Saturday, September 25, 2021

LiveHistory India Videos: I Speak About Deccan Volcanism

LiveHistory India has started a wonderful outreach initiative, highlighting India's geological heritage. They invited me to talk about Deccan Volcanism. I spoke about how it all began, the physiography, places of interest, and the fossil bearing intertrappean sediments and their value in understanding ecology and broader patterns of extinction and recovery spanning the mass extinction that occured 66 million years ago. 

This was recorded a couple of weeks ago, and it is now online. The original recording was about 40 minutes, but it has been edited and the video is 17 minutes long. Subtitles are in Hindi.

Permanent Link- Deccan Volcanism And Its Various Aspects


LiveHistory has put out more such videos with other Indian geologists. 

1) India's Fossil Heritage- Dr. Sunil Bajpai

2) Markers of Earth's Formation in India- Dr. Pushpendra Ranawat

3) A Panel on Geological Heritage of India- Dr. Pushpendra Ranawat, Bidisha Bayan, Dr. Reddy, and Aliya Babi

Hope you enjoy my talk!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Links: Birth Of Species, Children's Book, Rise Of Oxygen

 Some geology and evolution material for your perusal.

1) I came across this well crafted documentary by Niles Eldredge and Stefano Dominici on the history of the development of ideas on the birth of species. It is a paleontologist's perspective with fossils being given the centre stage. A great many personalities who contributed to the early thinking on the origin of species are featured. Among the prominent ones who influenced Darwin were Lamarck, Cuvier, Giambattista Brocchi, and John Herschel to name a few. Completely left out of this film is Alfred Wallace. 

It does center around Darwin, and, later towards the end, on Niles Eldredge's work on Punctuated Equilibrium, which he published in collaboration with Stephen Jay Gould. I have often wondered whether there was any tension between Eldredge and Gould regarding proprietorship over Punctuated Equilibrium given Gould's very bombastic advocacy of this idea. The last section of this film is revealing! 

Beautifully compiled. Do watch. 


If  you are unable to access the embedded video, view it at this permanent link - The Birth of Species

2) Zircon (zirconium silicate) is a remarkable mineral. Born in the cauldron of magma chambers, it is henceforth virtually indestructible unless it is melted down again. This makes it a witness to geological processes affecting and shaping terrains over hundreds of millions of  years. What a story it has to tell us. And that is precisely what geochronologist Matthew Fox has done. He has written a children's book titled Jane's Geological Adventure, which follows Jane, the zircon grain, from her birth in a magma chamber to a life lasting 400 million years. Alka Tripathy-Lang reviews the book.

Meet Jane, the Zircon Grain—Geochronology’s New Mascot.

3) Elizabeth Pennisi writes about a new paper published in Nature Geosciences on the link between the increase in the length of the day and the rise of atmospheric oxygen on early earth. 

‘Totally new’ idea suggests longer days on early Earth set stage for complex life.