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  • News

    ‘Fossil’ groundwater is not immune to modern-day pollution

    Groundwater that has lingered in Earth’s depths for more than 12,000 years is surprisingly vulnerable to modern pollution from human activities. Once in place, that pollution could stick around for thousands of years, researchers report online April 25 in Nature Geoscience. Scientists previously assumed such deep waters were largely immune to contamination from the surface.

    “We can’t...

    04/25/2017 - 16:12 Sustainability, Pollution, Earth
  • 50 Years Ago

    50 years ago, continental drift began to gain acceptance

    Drifting theories shake up geology

    Continental drift, a theory often considered amusing but rarely important, seems about to become the focus of a revolution in geology. At the least, it has already split the geological community into those who find the evidence for it “formidable” and those who think it is not yet formidable enough to constitute a proof. — Science News, April 29, 1967...

    04/20/2017 - 09:00 Earth
  • News

    Plot twist in methane mystery blames chemistry, not emissions, for recent rise

    A recent upsurge in planet-warming methane may not be caused by increasing emissions, as previously thought, but by methane lingering longer in the atmosphere.

    That’s the conclusion of two independent studies that indirectly tracked concentrations of hydroxyl, a highly reactive chemical that rips methane molecules apart. Hydroxyl levels in the atmosphere decreased roughly 7 or 8 percent...

    04/20/2017 - 08:00 Climate, Pollution, Chemistry
  • Science Ticker

    The Arctic is a final garbage dump for ocean plastic

    The Arctic Ocean is a final resting place for plastic debris dumped into the North Atlantic Ocean, new research suggests.

    A 2013 circumpolar expedition discovered hundreds of tons of plastic debris, from fishing lines to plastic films, ecologist Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain and colleagues report April 19 in Science Advances. While many areas remain relatively...

    04/19/2017 - 14:10 Oceans, Pollution
  • Say What?

    ‘River piracy’ on a high glacier lets one waterway rob another

    River piracy\RIV-er PAHY-ruh-see \ n.

    The diversion of headwaters from one stream into another

    Ahoy! There be liquid booty on the move in the high mountains. Since May 2016, a channel carved through one of northwestern Canada’s largest glaciers has allowed one river to pillage water from another, new observations reveal. This phenomenon, almost certainly the result of climate change, is...

    04/17/2017 - 11:00 Earth, Climate
  • News

    More than one ocean motion determines tsunami size

    Earthquake-powered shifts along the seafloor that push water forward, not just up, could help supersize tsunamis.

    By combining laboratory experiments, computer simulations and real-world observations, researchers discovered that the horizontal movement of sloped seafloor during an underwater earthquake can give tsunamis a critical boost. Scientists previously assumed that vertical...

    04/14/2017 - 07:00 Oceans, Earth
  • News

    New tech harvests drinking water from (relatively) dry air using only sunlight

    A new device the size of a coffee mug can generate drinkable water from desert air using nothing but sunlight.

    “With this device, you can harvest the equivalent of a Coke can’s worth of water in an hour,” says cocreator Omar Yaghi, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley. “That’s about how much water a person needs to survive in the desert.”

    Though that may not sound...

    04/13/2017 - 14:00 Chemistry, Sustainability, Materials, Science & Society
  • Introducing

    New worm-snail is a super slimer

    A new species of worm-snail is rather snotty. Thylacodes vandyensis shoots out strands of mucus that tangle together, building a spiderweb-like trap for plankton and other floating snacks, researchers report April 5 in PeerJ.

    Other worm-snails use this hunting technique, but T. vandyensis stands out because of the “copious amounts of mucus” it ejects, says coauthor Rüdiger Bieler. This...

    04/13/2017 - 10:30 Animals, Ecology, Oceans
  • Science Ticker

    Volcanic eruptions nearly snuffed out Gentoo penguin colony

    Penguins have been pooping on Ardley Island off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula for a long, long time. The population there is one of the biggest and oldest Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) colonies. But evidence from ancient excrement suggests that these animals didn’t always flourish.

    The Gentoo colony on Ardley Island continues to grow in comparison to other Antarctic penguin...

    04/12/2017 - 14:00 Ecology, Animals, Earth
  • Science Ticker

    The Great Barrier Reef is experiencing a major coral bleaching event right now

    A severe coral bleaching event spurred by high ocean temperatures has struck the Great Barrier Reef for an unprecedented second time in 12 months, reveal aerial surveys released April 10 by scientists at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. While last year the northern third of the reef was hardest hit, this time around the reef’s midsection experienced the worst bleaching. The two...

    04/11/2017 - 15:45 Climate, Oceans, Ecosystems