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Two-faced space worm could inform regenerative medicine

It sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie: Worms sent into space return to Earth with two heads. But it isn’t fiction at all. In a recent study, researchers sent worms with regenerative capabilities — some left whole and some cut into pieces — to the International Space Station (ISS) to study how the worms’ bodies would respond in space and whether their behavior might help efforts to treat human ailments.

19 Oct 2017

Limestone reservoirs boost volcanic carbon emissions

Volcanoes have been the main source of atmospheric carbon over Earth’s history, with some types of eruptions injecting more carbon into the atmosphere than others. Arc volcanoes, for example, which form in chains along subduction zones, are responsible for up to two-thirds of all volcanic carbon emissions today, and have likely been major contributors for as long as they’ve existed. New research suggests a reason why: These volcanoes draw large amounts of carbon from limestone platforms found along many subduction zones. The finding has implications for how the volcanic carbon cycle affects climate over geologic timescales.

18 Oct 2017

Chemical clues illuminate fossil plant relationships

To reconstruct relationships among extinct plants and animals, paleontologists often compare genetic sequences from distinct organisms or analyze differences in fossil shapes. But both techniques have limitations: DNA does not last more than about a million years in the rock record, so genetic comparisons are typically limited to relatively recent species; and finding fossils intact enough to use for shape comparisons can be difficult. In a recent study, scientists describe a new technique that could help get around these issues — for some plants at least — using molecular remnants that are more robust than DNA and are preserved in fossil leaves.

17 Oct 2017

Red Planet Roundup: October 2017

With two rovers patrolling the surface of Mars, six 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.

13 Oct 2017

Water weight and surface rebound trigger small quakes in California

On average, a cubic meter of snow weighs less than 100 kilograms, but heavy, compacted snow can weigh more than 500 kilograms per cubic meter, with glacial ice approaching 900 kilograms per cubic meter. In California, as elsewhere, the weight of winter snow and spring runoff pushes down on the landscape, affecting stresses on fault systems, which may trigger small quakes. As the snow melts and the runoff makes its way downstream, land rebounds, setting off more small earthquakes.

12 Oct 2017

First complete DNA sequences from Egyptian mummies

Egyptian mummies provide archaeologists with a tantalizing window into ancient Egyptian culture. And now they are offering up their DNA.

11 Oct 2017

Mapping Louisiana's disappearing shoreline

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost an area of coastal wetlands larger than the state of Delaware. A new map, published in GSA Today, charts the land loss from a combination of man-made and natural factors, including reduced sediment flow from the Mississippi River, land subsidence and sea-level rise.

10 Oct 2017

Lollipop-shaped ice found in clouds

A sky full of lollipops might sound like a candy-filled dream, but these “treats” aren’t what you might think.

Researchers discovered tiny lollipop-shaped ice crystals, or ice-lollies, during research flights in 2009 and 2016 over the Atlantic Ocean. 

09 Oct 2017

Solar-powered paint could produce hydrogen for fuel

Split a water molecule, and you get hydrogen and oxygen. Burn that hydrogen as fuel and you get water. This straightforward, pollution-free cycle is part of what makes hydrogen so tantalizing as a potential renewable fuel. Unfortunately, splitting water molecules to generate hydrogen is not currently very energy efficient. In fact, more than 95 percent of hydrogen currently used in industry is produced from fossil fuels, not water.

05 Oct 2017

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