Earth Science News -- ScienceDaily

Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.

12/08/2017 04:35 PM
Marine mammal beachings not likely due to space weather
After a collaboration between NASA scientists and marine biologists, new research rules out space weather as a primary cause of animal beachings.

12/07/2017 02:50 PM
Life under the surface in live broadcast
Researchers have invented new systems to study the life of microorganisms in the ground. Without any digging, the researchers are able use microchips to see and analyze an invisible world that is filled with more species than any other ecosystem.

12/07/2017 02:50 PM
Forests are the key to fresh water
Freshwater resources are critical to both human civilization and natural ecosystems, but researchers have discovered that changes to ground vegetation can have as much of an impact on global water resources as climate change.

12/06/2017 10:42 PM
Dust play significant role fertilizing mountain plants
Researchers found foreign dust likely fertilizes plants in many locations worldwide.

12/06/2017 06:22 PM
Living on thin air -- microbe mystery solved
Scientists have discovered that microbes in Antarctica have a previously unknown ability to scavenge hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from the air to stay alive in the extreme conditions. The find has implications for the search for life on other planets, suggesting extraterrestrial microbes could also rely on trace atmospheric gases for survival.

12/06/2017 05:25 PM
Unearthing the underground effects of earthquakes and volcanoes
Researchers analyzed high-resolution seismic velocity data from 36 seismograph stations across the island of Kyushu to identify variations before, during, and after the MW 7.0 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. Velocity decreased in the region of the rupture fault when the earthquake struck, and then gradually recovered, although this recovery showed spatial variability. This variability corresponded to aftershock concentration and volcanic activity. The findings may be useful for disaster prediction and preparedness.

12/06/2017 05:25 PM
Head start through human intervention: Study on the spread of European plant species on other continents
A new study has investigated the spread of European plant species on other continents.

12/06/2017 02:07 PM
Discovery about rare nitrogen molecules offers clues to makeup of life-supporting planets
A new study on atmospheric nitrogen provides a clue about what geochemical signatures of other planets might look like, especially if they are capable of supporting life as we know it.

12/05/2017 07:26 PM
Amazon floodplain trees emit as much methane as all Earth’s oceans combined
New research solves mystery of missing methane source in the Amazon Rainforest.

12/05/2017 03:42 PM
Meteorite analysis shows reduced salt is key in Earth's new recipe
Scientists have found the halogen levels in the meteorites that formed the Earth billions of years ago are much lower than previously thought.

12/05/2017 02:36 PM
Dark fiber: Using sensors beneath our feet to tell us about earthquakes, water, and other geophysical data
Scientists have shown for the first time that dark fiber -- the vast network of unused fiber-optic cables installed throughout the country and the world -- can be used as sensors for detecting earthquakes, the presence of groundwater, changes in permafrost conditions, and a variety of other subsurface activity.

12/05/2017 02:21 PM
Future arctic sea ice loss could dry out California
Arctic sea ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next few decades could impact California's rainfall and exacerbate future droughts, according to new research.

12/04/2017 09:23 PM
Trickle-down is the solution (to the planetary core formation problem)
Scientists have long pondered how rocky bodies in the solar system -- including our own Earth -- got their metal cores. According to new research, evidence points to the downwards percolation of molten metal toward the center of the planet through tiny channels between grains of rock.

12/04/2017 04:29 PM
Understanding the climate impact of natural atmospheric particles
Scientists have quantified the relationship between natural sources of particles in the atmosphere and climate change. Their research shows that the cooling effect of natural atmospheric particles is greater during warmer years and could therefore slightly reduce the amount that temperatures rise as a result of climate change.

12/04/2017 04:29 PM
Invasive plants have unprecedented ability to pioneer new continents and climates
It's no secret that globalization, aided by climate change, is helping invasive species gain a foothold across the planet. What came as something of a surprise to researchers was just how mutable these invaders are.

12/04/2017 02:18 PM
Earthquakes in the Himalaya are bigger than in the Alps because tectonic plates collide faster
Earthquakes that happen in densely populated mountainous regions, such as the Himalaya, spell bigger earthquakes because of a fast tectonic-plate collision, according to a new study.

12/04/2017 02:12 PM
New gene-based model suggests, for microbes, it's not who you are but what you do
A new model simulates the impact of microbial activities on the chemistry in the North Atlantic and suggests that the evolution of a metabolic function rather than the evolution of an individual species shapes the ocean as we know it. It is the first model that actually predicts genes and transcription throughout the ocean.

