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On the Ground at the Disputed Greenland “Stromatolite” Site

10 Sep 2019, 12:59 UTC
On the Ground at the Disputed Greenland “Stromatolite” Site
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Enlarge to full screen on lower right. A pioneering three-dimensional, virtual reality look at a Greenland outcrop earlier described as containing 3.7-billion- year-old stromatolite fossils, which would be the oldest remnant of life on Earth. The video capture, including the drone-assisted overview of the site, is part of a much larger virtual reality effort to document the setting undertaken late in August. As the video focuses in on the scientifically controversial outcrop, cuts are visible in the smooth surfaces that were made by two teams studying the rocks in great detail to determine whether the reported stromatolite fossils are actually present. (Parker Abercrombie, NASA/JPL and Ian Burch, Queensland University of Technology.)

Seldom does one rock outcrop get so many visitors in a day, especially when that outcrop is located in rugged, frigid terrain abutting the Greenland Ice Sheet and can be reached only by helicopter.
But this has been a specimen of great importance and notoriety since it appeared from beneath the snow pack some eight years ago. That’s when it was first identified by two startled geologists as something very different from what they had seen in four decades of scouring the geologically revelatory region – the ...

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