Freshwater is crucial for drinking, washing, growing food, producing energy and just about every other aspect of modern life. Yet more than 2 billion of Earth’s 7.6 billion inhabitants lack clean drinking water at home, available on demand.
A major United Nations report, released in June, shows that the world is not on track to meet a U.N. goal: to bring safe water and sanitation to...
In the 20th century, ocean levels rose by a global average of about 14 centimeters, mainly due to melting ice and warming waters. Some coastal areas saw more sea level rise than others. Here’s why:Expanding seawater
As water heats up, its molecules take up more space, contributing to global sea level rise. Local weather systems can influence that effect. In 2017 scientists reported in...
Shading Earth by adding a veil of particles to the upper atmosphere may help to offset global warming — but at a cost.
Crop yields could decline, as they did following two colossal volcanic eruptions that shot sunlight-blocking sulfur particles high above the cloud layer and into the planet’s stratosphere, researchers report online August 8 in Nature. The study is the first to use real-...
Blue diamonds, among the rarest gems on Earth, are born deep inside the planet’s mantle. Yet their blue hue comes from boron, an element far more abundant in Earth’s crust than its mantle. Using tiny flaws encased within the diamonds, scientists now think they’ve figured out how boron could have ended up at depths where the diamonds form: Subducting ocean plates carried the boron deep into...
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...