Oldest pine tree fossil discovered in Canada

Fossil of oldest pine tree discovered – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35767640

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Increased activity at Iceland volcano

Iceland is on high alert after seismologists detected an increase in volcanic activity at the Bardarbunga Volcano.

Volcanic eruptions may release ‘Tephra‘; tiny shards of volcanic rock which carry a geochemical ‘fingerprint’ unique to a specific eruption. Tephra are carried through the atmosphere before being deposited as fine layers in soils and sediments.

Geologists use tephra layers, combined with knowledge of the timing of the eruption that produced them, as a time marker to determine the age of soils and other materials (e.g. fossil pollen).

New discovery in Western Australia sheds new light on earth’s history

Following on from my last post on the theme of ‘world’s oldest natural wonders’ with the discovery of the oldest known fragment of the earth’s crust. The crystal – a zircon – was found in Western Australia and  is estimated to be 4.4 billion years old, raising the possibility that the Earth might have been able to support life earlier than previously thought – to read the full story click here