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  • News

    Volcanic activity convicted in Permian extinction

    The biggest catastrophe in the history of life on Earth resulted from one of the most titanic volcanic outpourings on record, new research concludes.

    At the close of the Permian period around 252 million years ago, more than 90 percent of all marine species and roughly 75 percent of all land species vanished. New high-precision analysis of ancient lavas determines this extinction...

    08/28/2015 - 14:00 Earth, Paleontology
  • News

    Hurricane’s tiny earthquakes could help forecasters

    As Sandy raged, the ground trembled.

    Rumbles picked up by seismometers during Hurricane Sandy’s trip up the U.S. East Coast in 2012 originated from the storm’s eye, seismologists report in a paper to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Letters: Solid Earth. Listening for these rumbles...

    08/25/2015 - 08:00 Climate, Earth, Oceans
  • Reviews & Previews

    A naturalist recounts birds’ lives in the Scottish Highlands

    book jacketGods of the Morning
    John Lister-Kaye
    Pegasus, $26.95

    Good nature writing can take a landscape filled with strange species...

    08/23/2015 - 09:00 Animals, Conservation, Ecosystems
  • News

    Katrina’s legacy: Refining hurricane forecasting

    Ten years ago, the sea and sky rallied to unleash one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. During the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the most active season on record, 27 named storms —from Arlene to Zeta — swirled into existence. By far the most destructive was Hurricane Katrina.

    Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and caused an unprecedented $108 billion in damage from the...

    08/23/2015 - 05:30 Climate, Oceans
  • Introducing

    Millions of dollars’ worth of gold and silver found beneath volcanoes

    There’s gold in them thar volcanoes. Geoscientists have uncovered a mother lode of gold- and silver-enriched water in reservoirs inside a series of New Zealand volcanoes.

    A shallow glob of magma heats water in the Taupo Volcanic Zone from below. The scalding water breaks down nearby rock and becomes loaded with dissolved metals such as gold and silver.

    While subsurface rocks...

    08/21/2015 - 12:03 Earth
  • Science Stats

    Carbon cuts could save U.S. farmers billions of dollars

    U.S. agriculture could reap big benefits from curbed carbon emissions. Such cuts would reduce the frequency and severity of future crop-parching droughts, saving American farmers billions of dollars annually by 2100, researchers calculate in the July issue of Weather, Climate and Society.

    Calculating how changes in...

    08/17/2015 - 07:00 Climate, Agriculture
  • News

    Bacteria in flowers may boost honeybees’ healthy gut microbes

    Honeybees were into probiotics way before they were cool, a new study suggests.

    The hipster insects serve up beneficial bacteria that may help baby bees develop a healthy blend of gut microbes, researchers report online August 7 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Without those thriving gut...

    08/16/2015 - 07:00 Microbes, Animals, Toxicology
  • News

    Nepal quake’s biggest shakes relatively spread out

    The April 25 Nepal earthquake killed more than 8,000 people and caused several billion dollars in damage, but new research suggests the toll could have been a lot worse.

    GPS readings taken during the quake indicate that most of the tremors vibrated through the ground as long shakes rather than quick pulses. That largely spared the low-lying buildings that make up much of Nepal’s capital...

    08/06/2015 - 14:00 Earth
  • Science Ticker

    LED lights make moths easy targets for bats

    Energy-saving LED street lights are environmentally friendly, but they may not be moth-friendly. When lit by an LED's glow, the insects are less likely to perform dramatic dives to escape hungry bats, a new study shows.

    Researchers at the University of Bristol in England played recordings of bat hunting calls to unsuspecting wild moths. In the dark, 60 percent of moths dove toward the...

    08/04/2015 - 19:05 Animals, Ecosystems
  • News

    Ocean current simulations could narrow Flight 370 search

    A washed-up wing fragment near Madagascar could help narrow the search area for the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crash site, new ocean current simulations suggest.

    Leads have been few and far between since Flight 370 vanished over the South China Sea in March 2014. On July 29, searchers got a potential break. A roughly 2-meter-long section of a Boeing 777 wing, the same type of aircraft...

    08/04/2015 - 15:50 Oceans, Science & Society