12/01/2017 08:09 PM
From Alaska to Amazonia: First global maps of traits that drive vegetation growth
Detailed global maps of key traits in higher plants have been made available for the first time.

12/01/2017 03:40 PM
African protected area saving endangered megafauna
One of Africa's last remaining wilderness areas is in good shape and could potentially support 50,000 elephants and 1000 lions, a study has found. Niassa National Reserve is Mozambique's largest protected area and has large populations of threatened species, but it's one of the least biologically explored places on Earth.

11/30/2017 10:02 PM
Southern Ocean drives massive bloom of tiny phytoplankton
Scientists have uncovered the ocean conditions that support a massive summertime bloom of algae that spans 16 percent of the global ocean. Known as the Great Calcite Belt, this dense group of a microscopic phytoplankton, coccolithophores, can be seen in satellite images as turquoise swirls in the dark blue water of the Southern Ocean.

11/30/2017 07:10 PM
New early gravity signals to quantify the magnitude of strong earthquakes
After an earthquake, there is a disturbance in the field of gravity almost instantaneously. This could be recorded before the seismic waves. Researchers have managed to observe these weak signals and to understand where they come from. Because they are sensitive to the magnitude of earthquakes, these signals may play an important role in the early identification of the occurrence of a major earthquake.

11/30/2017 02:41 PM
Mass of warm rock rising beneath New England
Slowly but steadily, an enormous mass of warm rock is rising beneath part of New England, although a major volcanic eruption isn't likely for millions of years, a new study suggests. The research is unprecedented in its scope and challenges textbook concepts of geology.

11/30/2017 02:01 PM
Science community considers approaches to climate disinformation
Although human-caused global warming is accepted by leading scientific organization around the world, public opinion about humanity's role fails to keep pace with consensus views. Numerous Internet blogs have contributed to this 'consensus gap' by misrepresenting topics such as polar bear well-being and Arctic sea ice extent as 'keystone dominoes' for toppling scientific understanding.

11/29/2017 07:33 PM
North Texas earthquakes occurring on 'dead' faults, seismology research shows
Recent earthquakes in Texas' Fort Worth Basin - in the community of Venus and the Dallas suburb of Irving - occurred on faults not active for at least 300 million years, according to research. The research supports the assertion that recent North Texas earthquakes were induced, rather than natural. The conclusion is entirely independent of previous analyses correlating seismicity to the timing of wastewater injection practices, but corroborates those earlier findings.

11/29/2017 06:14 PM
Polar bear blogs reveal dangerous gap between climate-change facts and opinions
Climate-change discussions on social media are very influential. A new study shows that when it comes to iconic topics such as polar bears and retreating sea ice, climate blogs fall into two distinct camps. With little or no overlap between deniers and the available scientific facts.

11/29/2017 05:02 PM
Eruption clues: Researchers create snapshot of volcano plumbing
Researchers have studied the journey of magma, or molten rock, in one of Europe's largest and most active volcanoes, Mount Etna. They applied several techniques to create a more accurate picture of the volcano's plumbing system and how quickly the magma rises to the top to cause an eruption. Their findings contribute to our understanding of how and when volcanoes erupt.

11/29/2017 05:02 PM
Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
How serious is the loss of species globally? Are material cycles in an ecosystem with few species changed? In order to find this out, the 'Jena Experiment' was established in 2002, one of the largest biodiversity experiments worldwide. Ecologists now report on two unexpected findings of the long-term study: Biodiversity influences almost half the processes in the ecosystem, and intensive grassland management does not result in higher yields than high biodiversity.

11/29/2017 03:42 PM
Traces of life on nearest exoplanets may be hidden in equatorial trap
New simulations show that the search for life on other planets may well be more difficult than previously assumed. The study indicates that unusual air flow patterns could hide atmospheric components from telescopic observations, with direct consequences for formulating the optimal strategy for searching for (oxygen-producing) life such as bacteria or plants on exoplanets.

11/29/2017 02:04 PM
Time between world-changing volcanic super-eruptions less than previously thought
After analyzing a database of geological records dated within the last 100,000 years, a team of scientists has discovered the average time between so-called volcanic super-eruptions is actually much less than previously thought.

