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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ever since he can remember, Robert Weiser has been interested in fossils, minerals and rocks. Weiser studied geology at the University of Missouri; had a successful career that included geological, engineering and management positions for Exxon Mobil; owned a consulting business; and traveled throughout the country and the world. Now, he is investing in his alma mater by donating $4.6 million to the Department of Geological Sciences.