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Posts Tagged ‘geology’

Guatemala excavates early Mayan ruler’s tomb

October 26, 2012 Leave a comment

October 25, 2012

Guatemala excavates early Mayan ruler's tombEnlargeThis photo taken on May 25, 2012, released on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 by Tak’alik Ab’aj Archaeological Project shows a jade piece in the tomb of a very early Mayan ruler at Tak’alik Ab’aj archaeological site in Retalhuleu, south of Guatemala City. Archaeologists in Guatemala announced Friday they have uncovered the tomb complete with rich jade jewelry and decoration. Government archaeologist Miguel Orrego says carbon-dating indicates the tomb was built between 700 and 400 B.C., several hundred years before the Mayan culture reached its apogee (AP Photo/Tak’alik Ab’aj Archaeological Project)

Experts said the find at Guatemala’s Tak’alik Ab’aj temple site could help shed light on the formative years of the Mayan culture.

Government archaeologist Miguel Orrego said carbon-dating indicates the tomb was built between 700 and 400 B.C., several hundred years before the Mayan culture reached its height. He said it was the oldest tomb found so far at Tak’alik Ab’aj, a site in southern Guatemala that dates back about 2,200 years.

Orrego said a necklace depicting a vulture-headed human figure appeared to identify the tomb’s occupant as an “ajaw,” or ruler.

Guatemala excavates early Mayan ruler's tomb

 Read more: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-guatemala-excavates-early-mayan-ruler.html

Mars Rock Touched by NASA Curiosity Has Surprises

October 12, 2012 1 comment

ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2012) — The first Martian rock NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached out to touch presents a more varied composition than expected from previous missions. The rock also resembles some unusual rocks from Earth’s interior.

Target: Jake Matijevic Rock. This image shows where NASA’s Curiosity rover aimed two different instruments to study a rock known as “Jake Matijevic.” (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The rover team used two instruments on Curiosity to study the chemical makeup of the football-size rock called “Jake Matijevic” (matt-EE-oh-vick). The results support some surprising recent measurements and provide an example of why identifying rocks’ composition is such a major emphasis of the mission. Rock compositions tell stories about unseen environments and planetary processes.

“This rock is a close match in chemical composition to an unusual but well-known type of igneous rock found in many volcanic provinces on Earth,” said Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who is a Curiosity co-investigator. “With only one Martian rock of this type, it is difficult to know whether the same processes were involved, but it is a reasonable place to start thinking about its origin.”

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery: Spherical Objects Unlike Previously Found ‘Blueberries’

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

ScienceDaily (Sep. 14, 2012) — NASA’s long-lived rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers.

Small spherical objects fill the field in this mosaic combining four images from the Microscopic Imager on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./ USGS/Modesto Junior College)
 

Spherical objects concentrated at an outcrop Opportunity reached last week differ in several ways from iron-rich spherules nicknamed “blueberries” the rover found at its landing site in early 2004 and at many other locations to date.

Opportunity is investigating an outcrop called Kirkwood in the Cape York segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The spheres measure as much as one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) in diameter. The analysis is still preliminary, but it indicates that these spheres do not have the high iron content of Martian blueberries.

“This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission,” said Opportunity’s principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “Kirkwood is chock full of a dense accumulation of these small spherical objects. Of course, we immediately thought of the blueberries, but this is something different. We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars.”

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914154003.htm

 

Out of this world, quite literally: The beautiful and mysterious Fukang meteorite


By LYLE BRENNAN

PUBLISHED: 15:45 GMT, 14 April 2012 | UPDATED: 15:45 GMT, 14 April 2012
When it slammed into the surface of Earth, there was little sign of the beauty that lay inside.

But cutting the Fukang meteorite open yielded a breathtaking sight.

Within the rock, translucent golden crystals of a mineral called olivine gleamed among a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron.


Cosmic wonder: Marvin Killgore of the Arizona Meteorite Laboratory lets the sun shine through a polished slice of the Fukang rock

The rare meteorite weighed about the same as a hatchback when it was discovered in 2000, in the Gobi Desert in China’s Xinjiang Province.

It has since been divided into slices which give the effect of stained glass when the sun shines through them.

An anonymous collector holds the largest portion, which weighs 925lb. in 2008, this piece was expected to fetch $2million (£1.26million) at auction at Bonham’s in New York – but it remained unsold.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2129747/The-beautiful-mysterious-Fukang-pallasite-meteorite.html#ixzz1xxGEGnk3