Thomas Sumner

All Stories by Thomas Sumner

  1. new map charts the depths of Earth’s oceans
    Oceans

    Satellites expose mysteries of the deep ocean

    New detailed map of Earth’s seafloor reveals never-before-seen formations.

  2. map explaining no 2014 El Niño
    Climate

    Missing winds probably foiled 2014’s chance for El Niño

    Lack of antitrade winds probably hampered 2014 El Niño.

  3. map of simulated supervolcano eruption in North America
    Earth

    Supervolcano blast would blanket U.S. in ash

    A new simulation illustrates the explosiveness of the volcano that lurks beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

  4. Sahara Desert
    Earth

    Shrinking ancient sea may have spawned Sahara Desert

    The Saharan Desert probably formed 7 million years ago as the ancient Tethys Sea, the forerunner of the Mediterranean Sea, shrank.

  5. satellite image of Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica
    Earth

    Warming alone triggered Antarctic ice shelf collapse

    Warming surface temperatures, not an unstable foundation, probably doomed Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf.

  6. image of Jupiter’s frosty moon Europa
    Planetary Science

    Plate tectonics spotted on Europa

    First evidence for plate tectonics elsewhere in solar system discovered on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.

  7. A twist in the sun's magnetic field
    Astronomy

    Plasma corkscrews form on sun during stellar eruption

    Coronal mass ejection creates twisted loop in sun’s magnetic field.

  8. sailing stones
    Earth

    Death Valley’s sailing stones caught on the move

    Mysterious sailing stones wandering around Death Valley are powered by ice and wind.

  9. Quantum Physics

    Blind quantum camera snaps photos of Schrödinger’s cat

    Quantum weirdness lets physicists snap photo without collecting incoming light from cardboard cat subject.

  10. Ecosystems

    Lake under Antarctic ice bursts with life

    Abundant microbes thrive in subglacial lakes deep under the Antarctic ice sheet.

  11. asteroid Itokawa
    Planetary Science

    To explain asteroid composition, scientists invoke nuts

    Brazil nut effect may explain why only large boulders dot surfaces of asteroids.

  12. a sediment core
    Oceans

    World’s largest ocean dead zone may shrink as Earth warms

    North Pacific dead zone may grow smaller, not expand, as climate change weakens Pacific Ocean trade winds.