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Science News Staff

Science Ticker

Science Ticker

Surface spills near fracking sites implicated in water contamination

DRILL AND SPILL  Accidental chemical spills at fracking sites in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale (one site shown above) may be the source of trace contaminations in nearby groundwater wells.  

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Chemicals used in fossil fuel extraction appear to be creeping into drinking water from above.

In private wells near hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” sites in northeastern Pennsylvania, researchers identified trace amounts of chemicals similar to those found in gasoline and diesel. Fluids pumped into the ground during fracking contain similar compounds.

The type and proportions of the chemicals in the water samples indicate that the compounds came from aboveground, rather than from underground leaks from deep shale formations, faulty equipment, nearby oil wells or waste storage ponds. Accidental spills of fracking fluids at the surface are probably the source of this contamination, the scientists report October 12 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Animals,, Climate

Jumping conchs triumph at overheated athletics

By Susan Milius 8:32am, October 9, 2015
“Simple” circulatory system outdoes fancier ones in delivering oxygen for jumping conchs in simulated climate change conditions.
Oceans,, Animals,, Ecosystems

Widespread coral bleaching threatens world’s reefs

By Teresa Shipley Feldhausen 4:57pm, October 8, 2015
The world’s corals are experiencing their third major bleaching event in 17 years.
Planetary Science

Ancient Mars had long-lasting lakes of liquid water

By Thomas Sumner 2:00pm, October 8, 2015
New evidence gathered by NASA’s Curiosity rover suggests Gale Crater once contained a stable lake of liquid water.
Animals,, Evolution

Fish have had telescoping jaws for 100 million years

By Sarah Schwartz 12:45pm, October 8, 2015
Around 100 million years ago, fish developed a knack for extending their jaws to snare prey, and they’ve been perfecting this hunting technique ever since.
Health,, Neuroscience

Weight and sun exposure linked to onset of multiple sclerosis

By Sarah Schwartz 4:20pm, October 7, 2015
Among people with multiple sclerosis, those with higher body mass and lower adolescent sun exposure tended to be diagnosed with the disease at an earlier age, a new study suggests.
Genetics,, Chemistry,, Cancer

Chemistry Nobel honors studies of DNA repair mechanisms

By Sarah Schwartz 7:14am, October 7, 2015
Studies of DNA’s repair mechanisms have won Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Particle Physics,, Cosmology

Discovery of neutrino mass earns 2015 physics Nobel

By Andrew Grant 6:41am, October 6, 2015
The discovery that subatomic particles called neutrinos have mass has won Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo and Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics.
Plants,, Animals,, Biophysics

Raindrops help pitcher plants trap dinner

By Sarah Schwartz 3:00pm, October 5, 2015
Pitcher plants use the force of falling raindrops to fling prey into their traps.
Plants,, Animals

Stinky seeds dupe dung beetles

By Sarah Schwartz 11:00am, October 5, 2015
Seeds that look and smell like animal poop can trick dung beetles into spreading and burying the seeds.
Health,, Biomedicine

Therapies against roundworm, malaria parasites win medicine Nobel

By Tina Hesman Saey 6:16am, October 5, 2015
The 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology was awarded to Youyou Tu for her work in counteracting malaria, and to William Campbell and Satoshi Omura for work on treatments against roundworm parasites.
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