Earth Science News -- ScienceDaily
Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.
10/20/2017 05:57 PM
US ocean observation critical to understanding climate change, but lacks long-term national planning
Ocean observing systems are important as they provide information essential for monitoring and forecasting changes in Earth's climate on timescales ranging from days to centuries. A new report finds that continuity of ocean observations is vital to gain an accurate understanding of the climate, and calls for a decadal, national plan that is adequately resourced and implemented to ensure critical ocean information is available to understand and predict future changes.
10/18/2017 02:02 PM
Arsenic in domestic well water could affect 2 million people in the US
Clean drinking water can be easy to take for granted if your home taps into treated water sources. But more than 44 million people in the U.S. get their water from private domestic wells, which are largely unregulated. Of those, a new report estimates that about 2 million people could be exposed to high levels of naturally occurring arsenic in their water.
10/17/2017 04:43 PM
Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption
More than 11 years after the Lusi mud volcano first erupted on the Indonesian island of Java, researchers may have figured out why the mudflows haven't stopped: deep underground, Lusi is connected to a nearby volcanic system.
10/16/2017 05:44 PM
Dinosaur dung fertilizes planet, new research shows
Dinosaurs were, and large animals are, important not for the quantity of dung they produce, but for their ability to move long distances across landscapes, effectively mixing the nutrients, outline researchers in a new report.
10/16/2017 01:19 PM
Waves in lakes make waves in the Earth
Scientists report that small seismic signals in lakes can aid science. As a record of wave motion in a lake, they can reveal when a lake freezes over and when it thaws. And as a small, constant source of seismic energy in the surrounding earth, lake microseisms can shine a light on the geology surrounding a lake.
10/13/2017 01:02 AM
Understanding rare Earth emulsions
Through a series of theoretical simulations, researchers discovered that surface polarization in mixed media increases attraction among elements.
10/12/2017 07:34 PM
Satellites map photosynthesis at high resolution
Life on Earth is impossible without photosynthesis. It provides food and oxygen to all higher life forms and plays an important role in the climate system, since this process regulates the uptake of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and its fixation in biomass. However, quantification of photosynthesis at the ecosystem-to-global scale remains uncertain. Now an international team of scientists have made a major step forward.
10/12/2017 05:30 PM
Rainfall trends in arid regions buck commonly held climate change theories
To explore the links between climatic warming and rainfall in drylands, scientists analysed more than 50 years of detailed rainfall data (measured every minute) from a semi-arid drainage basin in south east Arizona exhibiting an upward trend in temperatures during that period.
10/12/2017 02:10 PM
New threat to the ozone layer
'Ozone depletion is a well-known phenomenon and, thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol, is widely perceived as a problem solved,' say some. But an international team of researchers, has now found an unexpected, growing danger to the ozone layer from substances not regulated by the treaty.
10/11/2017 02:17 PM
Better managing plastic waste in a handful of rivers could stem plastics in the ocean
Massive amounts of plastic bits that are dangerous to aquatic life are washing into the oceans and into even the most pristine waters. But how it all gets there from inland cities has not been fully understood. Now scientists have found that 10 rivers around the world where plastic waste is mismanaged contribute to most of the oceans' total loads that come from rivers.
10/11/2017 02:11 PM
One of planet's largest volcanic eruptions
Researchers have determined that the Pacific Northwest was home to one of the Earth's largest known volcanic eruptions, a millennia-long spewing of sulfuric gas that blocked out the sun and cooled the planet. Only two other eruptions -- the basalt floods of the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps -- were larger, and they led to two of the Earth's great extinctions.
10/10/2017 01:55 PM
Illegal use of natural resources in the protected Brazilian Amazon mapped
New research uses law enforcement data collected from 2010 to 2015 to understand the geographical distribution of the illegal use of natural resources across the region's protected area network. In the study, a total of 4,243 reports of illegal use of natural resources were evaluated and mapped. These reports generated US $224.6 million in fines.
10/09/2017 08:49 PM
Formation of coal almost turned our planet into a snowball
While burning coal today causes Earth to overheat, about 300 million years ago the formation of that same coal brought our planet close to global glaciation. For the first time, scientists show the massive effect in a new study.
10/09/2017 05:31 PM
Scientists complete conservation puzzle, shaping understanding of life on Earth
An international team of scientists has completed the 'atlas of life' -- the first global review and map of every vertebrate on Earth. The 39 scientists have produced a catalogue and atlas of the world's reptiles. By linking this atlas with existing maps for birds, mammals and amphibians, the team have found many new areas where conservation action is vital.
10/06/2017 08:49 PM
Mars study yields clues to possible cradle of life
The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth. The research offers evidence that these deposits were formed by heated water from a volcanically active part of the planet's crust entering the bottom of a large sea long ago.
10/06/2017 02:03 PM
Microbes dictate regime shifts causing anoxia in lakes and seas
Gradual environmental changes due to eutrophication and global warming can cause a rapid depletion of oxygen levels in lakes and coastal waters. A new study shows that microorganisms play a key role in these disastrous regime shifts.
10/06/2017 12:02 AM
Old Faithful's geological heart revealed
Scientists have mapped the near-surface geology around Old Faithful, revealing the reservoir of heated water that feeds the geyser's surface vent and how the ground shaking behaves in between eruptions.
10/05/2017 08:11 PM
Do earthquakes have a 'tell'?
Data scientists and seismologists could potentially forecast strong earthquakes through algorithms designed to detect and monitor 'deep tremor.'
