10 geological discoveries that absolutely shook 2020

This year, scientists have discovered some of the earth’s best-kept secrets. They found hidden rivers, pieces of lost continents and remnants of ancient rainforests, and they dug with the latest technologies in the ancient history of the planet. Who knows what they will discover next! While we wait to find out, here are ten of the geological discoveries that rocked our world in 2020.

Historic super eruption at Yellowstone

Fountain Paint Pot, one of the many hydrothermal vents fueled by the fierce hotspot beneath Yellowstone National Park.

(Image credit: National Park Service)

The Yellowstone hotspot is hidden under the geysers and hot springs of the national park, and about 9 million years ago the volcano exploded in two historical super benefits, scientists have found. After analyzing ancient volcanic rocks and volcanic deposits in the region, the team uncovered evidence of two previously unknown eruptions, which they called the McMullen Creek super-eruption and the Grey’s Landing supereruption. The Grey’s Landing eruption shattered records as the largest eruption of the Yellowstone hotspot ever detected; About 8.72 million years ago, the eruption covered approximately 2,300 square kilometers (23,000 square kilometers) of what is now southern Idaho and northern Nevada with volcanic debris.

Monster-like spots near Earth’s core are bigger than we thought

Earthquakes (stars) send seismic waves rippling through the planet.  Seismometers (blue triangles) detect them on the other side.  Thirty years of seismic data has revealed where the seismic waves have slowed down (purple and orange spots), referring to mysterious structures in the earth called ultralow velocity zones.

(Image credit: Doyeon Kim / University of Maryland)

Solid rocks rocks on the mainland sit on the border of the earth’s solid mantle and liquid outer core, and now scientists think that bigger than we ever thought. According to previous estimates, the two largest spots would be 100 times longer than Mount Everest if pulled to the planet’s surface. But after studying decades of seismic data from earthquakes, scientists now estimate that the large spot under the Pacific Ocean may actually be very monstrous. One newly found structure along the edge of the spot, for example, measured more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) wide.

Lost Islands in the North Sea Resist Massive Tsunami

Doggerland once occupied a large piece of land between what is now the east coast of England and the European mainland.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

About 8,000 years ago, a tsunami hit a plain between Britain and the Netherlands, plunging most of the region. But research suggests that some islands may be resist the tsunami, which has been a home to Stone Age people for thousands of years. Although they remained above the water for some time after the tsunami, rising sea levels eventually submerged the islands about 1,000 years later. Scientists have learned that the lost islands only survived the tsunami after collecting sediment from the seabed near the eastern English estuary of the River Ouse.

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