Thomas Sumner

All Stories by Thomas Sumner

  1. Earth

    Early life probably fell victim to massive space rocks

    Planet-sterilizing impacts probably snuffed out early life on Earth until around 4.3 billion years ago.

  2. Earth

    Merging magma can set off supervolcanoes in less than 10,000 years

    The reconstruction of a massive eruption 4.5 million years ago near Yellowstone National Park suggests that magma chambers merging together beneath a supervolcano can trigger explosions in less than 10,000 years.

  3. Earth

    Wonders of the northern lights

    An Icelandic aurora catches a photographer’s eye and a contest prize.

  4. Earth

    Sandstone structures form without cement

    Lasting sandstone structures form when weighed-down sand locks into stable formations, researchers find in laboratory experiment.

  5. Climate

    Cell phone towers monitor African rains

    Scientists used cell phone towers to monitor African rains, a method that could track weather in regions without robust meteorological infrastructure.

  6. Physics

    Diamonds under pressure impersonate exoplanet cores

    Scientists use lasers at the National Ignition Facility to squeeze diamonds to the extreme pressures found inside massive exoplanets.

  7. Oceans

    Saharan dust explains Bahamas’ paradoxical existence

    Windswept dust from the Sahara Desert may fertilize bacteria that built the Bahamas.

  8. Earth

    Gravity variations foretell flood risk months in advance

    Tiny gravitational tugs from saturated river basins allow NASA satellites to forecast flood risk.

  9. Paleontology

    Flightless dino-bird wore full-body feathers

    Recently unearthed Archaeopteryx fossil sports full coat of feathers, suggesting feather evolution was more complex than previously thought.