Earth Science News -- ScienceDaily
Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.
06/28/2017 06:13 PM
The value of nature
Money may not grow on trees, but trees themselves and all that they provide have a dollar value nonetheless, say authors of a new report.
06/28/2017 02:58 PM
Predicting eruptions using satellites and math
Volcanologists are beginning to use satellite measurements and mathematical methods to forecast eruptions and to better understand how volcanoes work, shows a new article.
06/27/2017 03:54 PM
The dust storm microbiome
The airborne dust carried in sand storms affects the health of people and ecosystems alike. New research suggests that part of the effect might not be in the particles of dust but rather in bacteria that cling to them, traveling many kilometers in the air with the storms.
06/26/2017 11:05 PM
Collapse of European ice sheet caused chaos in past
Scientists have reconstructed in detail the collapse of the Eurasian ice sheet at the end of the last ice age. The big melt wreaked havoc across the European continent, driving home the original Brexit 10,000 years ago.
06/26/2017 05:45 PM
Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining will be unavoidable
Biodiversity losses from deep-sea mining are unavoidable and possibly irrevocable, an international team of scientists, economists and lawyers argue. They say the International Seabed Authority, which is responsible for regulating undersea mining in areas outside national jurisdictions, must recognize the risk and communicate it clearly to member states and the public to spur discussions as to whether deep-seabed mining should proceed, and if so, what safeguards are needed to minimize biodiversity loss.
06/26/2017 02:34 PM
Amazon basin deforestation could disrupt distant rainforest by remote climate connection
The ongoing deforestation around the fringes of the Amazon may have serious consequences for the untouched deeper parts of the rainforest. A new research study shows that it is not only the climate that is adversely affected by deforestation. In fact, the very stability of the ecosystem in the entire Amazon region is altered when deforestation takes place in the outermost regions.
06/23/2017 03:04 PM
Impact of seismic surveys on zooplankton
Marine seismic surveys used in petroleum exploration could cause a two to three-fold increase in mortality of adult and larval zooplankton, new researc has found. Scientists have studied the impact of commercial seismic surveys on zooplankton populations by carrying out tests using seismic air guns in the ocean off Southern Tasmania.
06/22/2017 05:19 PM
Satellite data to map endangered monkey populations on Earth
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, a research team can map multiple indicators of monkey distribution, including human activity zones as inferred from roads and settlements, direct detections from mosquito-derived iDNA, animal sound recordings, plus detections of other species that are usually found when monkeys are present, such as other large vertebrates.
06/21/2017 03:04 PM
The rise of giant viruses
Giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, researchers have found. The discovery has implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.
06/20/2017 07:29 PM
Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds
Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.
06/20/2017 05:11 PM
Making waves with the hot electrons within Earth's radiation belts
An international team of scientists recently discovered the role that hot electrons may play in the waves and fluctuations detected by satellites. The results are based on data collected by the Van Allen Probes, twin robotic spacecraft launched by NASA in 2012 to help scientists better understand these belt regions.
06/20/2017 04:42 PM
Wave beams mix and stir the ocean to create climate
Waves deep within the ocean play an important role in establishing ocean circulation, arising when tidal currents oscillate over an uneven ocean bottom. The internal waves generated by this process stir and mix the ocean, bringing cold, deep water to the surface to be warmed by the sun. Investigators now explain how to tell which way internal waves will go. The proposed theory unifies several previously understood explanations of wave propagation.
06/20/2017 02:32 PM
Wet and stormy weather lashed California coast... 8,200 years ago
An analysis of stalagmite records from White Moon Cave in the Santa Cruz Mountains shows that 8200 years ago the California coast underwent 150 years of exceptionally wet and stormy weather. This is the first high resolution record of how the Holocene cold snap affected the California climate.
06/20/2017 02:31 PM
Watching cities grow
Three million measurement points in one square kilometer: a world record has now been set in information retrieval from satellite data. Thanks to new algorithms, the researchers succeeded in making four-dimensional point clouds of Berlin, Las Vegas, Paris and Washington, D.C. from images stacks of the TerraSAR-X radar satellite. Next the scientists plan to create four-dimensional models of all cities in the world.
06/19/2017 08:15 PM
Volcanic eruptions triggered dawn of the dinosaurs
Huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a key role in triggering the end Triassic mass extinction, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, new research has found.
06/15/2017 07:28 PM
Seasonal rain and snow trigger small earthquakes on California faults
California's earthquake faults continually accumulate stress until they fail in an earthquake. Seismologists studied the impact of the flexing of Earth's crust under the load of winter rains and subsequent unloading during summer drought, and found that the up and down movement of the mountains changes the stresses on the state's faults, making them fail slightly more often as the snows melt and the rivers drain in late summer and early fall.
