Extreme Weather Events Of 535-536 — Snow In Summer, Widespread Crop-Failures, Famine, Flooding, & A Year Without Sun

January 29, 2015 in Geology & Climate, Humans

The extreme weather events of the years 535-536 — encompassing strangely low-temperatures, with snow even falling during the summer months in some locations; widespread crop-failures and famine; greatly diminished levels of sunlight; and accompanying geopolitical problems — were the most severe and long-lasting such occurrence of the last 2000 or so years in the Northern Hemisphere.

While it’s currently thought that the event was caused by an extensive atmospheric dust veil formed either, via a large volcanic eruption in the tropics, or the disintegration of a large amount of space-debris in the upper atmosphere, nothing is known for sure.

Volcano eruption aerosols

Evidence does point towards the volcanic explanation though — owing to the presence of substantial sulfate deposits in glaciers around the world corresponding to the years in question.
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Soil Erosion Rates Rose More Than 100-Fold In The US Following Colonization Via Deforestation & Industrial Agriculture, Research Finds (+American Indian Forest Management Practices Explained)

January 21, 2015 in Geology & Climate, Humans, Plants

Soil erosion rates increased more than a 100-fold in the southeastern US after European colonization via the large-scale deforestation and industrial agriculture that accompanied it, according to new research from the University of Vermont.

Previous to European colonization, the region had seen rates of hill-slope erosion of around an inch every 2500-years — after colonization these rates skyrocketed to an inch every 25-years (with a peak in the late-1800s/early-1900s).

Soil erosion deforestation
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Desertification Effects, Causes, And Examples : Top 10 List

January 5, 2015 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate, Humans, Plants

Desertification is a process of land-degradation by which a region becomes progressively drier and drier — eventually becoming desert. Or, to put it another way — desertification is the process by which previously biologically productive land is transformed into wasteland.

There’s actually currently something of a debate over the use of the term though. As it stands, the most widely accepted definition is probably the one that’s now printed in the Princeton University Dictionary — which defines it thusly: “The process of fertile land transforming into desert typically as a result of deforestation, drought, or improper/inappropriate agriculture”

Desertification

There are a number of different causes/mechanisms behind the process, such as deflation (the loss of stabilizing vegetation, and of top soil); erosion; and soil-salinity-rise (via irrigation mostly). Read the rest of this entry →

Tamu Massif — Undersea Volcano The Size Of The British Isles Discovered In The Pacific, One Of The Largest Known Volcanoes In The Solar System

September 9, 2013 in Geology & Climate

Tamu Massif — a volcano the size of the British Isles — was recently discovered by researchers from the University of Houston. The enormous volcano is not only the largest yet discovered on the Earth, but is also one of the largest volcanoes in the whole of the known solar system — in the same size-range as the giant volcanoes of Mars.

The country-sized undersea volcano is located about 1,000 miles east of Japan, and compromises the largest feature of Shatsky Rise — an underwater mountain range that formed sometime between 130-145 million years ago, as a result of the eruption of several large underwater volcanoes.

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Did Life Originate In Brinicles? Icy Sea Stalactites Provide Environment Conducive To Emergence Of Life

May 3, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate

Did life on Earth originate in the almost otherworldly environments of brinicles — the icy sea stalactites that grow near the Earth’s poles? These rather strange looking tubes of ice could very possibly have been where life on the Earth originated, according to new research published in the journal Langmuir.

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