Taxonomy term

News

Comet finished off North American big game animals, cooled the planet?

Fires from a comet shower may have killed off the big game in North America about 13,000 years ago, scientists say. Those extinctions have long been attributed either to an abrupt return to glaciation known as the Younger Dryas event or to over-hunting. But now, a team of scientists has found tiny, nanoparticle-sized diamonds in sediments from the Younger Dryas — signs that a cosmic impact may have ultimately been behind both the cold period and the extinctions.

02 Jan 2009

Swarm of earthquakes rattles Yellowstone

An abnormally high number of earthquakes has shaken up Yellowstone National Park in the past week. Since Friday, a “swarm” of more than 250 low-magnitude, shallow quakes has repeatedly rattled an area under Yellowstone Lake, with the highest-magnitude tremor — a magnitude-3.9 quake — on Saturday. The seismic activity has raised fears that the quakes may foreshadow a larger earthquake, or a volcanic eruption — but scientists say there isn’t yet reason to fear an eruption.

31 Dec 2008

Stonehenge's Mysterious Stones

A tale of glaciers, man, rocks and North America

Out of the mist that blankets the gently rolling hills of Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge rises above the horizon like a haunting beacon. Whatever its original purpose, one thing is certain: The stone monument draws visitors in and stays with them forever.

31 Dec 2008

AGU: Colorado ski industry owes Great Salt Lake thank you note

SAN FRANCISCO — Colorado skiers have long suspected that snowfall is fluffiest when winds blow salt and dust eastward from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Now that wisdom is confirmed by science.

After measuring cloud particles from plane flights over Colorado, atmospheric chemist Kim Prather of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla and colleagues determined that nascent snow largely formed as a result of suspended Utah salt.

In order for snow and rain droplets to form, water needs a particle base on which to accumulate. This process is called nucleation.

20 Dec 2008

AGU: Mount St. Helens has gone back to sleep

SAN FRANCISCO — After more than three and a half years of continuous eruption, Mount St. Helens in Washington quieted earlier this year. Following intense monitoring efforts, the volcano is officially “asleep,” researchers reported Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

18 Dec 2008

AGU: How scientists should talk climate change

Blogging on EARTH

SAN FRANCISCO — The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment report last year showed a strong consensus among scientists that the climate is warming, thanks largely to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. So one has to wonder why scientists are still struggling to get that message through to both policymakers and stakeholders.

17 Dec 2008

AGU: Climate science report questions likelihood of abrupt climate change

SAN FRANCISCO — A new U.S. Climate Change Science Program report states that abrupt climate change is unlikely to happen over the next century, scientists announced Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. However, the longer-term impacts of climate change could still be severe.

16 Dec 2008

AGU: Aloha, magma! Geothermal engineers drill into surprising lava

SAN FRANCISCO — While drilling deep into Earth, geothermal engineers struck geological gold, opening a never-before-seen window into a classic geologic process: how basalt magma becomes granite. The find, they announced at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Tuesday, could amount to the first magma observatory on Earth.

16 Dec 2008

EIA: Worldwide oil demand will plummet in 2009

Blogging on EARTH

The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration is projecting that the global demand for oil will plummet even faster next year than it did this year — largely because of lower forecasts for global economic growth.

10 Dec 2008

Travels in Geology: Australia's wonders, from ocean to desert

Australia, both a country and a continent, has geological wonders as strange and unique as the furry marsupials that inhabit the Land Down Under.

08 Dec 2008

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