Taxonomy term

may 2016

Geologic Column: May: Nature's forces in collision

Throughout history, May 1 has probably had more festivals and events associated with it than any other day of the year, from celebrations of spring and fertility to a day of protest for workers’ rights.

29 Apr 2016

Mercury levels support volcanic role in end-Cretaceous extinction

The end-Cretaceous extinction, known for finishing off the last dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, often evokes scenes of a large asteroid hurtling toward Earth. However, new evidence supports a growing consensus that the massive bolide wasn’t the only hazard that life on Earth had to contend with: A prolonged bout of major volcanic eruptions was also spewing climate-altering gases and other emissions such as mercury into the atmosphere.

28 Apr 2016

First all-digital geologic map of Alaska released

When it comes to natural beauty, Alaska’s rugged, massive landscape is an embarrassment of riches, with towering mountains and lush forests, countless islands and a seemingly endless coastline. Below the surface, it features a wealth of interesting geology and abundant resources. Now, policymakers, land managers, scientists and the public can all explore Alaska a little more deeply with the recent release of the first-ever fully digital geologic map of the entire state.

27 Apr 2016

Magnesium part of Earth's magnetic field engine

Earth’s magnetic field, which arises from convective flows in the planet’s core, known as the geodynamo, has existed for at least 3.4 billion years, meaning that the field-generating processes must have existed for that long as well. But what exactly those processes have looked like throughout Earth’s history, particularly early on, has been poorly understood. In a new study, researchers suggest that magnesium mineral formation in the core is a previously unrecognized but important piece of the puzzle.

26 Apr 2016

Reading the ridges: Are climate and the seafloor connected?

New research suggests that midocean ridge volcanoes respond to variations in sea level, potentially leaving topographic records of past glaciations in the form of abyssal hills. But could those volcanoes also influence the climate cycles that drive sea-level changes?

25 Apr 2016

Humans evolved early to be more efficient sleepers

We humans spend about a third of our lives asleep. While that might sound like a lot, we require less sleep than most mammals. In a new study, researchers have quantified how much less sleep we need than other primates, and the findings may offer clues to how and when human sleep patterns evolved.

22 Apr 2016

Comment: GAVRT: Learning science by doing science

Students from kindergarten through high school have an opportunity to operate the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope, helping them learn science by participating in real scientific campaigns.

22 Apr 2016

The softer side of hydrothermal vents

Seafloor chimneys belching dark plumes of superheated, acidic fluids into the ocean, called “black smokers,” are the most common kind of submarine hydrothermal vent known. But recently scientists discovered a vent system, of a seemingly gentler nature, unlike any observed before.

21 Apr 2016

Fossil leaves provide clues to ancient Australian habitat

Researchers have long thought that the scrublands of Australia developed over the last 25 million to 30 million years as part of a global trend toward colder and drier climates in which rainforests yielded ground to more open, fire-prone environments.

20 Apr 2016

China's Red Deer Cave people may have survived until the last ice age

In the 1980s, a collection of bones from very small hominids was excavated from a cave in southwestern China, alongside a number of bones from a species of large red deer. Nicknamed the “Red Deer Cave people,” but not yet declared a distinct species, researchers previously dated radiocarbon in the sediments where the bones were found to about 14,000 years ago. In a new comparative study, the same team has now found that the hominids from which the bones came appear to have been similar to — although far smaller than — Homo habilis and Homo erectus, suggesting it could indeed be a new species.

19 Apr 2016

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