New map provides clues into 500-million-year mystery in Earth’s past

June 29, 2017 by  
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1,000 to 520 million years ago, Earth’s climate was undergoing dramatic changes. From icy extremes in what some have termed Snowball Earth , to warmer conditions as an increase in oxygen led to the Cambrian explosion of biodiversity , it’s a period of the planet’s climate history we knew little about – until now. Scientists recently created the first ever global map of plate tectonics during this time, shedding light on their influence on other Earth systems. Tectonic plate movement helps researchers understand how life evolved and how Earth’s climate changed. But there was around a 500-million-year gap that a group of 12 researchers in Australia and Canada just filled in with their new map, which they describe as the “first whole-Earth plate tectonic map of half a billion years of Earth history .” Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion years old The researchers were able to draw up the map by studying rocks that formed near where tectonic plates meet or where they ripped apart. The rocks came from Brazil, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. The scientists said the work took them a few decades. Their map offers new details, further back in geological time, than we had before. Two of the co-authors on a paper in press at the journal Gondwana Research wrote a piece for The Conversation detailing their map and the role of plate tectonics in our planet’s climate and the evolution of life. Andrew Merdith of the University of Sydney and Alan Collins of the University of Adelaide said the lack of ancient tectonic maps has made it difficult for researchers trying to unravel the mysteries of the past. They wrote, “Understand ancient plate tectonics and we go someway to understanding the ancient Earth system. And the Earth as it is today, and into the future.” Via The Conversation Images via Andrew S. Merdith, et al.

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New map provides clues into 500-million-year mystery in Earth’s past

Envirohaven’s super green geodesic homes can be built in just a few days

May 26, 2017 by  
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Geodesic homes are extremely energy efficient – and they’re a great option for those looking to reduce their footprint while living off the grid. Nevada-based company, Envirohaven , is offering beautiful, custom-made “eco havens” that can be constructed virtually anywhere in just a few days. At 1,600 square feet, the prefab structures are not exactly “ tiny homes “, but their decagon shape only measures 32 feet across. The design is ultra-efficient, affordable, and can be custom made to suit individual tastes. For easy assembly, the structures come with a set of site-specific engineered plans that are guaranteed to qualify for local building permits. Related: Zendome: Gorgeous Geodesic Domes Create Flexible Green Spaces The homes can be built using 30 percent less materials than conventional structures of similar stature. Each home ordered comes standard with sustainable green windows , siding sheeting, and a waterproof coating. They can be equipped with solar panels on the roof as well. Due to the nature of the decagon design, which places the core of the home in the center, energy consumption is minimal. Heating and cooling the home requires minimal energy thanks to the close proximity of the rooms. According to the Environhaven team, an entire house can be heated with a just a simple pellet stove – even in extreme cold climates. The many windows also help provide optimal air circulation during the warmer months while filling the home with a natural light . + Environhaven

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Envirohaven’s super green geodesic homes can be built in just a few days

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