Taxonomy term


Northern Finns didn't starve during Little Ice Age

Today, Finland’s Northern Ostrobothnia region is one of the northernmost places in Europe that can support agriculture. But how this region fared during the Little Ice Age — a period of globally cooler temperatures that lasted roughly from A.D. 1300 to 1850 — is unknown. Scientists assume the climatic cooling would have adversely affected food supplies. Now, however, the discovery of a mysterious medieval cemetery in northern Finland dating to the middle of the Little Ice Age is offering clues that the inhabitants were well fed and well suited to the northern clime.

31 Oct 2017

Transylvanian ice cave reveals European winter climate record

Over the last 10,000 years, water dripping into a cave in Transylvania has frozen into one of the largest and oldest cave glaciers in the world. Today, the Scărișoara Ice Cave in central Romania preserves one of the longest ice records on Earth, a boon for climate researchers seeking to study how Europe’s climate has fluctuated during the Holocene.

23 Aug 2017

A mammoth king: Was the legend of King Hygelac in "Beowulf" inspired by a fossil find?

Some literary and scientific sleuthing suggests that the eighth-century discovery and misidentification of fossil mammoth bones on the Rhine-Meuse River Delta could have led to the monsters and characters of “Beowulf.”
20 Aug 2017

Benchmarks: October 2, 1574: Dutch unleash the ocean as a weapon of war

In 1574, the city of Leiden in the Netherlands was brought to its knees: By August of that year, about 6,000 of the city’s roughly 15,000 inhabitants had either starved to death, been killed by the Black Plague or had succumbed to dysentery. Plague doctors in their crow-beaked masks roamed the streets amid famished and diseased citizens drinking foul water from canals. No one knew when, if ever, help would come, for beyond Leiden’s walls the Spanish army was laying siege and cutting off all supply routes into the city.

02 Oct 2016

Geologic Column: At the end of the Earth

A trip to Land’s End in Spain with some old friends spurs the author’s thinking about the tectonics of Iapetus, peat bogs that hold clues to ancient climate, and the futility of tilting at windmills.

13 Apr 2016

Ice sheet has had lasting effect on European earthquakes

“Modern Germany is not known for its earthquakes,” says Christian Brandes, a geoscientist at the University of Hannover in Germany. The country, after all, is in the middle of a tectonic plate, he says, away from any plate boundaries or other features that would cause tectonic strain to build up in underground faults. 
10 Nov 2015

Travels in Geology: Croatia: Land of limestone

The nearly ubiquitous limestone bedrock of Croatia, where karst topography was first described, produces a majestic and unforgettable landscape. Visitors can cirumnavigate the fortified walls of Dubrovnik, one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities, lounge on a white cobble beach by the azure  Adriatic Sea, or hike past the aquamarine pools and countless waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes, the country's largest national park. 

20 Jun 2014

Getting there and getting around Croatia

Although there are no direct flights between the U.S. and Croatia, the capital, Zagreb, is connected year-round to most major European cities, and the Dalmatian Coast airports of Split and Dubrovnik are well connected during the summer. All three offer numerous car rental options; an online consolidator such as Auto Europe can help you efficiently find the best price. One-way rentals are generally only available to other locations in Croatia and Slovenia.

20 Jun 2014

Is there really a minerals crisis?

Reports suggest that the world is running out of crucial supplies of minerals, from copper and lead to the rare earths. But shortages have more to do with sociological and political issues than actual geology.

08 Jul 2011