Taxonomy term

january 2017

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

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

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