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Geomedia: Television: 'NOVA: Making North America' Is Flashy, But Fails on Storytelling

A new three-hour-long documentary, “NOVA: Making North America,” airing in November, purports to tell the geological, biological and anthropological story of North America. Unfortunately, it falls short on many counts.

17 Nov 2015

Bite marks offer best evidence yet of T. rex cannibalism

Tyrannosaurs were not the most discerning of carnivores. In addition to dining on other dinosaurs, like Triceratops and duck-billed hadrosaurs, it appears the fearsome apex predators weren’t averse to making a meal of their own kind. A series of deep bite marks on a 66-million-year-old leg bone uncovered recently in eastern Wyoming may be the best evidence yet of Tyrannosaurus rex cannibalism.

10 Nov 2015

Wormholes may limit landslides

When Emma Harrison, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, began digging trenches in the Luquillos Mountains of Puerto Rico to study how the soil mantle responds to rapid changes in erosion, she couldn’t help but notice that the thick soils were chock-full of wriggling worms. Intrigued by the worms’ abundance and prodigious activity at her field site, Harrison wondered whether their presence could be influencing weathering and erosion in the Luquillos. 

09 Nov 2015

Bare Earth Elements: In honor of 'Back to the Future Day,' a few things geoscientists might (or might not) have been thinking about in 1985

Today is the day 30 years in the future to which Marty McFly — a feisty ‘80s teenager from fictional Hill Valley, Calif. — travels from 1985 courtesy of Doc Brown’s ingenious, time-traveling, “flux capacitor”-powered (though sadly also fictional) DeLorean DMC-12 in the 1989 film, “Back to the Future 2.” And the heaping pile of “BTTF” nostalgia that’s going around the Internet got me pondering a few topics that geoscientists might (or might not) have been thinking about in 1985.

21 Oct 2015

Peculiar shape of hair ice linked to fungus

If you have ever taken a morning hike through the woods and seen strange, silky-looking ice on fallen logs, you might have been observing a phenomenon that has puzzled hikers and scientists alike for at least a century. In a new study, researchers examining so-called hair ice have unraveled an explanation for these peculiar formations.

13 Oct 2015

Subducted seawater the source of fluid-rich diamonds

Subducting oceanic plates that dive hundreds of kilometers beneath Earth’s surface carry with them cargoes of sediment and seawater. As the plate heats up the deeper it sinks, this seawater not only initiates melting in the rock above it, but can also trigger diamond formation, suggest the authors of a new study in Nature.

30 Sep 2015

Arctic climate change marked by warmer, wetter conditions

At least since satellite observations began four decades ago, climbing temperatures have chipped away at Arctic sea ice causing earlier spring melting and later autumn freezing. Because ice reflects more sunlight than water does, shrinking sea-ice cover means that Arctic waters soak up more solar energy, which affects climate both regionally and globally. Now, a new study has documented how Arctic warming leads to wetter air and increased cloud cover, particularly during autumn and winter, which spurs even more warming in a self-reinforcing cycle.

28 Aug 2015

Hazardous Living: Maps, according to geologists

If you have geologist friends, you may have run across some humorous world maps on social media lately. These maps have garnered lots of attention and we found them amusing, so we're sharing them. 

26 Aug 2015

Volcanic lightning turns ash into glass

Within the ash plumes of explosive volcanic eruptions, collisions among countless pyroclastic particles sometimes lead to the buildup of static charges that discharge dramatically as volcanic lightning. In a new study, researchers have found that this lightning can, in turn, melt and fuse ash particles into distinctive glassy grains called spherules.

07 Aug 2015

Beached iceberg alters Antarctic marine communities

Studying the effects of expanding sea ice around Antarctica has been challenging, however, as it is difficult to predict exactly where sea ice will expand and whether it will stick around long enough to make a difference on marine life. But a rare event involving an iceberg bigger than the island of Manhattan created just the environment that Graeme Clark, an ecologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, and his colleagues needed to study how the sudden advent of long-term sea-ice cover affects marine communities.

21 Jul 2015

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