Science Profiles Keeping track of breakthroughs in science…


Plate Tectonics of the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake & Tsunami

The epicenter occured where the Indian Plate and the South-East Asian Plate are converging off the coast of Sumatra.

Elasticity of tectonic plates and their tendancy to want to return to an original shape dictated by the crystalline lattice structure of basalt minerals is the reason why earthquakes occur. As two plate boundaries press against each other, friction causes each to hold on to each other until they slip. The elastic nature of each plate springs it back to a state of equilibrium and in that millisecond of action, meters of distance are returned, and the shockwave can be heard all over the world. Geological Survey of India

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Geologists’ periodic table designed

[WASHINGTON] A new periodic table could soon be gracing the walls of geology classrooms. The table shows how chemical elements are distributed in nature, by sorting them according to their electrical charge rather than their weight. Geologists' periodic table designed


Gravity Map Gets to Grips with Planet’s Pull

[WASHINGTON] The most accurate map yet of Earth's gravitational field has been released - the first result of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), run jointly by NASA and the DLR, Germany's aerospace research centre. Oceanographers hope to use the map to model deep oceanic currents and heat fluxes, and so better understand their effects on global climate.

"It's an order of magnitude better than anything that's gone before," says Byron Tapley, the project's principal investigator and director of the Center for Space Research (CSR) at the University of Texas at Austin. The map, called GRACE Gravity Model 01, was based on a preliminary analysis of 111 days of mission data. It was published on the CSR website on 21 July, a few months ahead of the main phase of the mission.

The GRACE mission comprises two identical satellites, one 220 kilometres ahead of the other. The lead satellite encounters local variations in the gravity field first, and so temporarily pulls away from its partner (see Nature 416, 10-11; 2002). The map was created by following these minute changes in separation, which are measured to the nearest micrometre by onboard sensors.

Use the force: the raised, red areas in GRACE's gravity map show where Earth's pull is strongest.


This may explain why Atlantis sank.


Movie ‘The Core’ Based Upon Solid Science?

Earth, says geophysicist J. Marvin Herndon, is a gigantic natural nuclear power plant. Nuclear Planet The science community is hesitant to embrace this new theory due to the Galilean implications of having to rewrite the books. Leave it to Hollywood, however, to advance new ideas and bring us all up to speed so that we can tackle these tough questions. The Core