The map of the Jewel Cave National Monument continues to expand in South Dakota. Currently the Jewel Cave holds the claim of the third largest known cave in the world, but it has not always been easy. Back in July of 2011 tours of the mine had to be put on hold when the 28 story elevators for sightseers had a serious mechanical problem. Once the elevators were back on track, the visitors were once again able to enjoy the Monument Center and volunteers were recruited to continue the search for more areas of the cave system. The Cave is now open again with even more to explore and discover.
Looking to explore the rocks of North America this summer, consider a trip to South Dakota to this rare and special cave.
A rare diamondiferous peridotite has been found in the Udachny Diamond Mine. The Russian mine is one of the 10 deepest open-pit mines on Earth. A chunk the size of a golf ball has geologists counting the micro-diamonds imbedded within the rock.
In addition to diamonds, the 10.5 g rock contains specks of red and green garnet and other minerals.
Prof Taylor and his colleagues examined it using a giant X-ray machine to study the diamonds and their relationships with associated materials.
They also beamed electrons at the materials inside the diamonds to study the chemicals trapped inside.
This created 2D and 3D images which revealed a relationship between minerals.
…The images also showed abnormal carbon isotopes for this type of rock, indicating it was originally formed as part of the crust of the Earth, withdrawn by tectonic shifts and transformed into the shimmery rock scientists see today.
Along with the 30,000 diamonds fused into the peridotite are red and green garnets making for a beautiful and unusual specimen.
The State of Connecticut has been experiencing earthquakes the recently. The phenomenon is referred to as a swarm, and has residents on edge. A similar recorded incident in this area of the United States happened in 2006-2007 in the State of Maine and reported a swarm of 40 earthquakes. The east coast has been relatively quiet since then. It is still too early to tell if this new swarm will continue. A full story can be read at NBC Connecticut.
New findings in Scotland show ichthyosaurs are unique to the warm shallow waters of what is now Scotland during Jurassic period, 117-169 million years ago. A team of paleontologists headed by Dr Steve Brusatte of National Museums Scotland and the University of Edinburgh has discovered a new genus and species of ichthyosaur in rare fossils.
“During the time of dinosaurs, the waters of Scotland were prowled by big reptiles the size of motor boats. Their fossils are very rare, and only now, for the first time we’ve found a new species that was uniquely Scottish,” said Dr Brusatte, who is the first author of a paper published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.
The newfound species, named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, was a 4-meter long aquatic dolphin-like reptile. It was near the top of the food chain and preyed on fish and other reptiles.