Opportunities from mining metals like manganese and cobalt to developing new drugs are being found by researchers who are examining our oceans more carefully. Polymetallic nodules, sometimes referred to as “a battery in a rock”, have attracted particular attention. By volume, the oceans provide an astonishing 99 percent of the planet’s living space. We have a lot to learn about these complex and fragile environments.
Geologists love to have a bird’s eye view of landscapes. They are helpful for all types of research - tracing active faults and identifying copper ore deposits among them. In this post there are two stories about geology fieldwork - one about earthquakes in Egypt and the other about copper in Chile, tied together by arid landscapes and helicopters.
Among the high peaks of the Andes Mountains, gold-bearing quartz veins in the granitic bedrock have been exposed by erosion from ice, wind and water. Numerous ancient small gold mines are found at altitudes that cluster around an impressively high elevation of 16,000 feet.
Rich deposits of metals, created by the dynamic geologic environment that built the rugged Andes Mountains, became intertwined with Andean cultures in the New World. The Incas and their ancestors created metal products primarily for aesthetic uses and for religious goods. This contrasts with Old World cultures, where the emphasis was on the mechanical properties of metals -- strength, hardness and sharpness—for tools and weapons.
Gold and silver were revered by the Incas and their ancestors - and copper was also widely used, but not as highly regarded. An Inca myth gives insight into the cultural significance of these metals. [...]