11/29/2017 04:00 AM
Higher plant species richness may not be enough to protect ecosystems from the worst impacts of climate extremes
Studies on mild fluctuations in weather have provided support for the idea that higher biodiversity results in more stable functioning of ecosystems, but critical appraisal of the evidence from extreme event studies is lacking.

11/28/2017 06:56 PM
Geophysicists uncover new evidence for an alternative style of plate tectonics
Scientists have determined that a volcano and mountain plateau across Turkey formed not by the collision of tectonic plates, but by a massive detachment of plate material beneath Earth's surface. They propose that uplift of the Central Anatolian Plateau over 10 million years was caused by a dripping of the deep lithosphere. It first formed an above-ground basin which sprang up when the weight below broke off and sank into the depths of the mantle.

11/28/2017 02:09 PM
Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula reveals a cryptic methane-fueled ecosystem in flooded caves
In the underground rivers and flooded caves of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where Mayan lore described a fantastical underworld, scientists have found a cryptic world in its own right.

11/27/2017 08:21 PM
Decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide key to ancient climate transition
A decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels led to a fundamental shift in the behavior of the Earth's climate system around one million years ago, according to new research led by the University of Southampton.

11/27/2017 08:20 PM
Bridging the 'practice science gap' to optimize restoration projects
As restoration projects throughout the country focus on restoring natural ecosystems, researchers are looking for ways to better bridge the 'practice science gap' between practitioners and biodiversity research in an effort optimize these types of projects.

11/27/2017 08:20 PM
Less life: Limited phosphorus recycling suppressed early Earth's biosphere
The amount of biomass -- life -- in Earth's ancient oceans may have been limited due to low recycling of the key nutrient phosphorus, according to new research.

11/27/2017 05:47 PM
When magma prevents volcanic eruptions
Calderas are huge topographic depressions formed by large volcanic eruptions. They sometimes experience an inflation of their floor of up to a kilometer, caused by magma injection. This process, dubbed 'caldera resurgence,' remains one of the least understood in volcanology. Researchers now show that non-erupted magma left after the caldera-forming eruption behaves as a 'rubber sheet' that inhibits the rise of the newly injected magma.

11/27/2017 05:47 PM
Deep ocean bacteria discovered to play large role in carbon capture
Marine bacteria that live in the dark depths of the ocean play a newly discovered and significant role in the global carbon cycle, according to a new study.

11/27/2017 02:15 PM
Earthworms can reproduce in Mars soil simulant
Two young worms are the first offspring in a Mars soil experiment. A biologist found them in a Mars soil simulant that he obtained from NASA. At the start he only added adult worms. The experiments are crucial in the study that aims to determine whether people can keep themselves alive at the red planet by growing their own crops on Mars soils.

11/27/2017 02:11 PM
Scale at which Earth's mantle composition varies
Geochemists suggest that Earth's upper mantle varies in composition over kilometer-sized pockets.

11/24/2017 04:49 PM
Unique underwater stalactites
In recent years, researchers have identified a small group of stalactites that appear to have calcified underwater instead of in a dry cave. The Hells Bells in the El Zapote cave near Puerto Morelos on the Yucatán Peninsula are just such formations. Scientists have recently investigated how these bell-shaped, meter-long formations developed, assisted by bacteria and algae.

11/24/2017 01:48 PM
Earth-air heat exchanger best way to protect farm animals in livestock buildings against the effects of climate change
Without countermeasures, climate change will negatively impact animals in pig and poultry production. Beside the health and wellbeing of the animals, heat stress also affects performance and, as a result, profitability. As the animals are predominantly kept in confined livestock buildings equipped with mechanical ventilation systems, researchers examined the inlet air temperature of several air cooling systems. The best solution, they found, is the use of the earth for heat storage via an earth-air heat exchanger (EAHE). An EAHE cools in the summer, and warms up the inlet air during wintertime.

11/23/2017 02:54 PM
Climate change could increase volcano eruptions
Shrinking glacier cover could lead to increased volcanic activity in Iceland, warn scientists in a new report.

11/23/2017 02:43 PM
Ocean floor mud reveals secrets of past European climate
Samples of sediment taken from the ocean floor of the North Atlantic Ocean have given researchers an unprecedented insight into the reasons why Europe's climate has changed over the past 3,000 years.

