Taxonomy term

december 2016

Cosmic suntan

An international team of astronomers recently measured the amount of light hitting Earth that comes from outside our galaxy across a broad range of wavelengths.

22 Dec 2016

Rethinking Pangea? Ancient ocean crust challenges supercontinent theory

The oldest piece of undisturbed oceanic crust ever discovered has been found beneath the eastern Mediterranean Sea, hidden under more than 10 kilometers of sediment. This ancient crust — estimated at up to 100 million years older than the oldest oceanic crust previously known — could reshape our view of global tectonics and the supercontinent cycle.

21 Dec 2016

Seafloor topography drives Earth's great conveyor belt

In the Southern Ocean, the world’s largest current in terms of volume transport — the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) — encircles Antarctica and connects the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific ocean basins, as it flows from west to east. The ACC influences ocean circulation and global climate, as it rises from the deep to interact with the atmosphere. In a new study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, researchers have directly measured how seafloor topography affects the current’s structure — something that had only been theorized previously.

20 Dec 2016

An undersea volcano yields its secrets

One of the world’s most active volcanoes has been seen by only a handful of humans, because it lies about 1.5 kilometers below the surface of the Pacific Ocean and 470 kilometers west of the Oregon-Washington border. Nevertheless, the Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca Ridge is one of the best studied of all volcanoes, thanks to the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), a global network of seven arrays consisting of more than 800 instruments.

19 Dec 2016

Tiniest pterosaur found in British Columbia

Pterosaurs have a gargantuan reputation: Most fossils of the flying reptiles have wingspans similar to a small plane. But the recent discovery of fragmentary fossils from an eagle-sized specimen in British Columbia shows that not all pterosaurs were huge.

19 Dec 2016

Life-saving diplomacy: The Volcano Disaster Assistance Program at thirty

The Volcano Disaster Assistance Program is the world’s only rapid-response team of volcanologists that works around the world to prevent eruptions from becoming disasters. The program has been deploying people and equipment to volcanic crises for three decades. |

18 Dec 2016

Extinct tiger had unique elbow, hunting style

During the Pleistocene, the marsupial lion, Thylacoleo carnifex, was one of Australia’s top predators. Fossil records indicate the jaguar-sized cat died out between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago (although rumors persist the “Queensland Tiger” may still survive in isolated habitats). In a new study examining Thylacoleo fossils, researchers have now found an elbow joint unique among living predatory mammals.

16 Dec 2016

Wintering in the high Arctic reveals surprising results

A summary of the results of the winter 2015 Norwegian Young Sea ICE Expedition (N-ICE), during which the Lance, a Norwegian research vessel, drifted for six months with the shrinking Arctic sea ice reaching as far as 83 degrees north. More than 70 scientists from 10 countries participated in the second-only winter field survey of the Arctic ice pack, and what they found surprised them.

14 Dec 2016

Geologic Column: Conscious landscapes: Thinking like a septic tank

Dogs, bats, septic tanks, mountains and lowlands can all be explored through philosophy. Can each have consciousness?
14 Dec 2016

New research suggests Syrian refugees must be accounted for in seismic risk models

New estimates of earthquake fatalities in Turkey are 3 to 20 percent higher when Syrian refugees are included in seismic risk models, according to new research.

13 Dec 2016

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