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

rose in importance. The first plant-eating reptiles appeared, and Late Permian ecosystems were broadly comparable to modern ones. Until recently, however, the Permian record of reptiles was said to be incomplete, with a gap of up to 5 million years. This was because paleontologists had to look at rock successions from different continents, and it seemed there was a major time hiatus between the well-known Lower Permian successions of North America and the Middle and Upper Permian successions of South Africa and Russia. New dating evidence shows that the Russian rock record overlaps the North American record, and the gap is closed. We can study the story of change in terrestrial ecosystems through the Permian without a major lack of knowledge.


Rapid erosion beneath the Greenland ice sheet
T. Cowton et al., School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, Edinburgh EH8 9XP, UK. Published online 2 Mar. 2012; doi: 10.1130/G32687.1.

Erosion by ice sheets has played a key role in sculpting landscapes across large areas of Europe and North America. The rate at which these landscapes were cut is difficult to measure, but the same process can be observed through studying the modern Greenland ice sheet. Vast volumes of meltwater drain through cracks in the ice and flow along the ice sheet bed, entraining debris produced by the force of the ice on the bedrock. T. Cowton of the University of Edinburgh and colleagues measured the volume of this debris washed out from beneath a 600-square-kilometer region of the ice sheet over a two year period. This debris equated to the removal of a 5 mm layer of bedrock per year from this region, which is between 10-100 times greater than previous estimates of the rate of erosion by ice sheets. Cowton and colleagues attribute this rapid erosion to the flushing effect of the meltwater, removing debris and exposing fresh bedrock to the destructive force of the ice. The implications of t
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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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