolutionary record than had been assumed. A key concern about the fossil record is that it is incomplete. Major gaps -- times when no fossils were preserved -- can hide the detail of certain episodes in the history of life. During the Permian period 300-250 million years ago, the basis of modern terrestrial ecosystem was established. Worldwide climates became warmer and drier, and reptiles
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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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