Field of Science

The Most Famous Last Stand In History And How Geology Played A Role In It

The Thermopylae, the hot gates or also gates of fire, is a mountain pass at the foot of Mount Kallidromo in modern Greece where legend tells that King Leonidas and 300 of his Spartan warriors fought millions of Persians, during Xerxes’ invasion of Greece in 480 B.C. They were able to hold the mountain pass for three days, when they were betrayed and finally defeated.

"Greece and Rome: Builders of Our World (The Story of Man)", 1977

Marie Tharp, The Woman Who Discovered The Backbone Of Earth

July 30, 1920, birthday of Marie Tharp, The Woman Who Discovered The Backbone Of Earth. She was among the first women to get a degree and work as professional geologist in the US. Later she worked also on a map of the seafloor that changed geology.


Alternative Model For Formation Of Devils Tower Explains Its Geological Oddities

Devils Tower in Wyoming is surrounded by myths and mysteries. To the Sioux people, this site was sacred and some of their stories tell how this mountain formed: A long time ago a giant bear chased a group of children onto the flat top of the mountain. Out of reach of the animal, the bear started to scratch the rocks with its claws, forming the characteristic joints in the rock. Reportedly, Devils Tower got its name from this legend, as "bear" was erroneously translated as "bad god" - later becoming the "devil".

Today, this 1,267-foot-high pinnacle of phonolite (a silica-poor fine-grained igneous rock) is described in many textbooks as an intrusion of igneous rock that never reached the surface to form a volcano. However, there are a number of issues with this idea.


The Largest Crystals Ever Discovered Are At Risk Of Decay

The mine of Naica, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, was opened in 1828 to mine for lead, zinc and silver ore. In 1910, a natural cave in the mine was discovered, which was later named Cueva de las Espadas, the Cave of Swords. The name derives from three-feet large, blade-like gypsum crystals (calcium-sulfate) completely covering the walls of the cave.
However, what the miners discovered almost 90 years later during the construction of a new tunnel was even more astounding. The Cueva de los Cristales, the Cave of the Crystals, hosts the most incredible crystals ever discovered. The mining operations, making the discovery possible, are also threatening this geological treasure.


110 Years After The Tunguska Event We Still Aren't Sure What Caused It

At 7:15 on the morning of June 30, 1908, something happened in the sky above the Stony Tunguska (Podkamennaya Tunguska) river in Siberia. Many thousand people in a radius of 900 miles observed the Tunguska event and more than 700 accounts were collected later. The reports describe a fireball in the sky, larger or similar to the size of the sun, a series of explosions “with a frightful sound”, followed by shaking of the ground as “the earth seemed to get opened wide and everything would fall in the abyss. Terrible strokes were heard from somewhere, which shook the air [].” The indigenous Evenks and Yakuts believed a god or shaman had sent the fireball to destroy the world. Various meteorological stations in Europe recorded both seismic and atmospheric waves. Days later strange phenomena were observed in the sky of Russia and Europe, such as glowing clouds, colorful sunsets and a strange luminescence in the night.

A devastating explosion occurred in a remote swampy area of Siberia in June 1908 that even now continues to spark controversy and theories of widely varying plausibility.