Taxonomy term


Science by floats

The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM) set out four years ago to study the Southern Ocean and its role and influence on global climate. The main mission of the project was to increase Southern Ocean observations, especially during the frigid winter months, to better understand climate change and biogeochemistry.

10 Dec 2018

New tool predicts probability of earthquake-triggered landslides

Landslides are the third-leading cause of death in earthquakes, after building collapses and tsunamis. Unlike tsunamis, however, which usually arrive minutes to hours after an earthquake, earthquake-triggered landslides tend to occur simultaneously with ground shaking, so a landslide warning system is not possible. But a new model that predicts where landslides may be triggered during earthquakes could help emergency aid and rescue efforts.

07 Dec 2018

Fats on Neolithic pottery pinpoint climate cooling event

About 8,200 years ago, right around the time that animals such as cows and sheep were first being domesticated in the Near East for meat and milk, the planet underwent a cooling event that lasted about 160 years. How this cold snap, known as the 8.2-kiloyear event, affected early farmers has long been a mystery, as archaeological evidence from the period of the cooler and drier climate has been scant. But new research investigating fatty residues preserved on scraps of pottery found at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey is offering some clues.

05 Dec 2018

Forecasting California's earthquake hazard

In California, scientists use a model called the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3) to assess earthquake hazards across the state based not on the physics of the state’s faults, but on history: By considering the historic record of earthquakes, including the location and severity of past quakes, UCERF3, the third version of the model, provides a hazard measure. “But those observations are limited, because we only have a few hundred years [of written earthquake records] in California,” says Greg Beroza, a seismologist at Stanford University. “In the long term, we have a small sample of the possible behavior of the system.” This means the resulting hazard assessments, relying on the relatively short historical earthquake record, may not accurately reflect earthquake potential across the state. So, scientists have long been trying to come up with physics-based models that show how particular faults might rupture without depending on historical records — and now, they have.

04 Dec 2018

Sulfides in thawing permafrost responsible for carbon dioxide release

After warming the bench since the Pleistocene, a key player in the Arctic carbon cycle is getting back in the game thanks to thawing permafrost. In a new study, researchers report that rising temperatures are freeing sulfide minerals previously bound within Arctic permafrost. These minerals are contributing to stream acidification and accelerated weathering of carbonates — and thus to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — at least in one part of northern Canada.

03 Dec 2018

Antarctic rift was active more recently than thought

Studying Antarctica’s geology is difficult because of the continent’s remote location and extreme weather, and because most of it is buried under kilometers of ice. More than 100 volcanoes hint at the White Continent’s fiery history, however. Scientists have long known that Antarctica was once split into two plates along the West Antarctic Rift system. A new study provides information about when this rift system was last active, and the findings have implications for calculating plate tectonic movements around the planet.

03 Dec 2018

Climate cooling a driver of Neanderthals' extinction

Neanderthals disappeared from Europe roughly 40,000 years ago, and scientists are still trying to figure out why. Did disease, climate change or competition with modern humans — or maybe a combination of all three — do them in? In a recent study, researchers offer new evidence from Eastern Europe that climate change was a major player in the Neanderthals’ disappearance.

30 Nov 2018

Congress, states look to address impacts of ocean acidification

Global ocean chemistry is changing at a historically unprecedented rate, with rising ocean acidity threatening populations of shellfish and other marine species worldwide. Recent observed changes in ocean chemistry off U.S. coasts, particularly along the shores of Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington, where fisheries are already being affected, have scientists studying the potential impacts, fishermen worrying about their livelihoods, and politicians pushing for action.

30 Nov 2018

Mercury on the roof of the world

Traditional Tibetan Medicines (TTM) are dispensed in pill form by pharmacists who mix minerals and herbs together in centuries-old recipes. But some of the ingredients may be doing more harm than good. Previous studies have found that mercury and methylmercury, both highly toxic to humans, are sometimes intentionally used in the medications. In a new study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, researchers analyzed total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in seven common TTM remedies and found concentrations as high as 12,000 micrograms per gram and averaging 5,600 micrograms per gram. They found that daily mercury intake by Tibetans who practice traditional medicine was as much as 3,000 times higher than exposure rates in the general populations in Japan, Norway and the U.S.

29 Nov 2018

Spiky new American ankylosaurid originated in Asia

A new genus and species of ankylosaurid discovered in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah reveal new information about the spread of armored dinosaurs into North America. Most North American ankylosaurids are known for their smooth skulls, but the new specimen more closely resembles spiky-skulled Asian ankylosaurids.

28 Nov 2018