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blogging on earth

Blogging on EARTH: Ancient whale with a big bite named for Moby Dick author

In a Peruvian desert, scientists discovered the fossils of an extinct whale with a big bite. The whale's teeth and jaws were so powerful that it feasted on other whales.

30 Jun 2010

Hazardous Living: Geologists to be charged for not predicting earthquake?

News out of Italy suggests that seven researchers who did not predict the L’Aquila earthquake in April 2009 are under formal investigation and may be charged with gross negligent manslaughter.

15 Jun 2010

Water Wise: Where will the oil spilled in the Gulf go?

It’s been about eight weeks since an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig damaged a wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico and triggered the onset of the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, with oil washing up on shores from Louisiana to northwestern Florida.

14 Jun 2010

Afghanistan's mineral wealth

Blogging on EARTH

On Monday, a spokesman for Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, Waheed Omar, told reporters that the USGS survey of Afghanistan's mineral resources found they are worth about $1 trillion. And on Wednesday, USGS will host a press conference in which scientists will discuss water issues in Afghanistan.

14 Jun 2010

Hazardous Living: Guatemala and Ecuador under volcanic siege ... and other hazards

Guatemala's Pacaya volcano and Ecuador’s Tungurahua vociferously erupted on Thursday, wreaking havoc on villages and cities nearby.

28 May 2010

Paleo Patrol: Was mankind's first leap in a forest or savanna?

Last October, scientists formally introduced the world to Ardi the Ardipithecus, the well-preserved skeleton of a 4.4-million-year-old hominin found in Ethiopia. Eight months later, scientists have had time to digest the data from all 11 papers that were published in Science last fall regarding Ardi’s biology and ecology, and there is some dissent.

28 May 2010

Hazardous Living: Thirty years after Mount St. Helens exploded

Thirty years ago today, sometime not long after 8:30 a.m. Pacific time, Mount St. Helens explosively erupted. The shock wave from the eruption washed over Oregon and Washington, shaking the ground up to 400 kilometers away. Two earthquakes followed, at 8:32 and 8:34 a.m. Shortly thereafter, with a tremendous burst, the upper north flank gave way as gas, steam and ash vented outward and sent out an immense landslide of hot rock, mud, water, ash and debris.

18 May 2010

Paleo Patrol: Neanderthal genome offers clues on what makes us human

Did “Clan of the Cave Bear” get it right after all?

Probably not, but at least one aspect of the ice age saga is true: Modern humans interbred with Neanderthals. In fact, for many of us, as much as 4 percent of our DNA may be Neanderthal DNA. That’s the conclusion of a group of 56 scientists who have just announced today in Science that they’ve completed a draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome.

06 May 2010

Paleo Patrol: A hominin family reunion at the Smithsonian

Last month, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., unveiled its new (permanent) human evolution exhibit: the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. The exhibit seeks to answer the millennia-old question, What does it mean to be human?

29 Apr 2010

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