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  • Editor's Note

    The trouble with water, be it too much or too little

    A year ago, while news reports focused on the inundation of Houston by Hurricane Harvey, much of the Indian city of Mumbai was also underwater. Both coastal cities, more than 14,000 kilometers apart, had been swamped by extreme rainfall. Deputy news editor Katy Daigle, who had reported from India for seven years for the Associated Press before joining Science News, knew that flooding...
    08/09/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Climate, Earth
  • News

    Global dimming may mitigate warming, but could hurt crop yields

    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-...

    08/08/2018 - 13:32 Earth, Climate
  • News

    Rare blue diamonds are born deep in Earth’s mantle

    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...

    08/01/2018 - 13:00 Earth
  • News in Brief

    The giant iceberg that broke from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf is stuck

    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...

    07/23/2018 - 07:00 Earth, Oceans, Ecology
  • Say What?

    You’re living in a new geologic age. It’s called the Meghalayan

    Meghalayan\mehg-a-LAY-an \ n.

    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...

    07/20/2018 - 07:00 Earth, Climate, Anthropology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ask about proton pressure, wearable tech and more

    Pressure gauge

    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 “...

    07/11/2018 - 07:15 Particle Physics, Technology, Earth
  • News

    Kilauea’s spectacular pyrotechnics show no signs of stopping

    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’...

    07/06/2018 - 10:46 Earth
  • Science Stats

    Earth’s rivers cover 44 percent more land than we thought

    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...

    06/28/2018 - 14:00 Earth, Climate
  • News

    Mars got its crust quickly

    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...

    06/27/2018 - 13:00 Planetary Science, Earth
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ponder geothermal power and more

    What lies beneath

    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...

    06/27/2018 - 07:15 Genetics, Earth, Animals