Category Archives: past worlds

All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again: an introduction to How the Earth Works

For a couple of years now, I’ve been telling a story at the beginning of the introductory geology course I teach, called How the Earth Works. I like to think it gives a flavour of the kinds of stories you can tell about the Earth, if you know how to look: stories of how the world slowly remakes itself over hundreds of millions of years, of how the very high was once the very low, and will be again. This is that story. Continue reading

Categories: academic life, basics, deep time, geology, geomorphology, ice and glaciers, outcrops, past worlds, rocks & minerals, science education, tectonics


The Antarctic Geological Drilling Project – ANDRILL – is an ambitious program of drilling down to the sediments deposited around Antarctica in the past few tens of millions of years, to unravel the history of the Antarctic ice sheets: how … Continue reading

Categories: Cenozoic, climate science, past worlds

Snowball Earth no problem for sponges

Evidence from numerous sources seems to be converging to suggest that sponges – the first animals – emerged much earlier than the beginning of the Cambrian, and apparently sailed through severe climatic events in the Cryogenian without much trouble at all. Continue reading

Categories: fossils, geology, paper reviews, past worlds, Proterozoic

Glacial deposits new and old in the Scottish isles

Islay – one of the birthplaces of the Snowball Earth. And good whisky. Continue reading

Categories: deep time, geology, outcrops, past worlds, photos, Proterozoic, rocks & minerals

How do we know Gabon’s ‘multicellular’ fossils are 2.1 billion years old?

The fossil record prior to 550 million years ago is so patchy that every discovery is going to cause some fanfare. That is certainly case with these odd looking things, which have been proclaimed in Nature as the oldest mulitcellular … Continue reading

Categories: fossils, geology, paper reviews, past worlds, Proterozoic