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Ancient collision left a bit of Europe behind in Britain

Great Britain is famously considered the birthplace of modern geology, and the many layers and terranes of rocks that make up England, Wales and Scotland have been studied and mapped for centuries. But that doesn’t mean scientists fully understand the island’s geologic past. In a new study, researchers looking at unusual volcanic rocks in southern England found previously unrecognized evidence of the island nation’s past connection to mainland Europe.

02 Jan 2019

Night lights reveal that people move as rivers rise

Flooding is one of the most damaging natural hazards, so it’s no surprise that many people resettle farther from rivers after catastrophic flooding. A new study finds that the distance that people move from a given river depends on the degree of flood protection in place, with people rebuilding closer to rivers that offer high levels of structural flood protection, such as levees and dams, than they do to rivers without such protections.

28 Dec 2018

Survey says: U.S. lakes getting murkier

study of more than 1,000 lakes across the United States between 2007 and 2012 found that the number of murky green and brown lakes surpassed the number of clear blue lakes.

24 Dec 2018

"Critical Minerals" list snubs copper, sparks discussion of criticality

In 2017, the United States relied on imports for more than half the needed supply of 50 mineral commodities that are critical in manufacturing. Some of the commodities come from just a few major suppliers — especially China and Canada — or are produced in tiny quantities in just a few places. Others come from conflict zones. Some are produced only as byproducts of processing ores of major metals, such as copper and zinc. Such complex international supply chains are at risk of being disrupted by a variety of problems, from trade wars and market volatility to natural disasters and terrorism.

20 Dec 2018

Bubbly discovery may impact volcanic hazard assessment

Programs that manage volcanic hazards use a variety of tools and techniques to monitor impending eruptions. But researchers recently found evidence — in the form of gas bubbles bursting out of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano — suggesting that scientists should forgo one common method for assessing hazards from basaltic volcanoes: averaging gas composition measurements.

19 Dec 2018

Two new species fill gap in dinosaur family tree

Cretaceous rocks in northwestern China have yielded two new dinosaur species that help fill a 70-million-year gap in dinosaur phylogeny. The new species — Xiyunykus pengi and Bannykus wulatensis — are both alvarezsaurians, an odd group of dinosaurs that, by the Late Cretaceous, had evolved many avian characteristics such as birdlike skulls, tiny teeth and light, slender bodies, as well as unique mole-like single-clawed forearms that were likely useful for digging.

17 Dec 2018

Human-triggered landslides on the rise

Between 2004 and 2016, an estimated 56,000 people were killed by landslides worldwide. A newly developed tool, the Global Fatal Landslide Database, reveals that, of the 4,800 fatal landslides over that 12-year period, more than 700 were caused by human intervention through activities such as construction, mining and digging.

14 Dec 2018

Did early agriculture knock the climate off track?

During the last 2.5 million years, Earth’s climate has seen cycles of advancing and retreating glaciers over much of the Northern Hemisphere. We are currently in a warm, interglacial period — one that’s been prolonged by increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. According to a new study in Nature, these high concentrations of greenhouse gases have disrupted the recent pattern of cycling in Earth’s climate and pushed back the next ice age. The study also suggests that human activity, beginning thousands of years ago with early agriculture and continuing through to the present day, has fueled the rise in greenhouse gas concentrations.

12 Dec 2018

Voyager 2 pierces the heliopause, enters interstellar space

On Nov. 5, 2018, Voyager 2 became the second spacecraft to enter interstellar space, as it passed through the heliosphere’s outer limit, known as the heliopause, NASA announced at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting in Washington, D.C., on Monday. The spacecraft’s twin, Voyager 1, made history as the first man-made object to depart the heliosphere in 2012. Reaching interstellar space is an extraordinary feat for spacecraft that have been traveling for more than 41 years.

11 Dec 2018

Science by floats

The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM) set out four years ago to study the Southern Ocean and its role and influence on global climate. The main mission of the project was to increase Southern Ocean observations, especially during the frigid winter months, to better understand climate change and biogeochemistry.

10 Dec 2018

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