Spherical-cut meteorite on ebay, yours for $18,000

Listed as a Seymchan Pallasite Olivine Meteorite, this beautiful item is priced $18,000 but they're accepting offers.

Mineral Origin: Magadan District, Russia, 1967 Diameter: 2.77" / 70.3 mm Weight: 2 lbs 4.3 oz / 1029 grams / 1.029 kilograms

...Seymchan is a Pallasite meteorite found in the dry bed of the Hekandue River in the Magadan District, Russia, near the settlement of Seymchan in June 1967 ...

Pallasites consist of a nickel-iron matrix packed with Olivine crystals and account for less than 2% of all known meteorites ... and unlike many meteorites, Seymchan is stable and rust resistant!

Due to the rarity of the Seymchan material and the large cut loss incurred to make a sphere, very few have been cut! ... and we can almost guarantee, another one this size is unlikely to be ever cut!

In April 2016, a Seymchan Pallasite sphere sold at Christie's Auction for over $10,000! ... and it was only 434 grams! ... less than half the size of this one! In October 2012, a 548 gram Seymchan Pallasite sphere sold for $13,000!

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Tourist kicks over annoying 10-million-year old stalagmite

An irritating and frankly dangerous hazard at the popular caves in Tongren City, China, was finally dealt with recently by an enterprising tourist. And they want to track him down and fine him! For getting rid of a useless piece of rock growing for millions of years one mineral-laden drop at a time! No good deed goes unpunished. Read the rest

Incredible giant chocolate geodes

Alex Yeatts, a student at the Culinary Institute of America, worked for six months to cook up amazing chocolate geode cakes. Crack one open to reveal the dazzling sugar crystals. Stunning work.

A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 11, 2017 at 10:18am PST

A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:59am PDT

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Geologists on the impossible logistics of the 1,000-mile Great Wall of Trump

Donald Trump has issued an executive order calling for a 1,000-mile-long wall on the US-Mexican border. The order allows for six months to survey all 1,000 miles before the groundbreaking. Read the rest

Did Mars have ice cauldrons which could support life?

Researchers at UT Austin have analyzed a deep depression on Mars that differs from a typical crater. The Hellas depression may in fact be an ancient ice cauldron, where a glacier forms over an active volcano, creating a chemical-rich environment that could support life forms. Read the rest

This titanium-infused quartz crystal is totally mesmerizing

“It's a mineral, Marie!” Read the rest

Earth’s magnetic field is weakening

Satellite data from the European Space Agency have revealed that the Earth’s magnetic poles are weakening, and doing so faster than scientists previously thought.

From Mysterious Universe:

Chris Finlay, one of the researchers with the ESA, says that this new data is groundbreaking in terms of how much it reveals about Earth’s magnetic field: "Swarm data are now enabling us to map detailed changes in Earth’s magnetic field, not just at Earth’s surface but also down at the edge of its source region in the core. Unexpectedly, we are finding rapid localized field changes that seem to be a result of accelerations of liquid metal flowing within the core."

From ESA:

Although invisible, the magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable effects on our everyday lives.

The field can be thought of as a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and electrically charged atomic particles that bombard Earth in solar winds. However, it is in a permanent state of flux.

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Watch a river change its path over the years

Landsat imagery of the Ucayali river in Peru shows it meandering over a period of several years; an oxbow lake forms, islands grow and fade in the channel, and a smaller river is "eaten" at the top left. [Hindered Settling, via]

P.S. Looks like it might be a bad idea to build houses on flood plains. Read the rest

Fordite: a rare mineral only found in old Detroit auto-painting facilities

"Fordite" is an anthropocenic mineral "formed from the built up of layers of enamel paint slag on tracks and skids on which cars were hand spray-painted (a now automated process), which have been baked numerous times. In recent times the material has been recycled as eco-friendly jewelry." (via JWZ) Read the rest

Wyoming has a nice new hole in it after landslide

A crack in the Earth almost a kilometer long opened in Wyoming—and no-one was around to see it happen. CBS Local reports that the fissure was likely the result of landslides over a period of two weeks.

The size is estimated at 750 yards long by 50 yards wide.

Randy Becker, a hunter who saw the crack and took some pictures, was surprised to see it, “I was stunned. The magnitude of this shift in earth is dramatic. It blows you away to see it.”

