Spring brings blooms, and not just on land. Warmer waters spur growth of a tiny ocean-dwelling bacteria. More than 10 years of data collected at an unusually high-tech ocean observatory reveal that the speedy growth of the phytoplankton Synechococcus is driven by an uptick in temperature. As spring’s warmth comes earlier, so does the phytoplankton’s annual growth spurt, resulting in a shift in...
A titanic volcano stopped a mega-sized earthquake in its tracks.
In April, pent-up stress along the Futagawa-Hinagu Fault Zone in Japan began to unleash a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. The rupture traveled about 30 kilometers along the fault until it reached Mount Aso, one of Earth’s largest active volcanoes. That’s where the quake met its demise, geophysicist Aiming Lin of Kyoto University...
Coral reefs are bustling cities beneath tropical, sunlit waves. Thousands of colorful creatures click, dash and dart, as loud and fast-paced as citizens of any metropolis.
Built up in tissue-thin layers over millennia, corals are the high-rise apartments of underwater Gotham. Calcium carbonate skeletons represent generations of tiny invertebrate animals, covered in a living layer of...
Two electrifying light shows were much more than flashes in the pan. A 2007 thunderstorm over Oklahoma produced a lightning flash that stretched more than 321 kilometers horizontally — roughly the distance from Washington, D.C., to New York City. In southern France in 2012, a single lightning flash lit up the sky nonstop for 7.74 seconds, enough time for light to make about three round trips...
News in Brief
Deep-sea viruses aren’t just dealers of disease; they’re crucial players in Earth’s nutrient cycles. In marine sediments, virus assassinations of single-celled life-forms called archaea play a much larger role in carbon and other chemical cycles than previously thought, new research suggests. For instance, those microbial murders release as much as 500 million metric tons of carbon annually...
50 Years Ago
Noise Menace Threatens Man — Noise, forever bombarding urban and suburban man, is becoming an increasing menace to his psychological and physical well-being. Little cars with oversized engines, enormous trucks, sirens, construction projects and jet planes are exacting high prices in frazzled nerves, fatigue and poor hearing. — Science News, October 15, 1966UPDATE
Concerns about sounds...
News in Brief
ORLANDO, Fla. — Here’s another reason not to love car exhaust: The fumes may make it harder for honeybees to learn floral scents.
In lab tests, bees normally caught on quickly that a puff of floral scent meant a researcher would soon offer them a taste of sugar, Ryan James Leonard of the University of Sydney said September 30 at the International Congress of Entomology. After two...
Two stretches of ocean about 210 kilometers southeast of Cape Cod have become the Atlantic Ocean’s first U.S. marine national monument.
The 12,725-square-kilometer area is called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The new designation is intended to help protect the region’s fragile deep-sea ecosystem, which includes whales, sea turtles and...
Mysterious earthquakes rattle deep beneath Southern California.
The tiny quakes originate from tens of kilometers below ground along the Newport-Inglewood Fault near Long Beach, Calif., seismologists report in the Oct. 7 Science. Rocks at that depth should be too hot and malleable to snag and break — a key mechanism behind earthquakes. Some unknown process must be at play in the roots of...
Some discoveries originate in failures. Lab failures, of course, can lead to serendipitous findings. Observations that fail to meet your expectations create space for a new idea to take hold. Imperfections — small failures — may tell volumes about how something was made or what it is made of. Exposing flaws in a theory inches scientists closer to a better one. Failure forces us to ask hard...