The deepest place on earth

I have always been fascinated by Marianas trench which is the deepest place on Earth.  It is 200 kilometres to the east of the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean close to the Philippines.  It is 10,000 metres deep which is much deeper than the Earth’s deepest canyon which is the Cotohuasi Canyon in Peru.  If you had to drop Mount Everest in Marinas Trench there would be more than a kilometre of space left to go to the surface.

Here is a great video of James Cameron in the Marianas Trench and also a really interesting diagram which shows just how deep it really is.deep

Everest has lost its step

The BBC reported a famous feature of Mount Everest has collapsed, making the world’s highest peak more dangerous to climbers. Mountaineers said the Hillary Step may have fallen after Nepal’s 2015 earthquake. The almost vertical 12m rocky outcrop stood on the mountain’s southeast ridge, and was the last challenge before the summit.

It was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the famous New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who was the first to scale it in 1953. British mountaineer Tim Mosedale said the Step had collapsed after reaching the summit on 16 May this year. he said the loss of the Step was “the end of an era”. “It is associated with the history of Everest, and it is a great shame a piece of mountaineering folklore has disappeared,” Mosedale said. Mountaineers claim the snow-covered slope will be much easier to climb than the rock-face.

hilary step

Volcano news

Wired magazine has a great summary of recent Volcanic activity. On 13th and 18th April, Poas in Costa Rica had its largest eruption in years called a “phreatic” eruption caused by water in a lake heating into steam. It has a dramatic looking plume that reached one kilometer high. There was plenty of ash and boulders 2 meters wide were thrown from the lake vent. You can see great video of the eruption here.

In Sicily, Mount Etna has also been erupting in April, with new lava flows. Nishinoshima close to Tokyo, also erupted recently, making new lava flows into the sea. This is the first eruption at Nishinoshima since November 2015 after erupting over 100,000 cubic meters (3.5 million cubic feet) of lava after two years it has finally stopped.



During my long weekend I traveled to a place in the mountains called Bainskloof. It is beautiful area with lovely hiking routes. But the history behind the area is just as amazing. The man who made the road through the mountain pass was named William Bains who had made some of the most famous roads in the Western Cape. Bains was from Scotland and was born in 1797. He was a keen geologist and fossil collector. He was most famous for his discovery of what became known as the Blinkwater monster. It was later described as  a Pareiasaurus serridens or a mammal-like reptile.

Road building is a good profession for an amateur geologist and fossil hunter because it will give you opportunities to find samples. The geology of the Bainskloofs pass is mainly very old eroded folded igneous rock.



Arctic sea ice gone by 2040

The Economist says that by 2040, the Arctic sea ice will have melted from climate change. In the past thirty years the surface has shrunk by over half, and its volumes fallen by three quarters. this will create a large sea which some people may think would be an advantage for shipping, but it will mainly affect the world in a negative way.

The interesting thing is that the sea water is darker than the ice therefore it heats faster and absorbs more heat than reflecting it back into space. This is why the Arctic is heating faster than the rest of the world and therefore creating climate change.

Also, the worlds winds are created by the the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. if the Arctic heats faster wind speeds will become slower  this will effect things like the jet stream and ocean currents.