Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences News

Professor Researches Rare Rock with 30,000 Diamonds

diamond-rock

Diamonds are beautiful and enigmatic. Though chemical reactions that create the highly coveted sparkles still remain a mystery, a professor at UT is studying a rare rock covered in diamonds that may hold clues to the gem’s origins.

Strange Rock from Russia Contains 30,000 Diamonds

LiveScience and the Knoxville News Sentinel featured findings by Earth and Planetary Science Professor Larry Taylor. Taylor studied a rock that contained 30,000 tiny diamonds and shades of red and green. According to Taylor, the astonishing amount of diamonds, and the rock’s unusual Christmas coloring, will provide important clues to Earth’s geologic history as well

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How to Recreate Alien Wind Patterns on Earth

Several media outlets including the LA Times and Motherboard featured the work of Earth and Planetary Sciences Associate Professor Devon Burr and her colleagues. Research led by Burr solves a puzzle on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. It shows that winds on Titan must blow faster than previously thought to move sand. The discovery may explain

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UT prof going to Antarctica to collect meteorites

Knoxville News Sentinel

The Knoxville News Sentinel interviewed Devon Burr, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, who will be traveling to Antarctica to hunt for meteorites. View the story here. The paper also interviewed Chancellor’s Professor Harry “Hap” McSween who has done the same mission.

UT professor’s research used to prepare for next Mars mission

WATE-TV

WATE-TV interviewed Jeffrey Moersch, earth and planetary sciences professor, about his research which is laying the groundwork for the next NASA Mars rover mission set for 2020. Visit the WATE-TV website for the story. The Tennessean also featured the professor’s work.

Professor Part of NASA Team Preparing for 2020 Mars Mission

Jeffrey-Moersch

Over the next five years, Jeffrey Moersch will be traveling to faraway places—from the Arctic to the Chilean desert—in a quest to learn more about a place even farther away—Mars. The earth and planetary sciences professor is part of a new NASA-funded research team helping prepare for the Mars 2020 rover mission. The interdisciplinary team is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute and is one of seven to receive a five-year grant of about $8 million.

Bitten Bones Show Alligators are Rough Feeders

NationalGeographic

National Geographic featured the research of Stephanie Drumheller, an earth and planetary sciences lecturer. Drumheller’s work involved giving alligators n pig bones or cow legs. Through understanding the damage modern alligators leave on bones, Drumheller and other paleontologists can follow the depredations of alligators and their crocodile cousins through time. “In order to see the

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Triassic Bites and a Carnivore Conundrum

NationalGeographic

National Geographic featured an in-depth story on the research of Stephanie Drumheller, an earth and planetary sciences lecturer. She and her Virginia Tech colleagues examined 220-million-year-old bite marks in the thigh bones of an old reptile and found evidence that two predators at the top of their respective food chains interacted—with the smaller potentially having

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Tooth Serves as Evidence of 220 Million-Year-old Attack

Reconstruction of the interaction of large land predators (rauisuchid) and aquatic predator (phytosaur) about 210 million years ago based on research by a joint team of University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech researchers. Christopher Hayes, a freshman at Virginia Tech, composed the drawing.

At the beginning of the age of dinosaurs, gigantic reptiles—distant relatives of modern crocodiles—ruled the earth. Some lived on land and others in water and it was thought they didn’t much interact. But a tooth found by a UT researcher in the thigh of one of these ancient animals is challenging this belief.