Earth's Crust

A radar image of Venus' largest block of crust, located in the planet's lowlands and identified by the authors of a new paper.

New Research

Venus May Still Be Geologically Active

Radar images of the planet’s surface suggest large sections of its crust appear to have moved in the geologically recent past

Zircons are the oldest minerals in the world and come in colors like the rich blue above. Researchers have now used these gemstones to identify when modern plate tectonics began.

Smithsonian Voices

Earth's Oldest Minerals Hold Clues About the Likely Start of Plate Tectonics

New research reveals how one of Earth’s defining geologic features likely formed—and set the stage for the emergence of life

Fin whale songs are some of the loudest animals in the ocean, producing calls that can reach 189 decibels and are almost as loud as container ships.

New Research

Researchers Use Whale Calls to Probe Undersea Geology

The study finds that fin whale songs are powerful enough to reverberate through the Earth’s crust, allowing scientists to study its thickness and structure

InSight was sent on a mission to answer questions about the Red Planet's crust, mantle and core, known as the "inner space."

Mars InSight Lander Offers a Sneak Peek at the Red Planet's Inner Layers

The robotic explorer was sent to Mars to study its formation—and the data is now making its way back to Earth

In 2016, fluid like water or liquid carbon dioxide broke into the fault system. Over four years, it filled the cracks and set of a swarm of tremors.

New Research

Earthquake Swarm Reveals Complex Structure of a California Fault Line

In 2016, fluid broke into the cracks of a fault system, setting off a four-year-long swarm of mini earthquakes

Did a 1964 Earthquake Bring a Dangerous Fungus to the Pacific Northwest?

A new study posits that tsunamis triggered by the Great Alaska Earthquake washed Cryptococcus gattii onto the shore

Cool Finds

The City of Chicago Is Sinking. Here's Why

Ice sheets that receded 10,000 years ago are responsible for the Windy City dropping at least four inches over the last century

New Research

Gravity Map Reveals Tectonic Secrets Beneath Antartica's Ice

Satellite data shows East and West Antarctica have very different geologic histories

The Kilauea volcano’s Halema’uma’u lava lake as it appeared on Monday.

Trending Today

"Explosive" Eruptions Possible at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

Steam-powered bursts could fling multi-ton boulders half a mile away, but the USGS says wide-scale destruction is not likely

Never-Before-Seen Mineral Found Inside a Diamond

The diamond acted as a container, keeping a piece of calcium silicate perovskite stable as it moved towards the Earth’s surface

New Research

Clues for Earthquake Prediction May Be Hiding in Earth's Molten Core

Researchers propose that irregularities in the core's rotation could spawn clusters of major quakes

Rescue workers search for survivors among the rubble of a collapsed building in Mexico City. Structures throughout the capital were devastated during yesterday's earthquake.

How Mexico City’s Unique Geology Makes Deadly Earthquakes Even Worse

The entire country—but especially the capital—has all the ingredients for seismic catastrophe

Researchers studying stalagmite formations in the Wabash Valley fault system have found that stalagmites can yield clues to the timing of ancient earthquakes.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Cave Formations Carry Clues About Ancient Earthquakes

Researchers have found that stalagmites can help determine if and when a region was struck by an earthquake.

The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck Pawnee, Oklahoma, on Sept. 3 is officially the state's largest on record. Geologists believe that activities related to oil and gas extraction in the state have triggered a quake swarm in the seismically active region.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Oklahoma Just Had Its Biggest Quake Ever, and There May Be More to Come

Oklahoma's recent string of earthquakes are something new for the state

A beach in Juneau, Alaska. Sea levels in Alaska are not rising, but dropping precipitously due to a phenomenon known as glacial isostatic adjustment.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Melting Glaciers Are Wreaking Havoc on Earth's Crust

Sea levels are dropping, earthquakes and volcanoes are waking up, and even the earth's axis is moving—all because of melting ice

The Cascadia Subduction Zone could unleash "the big one" soon, causing havoc in Seattle.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Slow Earthquakes Are a Thing

Slow earthquakes regularly move more earth than deadly fast quakes, but no one feels a thing

Rescuers search for survivors following the earthquake that struck central Italy early this morning.

Journey to the Center of Earth

The Geology Behind Italy’s Catastrophic Quake

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake shook the Apennine Mountains—and given the region’s geology, that’s no surprise

Journey to the Center of Earth

This 340-Million-Year-Old Ocean Crust Could Date Back to Pangaea

Researchers believe they've found the world's oldest ocean crust

"HEY! DID YOU KNOW THAT MACQUARIE ISLAND IS HOME TO SOME OF THE WORLD'S OLDEST ROCKS?"
"I DID NOT! WHY ARE WE YELLING?"
"I DON'T KNOW, WE'RE SEALS"

Journey to the Center of Earth

Go Deep: 5 Places on Earth to See Seriously Old Rocks

See geology "in action"—or at least as action-packed as rocks can be—at these five spots

An artist's rendering of Chicxulub, the asteroid believed to have wiped out large dinosaurs and reshaped parts of the world.

Journey to the Center of Earth

What Happened in the Seconds, Hours, Weeks After the Dino-Killing Asteroid Hit Earth?

The Cretaceous forecast: Tsunamis, a deadly heat pulse, and massive cooling.

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