Taxonomy term


Caldera clays may hold key to lithium independence

Most of the world’s lithium is mined in South America and Australia. New research suggests that the United States may have its own untapped lithium supplies in lake deposits in the calderas left behind by large volcanic eruptions. In the study, published in Nature Communications, researchers detail a new way to detect deposits of the silvery white metal in places such as Crater Lake in southern Oregon.

28 Nov 2017

Glass shards reveal a fiery history in Ethiopia

Chains of volcanoes and a lava lake pepper the landscape of the Afar Triangle in northeastern Ethiopia, where eruptions and earthquakes are byproducts of the rifting that is literally ripping Africa apart, but recent eruptions have been docile. Now, scientists studying ash deposits from the last 40,000 years are showing that dangerous, explosive eruptions present an ongoing hazard, striking the region every 1,000 years on average.

18 Sep 2017

Monsoon shifts shaped early Chinese cultures

Rapid, climate-driven shifts in monsoon patterns may have shaped ancient Chinese societies, according to new research. And their history could be our future.

01 Jun 2017

Venezuela, Central Africa are Earth's lightning hot spots

People who live around Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo call it a “lighthouse.” The lake’s “never-ending storm” has been written about for centuries, and the incessant lightning there has even helped guide Caribbean sailors. Data from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) has now confirmed that Lake Maracaibo is Earth’s top lightning hot spot.

24 Apr 2017

Road salt may be a larger problem for lakes than thought

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that approximately 30 million tons of road salt were applied to U.S. roads during 2015 to speed up the melting of snow and ice. Recently, scientists have observed increasing impacts on ecosystems and water quality linked to its application. New research, for example, finds that road salt influx is geochemically disrupting the ecosystem health of urban lakes in Michigan, and it may even lead to rising methane emissions from the lakes.

19 Jan 2017

Lake sediments suggest mild volcanic winter after massive Toba eruption

Roughly 74,000 years ago, the largest volcanic eruption of at least the last 2.5 million years — and possibly the last 27 million years — spewed as much as 5,000 cubic kilometers of magma and ash, the latter of which spread far and wide from the source. This catastrophic eruption of the Toba supervolcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has long been suggested as a trigger for a precipitous period of global cooling known as a “volcanic winter” that in turn might have driven early humans to the brink of extinction. In a new study, researchers dispute these notions, concluding from an analysis of climate-sensitive microfossils preserved in lake sediments in East Africa — the ancestral home of early humans — that the region experienced little or no cooling following the massive eruption. 
10 Jan 2016

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

Ice (Re)Cap: October 2015

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.
13 Oct 2015

Ancient floods degassed Lake Kivu

The deep, cold waters of Lake Kivu — a stratified volcanic lake in the East African Rift Valley on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — hold 300 cubic kilometers of carbon dioxide gas and 60 cubic kilometers of methane, which seep from magmatic sources below the lake. An overturning of the thermally stratified waters could release those deadly gases onto a population of nearly 2 million.
16 Sep 2015

Scientists complete a global inventory of lakes

How many lakes are there in the world? Until recently, the exact number was anybody’s guess. Now, a new global inventory conducted using satellite imagery has placed the count at 117 million. The GLObal WAter BOdies database (GLOWABO) includes all lakes greater than 0.002 square kilometers, which combined, cover a surface area of 5 million square kilometers, or 3.7 percent of the Earth’s nonglaciated land area.

28 Jan 2015