Sunday, February 17, 2008

When plate tectonics ground to a halt and life on icebergs

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. You may notice that this and future entries are shorter than usual; career, family and book deal commitments have forced me to cut back some of my projects. Now, here’s today’s news:
g Abodes - Scientists have found that plate tectonics on Earth may have ground to a halt in our planet's past - and may do so again. Plate tectonics are responsible for creating geologic features like mountains and ocean basins, and play an important role in maintaining Earth's climate. See article.
Life - Scientists studying Antarctic icebergs in the Southern Ocean have discovered that these floating chunks of ice provide a unique habitat for ocean life, and have a profound effect on the ecology of the ocean around them. Enormous icebergs - some as large as states or small countries - carry trapped terrestrial material out to sea, and then release the material as they melt. This process provides nutrients for large communities of organisms, from seabirds to fish and plankton below the water. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “The biggest step in the history of mankind will be to leave the atmosphere of the Earth to join the other planets.” — Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

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