10/05/2017 03:26 PM
Climate solution in soil?
The land under our feet and the plant matter it contains could offset a significant amount of carbon emissions if managed properly. More research is needed to unlock soil's potential to mitigate global warming, improve crop yields and increase resilience, say researchers.
10/05/2017 03:26 PM
Supervolcanoes: Magma chambers have a sponge-like structure
Researchers show that magma chambers under supervolcanoes are more like soggy sponges than reservoirs of molten rock. Before a volcano of this kind erupts, such mush must slowly be reactivated by heat input following deep magma recharge ultimately derived from the Earth's mantle.
10/04/2017 08:12 PM
Ancient humans left Africa to escape drying climate
Humans migrated out of Africa as the climate shifted from wet to dry about 60,000 years ago, according to new paleoclimate research. What the northeast Africa climate was like when people migrated from Africa into Eurasia between 70,000 and 55,000 years ago is still uncertain. The new research shows around 70,000 years ago, the Horn of Africa climate shifted from a wet phase called 'Green Sahara' to even drier than the region is now.
10/04/2017 06:35 PM
Fish shrinking as ocean temperatures rise
One of the most economically important fish is shrinking in body weight, length and overall physical size as ocean temperatures rise, according to new research by LSU Boyd Professor R. Eugene Turner published today. The average body size of Menhaden -- a small, silver fish -- caught off the coasts from Maine to Texas -- has shrunk by about 15 percent over the past 65 years.
10/04/2017 05:05 PM
The vitamin ergothioneine: an antioxidant for oxygen-free areas?
Chemists have been able to show for the first time that anaerobic bacteria can produce the vitamin ergothioneine in the absence of oxygen. This suggests that bacteria were forming this compound even before there was oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. The vitamin's function therefore remains a mystery, as it was previously ascribed a role in oxygen-dependent processes.
10/03/2017 05:54 PM
Computational study sheds doubt on latest theory of birds' mysterious magnetic compass
The European robin and other birds know where to migrate by sensing the direction of the Earth's magnetic field. Researchers have recently attributed this ability to a chemical reaction that takes place within the eye and whose success depends on the field direction. However, researchers now report that the current form of this 'radical-pair mechanism' is not sensitive enough to explain the disruption of the avian magnetic compass by certain radiofrequency magnetic fields.
10/03/2017 05:51 PM
New light shed on Earth's history
New research suggests that hydrogen, oxygen, water and carbon dioxide are being generated in the earth's mantle hundreds of kilometers below the earth's surface.
10/03/2017 05:50 PM
Free-flowing aerosol particles identified using holograms, lasers
Holographic images of free-flowing air particles may help climate change and biological weapons watchdogs better monitor the atmosphere, according to a recent study. The images are made by two overlapping lasers that could be mounted on an unmanned aircraft to monitor the atmosphere.
10/03/2017 02:40 PM
Earth's tectonic plates are weaker than once thought
A long-standing question regarding the strength of olivine, the primary component of Earth's mantle, has now been answered. This study has implications for how we understand now tectonic plates form and move.
10/02/2017 09:12 PM
Did life on Earth start due to meteorites splashing into warm little ponds?
Life on Earth began somewhere between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, after meteorites splashed down and leached essential elements into warm little ponds, say scientists. Their calculations suggest that wet and dry cycles bonded basic molecular building blocks in the ponds' nutrient-rich broth into self-replicating RNA molecules that constituted the first genetic code for life on the planet.
10/02/2017 07:49 PM
Solar observer created key sunspot record
Few people have heard of Hisako Koyama, but the dedicated female solar observer, born in Tokyo in 1916, created one of the most important sunspot records of the past 400 years.
09/28/2017 02:42 PM
Large earthquakes along Olympic Mountain faults, Washington State, USA
A comprehensive study of faults along the north side of the Olympic Mountains of Washington State emphasizes the substantial seismic hazard to the northern Puget Lowland region. The study examined the Lake Creek-Boundary Creek and Sadie Creek faults along the north flank the Olympic Mountains, and concludes that there were three to five large, surface-rupturing earthquakes along the faults within the last 13,000 years.
09/27/2017 11:43 PM
Examining the lifestyles of microbes
Scientists are studying microbes called Parcubacteria that were found by James Cameron (director of 'Terminator') during a recent deep sea expedition. They want to study the microbes' lifestyle and see how similar they are to those found on land.
09/27/2017 06:36 PM
The volatile processes that shaped Earth
Although it is widely understood that Earth was formed gradually, from much smaller bodies, many of the processes involved in shaping our growing planet are less clear. Astronomers have now untangled some of these processes, revealing that the mini-planets added to Earth had previously undergone melting and evaporation. They also address another scientific conundrum: Earth's depletion in many economically important chemical elements.
09/25/2017 04:14 PM
Climate change can goad volcanoes into life
Geologists have analyzed volcanic data from the Messinian salinity crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, when the Strait of Gibraltar was blocked and the Mediterranean temporarily isolated from the Atlantic. After testing various scenarios, the geologists concluded that the increase in magmatic activity could only be explained by the almost total drying out of the Mediterranean.
09/25/2017 03:57 PM
Scientists monitor Silicon Valley's underground water reserves -- from space
Scientists monitoring Silicon Valley's underground water reserves from space have found that water levels rebounded quickly after a severe drought that lasted from 2012-15. The research points to the success of aggressive conservation measures. It also helps to lay the groundwork for low-cost monitoring of subterranean water reserves in California and elsewhere in the world.