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Solid Earth Tectonic Processes News Archive


New research from The University of Texas at Austin reveals that the Earth’s unique iron composition isn’t linked to the formation of the planet’s core, calling into question a prevailing theory about the events that shaped our planet during its earliest years. The research, published in Nature Communications on Feb. 20, opens the door for…

The Earth’s mantle—the layer between the crust and the outer core—is home to a primordial soup even older than the moon. Among the main ingredients is helium-3 (He-3), a vestige of the Big Bang and nuclear fusion reactions in stars. And the mantle is its only terrestrial source. Scientists studying volcanic hotspots have strong evidence…

  The oceanic crust produced by the Earth today is significantly thinner than crust made 170 million years ago during the time of the supercontinent Pangea, according to University of Texas at Austin researchers. The thinning is related to the cooling of Earth’s interior prompted by the splitting of the supercontinent Pangaea, which broke up…

A study of the massive crater that formed when an asteroid crashed into Earth 66 million years ago, wiping out all nonavian dinosaurs and most life on the planet, is giving insights into how impacts can help shape planets and possibly even provide habitat for the origins of life. The study, published in the journal…

Earthquakes triggered by human activity have been happening in Texas since at least 1925, and they have been widespread throughout the state ever since, according to a new historical review of the evidence published online May 18 in Seismological Research Letters. The earthquakes are caused by oil and gas operations, but the specific production techniques behind…

Research published in the May 6 edition of Science indicates that slow-motion earthquakes or “slow-slip events” can rupture the shallow portion of a fault that also moves in large, tsunami-generating earthquakes. The finding has important implications for assessing tsunami hazards. The discovery was made by conducting the first-ever detailed investigation of centimeter-level seafloor movement at…

A new study in the April 22 edition of Science reveals that volcanic activity associated with the plate-tectonic movement of continents may be responsible for climatic shifts from hot to cold over tens and hundreds of millions of years throughout much of Earth’s history. The study, led by researchers at The University of Texas at…

The most comprehensive analysis to date of a series of earthquakes that included a 4.8 magnitude event in East Texas in 2012 has found it plausible that the earthquakes were caused by wastewater injection. The findings also underscore the difficulty of conclusively tying specific earthquakes to human activity using currently available subsurface data. The study,…

Researchers have for the first time been able to measure a material’s resistance to fracturing from various types of tectonic motions in the Earth’s middle crust, a discovery that may lead to better understanding of how large earthquakes and slower moving events interact. The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), research unit of the…

 Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation authorizing funding of $4.47 million for the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, an initiative led by the Bureau of Economic Geology — the State Geologic Survey of Texas — at The University of Texas at Austin. TexNet will enhance the ability of the State of Texas to gather information…

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