06/15/2017 07:27 PM
Volcanic crystals give a new view of magma
Volcanologists are gaining a new understanding of what's going on inside the magma reservoir that lies below an active volcano and they're finding a colder, more solid place than previously thought, according to new research.
06/15/2017 07:27 PM
Japanese slow earthquakes could shed light on tsunami generation
Understanding slow-slip earthquakes in subduction zone areas may help researchers understand large earthquakes and the creation of tsunamis, according to researchers who used data from instruments placed on the seafloor and in boreholes east of the Japanese coast.
06/15/2017 03:06 PM
New map highlights sinking Louisiana coast
A subsidence map of coastal Louisiana has now been created, putting the rate at which this region is sinking at just over one third of an inch per year.
06/15/2017 01:45 PM
Animal evolution: Hot start, followed by cold shock
The initial phases of animal evolution proceeded faster than hitherto supposed: New analyses suggest that the first animal phyla emerged in rapid succession -- prior to the global Ice Age that set in around 700 million years ago.
06/14/2017 06:37 PM
Hydroelectric dams may jeopardize the Amazon's future
Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico, experts report.
06/12/2017 02:44 PM
Volcanic 'plumerang' could impact human health
A new study has found a previously undetected potential health risk from the high concentration of small particles found in a boomerang-like return of a volcanic plume.
06/08/2017 05:36 PM
The mysterious bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor chain
The volcanic islands of Hawaii represent the youngest end of a 80 million years old and roughly 6,000 kilometers long mountain chain on the ground of the Pacific Ocean. The so-called Hawaiian-Emperor chain consisting of dozens of volcanoes is well known for its peculiar 60 degrees bend. The cause for this bend has been heavily debated for decades. Scientists now offer an explanation in a new study.
06/08/2017 12:33 PM
Sahara greening may intensify tropical cyclone activity worldwide
Future climate warming could lead to a re-greening of the southernmost Sahara (Sahel), with decreased dust emissions and changes in land cover. In a recent study, researchers have found that tropical cyclone activity may have increased during past warm climates in connection with a greening of the Sahara.
06/07/2017 05:39 PM
Seismic CT scan points to rapid uplift of Southern Tibet
Geophysicists have conducted a three-year seismic CT scan of the upper mantle beneath the Tibetan Plateau and concluded that the southern half of the 'Roof of the World' formed within 10 million years, or less than one-quarter of the time since the beginning of the India-Eurasia continental collision.
06/06/2017 10:03 PM
New evidence reveals source of 1586 Sanriku, Japan tsunami
A team of researchers re-examined historical evidence around the Pacific and discovered the origin of the tsunami that hit Sanriku, Japan in 1586 -- a mega-earthquake from the Aleutian Islands that broadly impacted the north Pacific. Until now, this was considered an orphan tsunami, a historical tsunami without an obvious local earthquake source, likely originating far away.
06/06/2017 04:27 PM
How the Arctic Ocean became saline
The Arctic Ocean was once a gigantic freshwater lake. Only after the land bridge between Greenland and Scotland had submerged far enough did vast quantities of salt water pour in from the Atlantic.
06/05/2017 04:08 PM
Splitting carbon dioxide using low-cost catalyst materials
A promising avenue for the future of clean energy is to store it in the form of carbon-based fuels produced from renewable sources, effectively enabling the clean use of liquid fuels such as gasoline. A first step is the electrolysis of carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide. But current CO-forming catalysts are either not selective enough or too expensive to be industrially viable. Now scientists have developed an Earth-abundant catalyst based on copper-oxide nanowires modified with tin oxide.
06/05/2017 03:10 PM
First long-term study of Murray-Darling Basin wetlands reveals severe impact of dams
A landmark 30-year-long study of wetlands in eastern Australia has found that construction of dams and diversion of water from the Murray-Darling Basin have led to a more than 70 per cent decline in waterbird numbers. The finding of severe degradation in the basin due to reduced water flow has significant implications for managing the development of other rivers in Australia and around the world.
06/05/2017 01:53 PM
New hyper-local air pollution map unveiled
Engineering researchers have developed the most detailed and extensive local map of air pollution ever produced for an urban area, using specially equipped Google Street View cars to measure air quality on a block-by-block basis.
06/01/2017 05:42 PM
Volcanoes: Referees for the life on Earth
At the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, 200 million years ago, some 60% of species living on Earth disappeared. Scientists suspected that magmatic activity and the release of carbon dioxide were responsible for this environmental disaster. To corroborate this, one would need to find and to precisely date traces of this activity and make sure that it coincides with this mass extinction.