Taxonomy term

News

Air pollutants from "megacities" a growing problem

Megacities — cities with populations equaling or greater than 10 million people — are producing an unprecedented amount of air pollution, according to scientists at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

21 Aug 2009

Moonquake mystery deepens

Between 1969 and 1972, five Apollo missions installed seismic stations at their landing sites on the nearside of the moon. Because the moon was thought to be seismically dead, the instruments were left almost as an afterthought to detect meteor strikes. But from the time the stations were switched on until they were decommissioned in 1977, they recorded hundreds of internally generated moonquakes, some as strong as magnitude 5.5 on the Richter scale.

19 Aug 2009

Asia's hazardous month

August is shaping up to be a hazardous month for Asia — from the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean to Japan. In just the first half of the month, several earthquakes and two typhoons have struck the region. Here’s an update on these damaging events.

Japan

At 7:55 p.m. local time on Aug. 9, a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck near Japan’s Izu Islands, 325 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. No death or damages have been reported.

11 Aug 2009

Giant dunes, not mega-tsunami deposits?

About four years ago, a group of scientists proposed that a series of giant, wedge-shaped sandy deposits found along the shores of southern Madagascar might be evidence of a giant tsunami — a “mega-tsunami” — generated by an asteroid that may have blasted into the Indian Ocean sometime in the last 10,000 years. Furthermore, the scientists said, such impacts and the resulting tsunamis may have occurred fairly frequently during this period. To search for evidence of these impacts, the researchers formed the Holocene Impact Working Group.

05 Aug 2009

The long legacy of Peru's "Mine of Death"

The Inca knew there was something sinister about the cinnabar they hauled out of the ground at Huancavelica in Peru hundreds of years ago. They called the mine the Mine of Death. Now, a new study has exposed a 3,500-year history of mercury pollution from the cinnabar mines, a much longer legacy than researchers had previously realized.

05 Aug 2009

Super-Earths: Mirrors of our world?

Fifty light-years from Earth, in the constellation Pegasus, burns a yellow star not unlike our sun. The star, called 51 Pegasi, was one of 142 stars under the watchful gaze of Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva in 1994. From the La Silla Observatory at the southern end of Chile’s vast Atacama Desert, Mayor and Queloz were tracking how these stars move in the sky, hoping to determine whether the stars were alone — or whether any of them might be accompanied by a planet or two.

31 Jul 2009

Travels in Geology: Exploring mountains and eating llama in Northern Argentina

From cactus-covered deserts to cloud forests to the sky-scraping Andes Mountains, northwestern Argentina promises contrasting landscapes, astounding geological formations and natural beauty — and a chance to eat llama. So with no disrespect to the more geologically famous ice fields and mountains of the Argentine Patagonia to the south, I suggest heading north from Buenos Aires if you get a chance to explore the country.

27 Jul 2009

Raindrop study splashes old assumptions

Predicting the weather has been central to human civilization since the Babylonians started studying cloud patterns in 650 B.C. The key to weather predictions is making correct assumptions. Today, instruments like Doppler radar that measure rainfall work under the assumption that raindrops fall at their terminal velocity. A new study, however, shows that some raindrops fall faster than they should, indicating rainfall instruments — and by extension, weather forecasts — may need some tweaking.

23 Jul 2009

The Moon Men: "Rocket Men" and "Voices from the Moon"

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first step taken on the moon on July 20, 1969. Since that historic small step — which 600 million people around the world watched breathlessly — other space missions have captured headlines: NASA’s Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station, the intrepid Mars rovers. But none, perhaps, has had quite the impact on our imagination as the giant leap that Neil Armstrong took for mankind.

16 Jul 2009

Earthquake shakes southern New Zealand

A magnitude-7.6 earthquake rattled the South Island of New Zealand at 8:22 p.m. local time Wednesday. No serious injuries or damages have been reported.

The quake's epicenter was 150 kilometers west of Invercargill, off the coast of New Zealand's South Island at a depth of 12 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program. Subsequent to the major tremor, the region has experienced several aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 5 to 5.8.

15 Jul 2009

Pages