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E.g., 04/19/2019
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  • News

    More than a million tiny earthquakes revealed in Southern California

    In between the “big ones,” millions of tiny, undetected earthquakes rumble through the ground. Now, a new study uncovers a decade’s worth of such “hidden” quakes in Southern California, increasing the number of quakes logged in the region tenfold. Such troves of quake data could shake up what’s known about how temblors are born belowground, and how they can interact and trigger one another,...

    04/18/2019 - 14:00 Earth
  • Science Visualized

    Warm, dry winds may be straining Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf

    Turquoise pools of snowmelt on the Antarctic Peninsula, including on the Larsen C ice shelf, have recently been forming months after the continent’s peak summer melt. Bursts of warm, dry wind cascading over mountains that run along the peninsula are largely to blame, researchers report April 11 in Geophysical Research Letters. In this March 2016 satellite image, meltwater on part of Larsen C...

    04/18/2019 - 06:00 Earth, Climate, Oceans
  • News

    Tiny microplastics travel far on the wind

    Plastic pollution from Paris doesn’t necessarily stay in Paris.

    Tiny bits of plastic that originated in cities were carried by wind to a remote mountain location at least 95 kilometers away, a study finds. It’s the first demonstration that microplastics, tiny particles ranging from a few nanometers to 5 millimeters in size, can travel far through the atmosphere.

    Even more startling...

    04/15/2019 - 11:00 Climate, Pollution
  • Feature

    Climate change made the Arctic greener. Now parts of it are turning brown.

    The Chugach people of southern Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula have picked berries for generations. Tart blueberries and sweet, raspberry-like salmonberries — an Alaska favorite — are baked into pies and boiled into jams. But in the summer of 2009, the bushes stayed brown and the berries never came. 

    For three more years, harvests failed. “It hit the communities very hard,” says Nathan Lojewski...

    04/11/2019 - 07:00 Climate, Ecosystems, Plants
  • News

    Antarctica’s iceberg graveyard could reveal the ice sheet’s future

    Just beyond the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula lies an iceberg graveyard. 

    There, in the Scotia Sea, many of the icebergs escaping from Antarctica begin to melt, depositing sediment from the continent that had been trapped in the ice onto the seafloor. Now, a team of researchers has embarked on a two-month expedition to excavate the deposited debris, hoping to discover secrets from the...

    04/09/2019 - 09:00 Climate, Oceans, Earth
  • News

    How deadly, fast-moving flows of volcanic rock and gas cheat friction

    Dumping literal tons of hot volcanic material down a lab flume may finally have revealed how searing mixtures of hot gas and rock travel so far from volcanic eruptions.

    These pyroclastic flows can travel tens to hundreds of kilometers over rough terrain and even uphill (SN: 7/7/18, p. 32). Despite being made of gritty volcanic rock, “they seem to have as much friction with the ground as...

    04/08/2019 - 11:00 Earth, Physics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers seek answers to stories about shingles, Neandertal spears and more

    Life after shingles

    In “With its burning grip, shingles can do lasting damage” (SN: 3/2/19, p. 22), Aimee Cunningham described the experience of Nora Fox, a woman whose bout with shingles nearly 15 years ago left her with a painful condition called postherpetic neuralgia. Fox hadn’t found any reliable treatments, Cunningham reported.

    Fox praised Science News for our portrayal of...

    04/07/2019 - 07:00 Health, Anthropology, Earth
  • News

    A major crop pest can make tomato plants lie to their neighbors

    Don’t blame the tomato. Tiny pests called silverleaf whiteflies can make a tomato plant spread deceptive scents that leave its neighbors vulnerable to attach.

    Sap-sucking Bemisia tabaci, an invasive menace to a wide range of crops, are definitely insects. Yet when they attack a tomato plant, prompting a silent shriek of scents, the plant starts smelling as if bacteria or fungi have...

    04/04/2019 - 06:00 Plants, Animals, Agriculture
  • News in Brief

    One Antarctic ice shelf gets half its annual snowfall in just 10 days

    Just a few powerful storms in Antarctica can have an outsized effect on how much snow parts of the southernmost continent get. Those ephemeral storms, preserved in ice cores, might give a skewed view of how quickly the continent’s ice sheet has grown or shrunk over time.

    Relatively rare extreme precipitation events are responsible for more than 40 percent of the total annual snowfall...

    03/29/2019 - 07:00 Climate
  • News

    Chytrid’s frog-killing toll has been tallied — and it’s bad

    A skin fungus that has plagued frogs and toads worldwide now holds the title of being the world’s worst invasive killer, displacing cats and rodents. 

    The first global tally of the toll caused by a chytrid infection shows that it’s responsible for population declines in at least 500 amphibian species, including 90 presumed extinctions. And that’s a conservative estimate, scientists say....

    03/28/2019 - 14:00 Animals, Ecosystems