Friday Headlines, November 8, 2013
THE LATEST IN THE GEOSCIENCES
Earliest known member of the tyrannosaur family found
Two volcanoes? What does it mean?
A new dinosaur, called Lythronax, was recently discovered in southern Utah. This dinosaur was a member of the family that includes the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex. Members of this family (they Tyrannosauridae) are characterized by being large, two-legged predators with big heads and little arms.
Lythronax roamed around the area that is now the southwestern United States about 80 million years ago. This is about 10 million years before Tyrannosaurus took the stage. Lythronax is about 2 million years older than any previously known tyrannosaurid, making it the oldest tyrannosaurid ever know.
If you want to know more about Lythronax, the new discovery is published in the open-access journal PLOS one. You can read the original scientific paper here.
Mount Etna is a volcano on the island of Sicily, just off the toe of Italy. As it happens Etna has more than one crater capable of eruption. On October 26, Etna chose to erupt from three different vents. Two craters erupted explosively, producing large plumes of ash. Lava flowed from a third vent, in the saddle between the two craters.
And you have to watch this video of the eruptions. Look for lahars, or avalanches of heated volcanic ash, rolling down the sides of the volcanoes.
Sicily (and in fact the entirety of Italy) is tectonically active with many earthquakes and volcanoes. This activity is due to the African Plate being subducted beneath the Eruasian plate along the southern margin of the island of Sicily, and along the southern and eastern margins of Italy’s ‘boot.’
It’s a pretty cool place, and the eruptions are spectacular, but I don’t think I’d want to live there.