Taxonomy term

july 2016

On the trail of Hannibal's army - and elephants - in the Alps

In the third century B.C., during the Second Punic War between the Romans and Carthaginians, Carthaginian general Hannibal led a massive army over the Alps to invade Italy from the supposedly impenetrable north. It is one of the most famously brazen moves in military history, but the exact route that Hannibal’s army — which included tens of thousands of foot soldiers and cavalrymen, thousands of horses and nearly 40 elephants — took through the mountains has long been a mystery. Now, a team has found microbial evidence that a large number of horses crossed the Alps from France into Italy over the 3,000-meter Col de la Traversette pass around 218 B.C. But not everybody is convinced that the Traversette pass route matches detailed historical accounts of Hannibal’s journey.

24 Jul 2016

Denisovan DNA found in modern Pacific Islanders, ancient Spaniards

In the time that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals were coexisting — and interbreeding — there was at least one more human species on the landscape, the Denisovans. First identified from a 41,000-year-old finger bone found in a cave in Siberia, the Denisovans are now thought to have been widespread around Eurasia. In two new studies, scientists have shed additional light on the relationship of Denisovans to other humans, finding new traces of Denisovan DNA in ancient and modern genomes.

23 Jul 2016

Researchers profile magma chamber beneath North Korean volcano

An enigmatic volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China has been investigated for the first time by an international team of seismologists. In 2013, researchers installed seismometers near the volcano — called Mount Paektu in North Korea and Changbaishan in China — to determine what was going on beneath the surface. The team’s results, detailed in a new study published in Science Advances, reveal a potential source of magma that may have created one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the last few thousand years — and that could cause the volcano to erupt again.

22 Jul 2016

Sea-level rise a risk for millions in the United States

One of the most obvious consequences of human-induced global warming is glacial melting and the sea-level rise that will occur as a result. Yet, few studies examining the potential toll of sea-level rise in the United States have factored in continuing population growth, according to the authors of a new study in Nature Climate Change. Using population projections for the year 2100, researchers led by Mathew Hauer of the University of Georgia projected how many people in the U.S. would be displaced by then due to sea-level rise of either 0.9 meters or 1.8 meters.

21 Jul 2016

Travels in Geology: Zermatt: Europe meets Africa in Switzerland's iconic Alps

Zermatt, Switzerland, offers spectacular sightseeing, hiking, mountain climbing and skiing. The area’s popularity is rooted in its geology. 
20 Jul 2016

Getting there and getting around Zermatt

Zermatt, a car-free resort town at the foot of the Matterhorn, can be reached from major international airports in Geneva, Zürich or Milan. All three airports offer nonstop flights from several North American cities and have numerous rental-car agencies. Switzerland has four official languages, of which German and French are the most commonly used, but road signs are easily followed by English speakers, making it easy to navigate around the country. However, private cars are not allowed in Zermatt, so you might instead want to take one of the Swiss Rail Network’s clean and reliable trains to Zermatt, a 3.5-hour trip from Zürich or a four-hour trip from Geneva. If you do drive, you must park in a garage in Täsch, 5 kilometers north of the resort town, and take a train or taxi into town. The village itself is quite walkable; a 10-minute stroll will get you across town.

20 Jul 2016

Giant turbidite in Mediterranean Sea linked to ancient earthquake and tsunami

In A.D. 365, a giant earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8 or higher struck the eastern Mediterranean, devastating Crete and causing widespread destruction throughout Greece, Egypt, Libya and Spain. The event was quickly followed by a tsunami that inundated the southern and eastern Mediterranean coasts, stranding ships as far as 3 kilometers inland. Now, scientists have uncovered evidence of a massive turbidity current triggered by these events in the Mediterranean.

19 Jul 2016

Illustrating Geology: Great images that transformed the field

“The Map” is perhaps the single-most recognized depiction within geology, but it is just one of many historically transformative images in a field that relies heavily on illustration and visualization to help convey information and shape our understanding of the natural world.

17 Jul 2016

Red Planet Roundup: July 2016

With two rovers patrolling the surface of Mars, five spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

15 Jul 2016

Iron meteorites likely hidden below Antarctic ice

Despite the fact that meteorites fall relatively evenly across the surface of the planet, most meteorites retrieved by humans have come from Antarctica. This is because meteorites are easily buried and preserved in Antarctic ice; over time, the ice melts and exposes the dark-colored fallen rocks for relatively easy recovery on the continent’s white surface. But iron-rich meteorites, common among specimens found in other parts of the planet, are unusually rare in Antarctica. Researchers may now have figured out why.

14 Jul 2016

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