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november 2015

Travels in Geology: Cyprus: Island of Oceanic Crust

The soul of Cyprus, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, lies in the Troödos Mountains — a rare, intact sliver of ancient oceanic crust that played a pivotal role in the development of plate tectonic theory. But don’t miss the Neolithic, Roman and Byzantine ruins, or the stunning beaches.

04 Nov 2015

Northern Cyprus' "Peace Water" Pipeline

With its semi-arid climate and growing population, Cyprus suffers from the highest level of water stress in Europe and is ranked in the top five most water-stressed countries in the world, according to the World Resources Institute. Demand in the larger southern Republic of Cyprus is predicted to increase to 314 million cubic meters per year by 2020, up from 266 million cubic meters in 2004.
04 Nov 2015

Getting there and getting around Cyprus

Cyprus has been populated for centuries by a mix of ethnic Greeks and Turks. Periodic ethnic tensions erupted into communal violence in 1963, leading to a Turkish invasion in 1974. Turkey has controlled the northern third of the island ever since. The Troödos Mountains, which host the ophiolitic rocks, rise in the center of the island, within the Republic of Cyprus.
 
04 Nov 2015

Ancient lakes may have been refuges for early life

All life needs nitrogen to build essential molecules like proteins, RNA and DNA. And to acquire nitrogen, cells need molybdenum. But molybdenum is thought to have been very scarce in Mesoproterozoic oceans 1.6 billion to 1 billion years ago, potentially stalling the evolution and diversification of life in this period, which was then entirely microscopic. New research, however, is revealing that lakes during this time contained relatively high levels of molybdenum, suggesting life may have continued evolving in those settings.
 
03 Nov 2015

Does the sun trigger autoimmune disease?

For hundreds of years, humans have charted the appearance of sunspots, the changing frequency of which marks highs and lows in the sun’s 11-year solar cycle. Peaks in the solar cycle cause surges in the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth, which can lead to changes in weather and climate, and can disrupt radio signals and electrical grids. Now, researchers have found that the solar cycle may also affect human health, with cases of rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell arteritis seeming to spike in concert with solar fluctuations.
 
01 Nov 2015

Benchmarks: November 1, 1755: Earthquake destroys Lisbon

Today, the Carmo Convent in Lisbon, Portugal, stands half destroyed; the walls remain, but the roof has been gone for 260 years. On the morning of Nov. 1, 1755, the church was packed with people attending mass for All Saints’ Day, a Catholic holiday. At about 9:30 a.m., the ground heaved, and the church’s roof fell. A magnitude-8.7 earthquake had struck. Churchgoers not crushed by falling debris fled into the streets. Across the city, candles, stoves and oil lamps fell, igniting fires that eventually burned down about half the city. Along with the shaking, the fires drove people to the banks of the Tagus River — Lisbon’s main river — and to the city’s harbor, where many boarded ships in search of safety. About 45 minutes after the shaking began, however, a 5- to 10-meter-tall tsunami entered the Tagus from the Atlantic Ocean, smashing ships against one another and against the sea walls surrounding the city.
 
01 Nov 2015

Where on Earth? - November 2015

Where on Earth was this picture taken? Use these clues to guess and submit your answer via mail, email or Web by the last day of the month (November 30, 2015).

01 Nov 2015

The quake's impact on western thinking

The quake occurred on All Saints’ Day, and it destroyed almost every major church in Lisbon. This sparked debate among theologians about whether disasters like earthquakes were acts of divine judgment, or whether they should be seen more as indiscriminate natural phenomena.
 
01 Nov 2015

Flaring our way out of a water crisis

The production of oil and gas consumes and produces vast amounts of freshwater and wastewater, respectively, and burns tons of natural gas, emitting potent greenhouse gases and wasting a potential energy source. However, with some clever engineering, we could solve all three of these environmental concerns at once.

31 Oct 2015

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