Science news: oldest carbonates in our solar system, Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka, 6.5 million years of sea level stands reconstructed, cave paintings in Sulawesi

The Flensburg meteorite with black fusion crust. The small fragment, weighing 24,5 grams, is about 4.5 billion years old. Source: A. Bischoff / M. Patzek, University of Münster

Recent discoveries about our planet, its rocks, and other “stone” topics

A meteorite that fell in northern Germany in 2019 contains carbonates which are among the oldest in the solar system; it also evidences the earliest presence of liquid water on a minor planet. It was dubbed the Flensburg meteorite for where it was found.

Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka. Source: Michael Krawczynski, Washington University in St. LouisScientists have investigated the conditions within Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka, the world’s most explosive volcano, and found that there is roughly 10%-14% water by weight (wt%) while most volcanoes have less than 1% water. For subduction zone volcanoes, the average is usually 4%, rarely exceeding 8 wt%, which is considered superhydrous. Of particular interest in the investigation was a mineral called amphibole.

An aerial photograph of the carbonate coastal morphology in Mallorca, Spain. Source: University of South FloridaTo gain insight into future ice sheet stability and sea-level rise, international geoscientists had a look at past interglacial periods when Earth’s climate was warmer than today. They reconstructed 6.5 million years of sea level stands.

Source A. A. Oktaviana, ARKENAS/Griffith University.Archaeologists have discovered the world’s to-date oldest known cave painting: a life-sized picture of a wild pig that is a document of a human culture about 45,500 years ago in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

(26.01.2021, USA: 01.26.2021)