Earth Science

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

  • Weather anomalies accelerate the melting of sea ice
    on January 17, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Researchers reveal why Arctic sea ice began to melt in the middle of winter two years ago -- and that the increased melting of ice in summer is linked to recurring periods of fair weather. […]

  • Scientists home in on a potential Anthropocene 'Golden Spike'
    on January 16, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Scientists are reviewing the potential settings where a global reference section for the Anthropocene might be searched. […]

  • Rates of great earthquakes not affected by moon phases, day of year
    on January 16, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    There is an enduring myth that large earthquakes tend to happen during certain phases of the Moon or at certain times during the year. But a new analysis confirms that this bit of earthquake lore is incorrect. […]

  • International study identify the process of rock formed by meteors or nuclear blasts
    on January 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Scientists have made a model to map out the phases in which silica (SiO2) transforms into coesite, by analyzing how the inelastic scattering of light among molecules changes according to pressure variation. […]

  • Solar fuels: better efficiency using microwires
    on January 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Researchers have made significant efficiency improvements to the technology used to generate solar fuels. This involves the direct conversion of energy from sunlight into a usable fuel (in this case, hydrogen). Using only earth-abundant materials, they developed the most efficient conversion method to date. The trick was to decouple the site where sunlight is captured from the site where the conversion reaction takes place. […]

  • Nature has more than one way to make methane
    on January 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Biochemists report a bacterial, iron-only nitrogenase pathway for methane formation. […]

  • Scientists home in on a potential Anthropocene 'Golden Spike'
    on January 15, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    A new study suggests that key geological markers align towards a start for the Anthropocene somewhere between 1952 to 1955, based on signals from nuclear testing and fossil fuel burning. […]

  • Machine learning predicts new details of geothermal heat flux beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet
    on January 11, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    A new article uses machine learning for the first time to craft an improved model for understanding geothermal heat flux -- heat emanating from the Earth's interior -- below the Greenland Ice Sheet. […]

  • Spider eat spider: Scientists discover 18 new spider-hunting pelican spiders in Madagascar
    on January 11, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Scientists examined and analyzed hundreds of pelican spiders both in the field in Madagascar and through study of pelican spiders preserved in museum collections. Their analysis sorted the spiders studied into 26 different species -- 18 of which have never before been described. The new species add to scientists' understanding of Madagascar's renowned biodiversity, and will help scientists investigate how pelican spiders' unusual traits have evolved and diversified over time. […]

  • Ingredients for life revealed in meteorites that fell to Earth
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    A detailed study of blue salt crystals found in two meteorites that crashed to Earth -- which included X-ray experiments found that they contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds including hydrocarbons and amino acids. […]

  • A close-up look at an uncommon underwater eruption
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    A new article describes the first up-close investigation of the largest underwater volcanic eruption of the past century. […]

  • Body size of marine plankton, currents keys to dispersal in ocean
    on January 10, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    A new international study found that the size of plankton, and the strength and direction of currents, are key to how they are dispersed in the ocean -- much more so than physical conditions including differences in temperature, salinity and nutrient availability. […]

  • Interconnected benefits of urban agriculture
    on January 10, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Researchers have assessed the value of urban agriculture and quantified its benefits at global scale. […]

  • Changing how we view chlorine in soil
    on January 10, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Researchers have studied how combinations of different environmental factors affect the chlorination of organic matter in soils. The results show that the supply of fresh organic compounds, which promote the growth of the microorganisms, increases chlorination. The discovery could mean that chlorine in ecosystems has a different significance than previously believed. […]

  • Strong support for ocean protection: Study
    on January 10, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    People around the world strongly support ocean conservation measures, according to a new study of public perceptions of marine threats and protection. […]

  • Earthquakes as a driver for the deep-ocean carbon cycle
    on January 10, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Geologists have used novel methods to analyze sediment deposits in the Japan Trench in order to gain new insights into the carbon cycle. […]

  • New tipping point prediction model offers insights to diminishing bee colonies
    on January 10, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    A new method to predict tipping points -- the moment at which sudden change occurs in complex networked systems -- may offer insights that prevent colony collapse disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear, threatening the agricultural economy at a global level. […]

