Taxonomy term


Growth rings in rocks reveal past climate

Paleoclimate studies often depend on mineral or sediment layers deposited seasonally or annually in caves, lakes and ice, but such records leave gaps where caves, lakes or ice sheets aren’t found. Now, scientists using a new technique that analyzes calcite layers ringing pebbles and rocks in arid landscapes are opening a new window onto the climate history of western North America. And because such deposits are found all over the world, the technique might prove to be a useful new tool for studying paleoclimate globally.

02 May 2016

Earthworms churn out calcite crystals

Any gardener can tell you that earthworms play a major role in soil ecology. But that information hasn’t always been common knowledge. Charles Darwin was one of the first to study earthworms, and in 1881, he discovered the curious fact that many species leave behind calcite crystals as they work their way through the soil. Now, new research might shed some light on the enduring mystery of how and why earthworms produce the crystals.

10 Feb 2009