11/22/2017 08:10 PM
By saving cost and energy, the lighting revolution may increase light pollution
Municipalities, enterprises, and households are switching to LED lights in order to save energy. But these savings might be lost if their neighbors install new or brighter lamps. Scientists fear that this 'rebound effect' might partially or totally cancel out the savings of individual lighting retrofit projects, and make skies over cities considerably brighter.

11/22/2017 06:14 PM
Mysterious deep-Earth seismic signature explained
New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. The findings could have far-reaching implications on our understanding of Earth's geologic history, including life-altering events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred 2.4 billion years ago.

11/22/2017 06:13 PM
How Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks
For the first time, a science experiment has measured Earth's ability to absorb neutrinos -- the smaller-than-an-atom particles that zoom throughout space and through us by the trillions every second at nearly the speed of light. The experiment was achieved with the IceCube detector, an array of 5,160 basketball-sized sensors frozen deep within a cubic kilometer of very clear ice near the South Pole.

11/22/2017 04:29 PM
Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles
Researchers have developed an underwater acoustic system for the localization of marine mammals, underwater vehicles and other sound sources in the ocean, using no more than a single hydrophone (basically an underwater microphone) as a receiver.

11/21/2017 05:14 PM
Water cooling for the Earth's crust
How deep can seawater penetrate through cracks and fissures into the seafloor? By applying a new analysis method, an international team of researchers has now discovered that the water can penetrate to depths of more than 10 kilometers below the seafloor. This result suggests a stronger cooling effect on the hot mantle.

11/21/2017 02:52 PM
'Brazil nut effect' helps explain how rivers resist erosion
Geophysicists have found that granular segregation helps explain the tendency of riverbeds to be lined by, or 'armored' with, a layer of relatively larger particles.

11/21/2017 02:51 PM
Scientists reveals the mystery about the origin of gold
Scientists have shed new light on the origin of gold, one of the most intriguing mysteries for humankind since ancient times.

11/20/2017 05:45 PM
Seafloor sediments appear to enhance Earthquake and Tsunami danger in Pacific Northwest
The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has all the ingredients for making powerful earthquakes -- and according to the geological record, the region is due for its next 'big one.' A new study has found that the occurrence of these big, destructive quakes and associated devastating tsunamis may be linked to compact sediments along large portions of the subduction zone.

11/20/2017 04:36 PM
One source of potent greenhouse gas pinned down
Researchers have discovered the first known methane-producing microbe that is active in an oxygen-rich environment -- a finding that suggests today's global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere.

11/20/2017 04:36 PM
Clay mineral waters Earth's mantle from the inside
The first observation of a super-hydrated phase of the clay mineral kaolinite could improve our understanding of processes leading to volcanism and affecting earthquakes. In the lab, scientists created conditions similar to those in subduction zones where an oceanic plate dives under the continental crust. Transport of water with subducting plates causes volcanic activity, according to new research.

11/20/2017 04:13 PM
Added Arctic data shows global warming didn't pause
Missing Arctic temperature data, not Mother Nature, created the seeming slowdown of global warming from 1998 to 2012, according to a new study.

11/20/2017 04:13 PM
Hydrological implications of rapid global warming
Researchers studying a rapid global warming event, around 56 million years ago, have shown evidence of major changes in the intensity of rainfall and flood events. The findings indicate some of the likely implications should current trends of rising carbon dioxide and global warming continue.

11/20/2017 04:13 PM
What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA
Ever wondered what makes a soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden?

11/20/2017 04:13 PM
Rise in oxygen levels links to ancient explosion of life, researchers find
Scientists have found that oxygen levels appear to increase by roughly 80 percent at about the same time as a three-fold increase in biodiversity during the Ordovician Period, between 445 and 485 million years ago.

11/20/2017 04:13 PM
Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests
Life on Earth might have originated from tiny organisms brought to our planet in streams of fast-moving space dust, according to a new study.

11/17/2017 07:17 PM
A sub-desert savanna spread across Madrid 14 million years ago
The current landscape of Madrid city and its vicinity was really different 14 million years ago. A semi-desert savanna has been inferred for the center of the Iberian Peninsula in the middle Miocene. This ecosystem was characterized by a very arid tropical climatic regime with up to ten months of drought per year, according to a recent paper. Scientists reached such conclusions after comparing mammal fauna with Africa and Asia ones.

11/17/2017 07:17 PM
Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war
Researchers have discovered a planetary-scale tug-of-war between life, deep Earth and the upper atmosphere that is expressed in atmospheric nitrogen.