Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Surf not up for Palaeozoic creatures - new model reveals ancient sea was a giant lake


The ancient sea was more like a giant salty lake than a rolling ocean, report scientists from Imperial College London in the May edition of the Journal of the Geological Society. A new computer model that simulates how tides in North West Europe would have behaved 300 million years ago shows a sea with so little movement that it was unlike any on Earth today.

Using information on the ancient land masses and the tidal pull of the Moon, the new computer modelling system reveals a picture of a Palaeozoic ocean in which even basic lifeforms would have struggled to survive. Without tides, shallow coastal water is not mixed up, preventing life-saving oxygen from being circulated.

This shortage of oxygen causes lifeforms such as plankton to die and the decay of these lifeforms uses up further oxygen, contributing to the creation of an environment unable to support life. The Palaeozoic period lasted from 570 to 245 million years ago.

Dr Peter Allison, from the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering and one of the authors of the study, said: “It is very difficult to understand how these huge ancient seas behaved, since we have no examples of this sort of water body on Earth today.

“We have used a new computer model to deduce the tidal range in ancient seas and show that they were almost tideless. Understanding the behaviour of these vast shallow expanses is critical to our knowledge of the ancient climate and environments and to understand how early marine life evolved and diversified,” says Dr Allison.

According to the researchers’ estimates, the new computer programme can model the behaviour of the sea many times faster than existing modelling systems. The model, developed by Dr Chris Pain, Dr Matthew Piggott and Martin Wells, has great potential for examining other patterns of ocean behaviour.

PhD student Martin Wells adds: “The modelling technology developed here at Imperial is a novel and fascinating means of investigating the ancient Earth. Although this is ‘blue-skies’ research now, we are validating an exciting new modelling technology which will ultimately help us to predict climate change.”

Laura Gallagher | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>