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E.g., 08/19/2019
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  • Science Visualized

    Night-shining ‘noctilucent’ clouds have crept south this summer

    High in the sky, sunlit wisps remain aglow even after sundown. This summer, a surprising number of such noctilucent, or “night-shining,” clouds have been spotted in the Northern Hemisphere — and, unusually, as far south as Oklahoma and New Mexico, scientists report.

    These clouds typically float in the mesosphere about 80 kilometers above Earth’s surface, and are visible at high latitudes...

    07/16/2019 - 10:00 Earth, Climate, Planetary Science
  • News

    3 questions seismologists are asking after the California earthquakes

    A week after two large earthquakes rattled southern California, scientists are scrambling to understand the sequence of events that led to the temblors and what it might tell us about future quakes.

    A magnitude 6.4 quake struck July 4 near Ridgecrest — about 194 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles — followed by a magnitude 7.1 quake in the same region on July 5. Both quakes occurred not...

    07/12/2019 - 06:00 Earth
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers wanted to know about asteroids, lithium batteries and more

    Heat keepers

    Long ago, molten iron could have erupted from metal asteroids in a process scientists refer to as ferrovolcanism, Lisa Grossman reported in “Metal asteroids may have once had iron-spewing volcanoes (SN: 5/11/19 & 5/25/19, p. 5). 

    “In the cold vastness of space, how long are these rocks expected to keep their thermal energy?” asked online reader Bronze Condor.

    ...

    07/06/2019 - 06:15 Planetary Science, Earth, Neuroscience
  • News

    Is a long-dormant Russian volcano waking up? It’s complicated

    Seismic rumbles beneath a long-dormant volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula could herald an imminent eruption, a team of scientists says. But other researchers say that the observed seismic activity could be related to already erupting volcanoes in the region.

    Fewer than 10,500 people live within 100 kilometers of the volcano, called Bolshaya Udina, making a catastrophic eruption that...

    06/17/2019 - 06:00 Earth
  • News

    Soil eroded by glaciers may have kick-started plate tectonics

    Vast amounts of sediment eroded from Earth’s continents were necessary to lubricate the wheel of plate tectonics, scientists propose. The idea offers a new angle on long-standing riddles about the origin and evolution of the planet’s global surface recycling system, one that is unique in the solar system.

    Earth’s interior holds a lot of heat, even 4.6 billion years after the planet’s...

    06/05/2019 - 13:36 Earth
  • Feature

    The Southern Ocean may be less of a carbon sink than we thought

    The vast stretch of icy water that separates Antarctica from other continents is a dark mystery to most people. Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, one of the few who have been to the Southern Ocean, regarded its storm-wracked seas with fear and awe. After ice floes trapped and crushed the three-masted Endurance in 1915, Shackleton made an epic rescue attempt, sailing 1,300 kilometers to bring...

    06/02/2019 - 06:00 Climate, Earth, Oceans
  • News in Brief

    This iconic Humboldt map may need crucial updates

    An influential diagram of plants growing on the slopes of some Andes Mountains needs an update, scientists say. Created 212 years ago by German explorer Alexander von Humboldt, the Tableau Physique is still used to study how plant ranges have shifted due to climate change.

    But the original diagram contains some big errors — including that some of the highest-altitude plants described as...

    05/27/2019 - 15:00 Earth, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Only a third of Earth’s longest rivers still run free

    Free-flowing rivers are an endangered species on Earth. Only about a third of the world’s longest rivers still flow freely along their entire lengths, unchained by dams or reservoirs, scientists report in the May 9 Nature.

    The study is the first global map of river “connectivity,” the ability of river water to move freely downstream, across floodplains and into and out of aquifers...

    05/10/2019 - 07:00 Earth, Climate
  • Feature

    The search for new geologic sources of lithium could power a clean future

    The future of lithium is electrifying. Cars and trucks powered by lithium batteries rather than fossil fuels are, to many people, the future of transportation. Rechargeable lithium batteries are also crucial for storing energy produced by solar and wind power, clean energy sources that are a beacon of hope for a world worried about the rapidly changing global climate.

    Prospecting for new...

    05/07/2019 - 14:09 Earth, Technology, Sustainability
  • News

    A belly full of wriggling worms makes wood beetles better recyclers

    Having hundreds of roundworms living inside your abdomen may seem like a bad thing. But for horned passalus beetles, hosting wriggly nematode larvae may benefit them and the eastern U.S. forests they live in.

    Beetles that harbor Chondronema passali larvae eat more rotting wood than beetles without the larvae, researchers report May 1 in Biology Letters. That increased decomposition could...

    05/07/2019 - 07:00 Earth, Ecology, Animals