Taxonomy term

december 2014

Lead-up to Icelandic earthquakes seen in groundwater chemistry

Scientists tracking groundwater in Iceland have reported that significant shifts in the water’s chemistry occurred months prior to earthquakes in 2012 and 2013. It’s far too early to apply the findings to earthquake hazard assessment, researchers say, but the results suggest that precursory groundwater changes may also herald earthquakes elsewhere and point toward a potential means of future seismic monitoring.

31 Dec 2014

Ice (Re) Cap: December 2014

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

30 Dec 2014

Oil-encased water droplets are mini-ecosystems for microbes

Dark, sludgy oil may not seem like an environment suited to life. But microbes, known to make meals of such organic stews by breaking down large hydrocarbons to extract food and energy, have been found before in petroleum reservoirs. Now, in a new study, researchers report finding diverse communities of microorganisms living inside tiny water droplets in Pitch Lake, the world’s largest natural asphalt seep located on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. The discovery may have implications for industry, scientists say, as well as for our understanding of extreme life.

30 Dec 2014

Oldest-known skeletal animals found

The Ediacaran Period, which lasted from 635 million to 541 million years ago, is famous for the evolution of soft-bodied organisms that pre-dated the Cambrian Explosion, the relatively brief period during which most of the major animal phyla appeared. Now, Ediacaran-aged animals with skeletons have been found.

29 Dec 2014

Twister season comes earlier to tornado alley

Recent studies have examined whether tornadoes are increasing in intensity or number, but a consensus has not yet been reached. Now, a new study looking at a different aspect of tornadoes — when they occur — has found that the severe storm systems that spawn tornadoes may be peaking earlier in the spring than in the past in the infamous tornado alley.

29 Dec 2014

Antibacterial clays could fight superbugs

Clays with antibacterial properties found near Crater Lake in Oregon could eventually lead to new agents in the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, according to a new study.

28 Dec 2014

Rainwater penetrates into ductile crust

Rainwater is capable of percolating deeper into Earth’s crust than once thought possible, according to a new study. The finding could impact our understanding of mountain building, the behavior of rock deep underground and the formation of hydrothermal mineral deposits.

27 Dec 2014

Geologic Column: What geoscientists can learn from TED Talks

TED talks have become an international — and Internet — phenomenon. The presentations are pithy, conversational, focused and entertaining; they are often inspirational and sometimes very personal. Geoscientists — whether presenting conference papers, classroom lectures or presentations for general audiences — can learn a lot from TED talks, especially from the structure and guidance applied to preparing the talks.

27 Dec 2014

Benchmarks: December 26, 2004: Indian Ocean tsunami strikes

On Dec. 26, 2004, a magnitude-9.2 earthquake ruptured the seafloor off Indonesia, sending the most destructive tsunami in recorded history across the Indian Ocean. A wall of water and debris slammed the shores of South Asia; some witnesses described it as sounding like a freight train. Tourists and locals alike scrambled to safety inland and atop tall hotels, recording videos of the surging water that inundated their communities. Many were unable to reach higher ground.

26 Dec 2014

Comment: Preparing for the volcano in your backyard: New Zealand sets an example

Preparing and planning for a potential volcanic eruption can help communities cope with fallout and manage the human response when eruptions do happen. Auckland, New Zealand, is working on just such a plan that can serve as an example to other cities facing potential volcanic hazards now or in the future.

26 Dec 2014

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