Heligoland is an island off the coast of nothern Germany.
This island has already had a turbulent history before man set foot on this island of red sandstone. But its position in the North Sea, between Germany and the UK also has made this island subject to territorial quarrels and military interest. This interest has caused british military to fire the largest subnuclear explosion to sink Heligoland.
See the propagandistic video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6hKwjoKa-c
However, the geological history of this island is quite interesting.
This beautiful red sandstone is the result of so-called lateritic erosion. This is erosion that results in the endproduct iron and aluminum. Now when we oxidate this material (let’s call it rust), we get the characteristic red sandstone. This happened about 250-200 million years ago and resulted in red sediments with a thicknes of 1000m (3281 ft). Of course other sediments were deposited on top and compaction and cementation solidified those sediments.
These sediments deposited on top of some salt and the problem with salt is the following: If we consolidate salt just enough, it stops densifying and start reacting malleable. When salt starts to “flow”, we’re talking about salt tectonics. This salt started pushing up the overlying sediments including the red sandstone.
After this some more erosion and several ice ages followed, leaving us with this beautiful island of red sandstone.
Oh by the way, that explosion did not sink the island and it’s a tourist place now.
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Dammit, this made me so hungry.
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The Man Whose Microbiome Got Him Drunk
A 61-year-old man checks into the emergency room with a blood alcohol content of 0.37, almost five times the legal limit. There’s just one catch: He hadn’t had a sip of alcohol all day.
The culprit? He had a brewery inside his gut. This avid home-brewer had come down with a brewer’s yeast infection in his intestines, and any time he ate starch, they fermented it into alcohol inside his body! Yeast is used in all kinds of foods, but usually the cooking process or our stomach acids kill it before it can take up residence.
This guy’s gut microbiome was on permanent spring break. More at NPR.
Bonus: Find out much more about the 99% of you that isn’t you, your microbiome, via It’s Okay To Be Smart on YouTube.
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