  • New depth limit for deep-sea marine burrows
    on January 10, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Scientists have found fossil evidence of deep-sea marine life burrowing up to eight meters below the seabed -- four times the previously observed depth for modern deep-sea life. […]

  • Life on land and tropical overheating 250 million years ago
    on January 10, 2018 at 2:49 am

    One of the key effects of the end-Permian mass extinction, 252 million years ago, was rapid heating of tropical waters and atmospheres. How this affected life on land has been uncertain until now. New research shows how early reptiles were expelled from the tropics. […]

  • Grocery store program improves farmers' adoption of environmental practices
    on January 9, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    In one of the first analyses of a company-led sustainability program in the food and agriculture space, researchers found a major grocery chain fostered increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level. […]

  • Spotty coverage: Climate models underestimate cooling effect of daily cloud cycle
    on January 9, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Researchers have found that the climate models scientists use to project future conditions on our planet underestimate the cooling effect that clouds have on a daily basis, which results in warmer, drier conditions than might actually occur. The researchers found that inaccuracies in accounting for the daily cloud cycle did not seem to invalidate climate projections, but did increase the margin of error for understanding how climate change will affect us. […]

  • Mass extinctions remove species but not ecological variety
    on January 9, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Though mass extinctions wiped out staggeringly high numbers of species, they barely touched the overall 'functional' diversity -- how each species makes a living, be it filtering phytoplankton or eating small crustaceans, burrowing or clamping onto rocks. […]

  • Extra-terrestrial Hypatia stone rattles solar system status quo
    on January 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Analyses on a small pebble found in south-west Egypt cast significant questions on a widely-held view about the primitive pre-solar dust cloud which our Sun, Earth and other planets were formed from. Researchers found exotic micro-mineral compounds in the 'Hypatia' stone that are not known to occur on Earth, elsewhere in our solar system, or in known meteorites or comets. […]

  • Smoke from wildfires can tip air quality to unhealthy levels
    on January 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Smoke plumes emanating from wildfires are swept high up into the air and spread over thousands of kilometers even days after a fire has been put out. The fine particles and harmful ozone contained in these plumes often have devastating effects on the air quality of US cities and consequently the health of their inhabitants. […]

  • Evolution of Alpine landscape recorded by sedimentary rocks
    on January 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Rock avalanches and torrents started to form V-shaped valleys in the Swiss Alps approximately 25 million years ago. This landscape contrasts to the flat and hilly scenery, which characterized the Alps a few millions of years before. Geologists applied digital technologies to unravel these changes in landscape evolution. They analyzed 30 to 25 million-year old lithified rivers in Central Switzerland and came out with a detailed picture of how the Alps evolved within a short time interval. […]

  • What species is most fit for life? All have an equal chance, scientists say
    on January 9, 2018 at 12:19 am

    There are more than 8 million species of living things on Earth, but none of them -- from 100-foot blue whales to microscopic bacteria -- has an advantage over the others in the universal struggle for existence.A trio of scientists report that regardless of vastly different body size, location and life history, most species are equally 'fit' in the struggle for existence. […]

  • Amazon biodiversity hotspot to suffer even more losses after contentious law passed
    on January 8, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    In August 2017, the Bolivian government passed a contentious law that paved the way for construction of a new 190-mile road cutting through one of the country's most iconic and biodiverse protected rainforests. But a new report shows that the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (or TIPNIS) has been subject to alarming levels of deforestation within its borders for many years, a reality that is too often overlooked. […]

  • Strong El Niño events cause large changes in Antarctic ice shelves
    on January 8, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    A new study reveals that strong El Nino events can cause significant ice loss in some Antarctic ice shelves while the opposite may occur during strong La Nina events. […]

  • Methane hydrate dissociation off Spitsbergen not caused by climate change
    on January 8, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    For years, methane emissions from the seabed have been observed in the Arctic Ocean off Spitsbergen. The assumption that the warming of seawater by climate change is responsible for the release of methane, has not been confirmed. Research shows that post-glacial uplift is the most likely cause of methane hydrate break-down. […]

  • Chemists discover plausible recipe for early life on Earth
    on January 8, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Chemists find key chemical reactions that support life today could have been carried out with ingredients likely present on the planet four billion years ago. […]