Natural science explained easily on GondwanaTalks, the online magazine for science dummies and anyone fascinated by nature.

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Let's set off on an exhilarating journey to Europe's volcanoes, some of which are quite unknown but can still provide surprises. The stories of these volcanoes are intertwined with myths, legends and the history of Europe. But the most poignant question is, are the volcanoes of Europe active?

The tree of heaven is invading all continents except Antarctica. The experts say they cause much damage to native ecosystems, and even call them trees of hell. But maybe it's just nature's way to laugh at our deforestation rage? Let's reflect about invasive species and how we have actually rolled out the red carpet for them.

It's 100 years since Tutankhamun's tomb has been opened. Therefore, I wanted to revisit some details of the world's most famous treasure: the pharaoh's golden funeral mask adorned with blue lapis lazuli stone. I wrote about this in some detail in one of my first GondwanaTalks articles. Let's now use Tutankhamun as a starting point to ponder on the...

In the run-up to the µMED - the international conference on microplastic pollution in the Mediterranean - let's expose the ever-growing mountain of disposable plastic in the Gulf of Naples. No one seems to worry, least of all the young people. Is the Gulf of Naples the only place where a plastic eruption is imminent? Certainly not. But...

As summer 2022 is ablaze with wildfires and heat waves, we may well have entered the Pyrocene, the age of fire. This name was coined by Stephen J Pyne, as an alternative for the Anthropocene: the era in which humanity leaves an ineradicable mark on the earth. Fire seems to play an increasingly important role in how we transform the...

We're six months after Tonga and yet there aren't signs that it affected the climate. But weren't large volcanic eruptions and their aerosols supposed to have a worldwide cooling effect? Tonga was indeed the largest eruption ever recorded by instruments. It is hence no surprise that people have been speculating whether it would have an impact on...

Spain's famous biosphere reserve Doñana is being hit by drought and environmental disasters. May was the hottest and driest month ever. Temperatures already hit 45 degrees Celsius in spring and summer will be relentless. There have been droughts in past centuries too, in Andalusia. Then people turned to Our Lady of the Dew or Virgen del Rocío, a...

Spain loses nearly 1.4 million tonnes of good earth every day due to soil erosion. The country is heading for a disaster like the one that hit North America in the 1930s: the Dust Bowl. Winds blew away the topsoil and what was left was a wasteland where nothing could grow. In Spain, all the ingredients of the lethal...

The Zambezi is one of Africa's largest rivers, but that wasn't always so. It used to be a small river on the coast of the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. Like an advancing front the Zambezi captured inland rivers, creating a huge catchment area that reaches almost to the Atlantic Ocean. The natural wonder of Victoria Falls is the living proof...

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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.

— 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 / 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.

GondwanaTalks is an online magazine on the natural world, for a wide audience. 



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