University of Missouri

Geological Sciences Department of Geological Sciences Department of Geological Sciences

News

Department of Geological Sciences to host the Thirteenth PACROFI Conference May 24-26

The Department of Geological Sciences is delighted to host the thirteenth PACROFI conference at the University of Missouri from May 24-26, 2016.
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Primitive sea creatures were advanced ninja attackers

link to the video >>

The Early Trilobite Gets the Worm

Researchers who study evidence of predatory behavior in the fossil record generally look for drill holes, repair scars, bite marks, and other signs of predation in fossilized skeletons. But a team of researchers at the University of Missouri has found fossil “snapshots” of predators caught in the act of feeding on their prey. Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences Jim Schiffbauer says predation is a significant factor in evolution, and this discovery represents one of the earliest examples of sophisticated predatory behavior.
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Earthquakes in Slow Motion

Noel Bartlow, an assistant professor in the department of geological sciences, is interested in earthquakes that take a long time to occur. The focus of her research is slow slip events, or what are referred to as “slow earthquakes,” earthquakes that can last from a few days up to a year.
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Dr. Noel Bartlow joins the faculty

link to her webpage >>

Making Lava in the Lab

In 2004, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a robotic spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket to study the chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field of the planet Mercury. The MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft arrived at Mercury in 2008 and entered the planet’s orbit in 2011, when it began measuring gamma ray emissions, the magnetic field, the height of landforms, and the atmosphere. It also took dozens of high-resolution photographs of the planet’s surface before dropping out of orbit and crashing into the surface of Mercury in spring 2015.
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Paleoclimate Researchers Find Connection between Carbon Cycles, Climate Trends

Making predictions about climate variability often means looking to the past to find trends. Now paleoclimate researchers from the University of Missouri have found clues in exposed bedrock alongside an Alabama highway that could help forecast climate variability. In their study, the researchers verified evidence suggesting carbon dioxide decreased significantly at the end of the Ordovician Period, 450 million years ago, preceding an ice age and eventual mass extinction. These results will help climatologists better predict future environmental changes.
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Retirement of Profs. Bob Bauer and Mike Underwood after more than 30 years of service

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Camp Branson Geology Field Laboratory Bridge Campaign Completed!

The Department and everyone associated with Field Camp is very grateful to the many alumni and friends who helped us to raise more than $250,000 for the new vehicular bridge, which was installed at Camp Branson in May 2015, just in time for the start of camp.
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In memoriam, Prof. Bill Johns, 1925-2015

William D. Johns was born in Waynesburg, PA on November 2, 1925. He received his AB from Wooster college in 1947, and his MS and PhD from the University of Illinois in 1951 and 1952. He worked at the Illinois Engineering Experiment Station from 1949 to 1955, then moved to Washington University in St. Louis, where he was department chairman from 1962 to 1969.
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MU Geology Field Camp Wins GSA/ExxonMobil Field Camp Excellence Award

For 103 years geology students have been enjoying world-class geology field training at the University of Missouri's Camp Branson Field Laboratory located in the Wind River Range near Lander, Wyo. This year, the Geological Society of America (GSA) recognized the program with the GSA/ExxonMobil Field Camp Excellence Award. This $10,000 award is given each year to a geology field camp to assist with the summer field season. It is based on safety awareness, diversity, and technical excellence.
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550 Million Year Old Fossils Provide New Clues about Fossil Formation

A new study from University of Missouri and Virginia Tech researchers is challenging accepted ideas about how ancient soft-bodied organisms become part of the fossil record. Findings suggest that bacteria involved in the decay of those organisms play an active role in how fossils are formed - often in a matter of just a few tens to hundreds of years. Understanding the relationship between decay and fossilization will inform future study and help researchers interpret fossils in a new way.
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How 'worms' end up in fool's gold fossils

How did ancient soft-body creatures become part of the fossil record? New findings suggest that bacteria involved in the decay of those organisms play an active role in how fossils are formed - often in a matter of just a few tens to hundreds of years. Understanding the relationship between decay and fossilization will inform future study and help researchers interpret fossils in a new way.
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Ancient Fossils Reveal Potential Risk of Rise in Parasitic Infections Due to Climate Change

When seeking clues about the future effects of possible climate change, sometimes scientists look to the past. Now, a paleobiologist from the University of Missouri has found indications of a greater risk of parasitic infection due to climate change in ancient mollusk fossils. His study of clams from the Holocene Epoch (that began 11,700 years ago) indicates that current sea level rise may mimic the same conditions that led to an upsurge in parasitic trematodes, or flatworms, he found from that time.
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Will sea level rise boost parasitic flatworms?

To find clues to the future effects of possible climate change, a paleobiologist has turned to ancient mollusk fossils. John Huntley's study of clams from the Holocene Epoch, which began 11,700 years ago, indicates that current sea level rise may mimic the same conditions that led to an upsurge in parasitic trematodes, or flatworms, he found from that time.
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MU Researchers Find Rare Fossilized Embryos More Than 500 Million Years Old

The Cambrian Period is a time when most phyla of marine invertebrates first appeared in the fossil record. Also dubbed the "Cambrian explosion," fossilized records from this time provide glimpses into evolutionary biology when the world's ecosystems rapidly changed and diversified. Most fossils show the organisms' skeletal structure, which may or may not give researchers accurate pictures of these prehistoric organisms. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found rare, fossilized embryos they believe were undiscovered previously. Their methods of study may help with future interpretation of evolutionary history.
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MU Scientist Finds Late Cretaceous Period Was Likely Ice-free

For years, scientists have thought that a continental ice sheet formed during the Late Cretaceous Period more than 90 million years ago when the climate was much warmer than it is today. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found evidence suggesting that no ice sheet formed at this time. This finding could help environmentalists and scientists predict what the earth's climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.
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Supervolcanic Ash Can Turn To Lava Miles From Eruption, MU Scientists Find

Supervolcanoes, such as the one sitting dormant under Yellowstone National Park, are capable of producing eruptions thousands of times more powerful than normal volcanic eruptions. While they only happen every several thousand years, these eruptions have the potential to kill millions of people and animals due to the massive amount of heat and ash they release into the atmosphere. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have shown that the ash produced by supervolcanoes can be so hot that it has the ability to turn back into lava once it hits the ground tens of miles away from the original eruption.
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Researcher Says the Next Large Central US Earthquake May Not Be In New Madrid

This December marks the bicentennial of the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12, which are the biggest earthquakes known to have occurred in the central U.S. Now, based on the earthquake record in China, a University of Missouri researcher says that mid-continent earthquakes tend to move among fault systems, so the next big earthquake in the central U.S. may actually occur someplace else other than along the New Madrid faults.
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$4.6 million gift supports Geological Sciences

Gift establishes the Robert N. "Bud" Weiser Endowed Geology Research Fund
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Archives

Geologists find Earth's crust melts more easily than previously thought

Geologists find earthquakes felt today in central U.S. are aftershocks from 1811-1812 New Madrid quakes

New summer institute offers scholarships for study abroad in China

Undergraduate research program established

NSF awards $2.16 million for intraplate earthquake studies to Liu, Sandvol, Gomez, Cormier, and colleagues

Mian Liu and Shimin Wang, Geological Sciences, find motion of Earth's plates consistent for 40 million years

Michael Underwood, Geological Sciences, part of research team to drill into undersea earthquake zone

The Geology Student Scholarship Fund

Ken MacLeod: Study of ancient climate can help predict future patterns

Eric Sandvol and international team measure earth structure beneath eastern Turkey

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This file last modified Friday, 03-Feb-2017 14:51:51 CST