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
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
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
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.
Related: Earth changes: 7 ideas to engineer our planet
The earth’s core is a billion years old
The Earth’s solid core – a ball of iron 1,500 miles (2,442 km) – probably formed 1 billion to 1.3 billion years ago, estimate scientists. By recreating the conditions in the core on a small, small scale, the team was able to calculate how long it would take before a pile of molten iron had built up to the current size of the core. The time window of about 1 billion years corresponds nicely to historical fluctuations in the magnetic field of the planet, which became significantly stronger between 1 billion and 1.5 billion years ago. The crystallization of the inner core may have given a boost to the magnetism, as the process would have released heat into the liquid outer core; heat drives a jerking motion in the liquid which then drives the magnetic field.
Related: The earth’s core is a billion years old
Piece of a lost continent found under Canada
About 150 million years ago, a now-lost continent broke up into enormous fragments – and one large piece was recently discovered peek under Canada. Scientists made the discovery while studying a type of diamond-bearing volcanic rock called kimberlite, which was collected from 400 km below Baffin Island in northern Canada. The mineral chemistry of the kimberlite corresponds to the continent of the long lost continent, making the location of the sample the deepest point where evidence of the continent has ever been found.
Related: Piece of lost continent discovered under Canada
Underwater rivers found near Australia
This year, scientists massive rivers discovered cold, salt water flowing from the Australian coast into the deep ocean. The rivers, which according to researchers are autonomous underwater vehicles, form when shallow water near the coast loses heat during the winter. Evaporation during the summer months makes this shallow water saltier than deep water, so as it cools, the dense, salt water sinks through the ocean like a river under water. These rivers stretch for thousands of kilometers and import nutrients, plant and animal substances and pollutants into the ocean.
Related: Massive underwater rivers have been discovered off the coast of Australia
Ancient rainforest found under the ice of Antarctica
Antarctica may be the last place you would expect remnants of an old rainforest, but this is exactly what scientists have found beneath the western side of the continent. The forest’s remains were discovered in a sediment core drilled from a seabed near the Pine Island Glacier. A layer of sediment in the core stood out from the rest, because its color clearly differed from that around the core; Upon closer inspection, scientists found ancient pollen, spores, pieces of flowering plants and a network of roots in the layer. The sample dates back 90 million years to the middle of the Cretaceous, when the now frozen Antarctica had a much milder climate.
Related: Remains of 90 million year old rainforests discovered under the Antarctic ice
Ancient seabed buried 400 km below China
A seabed once fed to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean has been found buried hundreds of kilometers below China, where it continues to descend to the earth’s mantle transition zone. The rock plate once sat on top of the oceanic lithosphere, the outer layer of the earth’s surface, but was pushed downward when it collided with a neighboring tectonic plate, in what is called a subduction event. Scientists have never detected a subduction event so deep below the planet’s surface, at depths between 410 and 660 km underground.
Related: Ancient Pacific fragment found buried 400 miles below China
Lost tectonic plate is resurrected?
Scientists digital a tectonic plate reconstructed and showed that the movement probably gave rise to an arc of volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean about 60 million years ago. In the past, some geophysicists have argued that the plate, known as Resurrection, never existed. But if it did exist, the plate would have been pressed under the earth’s crust ten million years ago; scientists therefore reversed the movement by using computer reconstruction and virtually pulling it and other ancient plates back to the surface. They found that Resurrection would fit in like a perfect puzzle piece, just east of two plates called Kula and Farallon, and that its edge matched old volcanic belts in the state of Washington and Alaska.
Related: ‘Lost’ tectonic plate called Resurrection hidden under the Pacific Ocean
Towering coral structure dwarfs Empire State Building
The first free-standing coral reef discovered in more than 100 years stands taller than the Empire State Building. The coral tower is 500 meters high from the base to the tip and stands freely near the rest of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. The blade-like structure measures 1.5 km wide at its base and its peak is about 40 meters below the surface of the sea.
Related: Coral ‘tower’ discovered above the Empire State Building on the Australian coast
Originally published on Live Science.