Science has a way of surprising us when we least expect it. Like with mud rocks.03/22/2018 - 10:19 Science & Society, Earth, Plants
We science journalists can be a cranky lot, eternally skeptical as to whether a touted advance is really significant enough to warrant coverage. So when Science News’ managing editor Erin Wayman waxed enthusiastic about a study explaining how ancient plants may have played a key role in making Earth...
Earthquake warning systems face a tough trade-off: To give enough time to take cover or shut down emergency systems, alerts may need to go out before it’s clear how strong the quake will be. And that raises the risk of false alarms, undermining confidence in any warning system.
A new study aims to quantify the best-case scenario for warning time from a hypothetical earthquake early...
A new analysis is shedding light on drought in Mongolia, both past and future.
By studying the rings of semifossilized trees, researchers constructed a climate history for the semiarid Asian nation spanning the last 2,060 years — going 1,000 years further back than previous studies.
It was suspected that a harsh drought from about 2000 to 2010 that killed tens of thousands of...
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“The strangest place in the whole universe might just be right here.” So says actor Will Smith, narrating the opening moments of a new documentary series about the wonderful unlikeliness of our own planet, Earth.
One Strange Rock, premiering March 26 on the National Geographic Channel, is itself a peculiar and unlikely creation. Executive produced by Academy Award–...
Deep within the hot interior of the planet, ice lurks. Now, a form of super-compact ice, found embedded in diamonds, offers the first direct clue that there is abundant water more than 610 kilometers deep in the mantle.
This ice, identified by its crystal structure and called ice-VII, doesn’t exist at Earth’s surface. It forms only at pressures greater than about 24 gigapascals —...
A complex coral reef full of nooks and crannies is a coastline’s best defense against large ocean waves. But coral die-offs over the next century could allow taller waves to penetrate the corals’ defenses, simulations suggest. A new study finds that at some Pacific Island sites, waves reaching the shore could be more than twice as high as today’s by 2100.
The rough, complex structures of...
Thick sea ice has thwarted researchers’ plans to explore what creatures lived beneath an Antarctic ice shelf. A mission to study seafloor life suddenly exposed by the breaking away of the Larsen C iceberg last July was delayed as it tried to navigate through floating ice, some chunks as thick as 5 meters. With 400 kilometers still to go, the captain of the vessel, the RRS James Clark Ross,...
Early plants made Earth muddier. Ancient riverbed deposits of mud rock — rocks containing bits of clay and silt smaller than grains of sand — began increasing around 458 million years ago, around the time that rootless plants became common across Earth, researchers say.
Anecdotally, geologists have long noted that early sediment deposits became muddier at some point, and suggested a...
Fishing has left a hefty footprint on Earth. Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the planet’s surface, and industrial fishing occurred across 55 percent of that ocean area in 2016, researchers report in the Feb. 23 Science. In comparison, only 34 percent of Earth’s land area is used for agriculture or grazing.
Previous efforts to quantify global fishing have relied on a hodgepodge of...
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PORTLAND, Ore. — Native American fishermen in Alaska have long said that seal pups go with the wind rather than struggle against it. Now, a new study confirms that wisdom. Migrating northern fur seal pups travel hundreds of kilometers farther in blustery years than in milder years, researchers reported February 14 at the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences meeting. Those epic journeys...