News in Brief
Curl the fingers of your left hand over your palm and stick out your thumb like a hitchhiker. Now, you have a rough map of Antarctica — with the inside of your thumb playing the part of the Larsen C ice shelf, says glaciologist Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.
About a year ago, a massive iceberg roughly the size of Delaware broke off from that ice...
Meghalayan\mehg-a-LAY-an \ n.07/20/2018 - 07:00 Earth, Climate, Anthropology
The newly named current geologic age that started 4,200 years ago.
Welcome to the Meghalayan, our geologic here and now. It’s one of three newly designated ages divvying up the Holocene Epoch, a geologic time period kicked off 11,700 years ago by the end of the Ice Age.
First came a warming period, now dubbed the Greenlandian Age. Then, about 8,300...
Letters to the Editor
Pressure gauge07/11/2018 - 07:15 Particle Physics, Technology, Earth
The pressure inside a proton is the highest of any known substance, Emily Conover reported in “The inside of a proton endures more pressure than anything else we’ve seen” (SN: 6/9/18, p. 10).
“I don’t think it’s valid to think of pressure on a quantum level the same way we do classically,” Reddit user phazer6 wrote. Pressure relates to collections of particles, but “...
July 4th fireworks have nothing on Kilauea.
As the Hawaiian volcano’s latest outburst enters its third month, scientists are still watching Kilauea 24/7. Such constant monitoring not only provides danger warnings aimed at keeping those nearby safe, but it also offers remote viewers the rare opportunity to observe the evolution of an eruption in real time.
As magma within Kilauea’...
All of the world’s rivers and streams together cover more area than the U.S. state of Texas.
A new estimate based on global satellite images shows that these waterways squiggle their way across about 773,000 square kilometers of land — or just over half a percent of Earth’s nonglaciated land surface. That’s roughly 44 percent more than previously estimated, researchers report online June...
Mars was a fully formed planet — crust and all — within just 20 million years of the solar system’s birth. That rapid formation means the Red Planet probably got a 100-million-year jump on Earth in terms of habitability, new research suggests.
Geochemical analyses of crystals of the mineral zircon extracted from Martian meteorites reveal that Mars had formed its earliest crust by 4.547...
Letters to the Editor
What lies beneath06/27/2018 - 07:15 Genetics, Earth, Animals
Liquid pumped into the ground to generate geothermal power may have triggered a large earthquake that shook part of South Korea last November, Carolyn Gramling reported in “Pumping water underground for power may have triggered South Korean quake” (SN: 5/26/18, p. 8).
Reader Elizabeth McDowell asked if there may be a link between geothermal power generation at a...
Around 13,000 years ago, Earth was emerging from its last great ice age. The vast frozen sheets that had covered much of North America, Europe and Asia for thousands of years were retreating. Giant mammals — steppe bison, woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats — grazed or hunted across tundra and grasslands. A Paleo-Indian group of hunter-gatherers who eventually gave rise to the Clovis people...
Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano has a deep and distinct voice. Between late 2015 and early 2016, Cotopaxi repeated an unusual pattern of low-frequency sounds that researchers now say is linked to the unique geometry of the interior of its crater. Identifying the distinct “voiceprint” of various volcanoes could help scientists better anticipate changes within the craters, including those that...
The global network of seafloor cables may be good for more than ferrying digital communication between continents. These fiber-optic cables could also serve as underwater earthquake detectors, researchers report online June 14 in Science.
“It’s a very exciting proposition,” says Barbara Romanowicz, a seismologist at the University of California, Berkeley and the Collège de France in...