NBC News has this incredible shot of it from the sky:

The Washington Post reports that the mysterious hole has opened nervous questions about fearsome regional megavolcanoes. Experts, however, say it's NBD.

According to the SNS, locals have been referring to the newly formed trench as “the gash.” Others simply call it “the crack.” Photos from the crevasse reveal steep cliffs, massive earthen towers and large boulders strewn across the bottom.

The gash’s size was impressive, but so was the speed at which it formed. Social media users speculated that the formation represented an impending volcanic eruption or an earthquake, but experts were quick to allay their fears.

On its Facebook page last week, SNS provided an update about what might have caused the ground to split open:

Since so many people have commented and asked questions, we wanted to post an update with a little more information. An engineer from Riverton, WY came out to shed a little light on this giant crack in the earth.

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California is sinking as it sucks remaining water out of underground aquifers

Nearly everyone in the US depends on food crops grown in California, so farmers must continue to pull what little water remains in underground aquifers. This is causing the state to actually sink. It's been sinking for decades, but the problem is getting worse. Reveal News writes, "Last summer, scientists recorded the worst sinking in at least 50 years. This summer, all-time records are expected across the state as thousands of miles of land in the Central Valley and elsewhere sink."

As a result, the "sinking is starting to destroy bridges, crack irrigation canals and twist highways across the state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey."

Joseph Poland of the U.S. Geological Survey used a utility pole to document where a farmer would have been standing in 1925, 1955 and where Poland was then standing in 1977 after land in the San Joaquin Valley had sunk nearly 30 feet. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

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Explosions at Mount St Helens — For science!

Later this month, scientists will set explosive charges on Mount St Helens as part of an effort to study the seismic geology of the Pacific Northwest. Read the rest

Earth's largest volcano, Mauna Loa on Hawaii's Big Island, awakens from slumber

After a peaceful nap three decades long, Mauna Loa seems to be stirring. "While there are no signs of impending eruption, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has recorded an increased level of seismic activity on the flanks and summit of Mauna Loa over the past 13 months," reports Big Island Now. "Four distinct earthquake swarms — clusters of earthquakes occurring closely in time and location — have occurred since March 2013."

Mauna Loa is "one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi in the Pacific Ocean, [and] the largest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume, historically considered the largest volcano on Earth."

From a Wired Science blog post by Erik Klemetti, assistant professor of Geosciences at Denison University.

As of right now, there is little evidence of deformation or increasing carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide emissions from Mauna Loa — all key signs that an eruption might be about to start at a shield volcano like Mauna Loa. HVO also notes that the earthquake activity is much less intense now that it was in the years just prior to the 1984 activity. Remember, lava flows from Mauna Loa are definitely a hazard for people living between the volcano and Hilo and Hawaii has been preparing for the volcano’s awakening. Nothing is going on right now, but you can get quite a view from the webcams set up at the Mokuʻāweoweo summit area.

Check out the USGS report, and don't miss out on those webcams. Read the rest

Hellish desert crater has been burning for 40 years

The Darvaza gas crater, known to locals as "Door to Hell" or "Gates of Hell" is located in the Karakum Desert of central Turkmenistan (about 150 miles from the nation's capital). Read the rest

The Opal's Fire

Opals, a rainbow of fire locked in rock, are among the most wonderful of nature's gifts. Maggie Koerth-Baker returns with the light truth about weird silica.

Scientifically kinda-accurate Earth cake, with molten core of raspberry jam

Behold the splendid "Earth Cake" baked and decorated by Redditor Clatence. "The cake is a mixture of chocolate and red velvet cake mixes," Clatence explains. The core is raspberry jam. Nicely done!

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Weird lights appearing before earthquakes

Sometimes before an earthquake, strange bright orbs and glows are seen in the sky, like the scene visible in this video clip captured a half hour before the 2008 quake in Sichuan, China. You might think these are related to the UFOs that cause the quakes, but new research not only suggests a natural cause but also raises the possibility that the phenomena could be an indicator that a quake is coming. The scientists from Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and San Jose State University suggest that rocks under high stress deep underground release oxygen ions that eventually make their way to the surface, ionizing air pockets above ground and creating a light-emitting plasma.

“If you see visible lights in the sky, and you live in an earthquake-prone area, they might be an early-warning sign that an earthquake is approaching,” geologist Robert Thériault says.

More in Smithsonian: "Why Do Lights Sometimes Appear in the Sky During An Earthquake?" Read the rest

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