Natural science explained easily on GondwanaTalks, the online magazine for science dummies and anyone fascinated by nature.
The planetary boundaries represent conditions that enable humans to live safely and comfortably on the planet. So far, humans have thrived and now rule the world. We want to continue to thrive, but it is only possible if natural systems are not pushed beyond the critical tresholds or tipping points.
Etna, on the Italian island of Sicily, is Europe's most active volcano and it is famous for the incandescent lava flows that glide down its flanks, forming a spectacular backdrop for the city of Catania. Since December 2020, volcanic activity has intensified markedly and eruptions have become increasingly violent. In this article, volcanologists...
Spain was blanketed by half a meter of snow in January of this year. Then the peninsula was lashed with unusually heavy rains and wind. Globally, weather broadcasters publish one extreme after the other and attribute them to climate change. But how fast does climate change really proceed? What are the numbers? How do the extreme weather phenomena...
In the East African Rift System, we find Africa's emblematic landscapes, such as Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater, the vast savannahs that are home to the Big Five, and the Great Lakes. Furthermore, remains of our own ancestors and their relatives were found here. But in the future the East African Rift will undergo a major transformation: the...
Carrara marble was first discovered by the Romans, who found it high in the Apuan Alps of northern Italy. Centuries later, during the Renaissance, exploitation of Carrara marble was at its peak. Michelangelo transformed the valuable stone in the world's most astonishing statues. But the stone has existed for almost two hundred million years. At...
People once believed that the continents had always been in the same place. In the late nineteenth century, this idea came under fire. Explorers found indications of a more turbulent past. The idea of the continental drift was born, but it took a hundred years before the ultimate proof was delivered.
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— Featured article —
Lapis lazuli: Via the Silk Road to Tutankhamun.
An article by Kathelijne Bonne
From high mountain peaks to the pharaohs.
How precious stone lapis lazuli found its way from the world's most ancient mines to Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, and to the canvases of the great painters, has been documented extensively. Discover how lapis lazuli formed, as it crystallized in seams of precious rocks in the midst of plate tectonic turmoil.
Photo: géry60 on Foter.com / CC BY-ND
What is Gondwana?
The inspiration came from the great, lost continent of Gondwana. Gondwana was the land area in which all southern continents were once united into one great supercontinent. When it formed, life had exploded into a myriad of life forms and had risen from a mainly microscopic bacterial world to a world in which animals and plants came to dominate. When Gondwana fell apart, and continents drifted away, new, isolated life forms emerged, of which the peculiar fauna and flora of Australia are the best, but not the only, example.